International Women’s Day of Prayer (4 March 2023), at Brixton Seventh-day Adventist Church started with a presentation from Sis Leonie Robinson on ‘Transformational Prayer’. Explaining that we can experience transformation when we "Live out our prayer by believing, live out God’s word by following the examples of Christ, by praying for others, by worshipping and studying with others, and studying other resources to learn more."
Organised by the Women’s Ministry Department, "togetherness" was at the forefront of the day, with a touch of purple worn in solidarity to women around the world praying for transformation. Heartfelt testimonies were given on how God’s transformational power worked on and through those that shared.
Women's Ministries Director & Possibility Ministries Coordinator, Elder Jacqueline Oktopa was the speaker for Divine Hour. It was her first time at Brixton Church. Continuing with the emphasis of the day 'Transformed by Prayer’, her key text was Isaiah 59:2 which she used to explain how "sin separates us from the Holy Spirit."
Mixed with her own personal experiences and Biblical examples, her thought-provoking presentation entitled ‘Obstacles to Prayer’s Ability to Transform’ examined bitterness, unforgiveness and judging others based on assumptions. Elder Jacqueline identified four classical assumptions that hurt relationships:
- Believing your Pastor does not like you.
- Believing you’re being unappreciated.
- Believing your significant other knows what’s in your head.
- Believing people are always trying to see you fail.
She explained that assumptions can have a significant impact on relationships, stating that "Assumptions are like termites in a relationship, they can build bridges or destroy bridges – as Christians we are in the business of building bridges”. She also pointed out that assumptions can lead to hostility and not just affect ourselves but also others. Sometimes people make judgments about others without knowing the full story or misinterpreting a situation, and then pass on incorrect information based on that assumption.
Elder Jaqueline also stressed the importance of being able to identify assumptions and understanding their dangers. She used the encounter between Hannah and Eli found in 1 Samuel 1:1 as a prime example of the dangers of assuming. This story also highlighted the importance of talking directly to the person to gain clarity and avoid misunderstandings.
Furthermore, Elder Jaqueline emphasized that our focus should be on healing and building relationships. She stated that when we battle against the root cause of bitterness in our lives, we will eventually experience joy and freedom. "We will be set free from a burden that grips and robs us of so many things that God wants to give us.”
Through prayer, she added, we can be "redeemed, reclaimed and renewed." It is through the power of God that we can be transformed and experience this freedom.