Prayer, Missions, and Cheerios: College Students Take Breakfast Time to Pray for Missionaries Weekly
Can a few of you give me a description of what SMF is, when you meet, what you do?
Shelby Greven (second-year student): SMF is short for Student Missions Fellowship.
Isaac Impola (second-year student): Yeah, we meet every Wednesday morning at 7:30. And one of the leaders will have prepared a little slide show with a Missionary that they picked. They share details on what the missionary does and also, just give some prayer needs. Then we’ll pray for that missionary.
Bria Larson (second-year student): Oftentimes, they [the leader presenting] will have also contacted the missionary beforehand and then maybe ask for specific prayer needs that might not be on a website.
SG: Everyone prays too, it’s not just one person. We all pray together.
What motivates you to get up early to pray?
Maggie Holt (second-year student): I think a good reminder for me is that they’re [missionaries] our brothers and sisters in Christ. And prayer is one way that we can support them very practicaly. Also, we talk a lot about like, sharing God’s Word in our classes and this is just another practical way, even if we are not the voices sharing in other countries, it’s a great way to support people who are.
Bryce Gray (second-year student): For me, I think it’s 's pretty cool to be able to tangibly see the ways that God is working around the world. As we pray for them, we can also get updates and stuff from them and hear about what they are doing. When we pray for them, we are supporting them as Maggie said, we can be a part of that ministry even though we are not over there.
SG: It’s also a good way to practice thinking less of yourself and more about brothers and sisters in Christ and what they are facing. Also what motivates us is how our team… that we such a big group of friends willing to get up. Like I know Maggie and Bria are going to be there, you know, I should get up out of bed and do that with them. ‘Cause it’s kinda hard sometimes when it’s early, but it’s worth it.
So that aspect of community is a good motivator.
SG: Yes, knowing that you’re not doing it alone. Like when Bryce and Isaac come…
II: When Bryce and Isaac come? [laughs]
SG: [laughs] No, they come all the time! When you come every week, I get excited, a smile on my face every time.
Who are some of the missionaries that you have presented and prayer about?
MH: Jonni Sliver
BL: Various Abel families
Yes, there are quite a lot of them. [laughs]
II: Sometimes there will be non-AFLC missionaries that get featured too.
BG: Yeah, One time I presented on a family that I know of that does ministry in Africa – Eric and Tracy Hagman family. And they are with an organization called Heshima where they help disabled kids and their moms, giving them dignity.
SG: I talked about Nicaragua and the Copperrider family one time.
BL: We’ve talked about Mission Haiti with Nacho and Kaetlyn.
MH: We’ve prayed for the persecuted church too. And also, AFLC Home Missions in Alaska.
How has praying for missions impacted your relationship with the Lord?
BL: I think I’ve been learning a lot about prayer this year, just kind of realizing how much I forget to actually pray. So SMF is a good reminder for me to keep people in prayer. And it’s just cool that even though I’ve never met some of these missionaries, I really don’t know what it is like to be there, but I can still be involved in their ministry.
MH: I think it [time at SMF] helps me be reminded of God’s sovereignty. That God is not just my God, but He is the God who is in control of the whole world and listens to our prayers. That’s been a good reminder for me when we pray.
II: I think about what it says in the Word to lay our burdens at His feet. And I think too, for me especially, having intentionality. Like what Bria was saying, we get to come before the presence of God. I want prayer to be my first instinct, whether it’s something I’m going through or praying for something else.
How has praying for missionaries changed the way you think about ministries overseas, evangelism, and/or your mission field here in the U.S.?
BG: As we are praying for all these Christians around the world, it just shows me that the church of Christ is more than just my local church. We are a whole body of believers all across the world. And even though we all have different roles, we all have one commonality and that is believing in Jesus. And just that passion that we have for sharing God’s Word can be one thing that unites us. So in praying for these missionaries, it really gives me encouragement to also share the Gospel with people around me.
SG: I would say the same thing as Bryce. We are looking at missionaries and praying for them asking them how their ministry of going and how the word of God is being furthered in their countries. This is encouraging for us to see because sometimes we can forget that there is evangelism happening in other countries. We can get so focused in our own world and be self-focused, thinking only of ourselves. Praying for them and seeing that God is actually working in these places, in these areas that can be kinda the same or maybe different than America. God is still working here and we should be continually praying for that.
What advice would give to someone who has a desire to start regularly praying for missions?
BG: If someone wants to start praying for missions, it doesn’t have to be, like, formal or anything. You can just pray that God would work through missionaries. And if you want to pray for something specific, you can find resources and stuff through the AFLC, or whatever it may be, to help you pray for these people. One thing I think you should do is pray with expectation, that God works through these missionaries. Pray continually, because God tells us to pray continually for each other.
SG: Yeah, it’s not hard. You don’t have to take a whole lot of time out of your day to do it. You don’t even have to have a specific set thing. I would say though, having a specific time helps you do it consistently. So it gets you to remember. It can be easy to go throughout your day and maybe remembering them, but you don’t take the time to sit down and pray the words.
II: I think too that reaching out to them and asking them, “how can I be praying for you?” That’s a very practical way to encourage them and be praying for the specific needs that they have.[end of interview]