Fellowship of Christian Athletes Teammates Join Hearts in ‘Unbroken Prayer’ for East Asia
Special 24-Hour Prayer Event Lifted Up Teammates Across the Globe Who Are Sharing the Hope of Jesus Christ Through the Love of Sports
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Those working to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ in East Asia may experience challenges that those in the U.S. will never know.
To lift up staff and volunteers who are working toward the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) vision to see the world transformed for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes, more than 100 FCA teammates engaged in a special 24-hour “Unbroken Prayer” event earlier this month.
“Unbroken Prayer” was spearheaded by FCA Regional International Coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic Region Mark Stephens, who served as a pastor for 15 years before joining the FCA staff.
“Praying is easy,” he admitted once thinking. “You take prayer requests. You check the box. There’s got to be more. That’s not good enough. We’ve got to do better.”
Stephens’ idea to pray for the East Asia FCA representatives he frequently works with came from a sermon from his home pastor on 1 Thessalonians 5:17, where Paul instructs believers to “pray without ceasing.”
“The pastor was teaching us that our lives need to be one long prayer—an unbroken prayer,” Stephens recalled. “So it just hit me in the middle of church. Unbroken prayer. That’s what we need for our ministry here in the Mid-Atlantic, and as we reach out to our global partners in East Asia.”
Taking inspiration from his pastor’s sermon, Stephens put together a game plan for a 24-hour prayer chain that he aptly named “Unbroken Prayer.” Stephens’ Mid-Atlantic region here in the U.S. is exactly 12 hours behind FCA’s companion East Asia region, which makes for challenging communication. But in this case, it was actually one of the factors that allowed the concept to work.
“We were able to seamlessly merge the two staffs and our volunteers as we engaged in continuous prayer,” Stephens said.
Each FCA region in the U.S. teams up with a partner region somewhere around the world. For example, the Mid-Atlantic Region is matched with East Asia, the Pacific Northwest region is paired with Europe, the Rockies Region aligns with the South Pacific, and down the line for all 14 FCA American regions.
Stephens organized the first “Unbroken Prayer” event in 2018 and gathered 60 participants. This year, from 6 a.m. EST Feb. 7 to 6 a.m. EST Feb. 8, 109 people signed up for 30-minute slots to “pray without ceasing” for East Asia and the work being done through FCA. Special prayer requests from FCA teammates in East Asia were shared before the prayers began.
“The requests were usually aligned with the individual’s roles and responsibilities,” Stephens said. “Directors asked for help with their board or funding. Area representatives asked for help with coach and athlete relationships or Huddles. In general, there were requests for health concerns, family issues and personal finances.”
Using an online signup program, Stephens worked closely with Mid-Atlantic Region Vice President Chris Rich and East Asia Global Region Coordinator Jin Kang to spread the word through social media, email contact lists and personal text messages.
“I felt the Lord’s momentum,” Stephens added. “We were doing the right thing. We were engaging in prayer together. We were crying out to God for our needs, for wisdom. For me personally, I felt a closeness to the Lord. It just felt right. I felt like I was walking in the Lord’s will.”
As FCA’s work continues in East Asia, Stephens says there is much more to pray about, including FCA trips this summer to Malaysia, Korea and Singapore. And in the coming months, U.S. FCA staff will host FCA leaders from Korea, Malaysia and Laos.
Stephens said he joined four others in his office at 8 a.m. Feb. 7 to lift up the needs and praise the Lord for FCA’s East Asia teammates.
“We wept for them,” Stephens said. “We asked God to work in His timing. What a joy! It was the fastest hour of the day.”
Stephens said others in the FCA family also experienced similar blessings throughout the prayer event, sending comments such as the following:
- “When I looked up it was 50 minutes, not 30 minutes. I wanted more time.”
- “Time went by so quickly.”
- “I am gonna keep praying.”
- “I would agree the prayer time grew my heart for the nations even more. And momentum is building.”
- “As we started to pray, an hour doesn’t seem very long. This praying time reminds us that we need to pray more as we extend our ministry’s boundaries.”
- “The beautiful privilege to lift up our international brothers and sisters was especially meaningful because I have met most of them personally. They have such zeal for the Lord that simply being together with them is a huge inspiration.”
FCA teammates in America weren’t the only ones praying for East Asia. Five FCA leaders from Malaysia prayed during the event as well and two of them remarked: “We had a blessed and wonderful prayer and (the) Holy Spirit just impressed our heart (to) believe that something great (is) going to happen to each country.”
Read more about Fellowship of Christian Athletes here, visit FCA’s website at www.fca.org, its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fcafans or its Twitter feed @fcanews.