A Year of Prayer – what’s it all about?
The Salvation Army in Australia is embarking on a year of prayer, calling all our corps and communities to come together, listen to God and share what they’re hearing. Facilitated by Auxiliary-Lieutenant Rosy Keane, Secretary for Spiritual Life Development, the initiative came about after many months of seeking God’s voice. Salvos Online writer ANTHONY CASTLE interviewed Rosy about her hopes for the year ahead
What is the Year of Prayer, and how does it work?
The Year of Prayer is a rhythm of spiritual life, a way for the movement to connect with God and each other, centred around weekly Scriptures and reflections. The year is laid out as a Scripture calendar, but we’re really asking people to journey through the devotional cards to engage in prayer. Each card has the week’s Scripture verse on the front, and the back has two points to ‘Pray and Discern’, and an activity that you can participate in by yourself, with a group, or with children in mind. The devotional cards are there to have somewhere close, on your desk, or bedside table, somewhere you can see them and pray through each day. You can also view them online on the website, or through our socials if you don’t have a physical copy.
Where did the idea come from?
Every year, the Spiritual Life Department has been running a national prayer focus. This year I was praying about what God wanted us to do, and it was really, really difficult because God was silent for ages. When God challenged me through a friend’s words to truly commit my whole self to The Salvation Army Australia, to count it as home, I finally heard God say, “I want you to call The Salvation Army to a year of prayer.” When I sat down to write the cards, it came so quickly – but it was truly a year of patient discernment, even allowing myself to appear foolish or uncertain as I truly sat and waited for God to speak before I acted.
Prayer can sometimes be done only one way, quiet in church or on your own at home, but people’s temperaments can actually be quite diverse. Can people participate in prayer in different ways?
I’m a millennial. Most of my friends don’t go to church. I wanted to create something that was inclusive of everyone, of those in faith communities, but also accessible for those who aren’t. I tried not to use jargon and intentionally worded the cards for friends I know, trying to think of those who don’t have an English-speaking church background. The cards are easy to do alone, or in groups, at a café, wherever. On Wednesdays, there’s a call to creativity on the Facebook page. On Thursdays, all Salvo employees are invited to participate online with the THQ chapel service. Every Sunday, there’s a call to prayer – either where you are, or you’re welcome to join our online ‘prayer circle’. The whole idea is that of finding your own rhythm in it. Jesus says, “My yoke is easy, my burden is light”, and it’s about engaging with prayer in the way that’s easy for you, with a view of learning to listen to God and leaning into that difference.
What happens when people pray together? What difference does it make?
I often think in pictures. I think of it like a bee’s antennae. We’re not the bee, we’re the little part of the antennae, that move and listen together. When we come together, and drill down, we can really listen. There’s something so beautiful and humbling, sitting in prayer, in community, on country. We become more like God and more like Good News to the world. We also encourage people to share online, what they’re getting from it all. That’s part of it, too, the listening to others and to God. It’s easy to do it all ‘top-down’, you must do this, but that’s not the Kingdom of God. The Body of Christ works together, so I wanted it to be people praying together, listening together, and speaking together. When you look at the world, at what teenagers are facing, at the conflicts and chaos, all the pain and tragedy, it’s so hard to know how to respond. But we have the Spirit. God speaks and we can listen. It’s the first thing we can do.
To find out all you need to know about our Year of Prayer, just click on the following links or copy and paste into your browser: My Salvos - https://my.salvos.org.au/a-year-of-prayer/
Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/tsayearofprayer?mibextid=LQQJ4d
Or contact Aux-Lieutenant Rosy Keane at email@example.com