A Decade of Disciple Making for the Church in Africa

AEA Board Chair, Dr. Mario Li Hing (Mauritius)

We live in an era when God’s choice weighs very much towards the Church in Africa and I sense that much will be accomplished for His glory in this new decade, 2020-2030. How will AEA and the NEFs be intentionally more engaged in this move of our God at the beginning of this new decade?

I pray and believe that our gathering at the General Assembly in August 2020 in Kigali will be both a time of Celebration and new Thrust with Hope as together we avail ourselves to implementing our strategic plan.

This is an awesome responsibility and the Church in Africa needs to be seen to be sensitive to this and consider the implications with fear, trembling and much humility. We cannot continue to do Church as usual.

This is not a call for change for the sake of change only but it is a challenge to be the Church that can be used to be a blessing not only to the nations of Africa but indeed the whole of God’s creation. The African vigor and faithfulness are to be commended not because of their wisdom and strategies but because of the winds of change breathed upon the continent by the Holy Spirit. 

I was reminded of Paul’s prayers for the Ephesian Church and the Believers (Ephesians 1:15-20; 3:14-21). I wish to appropriate these prayers and claim same for AEA and our constituents.

Ephesians 1:15-20

“For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.”

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms….

Ephesians 3:14-21

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may you have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Paul offers two intercessory prayers for the Ephesian believers in this amazing letter.

As we read Ephesians, he seems like he goes from prayer to praise and back again. He begins a prayer in chapter 1, then leaves it in praise of Christ. He concludes the prayer at the end of chapter 3 and ends it off with a wonderful doxology.

These prayers are a bit intimidating. Paul uses such enthusiastic theological and spiritual language, we are almost overwhelmed. We cannot pray like that ourselves, except out of a personal and radical experience of faith in Christ as Paul.

This marvelous prayer teaches us how we are to pray for one another in spite of our own situation and challenges. We know Paul’s circumstances at that time, no empty word and sentence prayer, but a grand, visionary, far reaching prayer for our brothers and sisters that begins in their spirit and ends at the right hand of Christ and with the glory of God.

Dear beloved we need, I need, to pray appropriately, thoughtful, meaningful prayers for others.

These prayers of Paul was God’s special word to me for 2020 which I want to share with our membership and partners. They keep me focused for what our Father wants and what He has assigned for me. I pray and trust that they will help you personally too, our NEFs and AEA as we come together to accomplish the vision and mission He has entrusted to us.

These prayers are complex and glorious in their descriptive details. But because of the abundance of details, it’s hard to see the forest for the trees, so let’s step back and look at the big picture.

A brief outline of Paul’s prayers, four petitions, four purposes and a doxology.

There are indeed other ways to understand these prayers, Paul certainly isn’t laying out a logical sequence but he’s praying his heart out.

  1. May He may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation (1:17a)     , so that you may know him better. (1:17b)
  2. May you may receive insight (1:18a), so that you will comprehend and appreciate your hope, your inheritance, and God’s power (1:18b-19)
  3. May He strengthen your inner person by his Spirit (3:16) , may Christ dwell in your hearts through faith. (3:17a), so that you can comprehend and experience Christ’s love. (3:18-19a)
  4. May you yourself be anchored in love (3:17b, so that you may be filled with God’s fullness. (3:19b)
  5. Doxology             : That God may receive glory (3:20-21)

This shows us where Paul is going in his prayer. He prays for insight, inner strength, and love for the believers, for the purpose that they will comprehend/understand truth, know God better, and be filled to overflowing with God.

Paul is praying that they will finally “get it!”, have a breakthrough in their comprehension and understanding of what it’s all about.

He prays that their lives will be filled with God, which is another way to say “know him” and have “Christ dwell in your hearts.”

These are the ultimate prayers that we are to pray for one another, for the AEA, for the NEFs in such a time as this. These are also the kinds of prayers that one Christian prays for another