'To get nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees.' Billy Graham
On Sunday 19 May World Prayer came to the Evening Service.
World Prayer started as a small group in someone's home with a heart to pray for nations around the world where we have relationships & connection.
The idea is simple, yet inspired. It all starts with a heart for the nations and then a simple request from friends we have on the ground to send us their specific prayer requests for their country's immediate needs. Using a phone to record their prayer requests, these then get played out loud for everyone to hear.
On Sunday, we heard from someone in Zimbabwe who shared her heartache for a nation in distress. Even though we were thousands of miles apart, the passion she shared was inspiring and the stories she told heartbreaking. We heard of how the nation's hearts are weary, where people have held onto hope and feel they see no change in sight. We heard heartwarming stories of how Zimbabweans of all religions and races rallied together in the wake of Cyclone Idai in March, giving what they had out of their poverty and need. In the midst of the hardship and poverty, there is still a heart across the nation for the other, but it's hard to maintain when they are so stretched. We were asked to pray for resilience and joy and to join them as they dream of a better Zimbabwe - where the things that should be are in place: so that when they visit a hospital there will be medicine; when they turn on the taps, there will be water; when they queue for hours at a petrol station, they will get fuel. We heard how, while Zimbabwe may be tired as a nation, she is spurred on in the knowledge that God is not done with them, is with them and for them.
We then heard from another friend in Sri Lanka, who gave us all fresh insight into the devastating effects of the recent terrorist attacks. She told us of the palpable sense of fear and nervousness that have been left in their wake, where people now avoid public spaces, how social media has been blocked and curfews are in place. We were told of the tensions that have risen as the police and army raid houses and take people for questioning.
We were asked to pray for the people of Colombo and for the churches and hotels affected by the bombings. For the politicians & leaders - that they would be wise in what they do - and for the communities to unite and not separate.
Once we'd heard these cries for help, these requests for prayer, these pleas for God to intervene and His kingdom to come, we all got down to pray.
World Prayer is not your typical time of quiet, individual praying - we all pray, all together, out loud, at the same time! Brazil-style I believe it's known as. It's just prayer from your heart, for no-one but God to hear, as you pour back to Him the cry of the nations.
And as we prayed, the Spirit of God fell. And as God's grace filled the room, He came with His gifts: prophecy, encouragement, words of wisdom, all of which we recorded and captured, again on a phone, to send back to our friends on the ground. Words that we hope will be strengthening, comforting and encouraging for them in their hour of need, as they discover that they are not alone and that their global church family is standing with them and praying for them.
Praying for our brothers and sisters around the world is just one of those things that we, as a church, are called to do. Wouldn't it be wonderful to see 100s of people at our next World Prayer at the Evening Service, interceding as one Body for the nations of the world? Far from being a right to be taken for granted, prayer is a privilege to be treasured and so come and join us at 6pm on Sunday 2 June and see the difference prayer makes.
We start with some delicious food, inspired by the countries we'll be praying for, then we worship and pray and see what God would have us do. We look forward to seeing you.
'Nothing tends more to cement the hearts of Christians than praying together. Never do they love one another so well as when they witness the outpouring of each other's hearts in prayer.' Charles Finney
World Prayer at the Evening Service
6pm - Ark Putney Academy, Pullman Gardens, London, SW15 3DG
Sunday 2 June
Sunday 30 June
Check the website for future dates: Calendar