Prayer changes things. As we pray, we grow to know the Lord more, our hearts are opened for him to work in our lives, and our eyes are opened to see more of his work in our lives of those around us.
There is power in praying together. The 24/7 prayer movement shows how God is more than ready to listen to our prayers and answer in amazing ways. (Read Red Moon Rising and Dirty Glory by Pete Greig to be inspired!)
Scripture and Church history suggest that missional growth is the result of prayer more than any other single activity. But in a world where church members seem ever busier how do we build a church that prays? What does a 21st century praying church look like?
On Wednesday 15th May we’re hosting a training day called Leading a praying church. John Dunnett from CPAS is leading the day. He says, “In my 18 years of parish ministry I saw again and again how intercession could be both released within the local church – and change the missional fruitfulness of its ministry. So I’m very excited to be able to help those in church leadership think through what we can learn from Scripture, church history and the example of others about how to lead a praying church.”
The day is open to people from any church, and is aimed at anyone who has a heart for seeing their church pray.
“We’ve run this day in a number of venues around the country – and feedback has been exceptionally good,” John says. “Do join us if you possibly can.”
Further details and booking information at..
“I saw how intercession could change the missional fruitfulness of the local church.”
The day starts at 10.00am (coffee from 9.45) and finishes at 3.30pm. Refreshments are provided but please bring your own lunch. Booking is essential. Contact the church office or book online
Pauline Turner writes …
Our God is ‘the Lord who heals you’ (Ex 15:26). A large part of Jesus’ ministry was healing people and restoring them back into society – he came to ‘preach good tidings to the poor, heal the broken hearted and proclaim liberty to the captives’ (Lk 4:18-19). His ministry was about restoration of the whole person, not just physical healing.
In John 10, Jesus speaks about Satan who comes to rob, kill and destroy - but then Jesus declares ‘I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect – life in its fullness until you overflow!’
Jesus demonstrated what the kingdom of God looks like – recovering ground that the enemy has had in peoples’ lives, restoring them back to health and reconnecting them with the God of love and his purposes for their lives.
Scripture also speaks of God as a Restorer. Many people, due to life’s experiences and living in a fallen world, need restoration and healing. It may be that some of us need healing and restoration in our relationship with God – dealing with things like disappointments, life events, seemingly unanswered prayer, unforgiveness and resentment – which make us lose our first love for Jesus.
The church is called to the same mission that Jesus had – bringing God’s rule and reign into people’s lives.
In 2019, let’s seek to know the Healer more and more, to experience his healing love in our own lives, and to be a bridge for people to meet with the God who loves to restore and heal.
The prayer ministry team are always happy to pray with people after our services or at other times of the week – please ask.
“Jesus’ ministry was about restoration of the whole person, not just physical healing”
“Prayer is an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us.” St Teresa of Avila
Do you ever wish that your friendship with God was stronger and your prayer life deeper? That’s true for most Christians most of the time! Jesus’ first followers said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray!”
During the Autumn, Trish Yandell and the prayer team will be running five workshops to help us have a fresh look at prayer and how it can revitalise our friendship with God.
Over the first two evenings we will be exploring how the age old practice of Lectio Divina and the Ignatian practice of imaginative prayer can help us see how the Word of God speaks to us personally through some familiar and not so familiar passages of scripture.
The second two evenings will be exploring prayer as a friendship dialogue with God and the last evening will be a time to be drawn deeper into the heart of God, listening and discovering God's heart for us and the world. Journaling will also be discussed at each of the workshops.
All the sessions will have prayer ministry for those who want to receive it, and art materials for those who want to express their prayers visually.
Much of the content of the course has been used by Trish on quiet days she has run over the last year or so – and which many in our congregation have already found helpful.
Is now the time to renew your prayer life and deepen your walk with God?
Details: Mondays 24 Sept, 8 & 29 Oct, 19 Nov, 3 Dec. Coffee from 7pm. Workshops will run from 7.30 – 9.15pm. Please bring a Bible and notebook to all workshops.
To book a place email email@example.com
From 10th - 20th May, churches around the world will be joining in a special season of prayer. When we pray "Thy Kingdom Come" we're praying for God's rule and reign to break out in the lives of our friends, communities, workplaces and families.
As we've just settled on our mission priorities for the coming years, we're going to use this season to pray especially into those areas, asking God to use us to make a difference in his world.
Come along to as many or as few of the sessions as you're able to. And if you're not able to, do join in from home!
And remember, fasting often goes with prayer. (We had a really helpful sermon about it a few months ago.) So why not miss a meal a day that week, or miss all your means one day that week - as a sign of your commitment to God about our mission priorities.
There are some really encouraging videos and useful resources on the Thy Kingdom Come website - do have a look - and pray!
A group from St James’ by the Park ran a ‘prayer for the world’ stall at FOSJP’s international family day a few days ago. Esther Clift writes …
I wonder how you define your mission community? Mine is complex and messy – a bit like my life, really. I have lots of communities - work, home, running, and church to name but a few, and they each hold more than a hundred people!!
I’m not part of a formal Missional Community at St James’ by the Park, but I try to share the good news about Jesus’ love and salvation with anyone I come into contact with.
St James by the Park was invited to have a presence at the Bringing Communities Together event at the International Family Day, in the Park.
We had a space to pray for the world, with a large map, and stickies to note where and what to pray for. What a great opportunity to meet with folk on neutral space, and talk about what matters to them, and what matters to us too!
I was struck by the amazing privilege it is to pray and listen to people. One old friend started telling me about their recent marriage break up, and I was able to pray with another of their concerns for the drug problem among youngsters in Shirley. Others prayed of their profound shock at seeing the Grenfell Towers and all the devastation it has brought to that community.
We had people from other churches with specific hearts for ministries around the world, from the Community Church, from The Shirley Warren Action Church and some Jehovah’s Witnesses concerned for the loss of religious freedom in Russia. It was lovely to have students from St James’ by the Park, back for the summer, stopping and praying with others.
We prayed for Morocco, for Pakistan, for children in Kenya, as well as Uganda and Myanmar. We prayed for Syria, again and again, and people wanted us to pray for peace in the whole world.
So what were we really doing?
And what is God doing?
We say we’re wanting to turn our church community inside out; to be where people are at – not simply expecting people to come to us. This was one small way of doing that – meeting people from all over Shirley, some of whom would never set foot in a church building. We gave them space to connect with their spiritual side.
The Park has been a huge part of our mission over the last 10 years. The last event like this was pretty much run by the team from St James’ by the Park who secured the lottery grant, designed and oversaw the developments and the building.
But this is our community! These are people I have stood at the school gates with, worked along side, dug the park flowerbeds with, and now started running with. These are people we share life with, the highs and the lows. This is were the nitty gritty of living out ‘community’ really takes place
I’m reminded of the Hillsong chorus ‘touching heaven changing earth’, because that’s exactly what we do when we pray - asking God’s Kingdom to come here on earth, and bring healing and wholeness.
And what a privilege to be touching heaven with people we love, and in our own neighbourhood.