The power of prayer

THE third annual global ecumenical prayer movement, Thy Kingdom Come, gets underway soon.Considered one of the most dynamic prayer initiatives to emerge from the Church of England in recent years, Thy Kingdom Come will run between May 10 and 20.
Thy Kingdom Come is a simple invitation to pray between for friends and family to come to faith. Participation has grown every year.

Photo: Thy Kingdom Come

In 2016, 100,000 Christians pledged to pray. By 2017, more than half a million had pledged to pray, from more than 85 countries including Ghana, Netherlands, Malaysia, Cuba, South Africa, Australia, Korea, Japan and the Philippines.

In the UK, in 2017, every diocese in the Church of England was involved. Many cathedrals took part, hosting ‘beacon’ events designed to focus prayers in towns and cities nationwide. The campaign’s ecumenical appeal led to more than 50 denominations and traditions being involved last year; including the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church and the Redeemed Christian Church of God.

The positive impact of Thy Kingdom Come 2017 continues to unfold as numerous stories of personal and communal transformation pour in from churches, families and whole communities alike. Among the stories arising from the initiative – many of them deeply moving – is one from a couple who had not seen their son for 22 years. “We pray every day obviously for him but during Thy Kingdom Come he was one of the people we prayed for as a group,” they say. “We put his name on the altar before God and… yesterday he came home.”

This year also sees some digital developments including a brand-new website and a Thy Kingdom Come devotional app created by leading Christian publishers SPCK. Both products have been translated into several languages including Spanish, Korean, and Swahili and will be launched in time for Easter.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby said: “The business of being witnesses to Jesus Christ and of praying to be witnesses compels us to consider the world around us. It compels us to seek, to experience the compassion of God for a world caught up in lostness, in sin, but also in suffering and pain, in the oppression of the poor, in cruelty, in abuse, in outrageous inequality, in all the things that go against the Kingdom of God.

“There is no limit to what the Kingdom of God does, and so the moment we start praying Thy Kingdom Come we look outwards.”

Five-minute prayer for Thy Kingdom Come

By Michelle Eyre

Photo: i:Stock

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has commissioned Oxford’s Discovering Prayer to produce a series of five-minute prayer times that you can listen to online from Ascension to Pentecost (10 May to 20 May 2018).

The project comes after last year’s Prayers for Busy People Pentecost project, which saw the Oxford Diocese join forces with Discovering Prayer to give people with hectic lives the chance to pray regularly. Both initiatives are part of the global Thy Kingdom Come call to prayer.
Discovering Prayer is offering a wide range of resources for you to choose from, including:

  • Free five-minute audio prayer tracks that you can listen to each day to help you discover prayer
  • Scripts that you can follow, for instance if you would like to pray in the company of others
  • A free guide to prayer: 101 Ways to Get Going and Keep Going with Prayer
  • One of the most encouraging outcomes of the project is hearing how lives have been transformed – from big changes, to even just small alterations to daily life – bringing peace and support to so many people.

If you’d like to take part in this international project and find the time and guidance you need to explore prayer more fully, in a way that suits your own lifestyle, then Discovering Prayer is the perfect way to begin. Whether you’re alone or with company, at home, washing up, or taking a walk, the prayer times will help you to deepen your relationship with God and find a little calm in your busy life today.

Discovering Prayer has a mission to help 10,000 people get going and keep going with prayer by 2020, so that we can deepen our relationship with God and transform our communities.

Michelle Eyre is the chief prayer officer at Discovering Prayer.

Ascending the Wittenham Clumps

ONCE again Wittenham Clumps, near Dorchester in Oxfordshire will be the picturesque setting for a beacon event for Thy Kingdom Come.

Bishop Colin will join the event on Ascension Day at the Clumps. For those who don’t feel able to climb the Clumps, the same service will also take place at Little Wittenham Church.

At the end of Thy Kingdom Come, people are encouraged take part in a pilgrim walk on Pentecost afternoon. Anyone can plan a walk, by themselves or with friends. They could either do the traditional Dorchester Pilgrimage or part of the Thames Path Pilgrimage.

They can then join in activities and games, Messy Church fun and tea at Dorchester Abbey, from 4pm, with the day culminating in a relaxed Songs of Praise style service at 5pm.