God is just a prayer away

Here are some fresh ideas on our 2024 motto. ‌That prayer works is something that brothers and sisters experience often. They feel the power of prayer in church services, concerts, and in everyday life.

Planting seeds of thanks

The children of Voëlvlei congregation in South Africa met on a Saturday in February for an event called “Planting seeds of thanks”. They began with a music practice and a short reflection on things to be grateful for. Enough to eat, parents, friends, and God were some examples they mentioned. The children were then taught how to sow seeds and grow vegetables. And afterwards, the children were able to decorate Thanksgiving tins and jars with all kinds of craft supplies that had been provided. The teachers assisted the children in decorating their containers by sticking the logo of our annual motto on them or putting lots of glitter on the discarded jars and coffee tins. The aim of the event was to make daily thanksgiving a habit.

Prayer at the interdenominational level

Three congregations in the district of Heidelberg in Germany opened their doors on the World Day of Prayer and gathered with other Christians for ecumenical services. The theme was “Palestine ... through the bond of peace”, which was also visualised at the altar in some of the churches. Prayers, songs for peace, and readings alternated in the three New Apostolic, Protestant, and Catholic churches. Scenic representations also brought to life the individual fates of some Christians in Palestine. “Salaam al Massih” was the greeting at the end of the liturgy. This means “the peace of Christ” in Arabic. Afterwards, there were some snacks and the opportunity to exchange views on various things.

Inauguration despite difficulties

That prayer works is something the congregation in Horoya in Guinea experienced. Five hundred guests attended the dedication of the church. The congregation had been waiting for their own church building for several years. There were many setbacks that put the faith of the brothers and sisters to the test. Finally, in mid March, the church was dedicated. The ceremony was led by the Apostles Saa Marc Lenó and Tamba Millimouno. Before the divine service, the Apostles carried out the ceremonial ribbon cutting in the presence of public officials. The Apostles then celebrated the service together using Matthew 16: 17–18 as Bible text. The congregation witnessed the ordination of a Deacon and the assignment of a national youth leader during the service.

Faith despite a drought

Right now is the dry season in the Philippines. The air temperature ranges between 30 to 36 degrees Celsius. Many people have difficulties to access clean water. And agricultural land is becoming infertile and dusty because of the lack of rain. Plants are dry. There is likely to be a decline in the rice harvest and there is fear of a food shortage in the coming months. The members in the congregations of Mansilingan, Caningay, Cayaocao, Cawilan, Canlamay, Tabu, Mabuhay and Tiling, which District Apostle Edy Isnugroho visited together with Apostles Samuel Tansahtikno and Joe An Beli-ot from 13 to 21 April, proved that their faith has not suffered in spite of the dry conditions and that many prayers are being offered to God. The District Apostle experienced great joy and strength of faith in the congregations they visited in the province Negros Occidental, most of which he had never been able to visit before.

Five-finger prayer

The human hand usually has five fingers, so you can assign a special aspect to each finger. A choir of around 160 young singers accompanied a special kind of prayer on Saturday, 27 April in the town of Nürtingen in Germany. Things are going well in my life, said a teenager in prayer as she focused on her thumb. The index finger stood for what God wants to draw attention to. During the prayer that represented the middle finger, a young man listed the things that really upset him. The ring finger was assigned the aspect showing where God is faithful. And the pinkie stood for the things that fall short in life. Each prayer was followed by several songs of different genres. There were songs from the German hymnal, modern songs, and Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus”.