Pray for Seven
Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. [1 Thess 5:17-8 RSV]
Capital Vision 2020 promises that ‘We will be more creative in reaching new places with the Good News in the power of the Spirit.’ The final commitment we make in seeking to achieve this objective concerns prayer. Perhaps it should be the first. Each of us is invited to pray for at least seven people, that we may share with them the story of our faith.
As Lent begins, a season set apart for deeper prayer, for the refreshment of our souls, it is right that the Capital Vision Pray for Seven initiative should move to the foreground. Prayer is the work of the whole People of God; it is not for specialists alone. Many, not least the elderly and housebound, who might struggle to discern their particular calling within the life of the Church, can be at the forefront of this ministry of prayer. Most parishes and Christian communities will have networks which lend themselves readily to fostering intentional prayer: youth clubs and Sunday Schools, altar servers, study and house groups, breakfast clubs and so on. The list will be as long and varied as the opportunities for prayer which arise, according to individual circumstances, in the life of every Christian.
Will you join me in starting to pray for seven people?
Some of those for whom you feel called to pray, you will want to keep privately within your heart, at least for the time being. Others are those whom you may wish, courteously and sensitively, to tell that you are praying for them. In due course, we hope to be able to offer opportunities across the Diocese to enable you to invite those for whom you have been praying to attend special events and services. But, in the meantime, two different resources have been developed within the Diocese which are now available to help us all pray for seven people.
First, from April 2014 the Diocese of London is sponsoring an app, available for Android and Apple iOS called PrayerMate. This app was originally developed by Andy Geers, a member of Euston Church in the Diocese of London. He wanted to help people to be more faithful in prayer for the people and causes we care about. Andy has further developed the app to help us in our priority of praying for seven people. Additional features enable you to pray through the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer, add other prayers which you regularly use and people or organisations for whom you wish to pray. The app, currently sponsored by London City Mission, is available as a free download.
Secondly, and for those who prefer printed resources, the Mothers’ Union have come up with the idea of a pray for seven bookmark which has space to record the names of those for whom you are praying. We’ve had these printed and they are now available to order free from firstname.lastname@example.org – there are plenty available so please order as many as you would like.
Finally, following on from the positive responses to the Week of Prayer which was held in the run-up to the launch of Capital Vision 2020 in June 2013, we are planning another such week of 24/7 prayer from 9 to 15 June this year. This will be run in conjunction with 24/7 prayer, St Paul’s Cathedral and Holy Trinity Brompton. As last year, all will be invited to book slots of one hour (the booking can be made online) to pray in one of the chapels in the Cathedral with guided prayer during daytime hours, or in local parishes and places during the evening, night and early morning. For those praying locally, resources with ideas for your time of prayer will be made available. Booking will open after Easter; do think about which slot you, a group you are involved in, or you parish would like to sign up for.
I hope you will all take very seriously this call to pray for seven. You might find this prayer helpful in bringing before the Lord all those for whom you feel called to pray:
O God, who in the work of creation commanded the light to shine out of darkness;
we pray that the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ
may shine into the hearts of all your people,
and so reveal to them the knowledge of your glory
in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Already downloaded over 15,000 times, the app has been nominated for awards at the Christian New Media Awards, and mentioned in the Times, the Church Times and Christian Today.
“The PrayerMate app is a wonderful tool for your prayer life, we would highly recommend it to you as a way to enhance your prayer life, to focus your prayers and to inform your intercession. In today’s busy world we need all the assistance we can to facilitate our connection with the Divine. PrayerMate definitely helps with this.”
Brian Heasley, National Director 24-7 Prayer.
Download via www.geero.net/prayermate. Available for iPhone and Android.
The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker is the Bishop of Fulham, responsible for the pastoral care of parishes operating under the ‘London Plan‘. He is also Guild Vicar of St Andrew Holborn in the City of London. His interests include theatre, poetry, opera and walking.
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