2013 – a year of prayer and prepa­ra­tion for mis­sion

The Church of England - - FEATURE -

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.

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