EMQ » January–March 2023 » Volume 59 Issue 1
By Ann Low, Cody Low, Rebecca Joy, and Jed Tin
Throughout church history, we find that prayer, revival, and mission go hand-in-hand. The Moravian revival[i] which took place in central Europe in the 1700s is one of the greatest reminders of how these three things intertwine.
In 1727, amidst disunity within the Moravian community, some began praying for a revival. This soon led to 24 hours, 7 days a week of sustained prayer that continued for more than 100 years! Within that period, 300 Moravian missionaries were sent out in what may have been one of the highest ratios of missionary-to-community ever.
Young people often play an important role, too. A few college students in the northeastern US began holding prayer meetings among haystacks in the 1800s. The Haystack[ii] prayer meetings led to the first American foreign mission society – the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Commissions. Missionaries from this group were sent to numerous countries.
This intertwining of young people, prayer, and mission happens across cultures, people groups, and traditions. In the 1970s, it happened in Bario – a remote area in southeastern Malaysia.[iii] Christian student leaders gathered for a simple meeting which turned into a time of bold prayer, repentance, and renewed commitment to God.
That was the start of a revival which spread throughout the region. Many were transformed, witnessed enthusiastically to the people around them, and brought the good news to outlying regions. Signs and wonders followed, such as deliverance from evil spirits.
Journeying With Young People in Prayer
In 2010 in South Africa, I (Ann) heard a prophetic word from God: “As we the older ones move aside and let the younger ones step into their call and destiny, they will surpass us and do greater works, a double portion of anointing is being released upon their lives.” This directed me to think more intentionally about my engagement with young people as a mentor and prayer partner.
God had already started me on this path. I knew that introducing Jesus and the power of prayer to children can have a great impact on their lives. My nephew Cody Low was six years old when he attended a prayer conference with me in 2006. At the time, I served in the Prayer Commission of The National Evangelical Christian Fellowship, Malaysia.
During the conference, he saw a vision of Jesus being crucified on the cross. It left such a mark on him, that he went home and shared with his mum how it pained his heart when he saw the vision. Today, as a young man full of passion for the Lord, Cody facilitates an hour of prayer once a month on Seed-Tree-Forest on Global Family zoom since 2021.
When we walk together in prayer with young people, we can mentor them in their life and faith. I met Jed Tin in the UK when he was 18 years old. He was a very shy young man, but I encouraged him to give a testimony of what God did in his life at a prayer conference. He did, and after that, we stayed in touch to encourage each other and pray together.
When he graduated from university, I invited him to join me in my speaking engagements in Malaysia. During the meetings, he frequently shared about his passion for prayer. Jed currently coordinates Prayer United Youth, a national prayer movement in Malaysia.[iv]
In 2020, I met artist and author Rebecca Joy.[v] That year she went back to her hometown on the east coast of peninsular Malaysia and started Shiloh House of Prayer. I admire her for zeal for God.
Rebecca, Jed, Cody, and I are on a journey together. In alignment with the word I received from God in 2010, he is teaching me to help construct godly platforms (in the forms of writing/teaching/preaching) that enable the precious younger generations to be released into God’s call.
Praying for His Will to be Done
Before we present our requests, however big or small, do we pray like how Christ taught his disciples to pray? He instructed them to pray, “Our Father in heaven…, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9–10, NIV). In 1 John 5:14, it is apparent that for God to hear our prayers, we must “ask anything according to his will.”
And God’s will is shown in Matthew 28:19-20, when Jesus commands the disciples to follow through with what is coined the Great Commission. This applies to all who profess as a follower of Christ. Prayer is at the root. It has been a means for Christians across the globe, since the earliest days of Christianity, to grow in their faith, and spread the gospel to every part of the world.
Each new generation of young people has participated in the Great Commission. Nevertheless, in Matthew 9:37–38, Jesus tells to pray that the Lord sends his laborers into the field to harvest. That involvement in the Great Commission must be rooted in prayer.
Young people face many difficulties that hinder them from pursuing God’s call into missions: spiritual lukewarmness, complacency, family instability, lack of mentoring from older people, mental health problems, social pressure, and even attacks from Satan and his demons. What then should we do? We must start with prayer! Pray for young people to strengthen their relationship with Jesus, develop relationships with older Christians, and keep themselves ready to respond to God leading them deeper into his will.
