An army that marches on its knees

And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt … even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.—Matthew 21:21-22 (NASB)

Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, was World Vision’s 33rd annual Day of Prayer. Our offices around the world were closed while nearly 40,000 staff gathered to celebrate God’s faithfulness during the past fiscal year and seek his face for direction and blessing in the new.

I find this corporate “bowing of our knee” before the throne of God deeply moving and reassuring. Before my father, World Vision founder Bob Pierce, became a man of vision, God taught him to be a man of prayer. Prayer was like breathing to my parents and as children, we were steeped in prayer.

My dad took Matthew 21:21-22 literally, believing that the prayers of the righteous could move mountains and that when we pray, believing, things happen. Through the years that commitment to prayer has been echoed in the lives and hearts of our leadership. As a result, World Vision staff has always been an army that marches on its knees.

I got my calculator out and the truth is that Oct. 1, 2014, was really our 23,385th day of prayer — including 16 days for leap years! There has never been a day that World Vision staff are not praying for direction, for provision, for healing, for forgiveness — and for mountains to move.

There has never been a day that World Vision staff is not praying for direction, for provision, for healing, for forgiveness — and for mountains to move.—Marilee Pierce Dunker

This year we began the day with a message from Kevin Jenkins, president of World Vision International. He was live-streaming from a remote village in war-torn South Sudan and was surrounded by a group of children. He described them as thin and traumatized, but safe and well because “World Vision has been here working to meet their needs through the worst of the fighting.”

Kevin then introduced Perry Mansfield, World Vision’s director in South Sudan, who opened the worldwide prayer meeting with this powerful prayer of supplication and rededication. (Portions of Perry’s prayer are from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayers. I’ve also edited the prayer for length.)

Almighty God we give you thanks for the goodness and love which you have made known to us in creation; in your Word spoken through the prophets; and above all in the Word made flesh, Jesus, your Son. In Him, you have brought us out of error into truth, out of sin into righteousness, out of death into life.

From the primal elements you brought forth the human race, and blessed us with memory, reason, and skill. You made us the rulers of creation. But we turned against you, and betrayed your trust; and we turned against one another. Have mercy, Lord, for we are sinners in your sight. We pray for the forgiveness of our sins, and for the grace of the Holy Spirit to amend our lives. 

We pray for the leadership and staff of World Vision throughout the partnership. 

We pray to you, O Lord, for all who love God and believe in you, Lord Christ, that we all may be one in unity of service as you and the Father are one. 

We pray for the mission of World Vision that we may faithfully bear witness to the good news of your kingdom and bear witness to the gospel to the ends of the earth.

We pray to you Lord for those who do not yet believe, and for those who have lost their faith, that they may receive the light of the gospel. 

We pray to you, O Lord, for the peace of the world, that a spirit of respect and forbearance may grow among nations and peoples. We pray especially for peace in South Sudan, for the Middle East, Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Ukraine and all other places in conflict and civil strife. 

We pray for the leaders of the nations and those in positions of public trust, that they may serve justice and promote the dignity and freedom of every person. 

We pray to you, O Lord, for a blessing upon all human labor, and for the right use of the riches of creation, that the world may be freed from poverty, inequity, famine, and disaster. 

We pray for the poor, the persecuted, the sick, and all who suffer; for refugees, prisoners, and all who are in danger; that they may be relieved and protected.

We pray for the staff of World Vision and for all aid workers that they may serve children and families in need while safe from fear or harm.

We pray to you, O Lord, for our enemies and those who wish us harm. We pray for those we may have injured, harmed, or offended. We pray for kindness and compassion for one another, and the willingness to forgive hurts, just as we have been forgiven (Ephesians 4:32).

We pray to you for all who have commended themselves to our prayers; for our families, friends, donors, and neighbors; that being freed from anxiety, they may live in joy, peace, and health. 

Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplication to you; and you have promised through your well‑beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

I share this in the hopes that you will add your amen over this prayer for World Vision and that God will use it to encourage you to pray, believing, over the mountains you are facing.

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