The sojourn started when the International Prayer Council asked Rev. Dr. Maria Harbajan, a Jamaican, to be the regional coordinator for that ministry and to make her first assignment the networking of prayer leaders, movements and initiatives which could begin through the drawing together of a Caribbean Prayer Summit (CPS). Why a Summit and not a Conference? This was to allow for the practical sharing and working out of strategies as these island representatives met – in order to strengthen existing prayer initiatives; to help where none existed, island reps to return to their islands and begin one in the interest of their nation. The first Summit was held in Barbados, May, 2007. The second summit took place in Suriname in May 2008, the 3rd in Jamaica in May 2009.
THE SUMMIT – May 2020
After planning the Summit to be a gathering at the Hilton Hotel in Montego Bay, COVID-19 came. Christian events were being planned all over yet there was no leading for us to cancel this event. The Lord gave us the idea of having an event using Social Media. We decided to use a hub and to set up the technology so well that our broadcast via Facebook and YouTube would be of an excellent uninterrupted quality service in honour of our King, Jesus. We were able to engage an event-planner who was able to help us source this type of service. All of this happened through the kind sponsorship of a few companies, including Jamaica Broilers, and individuals who believed in the vision of uniting the region in prayer for the growth and betterment of each Caribbean nation.
The day finally came, and we had 19 nations on the Zoom, 16 Caribbean nation delegates, the USA, UK and Egypt. The Chairman of the International Prayer Council, opened the Summit with the challenge of us converging prayer with missions. Some of our delegates expressed appreciation for that challenge which they never heard before.
The registered delegates were from the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Cuba (via videotape), Guyana, Grenada, Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Suriname, The BVI, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks & Caicos. It has always been a difficult task to get together our region but with God’s help, it was achieved.
The sessions allowed reps from each of the islands to share five of their most urgent national prayer needs. After sharing, the entire delegation would focus prayer on that island, praying and speaking whatever the Holy Spirit said. As each island was being blessed, it was not long before we realized, that we all had common problems and very similar needs in the islands.
The main highlights of the Summit for many were the Children and the Youth sessions. Singer, Jermaine Edwards ministered profoundly challenging our youth to start/continue a relationship with Jesus Christ.
As the day sessions progressed, we looked at “Building Effective National Networks”; “Children In Prayer”; “Networking The Caribbean”; “Challenges Facing the Caribbean Family” and “The Way Forward”. Each session was enlightening and gave us practical tools to help us in our various ministries as well as our nations.
The Way Forward was the climaxing session. These plans included:
- The forming of a Caribbean Prayer Council (CPC).
- The planning of another Caribbean Prayer Summit, moving it around the region. A host island was proposed and we await a confirmation visit to that island to meet with the spiritual authorities in order to share the concept and allow them to invite us in.
- Ongoing networking and continuous building of relationships. Create a link between territories through technology.
- Working at including islands which were not represented at this Summit over the coming months.
- Youth follow-up meetings via zoom.
NOTE: That we have proceeded to do various zoom calls and other communications since the May event. We are also prayerfully establishing a Board to help make decisions for the region as well as offering advice for the planning of the next Summit, proposed for 2022.
Thank you Jamaica Broilers Group and our other sponsors for enabling this to happen. Thanks also to the team of dedicated people who facilitated the technology, the catering, publicity and other practical help.
We are hugely grateful to our speakers, worship teams and facilitators for leading the sessions and teaching us so much.
Thanks to the delegates who brought their prayers, local knowledge and passion for the vision that we all share, of seeing His name glorified over our region.
The final thank you is to the Lord himself, for His presence, guidance and revelation. Our prayer is that we each continue to walk in His will, strengthened, united and equipped by the Holy Spirit.
‘My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the Lord Almighty.’ Mal 1:11
Compiled by Maria Harbajan
Caribbean Director – International Prayer Council Convenor – Caribbean Prayer Summit