The Word

Conversations with one another are so important. Words shared with one another reveal our hearts and minds.

In the historical Jewish context words held significant power. It was believed that words had a special independent power almost as if they were alive, as if they had their own unit of energy charged with power. This meant that careful consideration was given to what was said. A blessing given could not be unspoken. Remember the story of Isaac giving his blessing to Jacob whom he thought at the time was Esau, his first born. Once spoken over Jacob, they could not be undone (Genesis 27). To bless was understood to speak life and hope into the person or the situation.

Think about a message you heard recently that really impacted your life. It may have felt as if the words spoken by the speaker drilled right down into your heart and soul, shedding light into your life and giving spiritual understanding – life changing words.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that live was the light of men.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth
. (John 1:1-4, 14)

God spoke and things happened; creation and life happened:

His Word creates: Psalm 33:6 - By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.

His Word heals: Psalm 107:20 - He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.

His Word has immediate authority: Psalm 147:15 - He sends  his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.

His Word accomplishes acts, has purpose: Isaiah 55:11 - so my word that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

His Word judges justly, seeks justice: Jeremiah 23:29 – “Is not my word like fire”, declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a brick in pieces?

In the historical Greek context the term used for the Word was Logos.  This term had a dual meaning: the power to think (to reason) and the ability to know. The Word thus brings enlightenment. We no longer have to guess, imagine or grope in the dark – Jesus (The Logos) is light and reveals truth and knowledge as well as reason (rationale). He is the exact representation of God and thus reveals all of who God is, his mission and his purposes. How important it is to see how Jesus lived and how he spoke words to those around him, words of love, full of grace and truth. Words that created and gave hope; words that healed and brought life; words with authority and integrity; that swiftly accomplished his purposes; words that exposed injustice and called to account.

How do we use words?

As we pray together through this month’s prayer focus let us in reverence and awe speak words that: bless, heal, are in line with God’s mission, seek and cry out for justice and mercy, and in the authority given to us through Jesus Christ, intercede together.

Let us also humbly come before God and ask for wisdom, insight and boldness to speak out and proclaim the amazing life giving good news that the Word has become flesh and lives with us and to all who receive and believe in him he gives the right to become children of God.

Let us live in the light!

Theme Focus: Aid

When we see a need our first instinct is to respond to it by providing what we perceive to be the missing element. Humanitarian aid in complex emergencies is not as straightforward as simply providing relief. There are competing agendas (negative and positive). Success is too often measured solely in quantitative indicators, rather than looking at the various motivations and impact in all those involved in the crisis.

Lord, we need wisdom and compassion to work together in responding to humanitarian disasters. Thank you for the generous response of many people over the years to frequent fund appeals and to those who feel compelled to work alongside affected communities. Thank you for the positive impact of media that highlights the plight of those caught up in conflict and disasters. Show us how to respond to day with generosity of time and resource.

Donor Governments

Governments have many reasons for giving funds for aid:

Strategic: aid has taken on various functions such as geopolitical and economic advantages

Procrastination:  aid can be a substitute for avoiding complex conflict resolution actions (food provision but no life protection)

Guilt and or Media: aid can give because of media image / demand or out of guilt from initial lack of inaction (e.g. Rwanda)

Limiting immigration: aid can be used to reduce and or prevent the need to deal with refugees and asylum seekers from countries in conflict.

Philanthropic: caring for and developing the less advantaged

Value based: seeking justice, equality and access to rights for all

Electoral: public opinion driving response

The current economic recession has shone the light on the percentage of funds donor governments give towards aid. In 1970, the world’s wealthiest countries agreed to give 0.7% of their GNI (Gross National Income) towards international aid annually. Very few of these nations have met their commitments. Of great concern is the trend to reduce rather than increase, and the bite of the recession is causing a shift in public opinion to reduce further still.

Lord, you hold nations to account, not just individuals. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (Luke 12:48b). Bring to light these commitments in such away as to prompt governments to meet their obligations. Lord we ask you for our own government that they would give as committed and those who receive would use the funds for the benefit of their people.

Take some time to speak out words of justice, healing and transformation over your government

Aid Routes

Aid can be given in different ways by governments, for example:

Bilateral Aid: directly to recipient governments and or to projects they are running

Multilateral Aid: given through international organisations such as the World Bank, IMF, etc.

Humanitarian Aid: non-government aid agencies (NGOs)

Debt Relief: cancellation of outstanding debts from borrowed money

Lord, we pray for greater transparency of how money is given and used so that we can together seek ways to improve impact and effectiveness. We realise that corruption steals money away from those in need and we ask you to shine a light on this corruption. (Commit to play your part by singing the Global call to Action in the EXPOSED campaign.)

