making disciples of Jesus
Well I have freshly returned from the Bishop’s Training Event and what a brilliant day it was. It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces, both old and new, to share stories and catch up with friends to hear how God is at work in their lives and in their Parishes. Most of all, it was just so fantastic to see so many Anglicans, from all age groups (because there were Children’s programs running as well), passionately worshipping together, engaging with Scripture, being encouraged and challenged in their own discipleship, and coming away with practical tools to help back in their Parishes.
There is quite a lot going through my own brain about the day, and it is definitely going to take me some time to process everything, but I wanted to share one reflection and one challenge with you, as it is something that we can all grab hold of right now, and it will make a difference to our life together.
Bishop Richard began the morning with a talk based on Luke 10:1-24, that well known passage where Jesus sends the 72 out in pairs, ‘like lambs among wolves’ to proclaim the kingdom. And the thing that really struck me as Bishop Richard spoke, and was again reinforced in the stories that were shared, and in both of the workshops that I went to, was the centrality of prayer to the mission of making disciples. Before he sends them out, Jesus says: “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field”.
Even being directly commissioned by Christ and empowered in ways that many of us may never experience in our lives, to cast out Demons and heal the sick, Jesus says to his disciples: start with prayer, start on your knees. And Bishop Richard challenged us as Rectors, our Parish Councillors and all the people who are God’s missionary people (spoiler alert, that includes you!!) to be a people who are consistently, passionately and sincerely praying – praying for workers for the harvest and praying for the harvest.
In our Mission Action Plan we hold prayer as a core value, saying: “Prayer is both an expression of our ongoing dependence on God and a central part of the ongoing deepening of our relationship with him. We are committed to providing opportunities to pray regularly corporately, in small groups, and encouraging growth in personal prayer through regular teaching and training.”
Here are 3 opportunities to put this into action:
Every Monday at 4pm, a prayer group meets at St Mark's – everyone is welcome to come and join in praying for our community, our church, our nation, and the Diocesan vision.
Starting this Wednesday (26th September) at 7:30pm, on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month, I invite you to join me at St Mark's for a time of worship and prayer. I will lead the music on my guitar, it will be simple and a mix of old and new songs as we praise God, and then intercede before him. There will be a mix of prayers that are led, time to pray silently, and opportunities for you to voice your own prayers.
Realising that these times won’t necessarily work for all of you, let me share with you an idea… well it’s actually more of a challenge. It’s called the 1-1-1 prayer. I challenge you to name up one person – it might be a friend, a neighbour, the local coffee shop guy, maybe even one of your children or grandchildren. Write that person’s name down, put it somewhere where you are going to see it every day, and commit to praying for that one person, for one minute, once per day.
God invites us to prayer and promises to hear and answer our prayers. Let’s believe and pray BIG!
In His Service,