Dear Church Family,
“Prayer leads us forward in hope” – Pope Francis
In last week’s letter, I reflected with you on hope – especially where we find hope in these dark times. Just in this week, we’ve had the introduction of a 2nd lockdown, the uncertainty of the American election, increasing cases of Covid, and the reintroduction of Brexit to our national conversation – dampening the mood is an understatement! I suggested that Hope is something we look towards, a future promise made real in Jesus Christ, but something we can live in today. In times like this, our personal and collective prayer life is vital as we press into the hope we have in Jesus.
Prayer requires us to pay attention to what is going on around us before engaging in long lists of personal requests. When we prayerfully take in what is happening around us, we are more able to see the world as God sees it but it does take practice! We start to understand that God’s heart is especially turned towards the vulnerable, the sick, the marginalised, and the needy. We gain a fresh understanding of God’s love for the world and how he longs for his people - his church – to be the light that shines in the darkness. Prayer is a two-way street – an opportunity to hear from, and be changed by the Lord and to know that He hears us. This is what “leads us forward in hope”.
Call to Prayer #prayforthenation:
Our Archbishops and the Bishop of London are leading the church in prayer over the next four weeks. The call has gone out for the people of God to spend Thursday in November fasting (from something) before joining in with others in prayer at 6 pm. You can follow some of these press releases and resources on social media via #prayforthenation.
Whether you are a regular “pray-er” or have never really dabbled, it doesn’t matter – carry on or give it a go. Archbishop Stephen reminded us this week that prayer is “inviting God into the room”, He meets us personally when we call on His name. Prayer is a practical expression of the church, not as a stationary organisation but as a movement of people, transformed by Jesus, making God’s love known in the world.
The church has always held that prayer changes situations. So, we invite you to join us in these ways:
Firstly, make a plan or set an alarm to take part in a pause for prayer at 6 pm every day. We don’t need to be gathered together physically to do this and it doesn’t have to be for long. But we are joining with that great cloud of witnesses because we believe prayer changes things and it starts with us!
Secondly, Alice or I will “go live” on the parish Facebook page at 6 pm on Thursdays in November for a short time of Evening Prayer – do join us if you can, or catch up later on!