In 1995, when Steve Elliott joined the OMF Lancaster prayer group, the prayer letters were still sent by post and often arrived two months out of date.
With early access to email, thanks to his work in IT, Steve was soon able to receive and share much more timely prayer requests. Today the group meets on Zoom and can hear from OMF workers live from East Asia in real time!
Over the years, prayer groups like the one in Lancaster have been a vital part of the work of the China Inland Mission and now OMF International. We passionately believe that God works through the prayers of his people to spread the good news of Jesus globally. The Lancaster group started in the early 1960s at the town’s Baptist church, inspired by that congregation’s passion for being involved in God’s work around the world. The group has since expanded to ‘really become an interdenominational prayer group’ for the Lancaster area, Steve says. ‘It’s been inspiring to see how God is working around the world – he’s not just at Lancaster Baptist Church!’
Steve has now led the group with his wife, Naomi, for the last couple of years, but says he wasn’t aware of OMF before he joined. He simply went along ‘for something to do in the evening’.
‘It was a bit of an eye-opener’, Steve admits. Being part of the prayer group helped him to realise that there are hundreds of people going across the world to share the good news of Jesus. It’s shifted his idea of what cross-cultural workers really do: ‘Getting half a dozen prayer letters every month, you really can get an idea of what life is like for all these different people … it’s not like the childhood image of a missionary beating a track through the jungle with a machete in [their] hand!’
‘We know there has been a lot of answered prayer,’ Steve reflects. ‘It’s really satisfying to be in contact with cross-cultural workers, and to read their letters, and then to pray about those requests … then a few weeks later, to hear that those prayers have been answered. That’s a real encouragement to carry on praying.’
The 10 or so members of the Lancaster group are mostly older people, with a few in their 90s. We’re so grateful for their unstinting support. Although, like Steve himself, they may never have been to East Asia, their prayers have made a real difference there.
Find out more
- Get inspired to pray: Read Praying for the World: Understanding God’s Heart for the Nations: 60 Undated Devotions from Hudson Taylor, J Oswald Sanders, James Fraser and Will Bruce [£3,99, published by 10publishing]. Get a copy at go.omf.org/prayerdevotional or call 10ofthose on 0330 2233423.
- Download the PrayerMate app for your smartphone to get current prayer requests from OMF and other organisations
- Subscribe to receive regular prayer letters from OMF UK.
- Contact your local Area Representative for details of prayer groups in your area.