Hal Donaldson realized that the compassion efforts of Convoy of Hope weren't enough—and would never be enough—on their own. Donaldson, the founder and president of the organization, knew that only God could make lasting change in the circumstances of the poor and suffering in the neighborhoods of America, not to mention the multiplied millions more living in poverty around the world.
The answer? Prayer.
In May 2009, Convoy of Hope founded a global prayer initiative—Pray for Hope. The purpose behind the Pray for Hope initiative is to raise up a multitude to intentionally pray for the poor and suffering.
Donaldson first approached Assemblies of God Missionary Tom Lofton about heading up the global prayer initiative. Lofton agreed, but then committed to 40 days of prayer and fasting for the Lord's direction. God's direction to Lofton was clear. "We needed a father in the faith," Lofton explains, "a person who would give this initiative instant credibility and recognition."
The person for the position seemed obvious to Lofton and Donaldson—former AG General Superintendent Thomas E. Trask, who's known for his passion for prayer. Trask would accept Donaldson's offer to become the chairman of the Global Prayer Initiative.
"When Hal brought this to me, I asked for some time to pray about it," Trask says. "When I did, I felt right in my spirit about it, so I accepted the position.
In July 2009, Trask joined Lofton, senior director, and Harold Sallee, director, as a team member and chairman. Soon afterward, Lofton founded the 12-12 Global Day of Prayer for the Poor and Suffering.
According to Lofton, the annual Global Day of Prayer for the Poor and Suffering is a day to ask God to raise up workers, full of His love and power, to serve those in poverty. It is also a day to petition God for salvation, justice, safety, water, food, shelter, healthcare, education and employment for the world's needy.
"Once you hear the date, 12-12, it's there—you don't forget it," Lofton says.
On Dec. 12, the inaugural Global Day of Prayer for the Poor and Suffering was held in conjunction with the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Mo., which hosted a 12-hour continuous prayer event for the poor and suffering in the world. Some 10,000 people in 150 countries viewed the event online.
"I remember the first time we visited the International House of Prayer," Harold Sallee, U.S. director of Pray for Hope, recalls of the ministry site where prayer is held around the clock. "As we left, Brother Trask turned to me and said, 'I wish every pastor could come here and experience what we have experienced today.'"
According to Lofton, the second annual Global Day of Prayer for the Poor and Suffering will once again be hosted by the International House of Prayer. "We encourage people to come attend in person and pray for a time or join in the webcast," Lofton says. "Those unable to attend, can participate online on our website at prayforhope.com [on Dec. 12] beginning at 12 p.m. Central."
So far, the Pray for Hope team has held prayer summits for the poor and suffering in Phoenix, Brooklyn, N.Y., Detroit, Springfield, Mo., and Laredo, Texas. The summits have proved fruitful in not only raising awareness of and active participation in praying for the poor and suffering, but has helped in creating a network of ministries.
Trask says that there have been a series of "God moments" that have brought together the Pray for Hope Global Prayer Initiative team and orchestrated key encounters with leaders and other individuals who shared the team's passion to pray for the poor and suffering.
"It's phenomenal what God has done to bring people along side us," Sallee says.
Trask sums up the ministry and its reason for being with the statement, "Nothing is greater than prayer."
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