Over the next week or so I will be producing an updated parish prayer cycle. It’s a very simple document that breaks down the names of church members and the streets of the parishes we serve into a 28 day cycle. In one sense, then, it is just a list, and put that way, it sounds like a pretty uninspiring piece of paper. But the reason I bring it out each year arises from a very basic understanding, that prayer works. If you look at any period of church growth, that growth has come from maybe even just two or three people faithfully praying, even over a period of many years, for the people in their church and the places they serve.
The theme of our church life over the coming year is “discipleship”. Whether it’s a Sunday service, a GIFT group, even a PCC meeting, we are going to be centring what we are doing on learning to follow Jesus and helping others learn to follow Jesus. But no matter how much we learn, or how many plans we draw up, we are not going to see the results we long for unless we pray. So even though in one sense the prayer cycle is just a list, use it to pray daily for your fellow church members. Pray that in whatever situation they find themselves they might learn to faithfully follow Jesus. And pray for the streets of our parishes. Pray that men and women, young and old, would hear Jesus’ call to follow Him. And here’s the scary bit – ask how you yourself might help to answer those prayers.
Just to help inspire you, here’s a picture of a verse I spotted at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem. After all, if this Jesus is for us, who can be against us?