May I wish you a very happy and blessed New Year? What better way to start the year than in prayer?
You will have noticed that we have not had Prayer Concerts since the one at St. Wilfrid’s in June. This is mainly because of my change in role, Lead Elder at King’s Gate Church.
But at the Churches Together Conversations evening back in September, Kemi Adeyefa-Ojomo approached me and expressed an interest in leading some cross-church prayer. We met in December, and have also had a meeting with others who love standing together in prayer. Thank you to those of you who completed the surveymonkey on prayer which has helped to indicate preferences! While I did not feel able to organise the Prayer Concerts at the level previously, without taking away from what I am doing with King’s Gate, I am much encouraged by Kemi’s wholehearted attitude to prayer and her servant heart towards the whole church in Bognor.
Monday 15th Jan we will meet from 7:30pm til 8:30pm at the new Upper Space at Opengate Church on Victoria Drive. Please come if you can make it at all, and also promote amongst those you know who may be interested. We are planning in future to hold the meetings on ground floor level for accessibility reasons, but please note that regrettably we cannot offer disability access for this first session.
The plan is to meet monthly, for a Pause and Pray – we will perhaps start with a song of worship, share current needs briefly, and then pray either in small groups or together if we are fewer. There is a lot of vision and appetite for corporate prayer at the moment. Here is a quotation on prayer that I have not come across before:
When Christ ascended into heaven all He left behind was a prayer meeting. The early Church didn’t have a prayer meeting; the early Church was the prayer meeting. In fact, in the early Church every Christian was a prayer-meeting Christian. –Armin Gesswein
I am more encouraged than I know how to say as I write today, in the middle of a prayer season at the Boiler Room. Both my wife and I said today that 48 hours is too short a time. Frustrations there are aplenty, and yet there are more encouragements than frustrations.
We are starting to know the real joy of experiencing community. We are starting to feel that as people come and go, Christ is among us. Isn’t that the purpose of our lives? To encourage and build each other up? Not just on Sundays, but every day that we go about our business?
For us, because at the moment we can only give small amounts of time over to keeping the Boiler Room open, the points of community are not enough. Now that we’ve tasted of this river, we want more of it.
One thing that has encouraged us this time has been that we have instituted an open worship slot each day. I think we will definitely do this again, as worship is part of the Boiler Room culture. Both the sessions we’ve had so far have been small in number, but have been easy and good times.
At the moment, we are finding that people are finding it hard to get out to us. Yet we want to keep moving forward with the Boiler Room concept. This may mean having Boiler Room events in different venues, to draw people who would otherwise not be able to make it. If you have a Bognor venue you are happy to make available, please get in touch. Otherwise, we may be contacting you!
We are being made aware of critical needs for prayer, and over the last 20 hours of the prayer, I believe that the needs will be sharpened up. We partner with God to see His kingdom come on earth. Some of the Boiler Room values that we have not yet leant into include learning, mission and reaching out to those on the margins. I am going to be praying into those to see what the Father wants.
I have put a sheet up on the wall in the Boiler Room, where people can sign up and say: Yes, I want to be a part of Boiler Room Bognor. What does that look like? I don’t exactly know yet. But if you feel a pull in your spirit when you read that – it could be that the Holy Spirit wants you to get involved; if not in Bognor, then in somewhere nearby. Part of Boiler Room is a geographical thing. But part of it is global too. I made a connection today at church with a couple serving the Lord in Angola, Africa. We are going to be putting prayer needs up in the Boiler Room from them too.
A word given in our church meeting this morning was that God has a party bag for each one of us. When we get it home, we are to look in our bags. If there is a balloon, we should blow it up. If there is a toy, we should play with it. If it’s a piece of cake, eat it. He delights in the good gifts he gives. Being part of a Boiler Room means saying: I’m serious about the joy. I’m serious about getting time with God, and building my life around the rhythm of intimacy, intercession, mission.
Just read Alec Dunn’s latest segment on why we should pray for revival in difficult times. I was particularly taken with his prayer points, and will use these again over the next couple of days as I’m praying in the Boiler Room – see his comments below. I think we are wasting are time if we don’t pray in faith, and if we don’t remember that we are praying to the God of the impossible. Yesterday I was just thinking how God comes good all the time, every day – even creation would not hold together without his continued inspiration and input.
