I hope and pray this letter finds you well. What would you say is the most important activity in life? Or to put it another way, what of all the things you do has the most impact. I would like to put it to you the answer to both questions is prayer. Prayer I believe is probably the most under realised, under utilised and under appreciated resource the church has today. The circuit have been concentrating on prayer and have been holding a weekly prayer meeting sadly, this is not well attended. Of a circuit membership of 1100 people, how many do you think on average attend the prayer meeting? Or another question how many people from Northwood Methodist Church have ever attended? The average attendance is 10 people and only one person so far from NMC has managed to attend. Not only is this disappointing but it underlines the points above, people neither prioritise prayer nor do people appreciate the impact. Prayer is often something we think of as a luxury rather than a necessity. I remember years ago my mother saying to my cousin, I am too busy to pray, and his response was then you are too busy.
NMC are planning on launching another prayer meeting soon, in addition to our Saturday prayer group, online initially but will then move to the church foyer to pray specifically for the growth of the church. This will be a short but focussed time of prayer for the church. A few years ago, we had a mix-up with bookings at the church and a group called ‘Psychic Hands’ ended up using the small hall. After the mistake was rectified, I called together a small group of people (including another minister) to pray in the church for the entire premises and for the congregation. I do not believe it was a coincidence that the following Sunday we had a bumper attendance for our Harvest Festival, you may remember the occasion. Prayer works. This week, we examine John 17: 6 – 19 in which Jesus prays for the disciples. This text begins part way through a prayer in which Jesus is praying to the Father for the work of the disciples. Jesus is soon to leave them and so is preparing them for His departure.
Jesus is asking His Heavenly Father for protection for them and that they may take to heart the teaching He has given them which has come ultimately from the Father. In the prayer, Jesus is demonstrating that not only will He continue to pray for them but that they will be effective as witnesses for Him against the evil one (Satan). Jesus explains that if they follow Him, the world will hate them because they follow the Word and the Kingdom rather than the world. Jesus closes the prayer by asking that they are sanctified by the truth and remain in it. He concludes that He is sending them out into the world.
Prayer is an effective vehicle by which we should all operate, and by taking matters to God in prayer we are ensuring His blessing, guidance, and wisdom on matters. A while back I was speaking to a pastor who had grown his church from around 25 to well over 100 and I asked him if he had any tips or advice, and he said, ‘it sounds silly, but we started praying over the empty chairs we had, and God started filling them!’ Prayer is a powerful tool, let us start recognising its power and potential in helping take the church forward. Why not spend some time in prayer now lifting-up our church and asking God to draw some new people to our fellowship to help us grow and develop?
May our Lord Jesus Christ, the One who intercedes for us, bless us now and always,