The quote “an army marches on its stomach” has been attributed to Frederick the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, and various other military leaders. But regardless of who said it first, its meaning is clear—an army cannot fight if it doesn’t have food to eat. Although the Salvation Army’s soldiers also love to eat, their real, spiritual strength comes through prayer.
“This Army marches on its knees. So, pray hard, pray long, pray often,” writes coauthors Colonel Janet Munn and Major Stephen Court in their book Army on its Knees (2014). “Enduring, intimate, extraordinary prayer generates spiritual power, advance, and victory. It is this kind of prayer that sustains communion with God, that drives the salvation war, that guarantees personal victory over sin, and corporate victory over the devil. Our humble, sacrificial adoration and intercession is empowered by His power at work within us!”
Last October, Commissioners William A. and G. Lorraine Bamford, leaders of the Salvation Army’s USA Eastern Territory, launched the “PRAY TOGETHER” initiative. It’s a monthly prayer focus designed to unify our voices in prayer as we worship together. Rooted in Scripture and supporting the territory’s 20/20 Vision campaign, these opportunities for prayer are intended to guide us as a community.
The main part of this initiative is a simple, focused, and unifying prayer to be used in Holiness meeting (morning service) on the second Sunday of each month. There are supplemental materials such as Powerpoint slides and a core scripture to accompany the call to prayer. The prayer themes are simple and clear and apply across the territory. They’re easy to remember throughout the week as we continue to lift up our officers, our corps (churches), and our centers.
PRAY TOGETHER materials are emailed to all officers prior to the 2nd Sunday of the month. They are also available on www.saconnects.org under the Spiritual Life Development tab. As we move forward with the initiative, you will see more resources included such as offerings from RightNow Media, prayer stations, informational and inspirational materials, spiritual disciplines, and more.
We have an opportunity to grow in our individual and corporate prayer lives. Imagine: Salvationist voices from across the territory together each month in praise and in petition, united in prayer; voices from Ohio to Connecticut, from Puerto Rico to Maine, from rural areas to urban ones and everything in between.
Visualize prayers rising from every segment of society and every corner of the territory in English, Spanish, Korean, Creole, Chinese, and Portuguese. Picture hands of every color raised, and eyes of every generation lifted.
See the Spirit of God carry our united prayers from heavily populated buildings in New York City to the rolling hills of Pennsylvania. They are spreading the Kingdom of God in sanctuaries, halls, classrooms, living rooms, and even in 12–passenger vans.
Will you join us as we flow prayers of thanksgiving through our communities? Can you help us interrupt spiritual darkness? Do you want our sincere requests to echo in the hearts of our worshiping families?
Through confession and our acknowledgment of every blessing amid our uncertainties, our example of penitence can spread healing.
This is what a territorial call to prayer means. This is what our prayers can look like and sound like. This is the opportunity before us when we PRAY TOGETHER.
Restraining prayer, we cease to fight;
Prayer makes the soldier’s armour bright;
And Satan trembles when he sees
The weakest saint upon his knees.
— William Cowper*
A 20/20 Vision
“We must be open to change that will draw people to the Kingdom, be conscious of the wonderful blessings we already have, expand where and when God leads, and share our beautiful Army heritage. It’s a missional heritage, one of holiness teaching and living; one that ‘gets it done’ in Jesus’ name; one that maintains the purity and integrity God demands, both corporately and individually. We eagerly anticipate your reports of victory. ‘May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God’ (Psalm 20:5).”
There are three priorities which are essential to fulfill the mission: People, Programs, and Provisions. The Lord’s valuable provisions help us to accomplish His work. He has given us various programs to reach the masses. The Lord has also blessed the Army with people to fulfill His work, while continuing to bring thousands more people our way each day.
The Lord has placed an important path in front of us. “20/20” is our theme for the journey ahead. 20/20 is intended to provide clarity of focus for our ministries and a long–term perspective through the year 2020.
by Lt. Colonel Patricia LaBossiere