This quarterly event emerged from our Thy Kingdom Come initiative. It was pleasing and encouraging that so many people booked up for their hour slot, some being led to send in feedback which sits well under five headings:
Praise – Protection – Power – Perseverance – People
It begins, of course, with praise for our Loving Heavenly Father. It was quite a thought for each person settling down (or walking, or driving or running etc) at the start of their hour of prayer to know that God was central to each one before, each one afterwards. It was a blessing to be able to take time just to focus on God, who He is and all He has done (is doing and will do) for us.
And for some, in their feedback, this brought them to a sense of God’s incredible protection for us all. One person drew from experiences on the Online Alpha Course to spend time seeking God’s protection. God protects us as we seek to resist evil, which led them to a time of prayer on: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:10-11)
In prayer they rested in the next verses, considering the belt of truth; the breastplate of righteousness; the boots of the gospel of peace; the shield of faith; the helmet of salvation; and the sword of the Spirit. Even just reading that, you can see the strength of God’s protection; you can almost taste God’s awesome power. And someone else seemed to pick up on that, for they reported back that they had a sense of the power of God’s spirit evident in us and amongst us, and with us for the long haul.
For not only are we called to persevere, but we must remember that God is faithful and loyal to us – He perseveres with us. And so prayer developed into seeking God to support and provide for us as we persevere at SSCB – persevere in looking to God, in worshiping God and in acting out of God’s calling to us.
We are called together to praise God, seek protection in His Power and persevering in our faith, for we are God’s people. We had feedback which was straight prayer for those who do so much in this church for the rest of us, leading and informing us, helping with the Epistle, the Zoom services, the Home Groups – all ways that we can be a people together. There was prayer, too, for our people in San Diego – for the church family in La Jolla Christian Fellowship and just a wave of love for them. Inspired by Proverbs 27:23-27, we heard back that it will be the people, not things, that grow and flourish in the Lord. We will have plenty, be plenty – if we look always to Jesus.
This feedback was regrettably delayed, but amidst George’s series on Hebrews as we approach the Olympics, we can see that the five headings are like the five Olympic Rings. We end, as one person did, praying where someone else began: in Ephesians:
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith… (Ephesians 3:16-17)
[from Timothy Pitt]