If you want to read the rest of this ‘Interceder Encourager’ let me know and I can put it up, and a wealth of other material on revival seasons, visit his website
5) The prayer of the Early Church recorded for us in Act 4:23-31 is the clearest passage in the Bible that demonstrates this attitude, and tells us how to respond to difficulties.
- Not to complain. Peter and John had just been arrested by the authorities, but when they came back, they did not complain at all. So, we are to act in the same way.
- Acknowledge the greatness of God, just as they did.
- Realize that God has allowed the evil we are witnessing to take place, just as they did.
- Tell God about the situation we are in, and what you are expecting Him to do about it, as they did.
- Pray for God to give us boldness to speak out His word everywhere, as they did.
- Pray for God to perform miracles of healings, signs and wonders in order to convince people that Jesus is the One whom they should believe in and accept as Lord of their lives, as they did.
- Expect God to work, as they did.
We see that the Lord answered their prayer straightaway in the most astounding fashion and continued to answer the prayer in giving wonderful deliverances. But at other times, He did not deliver, but used the difficulties for His purposes. In the same way, as the difficulties increase for us today, we should be praying and trusting, as the Early Church did, asking God to work everything for His purposes.
6) We know that as we work and witness and pray according to the pattern He has given us, there will be opposition, because the devil will be angry at God working. So we should not be surprised at any of the criticism or opposition, including people being arrested and put in prison, or even killed. But we are to continue to pray for God to work miracles and pour out His Spirit and build His Church.
It is going to become increasingly important that we hold on to this pattern, so that, as the opposition grows, we think, not about surviving but about succeeding. We need to always think positively and prayerfully of God working His purpose out, of revival and awakening and miracles, yet alongside the opposition. If the opposition gets greater, we should be looking to God for greater miracles and greater growth.
“To Him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.” (Eph.3:20-21)
So it’s just a week before we will have a 48 hour Boiler Room prayer time – and you can book to come and pray here
Last time we prayed was a special time for our family. I noticed a few things, and it’s so important to lay down time to allow God to take it up. One was that a number of important prayer requests came to our attention. Partly because we had enough space to notice them. But it is always the case, when prayer goes on, that urgent needs rise up. Prayer is always important, it is always needed. But we allow the busyness of the daily routine to get in the way. The only way we are to allow the kingdom of God first in our lives is to build it in, let it shape our lifestyle.
A second thing that I noticed is that although we set aside the time to pray for others, God is always gracious and does things in our lives. I’m at a point in my life where I’m thinking about the future, the ‘second half’, of life: what have I done for Christ, what am I doing for Christ, what will I do for Christ? I do not currently take extended time out for retreats (although this is something I want the opportunity to do, to hear God more clearly); but having a prayer room in the house, and setting aside deliberate time to pray like this, DOES mean that I get a renewed direction and purpose for the next few months, if not longer. Dreams start to rise in me; passions start to form. Intercessory burdens take shape. We need longer in His presence than we might allow on a daily basis, in order to let the deeper works form in us.
Finally, there were amazing things going on at the intersections of the prayer room. People coming and going; working on filling up the slots (and it does take a bit of work!); clearing things away and keeping things fresh; also keeping our family going and the daily routines – busier than ever, and yet in a way with more time. There were moments to chat and share fellowship with one or two who came who did not want to hurry away after they had prayed; there were times when I joined those in the prayer room, although not planning to. There were visitors to our house who had never come before. New pathways were trod, and new things begun. Prayer has a habit of doing this. Prayer is always an uncharted path when we are seeking the face of God. One of the things I wrote up on the wall from February back when we prayed was: Start with prayer, go anywhere.
As a boiler room, we are looking to aspire to the boiler room values and practices. As a normal family household, holding down jobs, involved in normal church, looking after children, we need to be finding out how that happens. I have a vision to see a number of people involved in the community here; for us to BECOME more of a community, more open, and hospitable. Today I opened an email from 24/7 prayer, and watched an 8 minute video on hospitality that I enjoyed as one of the practices that a Boiler Room aspires to. Another one is worship – and this time, we will have some worship sessions to feed into that value – at 8pm on Sat, 8pm on Sun and at 7pm on Monday before we finish the time. You are welcome to come and engage in worship during that time.
View here a ten minute video filmed in the Boiler Room early this morning after some prayerful reading and starting to catch a vision of something….
City Changing Prayer is a book that I refer to, a hidden gem that has lots of exciting testimonies in (some of which you may have heard before if you know about the work that has been done in Manchester in the 1990s and beyond).