I was thinking following our Annual General Meeting where we agreed the all-important profile of the church and the comment that we ‘go forward in faith and with patience’ – meaning that it’s not in our timing but God’s that will be the perfect timing for us as a church to receive a new minister. As we all know patience is a virtue, and I’m sure I’m not the only person wishing I had more patience. I need constantly to remind myself – in God’s timing, not mine! Colossians 1:10-11 shows us the good news that having faith in God will give us strength to live through anything that may come our way, and to help cope with challenging situations with patience, God being by our side.
Colossians 1:10-11 ‘We’re praying this so that you can live lives that are worthy of the Lord and pleasing to him in every way: by producing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God; by being strengthened through his glorious might so that you endure everything and have patience.’
Which brings me to think about prayer – and one of the ways which helps me when I pray is this simple acronym:
Praise: bowing down thanking God for his splendour;
Repent: acknowledging we’re not perfect and asking forgiveness;
Ask: God teaches us to ‘ask and you shall receive’ – recognising answers may not be in the way we were hoping;
Yield: this is being patient – God hears our prayers, but not forgetting that his time is perfect, and he answers every prayer with either yes, no or wait!
Expect: I love the words of William Carey – expect great things from God, attempt great things for God!
Rejoice: We are called to ‘rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!’ – even when life is tough.
Every month we put in the ABC Prayer diary – prayer is powerful and can change lives – and I am sure that this would have been at the heart of the dream which became reality in 2016 with the invitation to Christians in the Church of England from Archbishops of Canterbury and York to pray between Ascension and Pentecost (26 May to 5 June) ‘Come Holy Spirit’. It follows the tradition Christians have done for centuries, which is gathering together to pray for the Holy Spirit to come to transform nations, communities and lives. So ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ was born and from small beginnings it has gone global in praying specifically that family, friends, neighbours and colleagues might come to faith in Jesus Christ. And in doing so, it is also hoped those taking part will:
* Deepen their own relationship with Jesus Christ.
* Pray for five people to come to faith in Jesus.
* Pray for the empowerment of the Spirit that we would be effective in our witness.
Speaking of this year’s plans, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: ‘Thy Kingdom Come happens every year because we constantly rely on a fresh empowering of the Holy Spirit. The urgency, vitality and necessity of Christians across the world joining together praying, ‘Come, Holy Spirit’ is essential. This is not primarily for our own renewal – but that we may live the calling of Christ to be His witnesses. I commend the resources the TKC team have produced for this year and pray they would enable our prayers, which we pray in the certainty that the Father always gives the Spirit to those who ask.’
The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, who wrote last year’s Prayer Journal, said: ‘I look forward to this year’s Thy Kingdom Come – a fantastic opportunity for Christians across the world and from different denominations and traditions, to unite in prayer for friends and family to come to faith in Christ. With resources to suit everyone, I pray that it may also be a time of encouragement, joy and celebration as we broaden our vision and see Jesus is loved, known, worshipped and followed by people throughout the world.’ https://www.thykingdomcome.global/
Prayer is powerful – will you dare to pray and believe that God will answer – and practice patience? This is the challenge!
Jill Millgate, Membership Secretary / Editor of Contact