Salvationists from across the Canada and Bermuda Territory and beyond will soon converge on Toronto for the 2023 INSPIRE Conference and Congress, a once-in-a-generation event that will serve as a rallying cry for everyone connected to our organization: officers, employees, soldiers, adherents and friends. It will be an opportunity to gather in God’s presence for a time of rejoicing and worship, as one Army, with one mission and one message.
Congresses are part of the lifeblood of The Salvation Army. The first Salvation Army congress was held in 1886 in London, England. William Booth was determined that the congress should show the world that The Salvation Army was not just a passing wonder of the day.
And so here we are, more than 155 years later, still a vital force for good around the world. We serve in 133 countries, including right here in Canada and Bermuda, where we continue to share the love of Jesus, meet human needs and be a transforming influence in more than 400 communities.
The theme for the conference and congress is INSPIRE, as together we seek a fresh wind of God’s Spirit to breathe new life into our Army. We want this gathering to reignite our passion for mission, to mobilize each congregation to reach out to our communities, care for the vulnerable and share the love of Jesus. We also want to equip our mission partners, in areas such as social mission, business, communications and a myriad of front-line services, to develop their leadership skills and gain new tools for their ministries.
But we can’t do any of this without prayer. In prayer, we open ourselves to God—to his heart, his character and his purposes in the world. As we draw close to God and dwell in his presence, we experience the love and fellowship of the Trinity. Rooted in that love, we move into the world to reflect and live out God’s mission.
The INSPIRE Conference and Congress has been covered with prayer right from the beginning. Throughout the planning stages, retired Salvation Army officers have been praying for INSPIRE every month, starting in August 2022, using the acronym “Giving Hope”:
In the lead up to INSPIRE, we will be praying daily following a prayer calendar created by the congress and conference committees. The 40 Days of Prayer begins on Pentecost Sunday and continues until a week after INSPIRE to ensure we follow through with our commitments once we return home.
As part of this initiative, a PDF download will be available that includes a one-page prayer calendar and an expanded prayer guide. The daily guide will also be available through a blog on Salvationist.ca, on the INSPIRE app and via email for those who sign up.
During INSPIRE, an intercessory prayer team will meet behind the scenes to pray through the plenary sessions and congress meetings. A prayer room will also be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with a volunteer present to pray with any guests who visit the room.
On July 1, Lt-Colonel Brenda Critch, divisional secretary for spiritual life development, Ontario Division, will lead a prayer breakfast. And each of our worship services will have a focus for corporate prayer:
- Officers’ councils: multilingual prayers
- Friday evening: tongsung kido, a Korean style of prayer
- Saturday evening: prayer huddles
- Sunday morning: prayer pods
Each worship service will also provide space for prayer at the mercy seat.
In the days to come, let’s open ourselves to God in prayer, to all that God wants to do in and through The Salvation Army. Let’s seek a fresh wind of God to enliven and inspire us, and to send us out as his people, for the sake of the world.
Commissioner Floyd Tidd is the territorial commander of the Canada and BermudaTerritory.
Photo: Akil Simmons
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