The Global AIDS Prayer Partnership (GAPP), a new and growing US-based coalition of Christian organisations devoted in prayers for the AIDS pandemic, has unveiled a plan to cover the next International AIDS Conference in August 2006 in Toronto, Canada, with a massive prayer effort in an attempt to demonstrate the love of Christ to those affected by AIDS.
On the national conference of GAPP on 2nd June, dozens of evangelical organisations including the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), Mission America Coalition, World Vision and World Relief, have showed support to the plan, according to ASSIST News Service.
The International AIDS Conference is held by the International AIDS Society and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) bi-annually in different places. The last one in 2004 was held in Bangkok, Thailand, which had drawn thousands of national representatives, medical professionals, NGOs and faith-groups across the world.
The GAPP said an evangelical presence in the conference was very essential, "It is time to confront the darkness that is so pervasive at the International AIDS Conference. Those who present a Christian perspective at the conference typically are not well received, or even heard, because of the radicalism that is so prevalent. But prayer has a way of changing things!"
Martin Sempa of the UNAIDS, an AIDS educator and youth ministry leader from Uganda, was quoted asking the group to "remember that most of the third world people (who attend the IAC) are heterosexuals and are religious. But they don't see a presence of the evangelical church, which is very troubling, and they get overwhelmed by the massive gay presence."
Brian Considine, International Coordinator of the GAPP emphasised the motive of the presence of evangelicals the conference is to demonstrate the love of Christ to all people, to show that Jesus cares about the issue, and to declare that Christians care about it as well.
"The mission of GAPP is to mobilise prayer and action to end AIDS. What better place to gather intercessors around this issue than at the International AIDS Conference? We expect opposition but we will go in the authority Jesus gave us to cast out the darkness. And, we will go with the love of Christ!" Considine explained.
According to the ASSIST News Service, four strategies emerged from the last conference:
- Establishing 24/7 prayer around the conference, before, during and after
- Finding tangible ways to show the love of Christ at the conference
- Supporting those Christians who are presenting during the conference
- Holding a daily church service during the conference for those in attendance