Due to the Corona Virus Pandemic the last 15 months have been a very difficult period for all of us, especially those of us who are accustomed to being at the corps (Salvation Army term for church) two or three times a week. My wife and I were corps officers for 35 years, in twelve different appointments. Some, of course, were easier than others, but they all had this one thing in common; we were the servant/pastor to each community. The corps officer is the backbone of The Salvation Army. From that background comes the reason my heart has been so heavily laden. I have witnessed, in the last two or three years, the extremely small number of candidates/cadets that each USA territory has been training to send out to “Do the Most Good.” Last year in one territory we trained enough cadets to cover a dozen locations, but at the same time there were 40 retirements.
This year I watched the commissioning and appointment ceremonies in both the Eastern and Southern territories. My heart was breaking. Not because of the abilities and the God given skills and calling of the new lieutenants, but because of the number of positions they would not be able to fill.
I cried out to the Lord, “What can I do?” Now, I have learned not to ask God a question if I don’t expect an answer. So God spoke, “Whom shall I send?” and I heard myself saying, “Here am I, my Lord, send me.” So, He did! It was about 3 A.M. and I found my mind wouldn’t shut down so I could sleep. I remember thinking every problem needs to be soaked in prayer. So, I decided to add this problem to my morning devotions. Almost immediately I said to myself, “No, this is bigger than my morning prayers.”
The next morning, I pulled up from my cell phone the members of my session and I sent out a request to each of them to join me in a special prayer for cadets. I felt good, but not satisfied. I remembered that the retired officers in the North and South Division have a Facebook page, so I went there next with my call to PRAY FOR 50. But still, God was not finished with this level of prayer warriors. I got on my phone and called a friend at territorial headquarters, Major Rick Raymer and poured out my burden to him. He graciously and excitedly agreed with me and said he would add it to his Worldwide Prayer Meeting letter. I felt so much better, but the nagging was still there. I asked myself, “How can I get this to a greater number of people who will Pray for 50?” Retired officers, of course!! I went back to the phone and called all four of the territorial commanders to ask their permission to request that their retired officer representatives send out my prayer request to hundreds of prayer warriors across the country. Every territorial commander answered with a definite,“Yes.” One territorial commander said, “We were planning for 25, but 50 would be wonderful.”
Then I went back to my cell phone and wrote the following note with the basic details of PRAY FOR 50, then I sent it to the four territories:
Realizing that we need more officers, we need to ask God to open up hearts to His calling. Set an alarm on your cellphone for some 50th minute of your day. Then ask God to provide 50 candidates for the 2022 – 2024 session of cadets for every territory. For me it’s 9:50 A.M. and 9:50 P.M. and still I find myself praying this thought at different times during the day. I make my prayer simple: “Lord, You are well aware of our need in the Army. Send out a calling for those You will fit for the task. Amen.”
I am PRAYING FOR 50, but I am going to make a change in the slogan. Lt. Colonel Bill Crabson sent me a note and I then decided to make a slight change. It speaks to what I am proposing very well. The new title for us is PRAYING FOR 50 @ 50.
I am thrilled to think that Rescue the Perishing is willing to carry this prayer request to yet another level of Salvationist believers and praying force.
My session (class), the Blood & Fire Session, will be meeting next June for our 50th Reunion. I hope to have an opportunity to explain to the delegates in attendance the importance of praying for the call to officership and the responsibility we have to pray for the next session. Thus PRAYING FOR 50 @ 50 should become an ongoing challenge, especially if we want strong, saved, and sanctified men and women in every session right up until the time Jesus returns. The goal of PRAYING FOR 50 @ 50 is to lift the cadets to the throne room of God.
One other note I received from a retired officer said, “Thank you for being the flint stone to start this prayer movement, especially for candidates/cadets. Let me assure you that I am paying strict attention to where God wants this prayer movement to go.”
Allow me to say thank you to those who have given me assurance of their prayers; especially to Major Rick Raymer who has put PRAYING FOR 50 @ 50 in his Worldwide Prayer Meeting letters, to the retired officer representatives for getting this message out, to the territorial leaders for their support, and to my family for helping and supporting me. Finally, a thank you for giving me this final thought:
“May God bless this call
to prayer with a fruitful harvest.”
PRAYING FOR 50 @ 50