The words of the Lord’s Prayer remind us that praying is not just an act or a ritual we perform. Rather it is the meditation of our heart to turn our words into action. Therefore, prayer is essential to release the younger generation, not just in the response of their hearts to the Lord but in response to being sent out to where the heart of the Lord is, that is the harvest.
Prayer and missions are not two separate pathways where one can choose either prayer or mission, depending on one’s preference which dictates one’s participation. The invitation to pray and the invitation to missions are ultimately an invitation to surrender oneself to the Lordship of Christ. Prayer and mission are united. The two must come together, as the body of Christ unites as one in raising our voices to the cry ‘Maranatha, come Lord Jesus come.’
Birthing Missions Through Prayer
The prophet Jeremiah demonstrates how intimacy with God, cultivated through prayer and worship, leads to the birth of something greater and beyond ourselves. Jeremiah’s relationship with the Lord propelled him to respond to the call of God upon his life despite his insecurities and insufficiencies (Jeremiah 1:6).
In fact, intimacy with God through prayer is crucial in aligning our perspective with God’s. It is through honest and open communing with God that we can catch his heartbeat. Consider Jonah. In his exchange with God, Jonah poured out his displeasure at God’s compassion for Nineveh. However, through that interaction, God revealed to Jonah his heart for the city (Jonah 4: 10 –11).
“But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left – and also many animals?” (Jonah 4: 10 – 11, NIV)
Similarly, as young people interact with God in prayer, listen to him, and allow him to speak, they catch a glimpse of his heart for the lost and can discern God call upon their lives. Such revelation is a powerful impetus that launches young people into the harvest field without turning back (avoiding the experience of being swallowed by a fish, hopefully!).
Releasing Young People to Lead and Serve
Cody, Rebecca, Jed, and I (Ann) see a growing family of the old and young rising to their God-given roles to love him with all our hearts and souls. With that kind of love, we can reach a world that can witness powerful authentic love and unity among the generations!
But this cannot happen if younger people are not released to both lead and serve. As a 22-year veteran in prayer ministry, I believe it is time for us to embrace and launch the younger generations we have been mentoring into their destinies and positions in the Body of Christ.
We need to be so generous and big-hearted to give them the platform. When we say they are important, then we need to show it by giving away, not holding onto, our positions! As we move aside, we can still pray for them, love them, and watch how the Lord will enlarge their capacity to serve and lead.
Just imagine how powerful it would be if every young person would catch the heart of God. Imagine if through prayer, they could discern their calling and be launched into the harvest field wherever they are (schools, universities, marketplaces, neighborhoods). My prayer is for a lifestyle of prayer to be cultivated among the younger generation and through that, may God unleash a great move of missions in these last days!
Let’s get going!
Ann Low (email@example.com) is a part of the leadership of the International Prayer Council and the Southeast Asia Prayer Council. She has been involved in mobilising prayer in this region, and in particular in Malaysia, for more than 20 years.
Cody Low (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the facilitator for the Seed-Tree-Forest prayer meeting once a month on Global Family 24-7 Prayer (globalfamily24-7prayer.org). He is a teacher and is active in gospel outreach to youth.
Rebecca Joy (email@example.com ) leads the Shiloh House of Prayer and is the illustrator and author of Crossover, a book of art and poetry which reveals her journey of knowing Christ and finding her identity in him.
Jed Tin (firstname.lastname@example.org) is actively involved in Prayer United (PU) Youth Malaysia where he and the team have been mobilising prayer among the younger generation in Malaysia.
[i] Nathan A. Finn, “The One Hundred Year Prayer Meeting,” June 1, 2022, https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-hundred-year-prayer-meeting.
[ii] “What was the Haystack Prayer Meeting?” Got Questions, https://www.gotquestions.org/Haystack-Prayer-Meeting.html.
[iii] Jason Law, “The Bario Revival: Its Background Context and Beginnings,” Christianity Malaysia, July 17, 2015, https://christianitymalaysia.com/wp/the-bario-revival-its-background-context-and-beginnings.
[iv] Watch Jed’s prayer for Indonesia at the 2017 Prayer and Missions conference held in Hernhutt, Germany here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1sTJxW_JZYW7KlqqhyBmE8Sc0BB9whryf/view?usp=drivesdk . This was at the site of the Moravian 100-year prayer meeting.
EMQ, Volume 59, Issue 1. Copyright © 2023 by Missio Nexus. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from Missio Nexus. Email: EMQ@MissioNexus.org.