Call to Prayer: Renewal Starts With Prayer

Posted on December 21, 2023 by Jon Trotter

By David Stutzman

The Zuversicht resource “Impulses for a Month of Prayer” from this past February. Courtesy of David Stutzman

Zuversicht is a German word that means firm trust or confidence in something good to come. It was the theme chosen for the latest prayer month project and a theme that lies at the center of what we believe about this project: Renewal starts with prayer.

INEO Netzwerk, a resourcing ministry for the Mennonite church in Germany, has hosted and organized a yearly prayer month for three years now. The idea was born out of the disruptions of COVID. A small group met online Thursday mornings to reflect on the church and to pray together. After months of praying together, we came to the conclusion that we should do more of this and with more people. The idea of organizing a prayer month came into being.

We invited people to write devotions for a daily devotional and hosted weekly online gatherings for sharing and prayer during the month of February. The reception was very positive and we have continued hosting it each year, inviting more people to participate, to write, and to lead the online gatherings.

There is something about prayer, as a church, that helps us see the spiritual landscape around us and bring into words God’s movement among us.

I have often felt like I am not a particularly spiritual person. I often struggle taking the time for prayer and reflection in my own spiritual walk. Yet, the more I work in mission, the more I recognize my dependency on God and the more I have gravitated to participating in spiritual practices with others. Over the past three years, I have spent more time in prayer than I have in the previous twenty.

The prayer month, while part of my work with INEO, has been personally exciting and meaningful, because it has felt like one of the more encouraging things we have done with others. There is something about prayer, as a church, that helps us see the spiritual landscape around us and bring into words God’s movement among us.

INEO over the years has functioned as a think tank for new projects, some that stick and some that don’t. Renewal work can be elusive and hard, especially in a context that seems to beget despair, helplessness and resignation, when it comes to the future of the church. We try to encourage new initiatives for mission and renewal and work in encouraging pioneers and teaching discipleship.

The focus on prayer was a new focus, a meaningful one. We came to a deep realization of the dependency we have on God and the need for prayer to ground our hope and faith. Courage, perseverance and hope are all part of renewal and not things that can be particularly fostered well merely with good ideas, strategy, or more energy.

We don’t know the impact the prayer month will have. We know that the gatherings have been meaningful for the scores of people that have participated and for many, many more who have used the devotional for personal prayer time or in small groups. I have come to have zuversicht, that if we pray to God, follow after Jesus, and look for the Spirit at work, that is how good things begin.


David Stutzman is a church planter and networker along with his wife Rebekka in Mannheim, Germany, in partnership with the South German Mennonite Conference and Mennonite Mission Network.

Filed in: All posts, Prayer, Transforming

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