World Day of Prayer for Bible Translation
11 November 2023
God of Abundance
Throughout the whole of Scripture, we see many examples of God’s lavish provision for his children, as a nation as well as for individuals and small groups. In Exodus 16 we see God provide food for the Israelites in the wilderness in the form manna and quail. Manna was given so plentifully and consistently that the Israelites ate it for 40 years until they entered the promised land. In John 21 we read how the Lord Jesus provided for his disciples. They had been fishing all night and had caught nothing. Imagine how tired and frustrated they felt. Just as they were at the point of giving up, they saw Jesus calling to them from the beach. He told them to throw their nets over the right side of the boat. As soon as the disciples obeyed, the nets filled up with fish, so much so that they could not haul the fish on board but had to drag the nets behind the boat back to shore.
As we gather this year to mark the World Day of Prayer for Bible translation, let's take this opportunity to celebrate what God has done.
- Take time to share stories of how God has provided, and shown his abundance to you—personally and organisationally. Let’s not forget the many ways God gives us good things.
- Celebrate God’s love and generosity as you worship.
Stories of God’s abundance
Giving Back to God - Malaysia
A Cycle of Giving - Thailand
Encouraged by Generosity - UK
Generosity Brings Joy - Cameroon
Generosity of God - Papua New Guinea
Generosity to the Glory of God - Ghana
God's Abundant Provision - West Africa
Stories of Generosity - Americas
Stories of God's Abundance - Malaysia
Have you noticed that many of us are weary, discouraged, distracted and struggling? Do we slow down long enough to be satisfied by all that God has for us? Are you thirsty for more of God’s presence and righteousness? Even when we spend time in prayer, are we distracted? Are our minds on other things? God promises to fill that deep need in our hearts, that need that only he can satisfy:
Matthew 5:6 AMP
“Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied.
Isaiah 55:1-2 NIV
‘Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labour on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
In the video, we consider one metaphor for God’s abundance—a banquet. Different cultures feast in different ways, but nearly every culture makes feasting part of celebration. Often there are specific foods reserved for feasting and they have special significance or meaning. We can expect, therefore, the richest of fare from the God of the universe.
Contrast this with a junk-food meal. In the moment that we eat it, it might taste good. It’s not usually costly and we can eat it on the run. But very quickly we only crave more, even though it makes us feel dissatisfied and sluggish. In the short term, the damage junk food does is slight, but if we continue to eat too much of it we could gain weight, we will probably lack energy and we will potentially start having health problems. In the same way, the distractions of this world do not satisfy us at a deep, soul level. God invites us to come to him and be satisfied rather than look to the many distractions of this world to satisfy us. It may take discipline, but in his presence, especially when we linger, we encounter his love, mercy, forgiveness, goodness and kindness. As we spend unhurried time with him, our souls are restored, and we are strengthened to continue following and serving him.
Ways to linger
Consider including some of the following in your World Day of Prayer event:
- Silent reflection
- Lectio Divina
- Biblical reflection
Stories of what Alliance Organisations are doing to encounter God’s abundance
Responding to God’s abundant generosity to us
In John 21, Jesus provided abundantly for the disciples, but then invited them to contribute from what he had given plentifully to the meal they would all enjoy. Jesus also demonstrated how we can participate in his generosity in the story of feeding the 5,000 in John 6. In this story, even though Jesus and the disciples had tried to retreat to a quiet spot to rest, thousands of people sought Jesus out. He immediately demonstrated his concern for them by asking his disciple Philip how they would feed so many. Philip’s response was, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” I am sure that this sentiment resonates with many of us as we are so often faced with enormous needs and few resources. It’s easy to feel that there is nothing we can do. Yet because one “insignificant” boy was willing to share what he had, Jesus performed an amazing miracle. What will God do if we share the limited money, time, expertise, wisdom or understanding that we have? We may even find like this small boy that more is left over at the end than we started with!
Respond with generosity:
- Allocate time to pray for needs within Bible translation movements. You could use Streams of Prayer, contact other Alliance organisations to ask them what needs they have, check out social media feeds, etc.
- Read stories of Alliance organisations showing generosity and through that encountering God’s abundance.
- Invite partners to join you to spend the day with God. Ask them how you can serve them generously.
You may want to also prayerfully consider these questions and allow God to speak to your particular situation:
- Where have you seen a scarcity mindset and how is this impacting the Bible translation movement?
- What changes or habits can we introduce to better experience and share God’s abundance?
- Has our work taken precedence over our relationship with God? Are we too busy?
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