'How on earth do I go about overseeing prayer, I thought to myself?'
Late in 2016 I was asked to give the prayer life of the church some oversight. How on earth do I go about that, I thought to myself?
I made a list of all the people that came to mind who have a heart for corporate prayer and approached them all, as well as throwing open a general invite for others who were interested. And so, the ‘Prayer Events Team’ was born. The vision being to regularly put events on that would provide opportunity for the Church to pray together, learn to pray and be stretched in prayer approaches, styles and experiences. We have settled on 3 events per year including: 24-7 weeks of prayer, Half Nights or prayer and joining in with ‘Thy Kingdom Come’, Justin Welby’s global call to pray for people to know Jesus.
On the whole these events have been a great success (I remember the depressing experience of a half night of prayer back in 2014 when we started with the 2 organisers present, then we peaked with 10 people who would have met to pray for Alpha anyway!). Last week, at the half night of prayer we saw people soaking in God’s presence in worship, praise and thanksgiving, meeting Him in creativity and dance, interceding on behalf of Harborne and asking for His blessing and anointing on the various ministries at St John’s. It’s so encouraging to see the various ways we can meet with God in prayer being worked out together. I love seeing the Church respond to the call to pray and it’s great that small groups (incl the staff team) are working through ‘The Prayer Course’ currently.
Looking ahead, I wasn’t sure that a week of 24-7 prayer in January 2019 was what God wanted us to do (of course, He always wants us to pray – I just felt that he may have other ways for us to use our energy and resources this time). The Prayer Events Team met to pray into this and we sensed God leading us to explore the possibility of having a week of prayer for Harborne, praying in unity with other local Churches. So, we approached all the local churches and have so far received an overwhelmingly positive response to this proposal. We have a meeting planned this Friday evening (12th Oct) with the various Churches to talk through how this might take place and what it might look like. We want to work in partnership, seeking unity, so I am looking forward to what these other Churches might have in mind when we meet. As it happens, the week we are looking at is January 18th -25th, which happens to be ‘Prayer for Unity’ week, so maybe God’s hand is on this after all! Please do pray for His grace and anointing as we seek to work in unity with other Churches.
The current thought is that we will join in with Thy Kingdom Come again (30th May -9th June 2019) as well as have some kind of prayer week before we leave the Church building next year. Please do pray for the Prayer Events Team, and if you are interested in getting involved please do get in touch with me. And please keep praying. I quoted Bob Dunnett recently in the round up: ‘A praying Church is a Church alive to God’s purposes’