A heritage of partnering
together in prayer.
While Britain celebrated its spiritual revival in the nineteenth century, James Hudson Taylor grieved over the lost in China—millions perishing without knowledge of the gospel. The large task of China’s evangelization would require committed prayer. As Taylor walked along Brighton Beach on June 25, 1865, he sought God for the provision of 24 skillful, willing workers to reach the inland provinces.
God provided the workers and prayer continued to undergird the mission. In 1865, after the official formation of the China Inland Mission (CIM), Taylor wrote and had illustrated the booklet China’s Spiritual Need and Claims, an eye-opening account of China’s spiritual poverty. Thousands of Christians responded with sympathy, prayer and a burning desire to help the work. From 1875 to 1950, China’s Millions became the monthly resource for field stories and calls to prayer.
Taylor insisted that nothing would be accomplished without the Holy Spirit’s power, blessing and provision. Funds need not be solicited. If the needs were clear and the Lord was sought, the CIM would have its provisions. The missions world was struck with Taylor’s daring dependence on faith, but no other means could further the work.
Within the mission, workers committed to daily intercession at noon, weekly prayer gatherings and special days for prayer and fasting.
More than a century later, as CIM became Overseas Missionary Fellowship and later OMF International, prayer continued to fuel the mission. Prayer groups formed in many locations. Fellowship, worship and concentrated prayer for missionaries, people groups and regions characterized prayer gatherings. Staff members gather daily for office-wide prayer times over home side and field needs.
Here in New Zealand, our Serving Asia Magazine highlights up to date prayer needs of our members and this is used widely in prayer groups, churches and in daily times of prayer in the office.
“Move man through God by prayer alone,” Hudson Taylor said. Through days of political and spiritual turmoil, organizational change and leadership transitions, the CIM’s focus on prayer has remained. Taylor’s legacy continues through OMF International today.