One of the church programs which has had a huge impact upon the spiritual journey of congregations in Pohnpei was the “Ten Days of Prayer” program organized by the Ministerial Association at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. I am not surprised that this initiative is advertised as “the largest annual prayer movement” in the world and its readings have been translated into over 30 languages. This massive global prayer initiative was formerly called “Operation Global Rain” and was adopted by the world church in 2010. It occurs every January and, during the past five years of my pastoral ministry, I have witnessed the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Pohnpei received rich blessings through this program. What better way could there be for God’s church to begin each new year afresh, immersed in corporate prayer as a church family!
With the present pandemic growing worse at the dawn of 2021, and government restrictions against large gatherings still in effect, I had little hope of even holding the program this year. The first positive case of COVID-19 in Pohnpei has been confirmed and the patient is being confined to a ship offshore.* Doubtful questions loomed large before me. Will anyone attend the prayer meetings at such a time as this? How many will come? Only reluctantly did I advertise the initiative to be held from January 6th to 16th, according to the world church calendar. However, as the meetings proceeded, members, visitors, neighbors, and friends, poured into the church, making this year’s program the best attended so far. I was forced to pray “May Jesus pardon and forgive my lack of faith.” The laity were inspired and they led out in music, songs, prayer bands, devotionals, etc. After beholding the God-centered faith, trust, hope, and confidence of the participants for ten days, I am compelled to acknowledge that it is at times like these people need prayer, the Savior, the Bible, and the Church, more than ever. Ten Days of Prayer climaxed with a beautiful baptismal service.
Here are a few of the testimonies I have received from some of the attendees.
"The program reminded me that I need the Holy Spirit. Without It, it is impossible to achieve a full Christian life and ultimately the gift of salvation, graciously offered by the Lord Jesus. I believe that only the power of the Holy Spirit can help me overcome the trials that are meant to throw me off course. I also came to realize that having the Holy Spirit in my life is as easy as turning on a light switch and never turning that switch off. That switch is a willing heart and constant praying. This is what keeps that switch on indefinitely. I have come to a full realization that the Holy Spirit in us is the embodiment of "Immanuel - God with us". So if God is with us, who can be against us."
- Senator Steve Joseph, Pohnpei
“This is my first time to fully participate in the ten days of prayer and I felt that the Holy Spirit really strengthened my faith. It was also my first time to speak from the pulpit before a whole congregation. Though I was nervous at the beginning, I began to feel the Holy Spirit slowly giving me the motivation and confidence to share God's message to the church. My sons, Charlie and Dwayne, also were blessed and they told me they enjoyed the singing and melodies. I thank God that He is speaking to my children through the music and songs presented during the program. I am inspired and motivated by the Holy Spirit to do more and I will continue to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to touch this one friend of mine, a medical doctor, that I am praying for. I will continue to minister and share God's message to my friend and help him reach out to Jesus to help him overcome his troubles. God bless and thank you for the opportunity.”
- Dr. Rodney Itaki, from Papua New Guinea
“During our Ten Days of Prayer program, we were truly blessed, not only with the devotions that were presented to us by each speaker, but also by the singing, fellowship, warm smiles, and special songs shared by different groups. Being able to have food and fellowship immediately following each nightly meeting was truly a blessing. We spent that time not only for munching snacks but also took advantage of the opportunity to fellowship with one another. We shared our prayer requests and answers and told one another about how wonderful our God is. Let's just say, we were blessed to be revived by the Holy Spirit and I pray that He will continue to abide in us. Thank you and God bless.”
- Jenita Daniel from Solomon Islands
“The Ten Days of Prayer program was such a blessing and a spiritual encouragement for my family and me because we attended and participated for the first time. Every evening, we looked forward to the prayer meetings with our church family. We enjoyed the combined melodies of the hymns sung and the special music shared. The inspirational and reassuring devotional messages each evening were spiritually enlightening and challenging. Every night for ten evenings, we drove back home having received blessings of joy, peace and hope. We feel spiritually motivated, inspired, and orientated in moving forward in our spiritual journey. We give glory and honor to God for His faithfulness in answering our prayers immediately and sometimes according to His perfect timing.”
- Elementary School Teacher Dorish Palangat-Itaki from Papua New Guinea
"I have been blessed beyond measure throughout the ten days of prayer. I personally felt closer to God than ever before. I could feel the presence of God at each meeting as crowds gathered to sing praises and experience the power of prayer. Truly, our speakers and the participants were led by the divine power as they stood up each night to present the truth. I could feel the Holy Spirit working in me during and after the meetings each night. My most favorite part of the ten days of prayer was humbling myself to pray for another person. As I knelt in the presence of God, I felt a strong bond between me and the person kneeling beside me. As I looked around each night during the prayer session, I felt thatI am part of a “Church on its Knees”. I witnessed a strong sense of unity and fellowship in our midst during the ten days of prayer. I am truly blessed. Thank you God for the most rewarding experience in the beginning of the year 2021."
- Deva, Sri Lanka
As witnessed by the testimonies borne by dear brothers and sisters, the mission of Ten Days of Prayer 2021 was fulfilled by the grace of God. The theme was “Seeking Revival” and the key text was “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6, ESV). For ten days, Christian surrender, conviction, and the power of prayer were seen and witnessed firsthand by all who came. May the God of revival and reformation walk with us every step of the way throughout these uncertain times.
*Editor's note: As of January 29th, 2021, the World Health Organization removed the Federated States of Micronesia from its list of confirmed COVID-19 positive countries, after subsequent testing deemed the case on the ship to be negative and historical.