Runners and walkers line up in Hamilton, Ont., for a 10 km route.
PHOTO: Martha Marris
Joggers pray through high-needs neighbourhoods
Four countries, $14,000, 1,760 km: that’s how much ground MoveIn’s prayer walk July 11, 2015, covered.
“The first annual Prayer Journey was successful beyond what we could have imagined,” says MoveIn executive associate Jacob Chandler, a ministry worker from Glencairn MB Church, Kitchener, Ont.
What began as a hope for 30–40 people in three cities to pray grew to 167 pray-ers walking, running or cycling across 10 high-need regions in United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Indonesia and Canada (Etobicoke, Cambridge, Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton and North York, Ont., and Vancouver, B.C.).
MoveIn’s dream is to see “thousands of regular Christians prayerfully moving in among the unreached, urban poor,” says Chandler, who joined the movement in 2012.
The Ontario MB conference helped launch the MoveIn movement in 2009 with organizational, administrative and financial resources and continues to be a foundational support.
The funds the Prayer Journey raises go toward resourcing MoveIners with relational coaching, annual ministry training conferences and discipleship materials in various languages, and to starting new teams in Canada and around the world. MoveIners are tentmakers who have regular jobs or classwork and commit themselves to ministry in their unreached neighbourhood.
Prayer Journey is intended as a catalyst for teams to form in new patches. It’s already working: one couple and an individual from the 2015 Prayer Journey have since started MoveIn teams in the neighbourhoods they prayed for.
The Prayer Journey is a learning experience for many participants who don’t live in the neighbourhood. “I experienced what it was like to live in a Muslim country,” says a Canadian Prayer Journeyer in United Arab Emirates. “As we prayed through a date palm oasis, I was reminded of the refreshment we find in Christ. The palms were heavy with ripe dates just as the spiritual harvest is plentiful in Al Ain. I will continue to pray back in Canada.”
Two locations experienced violent crimes in the days before the 2015 walk. “We feel privileged to be in these hard places to pray together for God to bring peace-filled people into the neighbourhood,” says Chandler.
“It was great to have members of the community with us [as we prayed for them],” says an Ottawa Prayer Journeyer. “It’s a blessing to the community to know they aren’t alone, and to others to know that God has a remnant there; he’s already working.”
“We saw God’s hand,” says Chandler, “as a young Christian in Indonesia came into contact with the coordinators there through a Toronto MoveIner’s Instagram post about Prayer Journey.” She joined the walk in Jakarta.
“It was exciting to be amid an intergenerational team from different churches and ministries joining in prayer for the unreached and urban poor,” says a Cambridge, Ont., Prayer Journeyer. “It was an honour to be a forerunner in preparing the ground for a future MoveIn team.”
MoveIn will announce locations for the July 16, 2016, Prayer Journey in February. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to join the journey. —Angeline Schellenberg