Imagine it’s a Friday morning at 11 and you’re the IT director for a global organization. Through a glitch in data migration, your data systems are down. All of them. No e-mail, no internet. Nada. Employees are back to face-to-face meetings to accomplish anything (tough when you’re scattered around the world). What are you doing?
Well, if you’re working for International Justice Mission, you’re attending a prayer meeting.
IJM has an all-hands-on-deck prayer meeting every day at 11, no matter what your crisis du jour. In fact, maybe it’s because of the crisis du jour.
Les and I visited the IJM headquarters recently because our niece Hope is interning there, and we sat in on the prayer meeting. Manning the white board to take prayer requests was IJM founder and CEO Gary Haugen. The data system problem was calmly added to the board along with requests for various field offices around the world. And then they prayed. We all sang. At 11:30, everyone went back to work. Well, as back to work as they could without any email or internet.
That half-hour experience—more than any mission or values statement—convinced me prayer is vital to IJM.
If you’re not familiar with International Justice Mission, it exists to “protect the poor from violence in the developing world.” IJM’s work encompasses four areas:
- Rescuing victims—freeing people from sex or labor slavery, unjust oppression or other forms of violence
- Bringing criminals to justice—ensuring local authorities prosecute oppressors so they cannot continue to inflict pain on others
- Restoring survivors—providing services that promote healing, wholeness and self-sufficiency
- Strengthening justice systems—assisting local law enforcement agencies and courts with training and resources and providing accountability to deter corrupt officials
It’s necessary work. It’s tough work. It’s overwhelming work. Yet it’s God’s work. And that is why IJM is committed to prayer.
“We have seen so many miracles of justice we may be tempted to think it’s our work, our strivings that bring justice to the hurting and oppressed. . . . But God constantly uses seemingly impossible obstacles to remind us that the work of justice is done by him.”
And so IJM employees gather daily to pray about those impossible obstacles. And then they watch God work. You can join IJM in praying for justice by signing up for their weekly prayer updates or planning to attend the IJM Global Prayer Gathering, April 22–23, 2016, in Washington, DC.
But let’s also think more personally. What are we doing that seems so important that we just can’t stop to pray about it and the other issues in our life, our work, our ministry? And what might we see God do if prayer was a nonnegotiable, no matter what the crisis du jour?