Around the world in fifty days

February 28, 2005

IN FOUR WEEKS IT BEGINS: A FIFTY-DAY GLOBAL PRAYER AND FASTING SEASON for the YWAM family of ministries around the world. That could involve some 20,000 people in one thousand locations. Languages will include English, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic, Indonesian, Korean, Hindi and Burmese.

What is at stake is the healing of the nervous system of the YWAM body so that we will be ready to embark on the most ambitious phase of our 45 years.

A year and a half ago, when our global leadership team was gathered in Singapore, we were struck by the number of women in our mission suffering nervous system disorders. The internal communication systems of their bodies were damaged. Signals were not being passed and received properly. We felt God speaking to us about the internal communication within our mission. In many areas we were not properly connected. Signals were not being passed and received properly.

Two things were needed for healing. One was an internal spiritual check-up, a total realignment throughout the mission with those values that had shaped the DNA of YWAM. Our values are the distinctive instructions we have received from God over the years to form our YWAM ethos. We had drifted from those values in some areas. We had had a painful loss of ministries and momentum. Some of our foundations needed to be strengthened or even re-laid.

The other necessary element was a fresh common vision to unite us globally. We needed a framework to give us common goals and effective internal communication to enable the body to function properly. Not since the eighties, when a project called Target 223 spurred us on globally to be active in every one of the (then) 223 nations of the world, and again in 1993 when we sent prayer teams to all the cardinal points of each continent, has any corporate strategic framework linked us with common vision.

At last summer’s gathering of the global leadership in England, we sensed God’s call to a corporate season of prayer and fasting to focus on both of these elements: re-alignment with our values and new vision for the global task. Beginning on Easter (March 27) and concluding at Pentecost (May 15), this was primarily to be a family affair. It was to prepare for the launching of a strategic plan which potentially could be adopted by a broad cross-section of the Body of Christ to help redeploy resources to the least reached parts of our globe.

OUT OF AFRICA
Later we learned that May 15 had been declared as a Global Day of Prayer by a swelling prayer movement growing out of Africa. More than 22 million Christians from all 56 African nations and islands united last year on May 2nd in a day of repentance and prayer for the continent. They gathered in stadiums, fields, market squares, churches and other public venues to pray. Twenty-two million! Euro-centredness probably kept many of us in Europe unaware of what was stirring over our southern horizon.

This movement aims to link praying believers in some 140 countries this year on Pentecost Sunday. Prayer networks – including the International Prayer Council, Transformation Africa and Prayer Week – are now inviting Christians to join hands around the world for this Global Day of Prayer. They estimate 200 million could be involved praying for ‘an outpouring of God’s Spirit, the healing of the nations, the salvation of the lost, and that the glory of the Lord will fill the earth.’ (see www.globaldayofprayer.com)

The Global Day of Prayer emphasises:
· a 10-day phase of 24-hour prayer with local congregations, city-wide gatherings and regional events;
· a whole night of prayer for youth on Saturday, May 14 (see www.wholenight.com);
· and the Global Day of Prayer itself, linked by radio, television and internet worldwide.

The organisers are also calling for 90 Days of Blessing, an ongoing three-month community outreach, involving evangelism and practical help for the poor and needy. They hope this process will continue annually until 2010.

Fifty days. Ten days. Ninety days. Twenty-four hours… The numbers can sound a little confusing and overwhelming. But it all adds up to a stirring much broader than just our YWAM family prayer season.

Some have also been confused by YWAM’s suggestion to link fasting with easter and pentecost, seasons of feasting and celebration on the traditional church calendar. Perhaps YWAM’s non-conformist, free church roots were being exposed here. Lynn Green, our international chairman clarified that the goal was to start and finish the prayer season together, fasting as was appropriate to the local context.

Lynn: “Intercessory prayer is a foundation stone of YWAM; we all have heard and experienced amazing examples of God mightily at work as we have prayed for the nations. We know that prayer is the first step towards going and then establishing permanent ministries in a nation. During the 50 DAYS there will be a strong focus on listening for God’s voice in this context of our Values. It is so good for us to lay ourselves open to God’s loving searchlight. As we do that, we will want to make time to respond with repentance and new commitment to His ways.”

OMEGA ZONES
The second emphasis of our 50 DAYS is the focus on those areas were we as YWAM, and more broadly the Body of Christ are not yet active. We often say: ‘YWAM is called to the ALLS’: all nations, all the earth, all creatures, all the ends of the earth. However, if we think of the world as only a collection of nation-states, the mission work force will be spread very unevenly. Reaching one nation like Pitcairn Island, with around 60 inhabitants, is not the same as reaching another like China with 1.3 billion inhabitants!

50 DAYS aims to build a prayer base for something called Project 4K. This YWAM initiative breaks up the world into over 4000 regions we call Omega Zones (hence the name; 4K = 4000). The world’s nations are broken down into geo-political regions of up to 9 million people. The smallest nations comprise only one Omega Zone, but the largest ones, like India and China, have more than 500 each.

You will be able to find all the Omega Zones and an explanation of how they were mapped on the 50 DAYS website very soon at www.50days.net (or www.ywam.org/50days), to be launched this month. This website also incorporates an interactive map of the Omega Zones where we can log our prayers, read what God has spoken to others, and see what zones have not been prayed for. As we progress through the 50 days, we want see every one of the 4323 Omega Zones lit up with our prayers! A prayer guide distributed to every YWAM operating location worldwide will also be available on this site.

Lynn explains that for the YWAM body to function properly, a good two-way communication network is essential. Communication must reach every base, every YWAMer, in a timely manner, he says, and feedback from every YWAMer during the 50 DAYS is also a must. “The goal is that feedback would come to my office; a team of us will evaluate the responses and will formulate a summary to bring back to every YWAMer so we can all respond to the Lord together on the final day of the event.”

Would you pray with us too for a full re-alignment with our values, and the birth of new vision for the global task?

Till next week,

Jeff Fountain

Till next week,


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