The voice of prayer is never silent
Following the National Week of Prayer, it is an encouragement to look back on all the events which happened across our diocese, and to see the wide engagement with this national call to prayer.
Over 65 churches contacted us here at the Capital Vision team to let us know their plans for the Week of Prayer, with many more documenting their participation on social media and throwing events for their own communities. People from across the country shared the news of how and where they were praying on Twitter, using #ThyKingdomCome.
Congregations from Shepperton right across to Stoke Newington were involved in the week, dedicating hours if not days to praying together for God’s Kingdom to come.
The Ven Luke Miller, Archdeacon of London, reports back on the impact on the City churches during this week:
“Churches across the City of London were delighted to be part of the Week of Prayer, emulating the apostles who spent the nine days between Ascension and Pentecost ‘in constant prayer.’ Extra services and times of prayer provided opportunities for many, but the experience reminded us that many of our churches are regularly open, and there is much worship in an ‘ordinary’ week. As the old hymn says, ‘the voice of prayer is never silent, nor dies the strain of praise away.’ Our prayer now is that we may build on what God has done among us and that he will continue to send His Holy Spirit ‘to pray in us with sighs too deep for words.”
The Week of Prayer beacon event for the Diocese of London was held at St Paul’s Cathedral on Saturday 14 May and hosted 2,000 people gathered to worship and pray for our city.
The evening featured a performance by Intermission Youth Theatre, a group funded by the Bishop of London’s Mission Fund, which works with 15-25-year-olds in London who are at risk of offending, offenders or lacking in opportunities.
The event was hosted by the Bishop of London; the Archdeacon of Hackney, the Ven Liz Adekunle; Pete Greig (24/7 Prayer International), and the congregation was led in sung worship by Tim Hughes, Seth Pinnock and others from the Worship Central team.
A comment from diocesan Facebook page stated:
“Thy Kingdom Come was awesome at St Paul’s Cathedral yesterday. The diversity of London displayed the encompassing love of Jesus. The Bishop of London spoke about how different languages in Christianity is like Pentecost and not like the tower of babel. Simply awesome! London for Jesus!”
Other events across the Diocese included a special Evening of Prayer for Evangelism at St John on Bethnal Green. The evening was jointly hosted by On Fire Mission, The Sodality of Mary, The Society of Catholic Priests, Anglican Catholic Future, and the Company of Servers. The preacher for the evening was the Bishop of Edmonton, the Rt Revd Rob Wickham. As the meditative evening got underway, various hosts from each of the groups, led the congregation through a series of prayers followed by deep periods of meditative silence.
Preb Rosemia Brown focused on all women who had served in the Church, and for any who felt removed from God – praying for them to reunite. The Revd Sam Korn prayed for all who had been driven from the Church because of anger or fear, or that those who had lost faith due to the behaviour of Christians. The congregation prayed for those who have suffered harm, throughout society, in that they would be reunited in the love of God.
The Revd Christopher Woods, Vicar of St Anne’s Hoxton, prayed in the spirit of Anna and Simeon – elderly and wise – that the Church in London would be a meeting of the generations, where miracle of encounters take place. Prayers were led for all we encounter through weddings, funerals and baptisms, where we can share the love of Jesus to anyone old, young and those of all ages in between.
St John’s Hoxton produced a wonderful short film with prayers written by local people during the 168 hours of Prayers this week.
Matthew Hall, who attended the evening said:
“The evening was inspiring as prayers were said for all of those who were are on the margins of society, in the hope that they would find a new life in Jesus. The evening was cleverly interwoven with heartfelt prayers and spirit-led with periods of silence, enabling us to focus on the word of God, through our own meditations. In his address, the Bishop of Edmonton retold one amazing story about a pectoral cross being moulded out of crime knives that were used on the streets of Hackney. After a tiring day, this evening helped me to feel refreshed and encouraged in my faith, to share the Good News with those in need.”
Other events across the Diocese included a week of evangelism, based at St Helen’s Bishopsgate. During the National Week of Prayer, St Helen’s Church hosted three guest events where evangelist Roger Carswell sought to explain the gospel to non-Christians.
Sarah Webster, who attended some events, said:
“The church was transformed, with a bar open and canapes being served all evening. Roger interviewed an ex-IRA terrorist, a City leader, Jeremy Anderson and David Burrowes MP. This made it a very easy invitation to non-Christian friends. The first evening sold out, with over 300 people attending. Free books were given away at the end with invitations to come along again to Sunday services, Bible studies or to try Christianity Explored. We pray these events might bring many people to want to know more about Jesus as we seek to make him known in the City of London.”
The engagement with the call to prayer spanned from churches to prayer groups, from cathedrals to schools. All Saints Fulham C of E primary school had a pop-up prayer station where they got creative by making a prayer tree to document their prayers.
Here at Diocesan House, we hosted a prayer chapel for the week, where we read the daily offices together as a staff team.
Creativity has flourished around the Diocese as we have sought to engage further in prayer, and we echo the prayer that this week would have provoked a wider interest in the person of Jesus all around the Diocese of London. We pray that God’s kingdom would continue to come in London and all of the UK.
This was written by Gemma Scharnowski, a former Capital Vision 2020 Assistant at the Diocese of London. [edited on 14 May 2019]