2013 – a year of prayer and preparation for mission
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is a regular feature of church life for many – but this year HOPE is inviting churches across the spectrum of denominations to share a united prayer focus for the whole of 2013.
Youth groups and churches all over the country are committed to make 2013 a year of prayer and preparation for mission in 2014 and for many, the year started in prayer with special ‘watch night’ services.
HOPE is also planning a church leaders’ event on 25 October linked to the Festival of Life in London, which brings together 20,000 Christians each year for a night of prayer. The event at London’s Excel centre will launch two months of prayer leading up to Christmas and the launch of 2014’s year of mission – the whole Church, reaching the whole nation, for a whole year.
Donald Allister, Bishop of Peterborough, recently gave his backing to local churches coming together for mission in word and action as part of HOPE’s year of mission in 2014. Also, speaking of his recent appointment as Chair of the Council for Christian Unity, Bishop Donald underlined the purpose of unity: “Ecumenism properly understood (the sharing of faith, love, worship and witness rather than the bureaucracy) is vital. God is one and calls his people to be one and to love one another so that the world may believe.”
Peterborough churches and local residents gathered at their annual ecumenical service in Peterborough Cathedral on New Year’s Eve 2012. This annual act of commitment emerged from the city’s involvement in HOPE 08.
Phil Timson, Youth Director at HOPE and member of Bretton Baptist Church, Peterborough, said: “Coming together on the 31st to pray for our city, focus on the Lord and catch a vision for what we could do together to make an impact in 2014, was amazing. The Peterborough Church are inspired and enthused to engage in prayer and preparation throughout this year, building towards HOPE 14.”
Kingdom United, a group of local churches in Nuneaton, central England, spent New Year’s Eve joining together to celebrate, pray and unite for the glory of God. Their vision is for other regions and churches to do the same and to see New Year prayer celebrations established in every UK town and city.
The Redeemed Christian Church of God saw 600 churches praying over the New Year period. Dr David Sola Oludoyi, National Prayer Co-ordinator said: “This year’s theme was signs and wonders. There is something psychological when we begin any new season. It is really important to dedicate it to God and take time to seek his face. We like to spend the first few hours of the year in prayer.”
Roy Crowne, Executive Director of HOPE, who joined one of the Redeemed church New Year prayer events, said: “What a great way to start the year. We catch God’s heart for our community and see it differently when we look into his face first. God will choose to use us and we will see broken lives coming together and churches working together. Our communities could never look the same again. Without prayer our greatest efforts have little effect or meaning, so let’s pray and then respond to people’s needs in our villages, towns and cities.“
HOPE has a daily prayer calendar on its website at www.hopetogether.org.uk where there are also lots of prayer resources and ideas for churches to use to pray.
HOPE encourages churches to do more mission together, in words and actions, using key moments in the calendar, so mission becomes the heartbeat of the Church.