If we were making a film about some basic aspects of Christian Mission what would the title be? A film focused on a woman’s search for meaning had a three word title ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. What three words could we use? Maybe ‘Learn, Pray, Act’?
‘Learn’ opens us to possibilities. When we become curious about something or someone we discover and learn. This happens with scripture and our faith. It is crucial in understanding the situations and circumstances people face. When we sit with, and listen to, a person from an Australian Indigenous community or from one of GMP’s international partners we open ourselves up to change. Discovering and understanding others has an impact on us. GMP’s partners all have limited resources and opportunities. How we appreciate and understand them guides us in what then we do.
Whatever we do in life needs to be supported, shaped and examined in prayer. Not only the specific times when we pray, but on a moment-by-moment approach to what we do. Prayer that is specific and searching is a resource to guide us in a life of mission. What is it that we are being guided to do or who is on our hearts and in our thoughts? What situation is troubling us? Who do I feel joyous about? Answers to these questions can be found in prayer. Recently I was in India and, as in Bangladesh, the churches there have a rhythm that includes prayer for us - their sister and others in Australia. Prayer connects us to God, others, causes and situations we care about.
Acting intentionally and purposefully then is part of our response. Action without prayer and understanding may not be wise and sensitive. On the other hand a commitment to mission that excludes action is confusing and inadequate. Action can be taken in so many ways – speaking up about a situation of injustice, giving generously in support, deciding to partner with a specific community as a church or group, offering oneself in mission service, or visiting a community are signs of care and solidarity.
Learn, Pray, Act does not happen in isolation. One leads to the other and each without the other is not enough.
John Gilmore, Executive Director.