To Simon Mbevi, pastor at Mavuno Church in Kenya, prayer is not a daily duty or an emergency SOS for help amid crisis. It is an adventure with God.
Mbevi leads a prayer initiative for the transformation of Kenya, has written a prayer manual that is used by churches around the world, has led prayer seminars in more than 30 countries, hosts a television talk show on the role of men and is a regular guest on talk shows in both secular and Christian radio.
Mbevi also is the founder and executive director of Transform Kenya, with the goal to equip leaders in the family, church and society for national transformation through personal change.
He has been to Southeast Christian Church before to teach the staff and ministry leaders about prayer.
On Sunday and Monday, Aug. 12 and 13, Mbevi will lead A Praying Church Prayer Workshop at Southeast’s Blankenbaker Campus. The workshop is free, there is no registration and childcare is available.
According to Mbevi, the seminar will focus on how to pray, overcoming obstacles in prayer and effective prayer.
Southeast Senior Pastor Dave Stone met Mbevi while on a short-term mission trip to Kenya last summer. As they talked about the power of prayer, Stone knew it was a message he wanted the whole church to hear.
Mbevi said prayer is not boring, it is not complicated or anything like tossing up a coin, knowing it may or may not work. It is not a gift for a few people, and it is not something to sandwich into a busy day.
“Just as our bodies need oxygen to survive, our spiritual lives need prayer,” he said.
Mbevi begins even the busiest days with at least an hour of prayer.
“When a man works, he works,” Mbevi said. “When a man prays, the Lord works with him.”
At Mbevi’s church, prayer meetings are as well attended as worship services.
“When we meet, we must ask ourselves, ‘Is God here?’ for we know we cannot do anything without Him,” Mbevi said.
Members of the Mavuno Church meet for one hour of prayer before services, often walking through the church’s facilities to pray for those who will sit in the seats during worship.
They pray for preachers, teachers, students, political leaders, mission workers and those who live in the area and never come to church.
Men in the church also meet for prayer every Wednesday morning from 5 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. Since most do not own cars, they must catch a bus at 4 a.m. to be there on time. Those prayer meetings, which began with eight men, have grown to include 500 men.
New members of the church are in prayer training for three months. When they begin the class, the vast majority say they cannot pray for even five minutes. By the end of the training, they are praying for more than an hour every day.
Mbevi compares prayer to a healthy well of water.
“When I was growing up in rural Africa, we didn’t have tap water,” he said. “As children, we looked for good springs for water. A deep well of prayer is the foundation of the church. Let’s dig wells one more time. Sometimes we get so busy doing other things that we forget the most important thing is a well of prayer, to connect with the Lord. He is calling us to dig wells.”
In Kenya, Mbevi has been invited into Muslim schools to mentor boys. Hundreds have given their lives to Jesus. He also has been invited by the government to work in prisons.