Prayer and Mission: Looking Back on NextGen London 2019

“Let me take you back to a time when I…”

Whenever I hear that. I feel like sitting back and getting comfortable as if it were storytime with grandpa. Although Viv Thomas, the speaker at NextGen London 2019, was not my grandfather(!), he had an amazing way of weaving stories into his thought-provoking teaching on prayer.

In the talks I was really struck by what Viv called the ‘Cycle of Grace’.

The Cycle of Grace

It explains that:

  • We begin in a place of acceptance – God accepts us as His children solely based on Christ’s righteousness given to us by grace alone.
  • From that place of acceptance, we receive sustenance
  • This leads to our sense of significance
  • Enabling us to be fruitful and  achieve great things for God


The Cycle of Works

Often, however, we get it all the wrong way around.
We end up in the ‘Cycle of Works’:

  • We feel like we need to achieve things
  • Which make us feel significant
  • We seek our sustenance from that significance
  • We think that significance means God will accept our prayers


This simple yet profound illustration has since been a source of life and encouragement in my relationship with God. How wonderful to remember that I am already accepted by God; I don’t have to achieve great things to be acceptable to him!

Learning Together

It was great to be able to reflect on this with a group of like-minded people with a passion for mission and eager to grow. We heard inspiring interviews with people about their prayer lives in world mission. There were animated chats as we discussed what we were learning. We heard about each other’s exciting mission experiences over a delicious, hot lunch of Finnish soup and rolls. Which was much appreciated on a cold, wet November day! It was also fantastic to be able to join together with brothers and sisters from all kinds of different church backgrounds and be united in singing praises to God, to pray for the nations and each other too.

A personal highlight for me, as my role is supporting OMF Serve Asia (short-term) workers after their placements, was the chance to meet some of them in person. It was great to hear how much they had enjoyed their Serve Asia placements over the summer. I was especially thrilled to hear how God is leading them on their next steps in their involvement with the Great Commission both here and now, but also in the future and perhaps in East Asia too. What a privilege to be part of God’s plan to reach the nations!

If you’re thinking about doing a short-term mission trip, or wondering how to engage with international people on your street, on your campus or in your workplace, why not come along to a NextGen event and learn more about how we can partner with God in his mission to the world, whether here or overseas!

Nathanael Ayling

OMF (UK) Serve Asia Alumni Coordinator

Nathanael grew up in Japan (his parents were OMF missionaries there). He later went back there as an adult for 8 years with OMF alongside his wife Anna, where they mainly worked with students. They now live in Swansea with their four children.

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