World Mennonites pray for courage and love

“What a good way to end our day praying together as a global church,” says Sushant Nand, a leader in Mennonite Church India. He led a breakout room for Online Prayer Hour, a bimonthly event at 14:00 UTC that gathers Anabaptist-Mennonites from around the world.  

After a short prayer focus on Mennonite Action (a movement calling Canadians and Americans to ask their elected representatives to support a ceasefire in Gaza), the more than 50 participants in Online Prayer Hour divide into small groups on Zoom to pray.  

Heavy storms in India and a cable outage in West Africa Burkina Faso made it challenging for participants from those regions to stay connected.  

The Hindi-language breakout rooms speak about being a living witness for peace among persecution in India. In several regions, Christians have been beaten, their churches demolished; other times the persecution is more subtle: “noncooperation of the government regarding Christian faith.”  

Participants from DR Congo say fear drives conflict, creating cycles of violence and displacement. “Praying for peace in the world is very real, in DR Congo,” says Bruce Campbell-Janz, MWC chief development officer and breakout room leader in French.  

Many call for prayer for fair elections and for churches to live out loving their neighbours. Political rhetoric of intolerance and division is increasing in popularity. 2024 will see national elections in more than 60 countries, including India in April and May.  

Participants pray for Haiti where thousands of people are trying to leave as violence and political instability grows.  

Prayers are also raised for growth: new leaders, young people involved and new church plants in Anabaptist-Mennonite national churches around the world.  

“As we prepare to mark the 500th anniversary of Anabaptism, we pray that our time together is not just a time to look back but a time to look forward,” says J. Ron Byler, coordinator of commissions secretaries. MWC’s Faith & Life Commission is also in dialogue with members of the World Communion of Reformed Churches. For the Ascension Day memorial event in Switzerland, he calls for prayer that General Council members from Africa and Asia would successfully receive visas to participate, so the event could truly be a global gathering. Prayers are also raised for the upcoming Executive Committee meetings and Renewal 2024 event in Brazil.  

“May we find a voice to speak with courage and love,” says Cynthia Peacock, MWC regional representative for South Asia. 

OPH May 2024

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