by Aaron Tsang, TFF Summer InternCollege of William & Mary
It was just another afternoon. I was doing what I usually do, deleting the massive amounts of emails that accumulate in my inbox every day. I had almost finished when I saw it, a forwarded email from my mother. Usually I don’t open those until it’s too late, but this time was different. It was a link to The Family Foundation’s intern page. The fact that it was a non-partisan Christian organization interested me, so I kept looking to see what they were about.
I found myself filling out the application. While doing so, I discovered that they have a prayer ministry. If you’re like I was, your preconceptions of what that entails are shaky. Prayer: for many people it’s a foreign concept, something that the family who frequents your favorite restaurant does before every meal. Even many Christians are fairly unfamiliar with prayer. It’s something they do at church, or family gatherings before they eat; just another checklist task God requires of Christians. I pondered this while I finished the application. I figured “prayer ministry,” just consisted of networking with pastors and asking state legislators if they needed prayer.
Fast forward to my first day. In walks Jackee, the visionary behind the prayer ministry. Through talking to her I learn that the prayer ministry, affectionately dubbed “Team Timothy,” is just that, a prayer ministry. To reiterate that statement, Team Timothy didn’t exist because it’s just an obligatory department necessary in a Christian organization. Team Timothy’s inception came through a very real mandate that presented itself both through scripture and through God speaking into Jackee’s life. The name “Team Timothy” itself bears the mandate:
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (KJV).
In light of this mandate, The Family Foundation decided to do something that would seem like common sense for a Christian organization, but in reality is often passed over by many; they decided to take God at His word. For The Family Foundation, this meant praying for legislators, regardless of their relationship with the foundation, along with strategic prayer that focused on the issues of the day. While this may seem incredibly easy, (it initially did to me), the reality is a much more complex one. Taking God at His word means actually knowing the issues at hand, what the Bible says about them, and identifying where the root of the issue actually lies. It involves truly committing to prayer, not just a one-time event, but a diligent resolve to communing with God about the societal issues of today. It involves the rallying of people, pastors, and leaders who often view the commitment to strategic prayer as a time-consuming action with no short term value. Lastly, it means humbling ourselves as people and as an organization. It entails admitting that we cannot change culture, and maintaining a dependence on God.
We live in a society that measures success on what we can quantify in the short-term. If someone as hired as a CEO, coach, or teacher, they are expected to take their company, team, or students forward immediately. There is no room for anything that doesn’t maximize our productivity, and, even more importantly, our profit margins. And yet, God calls us to trust Him over what we can do. He demands that we place our faith in communion with Him- something that is not quantifiable. Although simple on the surface, prayer goes directly against the grain of our society. Following God’s instructions laid down for us thousands of years ago is still a visionary idea, and it is something I am learning more and more about during my time at The Family Foundation.