London prays ‘Thy Kingdom Come’
A thousand came to St Paul’s on one of the busiest weekends in the year to pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ on the eve of Pentecost.
This was part of the global wave of prayer for evangelism started by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, now in its third year.
The St Paul’s crowd prayed around three themes – loving our neighbour, seeking justice and sharing our faith – in different styles and traditions.
One of the organisers, Revd Alexandra Lilley, said:
“The evening felt so significant in bringing together the diverse Church in London to pray in unity for God’s kingdom to come.
“It was a beautiful opportunity for Christians from across London to stand as one.”
There were litanies, drums, space for quiet reflection and loud participatory prayer.
Noel Robinson and his band led the congregation in contemporary worship, with stirring traditional hymns led by the St Paul’s music team.
At the climax of the service, the St Paul’s Cathedral Choir gave a rendition of Allegri’s Miserere, giving the congregation time to pause and reflect on the injustices in our own hearts, and to pray for God’s justice in the world.
Bishop Ric Thorpe and Archdeacon Liz Adekunle hosted the evening.
They welcomed three inspirational preachers.
Lucy Winkett from St James Piccadilly unpacked the theme of neighbourly love through the parable of the good Samaritan.
Angus Ritchie, who leads the Centre for Theology and Community, called the church to actively seek justice, showing how gospel attitudes enabled the church to lobby for justice, and how the church’s fighting for justice had brought the gospel to the oppressed.
Denis Adide, Curate at Christ Church W4 responded to our powerful reflections during the miserere by reminding us of the resurrection power of Christ, saying:
“My own heart is strengthened in the knowledge of God’s undying love for his people and deep faithfulness, the power that raised him from the dead. This is knowledge I lean on when my path goes through the valley that looks like death’s shadow.”
The St Paul’s service was one of dozens of beacon events that took place around the country, such as at St Albans, where Archbishop Justin and Bishop Michael Curry hurried after the royal wedding in Windsor.
The week prior to the event also saw prayer break out in dozens of Diocese of London parishes.
Such as St Margaret’s Uxbridge, who held a week of events including a prayer walk and picnic, or All Saints Edmonton, who hosted 24-hour prayer vigils manned by volunteers.