We ran 24 hours of prayer from 31st October to 1st November 2020 – this is the feedback received from that time
We felt that the church needs to focus on supporting people where they are by making the virtual experience of worship and community as good and inclusive as possible, and giving individuals the tools they need to support others. Much of this is already in place of course. It isn’t possible to experience church in the normal way, but that shouldn’t be seen as a failure or source of regret by leaders.
I was thinking of whats app groups for certain sections of the congregation. Not everyone’s in a home group, but might appreciate being part of a group to share day to day experiences.
I have been aware that God has been speaking to me about forgiveness. However, this was a picture of Jesus suffering on the cross which actually burnt into the core of my being. Jesus saying Father forgive they know not what they do.
I believe God spoke to me about my/ our attitudes during this terrible pandemic and our often critical spirit and lack of forgiveness for some of the mistakes and issues that surround it and the magnitude of the problem that even the government and experts know so little about.
I feel that God was saying “get on your knees, pray, forgive others”. Don’t judge and continually bring it to God and lay this huge burden at His feet. HE only is in control.
Rejoice ,celebrate Sing for joy , shout out my name .Which seemed a bit off the wall until a sense of an opportunity to Put Jesus back at the centre Of Christmas This year and time to prepare hit me.
The other thing that kept coming to mind is the story of papa Panov who desperately wants to meet Jesus but doesn’t think he has until he hears a voice: I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me water, I was cold and you took me in ….etc
How do we know God in this place?
Acts 2: 25-28 ‘David said about him: “‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’
How do we grow in God in this very strange time?
Micah 6: 8 ‘He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’
How can we show the love of God in this strange land?
Isaiah 53: 7 “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
V1-4 God has planned and prepared us for this time
V5-7 This is the time he has prepared us for ‘to restore’ ‘ to be a light’
V8-13 God will keep us and prosper us as we declare freedom and restoration
V14-21 God has never forgotten us and however bad it is he will prosper us
V22- 26 God is calling people back to himself.
V2 He gave me speech that would cut and penetrate. (Message) Faithful declaration of God’s word is powerful. This resonates with something I read in Alistair McGraths book recently. As the state and secularists have taken over the social concerns which the church have pioneered over centuries the church is now left with it’s original mission of declaration of the gospel.
V6 He says, “But that’s not a big enough job for my servant— just to recover the tribes of Jacob, merely to round up the strays of Israel. I’m setting you up as a light for the nations so that my salvation becomes global!”
It’s not just about looking after and drawing in those who already ‘belong’ but reaching out to the world around us.
V8,9 I form you and use you to reconnect the people with me, To put the land in order, …. tell prisoners, ‘Come on out. You’re free!’
and those huddled in fear, ‘It’s all right. It’s safe now.’ (Message)
This struck me as the most important bit, our job is to reconnect the people with God and declare freedom and safety.
V23 Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.”
I concentrated on the idea of “Listening” (not sure whether I was prompted or whether I was the instigator!).
Read Psalm 104; John 14, 16, 17.
Encouraged to “listen” to God through Creation, and the Word of God = Christ, and Scriptures.
Encouraged to move into action: care for the church – the church = people; and prayer. Caring for church during lockdown by prayer and contact (eg visits; cards, letters, emails, phone calls; gifts – flowers, cakes etc). Need to share encouragement and hope.
Especially now until Dec 2
God Our Father. Matthew 7 v 9-11
He gives good gifts. Compare “plans to prosper”. Gifts and prosper have connotations nowadays of material comfort. But they are surely spiritual. “God is spirit” and our own spirits must engage at this deep, eternal, essential plane. But If we say “God answers prayer” and we are praying for the conversion of precious family or the restoring of a relationship, and these things don’t happen, what do we then think about prayer? Even with these valid longings, we continue to trust Him; after all, he isn’t a magician who brings the rabbit out of the hat every time. Only when we trust Him will we be able to live with security and freedom in our fallen world.
“Even My faithful people are not putting their hope in Me.
Many are optimistic but that is not the Hope I am offering.”
Then the Lord reminded me of Romans 8:18-39
(My thoughts – people are talking about the government cancelling Christmas but that’s not possible in the truest sense of the meaning of Christmas. Our Hope begins with the birth of Christ and reaches its fulfilment the day we die. The life in between can be lived in the fullness of Hope and joy whatever our circumstances. However long we’ve been believers maybe we need to learn to truly live in that place of Hope)
We continue to pray for the leadership as you seek God’s way for your own lives and Bayston Hill.