I wonder what you have decided to give up/take up for Lent this year? Perhaps it's chocolate or Facebook (giving up, not taking up I hope). Or perhaps you've decided to add a daily devotional or Bible reading to your weekly schedule.
I've decided to spend this Lent (starting of course on March 1st) praying specifically for the Salvation Army and wider Church around the world, using the 5 International Zones in which the Salvation Army's worldwide work is organised as a guide and focus.
These Zones are:
•Americas & Caribbean
•South Pacific & East Asia
I thought maybe this idea might appeal to someone else, so I'm posting it here in case someone else feels led to spend Lent praying for The Salvation Army and wider Church around the world.
If my calculations are correct, then praying specifically for one Zone a day would mean that each one would be prayed for eight times. So it struck me that splitting Lent into eight, five day sections would give me the chance to specifically focus on eight different areas of ministry for each Zone:
•Troubled Communities and national challenges.
•Individual Territories and commands
So the idea would be to, for example spend the first five days praying for Leadership (development, Calling, active Officers/ministers etc) taking one Zone a day, the following five days; discipleship, then Mission and so on.
It's not just about praying for these places in a vague way, but specifically getting to know these Zones and Territories, that might be quite unfamiliar to many of us. It will take a little research, perhaps asking questions, and trying to understand what the issues, problems, challenges etc are for each of these Zones in the above ministry focus areas, I'm hoping that on a personal level this Lent challenge connects me to the wider Salvation Army and Church and helps me understand what's going on around the world, and also of course that we would be connected better to each other, heart, mind and soul.
The following Salvation Army Facebook Groups may be quite helpful for information and to open dialogue, I'm a member of each of them & will post this and subsequent posts on these groups. I would suppose that these groups contain representatives from most if not all Zones, who would be happy to answer any questions they can:
I've also included the website for the Salvation Army International Headquarters which provides lots of helpful information, including a breakdown of Territories and Commands within each Zone:
And of course the new Salvation Army Yearbook which is available to buy now; including in eBook format.
For my Part I'll try and add a blog post at the beginning of each 5 day period discussing briefly each ministry focus area.
I've also included on here a schedule breakdown of the prayer focus for each day; feel free to copy, paste, write down, download or whatever format makes it easier to follow.
1 - Leadership: Africa
2 - Leadership: Americas & Caribbean
3 - Leadership: Europe
4 - Leadership: South Asia
5 - Leadership: South Pacific & East Asia
6 - Discipleship: Africa
7 - Discipleship: Americas & Caribbean
8 - Discipleship: Europe
9 - Discipleship: South Asia
10 - Discipleship: South Pacific & East Asia
11 - Vision: Africa
12 - Vision: Americas & Caribbean
13 - Vision: Europe
14 - Vision: South Asia
15 - Vision: South Pacific & East Asia
16 - Mission: Africa
17 - Mission: Americas & Caribbean
18 - Mission: Europe
19 - Mission: South Asia
20 - Mission: South Pacific & East Asia
21 - Fellowship: Africa
22 - Fellowship: Americas & Caribbean
23 - Fellowship: Europe
24 - Fellowship: South Asia
25 - Fellowship: South Pacific & East Asia
26 - National Challenges: Africa
27 - National Challenges: Americas & Caribbean
28 - National Challenges: Europe
29 - National Challenges: South Asia
30 - National Challenges: South Pacific & East Asia
31 - Individual Territories and Commands: Africa
1 - Individual Territories and Commands: Americas & Caribbean
2 - Individual Territories and Commands: Europe
3 - Individual Territories and Commands: South Asia
4 - Individual Territories and Commands: South Pacific & East Asia
5 - Social Services: Africa
6 - Social Services: Americas & Caribbean
7 - Social Services: Europe
8 - Social Services: South Asia
9 - Social Services: South Pacific & East Asia
If anybody is interested in this Lent prayer focus idea, and needs additional information or help, feel free to contact via my Facebook page (details below) or comment either here or in whichever group you see this post.
Look out for additional posts during Lent with more specific guidance on each Ministry Focus area and the respective Zones, and a more focused post(s) for Holy Week itself. To avoid missing a post you may want to sign up to this blog with your email address (see below).
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Disclaimer: Although this blog is written from the perspective of a member of the Salvation Army, the views, comments, opinions etc may not necessarily represent the views, policies etc of the wider Salvation Army.