Take some time to speak out words of hope and justice for those responsible for the use of aid funds. Pray for your own church, aid and mission organisation as they handle funds raised for the poor.


Lord, we acknowledge that our nation has not been as open and compassionate to others as it could / should be. We repent of our own ignorance and complacency in not responding to this and even in our own lives, in not helping those in need with the compassion and generosity you call us to.

Lord, we plead with you for our nation to become more open to migrants seeking help, to neighbouring countries and to countries in need. Lord raise up leaders who will defend the cause of those in need, who will keep the pledge to increase aid and work with diligence towards halving extreme poverty.

Member Focus: Togo

The Republic of Togo sits on the West Africa Atlantic coastline and has a painful history from the slave trade in the 17th Century and being exploited by a number of European nations. Independence from France was gained in 1960. Togo’s journey is filled with struggle. Poverty and unrest dominate in this country wedged between Ghana and Benin. The Togolese flag has the following meaning: the five horizontal stripes represent the five regions in the country; the red square symbolises loyalty and patriotism of the people; the green symbolises hope, fertility, agriculture; the yellow mineral wealth, faith and hard work to bring prosperity; the star symbolises life, purity, peace, dignity and independence.

Let us take some time to bless Togo, drawing on the meaning the flag has to speak on behalf of county before God.

Leadership: As a republic, Togo has a President and Prime Minister in leadership

President: Faure Gnassinge (since 4th May 2005):  5 years terms, with no limits to re-election terms.

Prime Minister: Kwesi Ahoomey-Zunu (since 23rd July 2012)

The first elected President (Sylvanus Olympio) was assassinated 3 years into his term. In 1967 Gnassingbe Eyadema seized power in a coup and held onto power despite protests and unrest until 2005 when he died at the age of 69. His son, Faure, is made successor be the military but also agrees to have an election in which he is stated to have won. In March 2010 Faure Gnassingbe is re-elected. Unrest continues to increase in Togo.

Economic: Agriculture is the dominate activity, with cocoa, coffee and cotton being exported. Togo is one of the largest producers of phosphate. Togo has been implementing some economic reforms and as such had 95% of its debit cleared by the IMF, however, it is one of the poorest countries in the world.

Social: The population of just over 7 million is made up 37 ethnic groups, and an estimated 32% live below the poverty line. Just under half the population now live in cities, with the capital Lomé having around 1.5 million people. HIV and AIDs has had a significant impact in Togo with an estimated 120,000 people living with HIV.

Faith: The dominant religion in Togo is that of indigenous beliefs. Animistic rituals and secret societies have influence in society. With significant investment from oil rich Islamic countries, there is also a growing Muslim community. Christianity is also growing in Togo supported by strong West African missions.

Micah Network members: currently we have two members in Togo:

1) Association Amis des Enfants - Togo (AE-T): involved in child protection and working with vulnerable women. Ayokassia Kpatare in AE-T’s coordinator and she has asked us to particularly pray for her country this month.

2) Organisation pour le Développement Intégral del ‘Homme (ODIH) : involved in promoting integral development amonsgt the poorest in Togo

Praying for Togo

Political: Lord, there is so much pain and unrest in this country. Their flag calls them to life, purity, peace and dignity, yet the political process has not demonstrated this. We pray that you will convince the President to hold to these values and seek good for his country.

Economic: Thank you Lord for the fertile land you have given the Togolese people. Thank you for the debit relief they have received. Yet we cry out to you for the many who live in poverty and ask that you would shine your light into this country and bring employment and hope.

Social and faith: Lord you are Light – we ask that you would shine your light into the communities in Togo and break the darkness of secret societies and animistic religions which enslaves. Lord, we ask for freedom.

Integral Mission: Thank you for our members in Togo and for their service amongst the poor. We pray for unity within your church in Togo and a commitment to strengthen their cooperation in serving the poor and in discipling this nation. We speak words of hope and blessing over Togo and ask for healing and restoration Lord, because of your great love for Togo.

Prayer Points in Brief

1) Francophone Consultation in Côte d’Ivoire: 29th July to 2nd August 2013 - Lord may the finances for this important gathering be released and that many will be able to join us to share and learn together

2) Integral mission conversation in Ghana: 24th and 25th July - Lord we seek your hand in this meeting to guide and inspire us to live for you.

3) Micah Network Bangladesh ask us to pray for them as they remember the World Environment Day on 5th June 2013 in collaboration with Climate Change Network in Bangladesh

Lord, as we meet people this month, help us to discern the words of hope and love they need to hear. May we be blessing in our communities through our words of grace and truth.Prayer