Stepping up united prayer

September 2012 started with prayer and fasting as churches across the country joined HOPE’s All Praying Together weekend using creative ways to pray for their community and the country as a whole.
All Praying Together, 7-9 September, was a united weekend of prayer and fasting by individuals and churches of all denominations as part of HOPE. It followed on from the cascade of prayer throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games and will culminate in the National Day of Prayer at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, 29 September.
Dorset Vicar Andy Rimmer said: “Prayer works best when there is a focus. Coming together to pray with an outreach focus mobilises people to pray and we hope to continue to work together in our community, starting that with prayer.”  Andy, who had been one of the Olympic Torch bearers, used the All Praying Together weekend to launch a week of prayer at the Lantern Church Merley, Dorset. Church members met each day to pray in a different place for local issues: the pub, the shopping precinct, a school, the youth centre and the church and they used HOPE’s All Praying Together idea - The Very British Prayer Zone - for four-hours of prayer on the Saturday.
Roy Crowne, Executive Director of HOPE, says: “Our vision is that churches will be doing more mission together in words and actions and using key moments in the Christian calendar so mission becomes the heartbeat of the church. But we know that effective mission is built on a rock of prayer, and without prayer our greatest efforts have little effect or meaning. As ambassadors of God’s heavenly kingdom let’s be praying as well as responding to needs in our villages, towns and cities.”
Young people in Peterborough came home from the Newday Christian youth festival with a card which encouraged them to play their PART - Pray, Abstain (fast) and Reachout Together. They decided to fast and pray during the All Praying Together weekend. More than a dozen11-18 year olds gathered for the church’s half night of prayer and had a sleepover. The group prayed together at 10am, 2pm and 6pm on the Saturday with a different prayer focus each time, then broke the fast together in the evening.
Youth leader Jake Tucker said: “The young people initiated this and enjoyed it and were interested to find out why we fast. We had new Christians really keen on taking part. The girls went into town, the boys to the park and then later we all got creative with our prayer.  The All Praying Together youth pack was amazing and we will roll out some of these youth-friendly prayer resources over the next term.”
Phil Timson, HOPE’s Youth Director said: “We must make sure we are part of the answer and God’s transformation. We are called by his name and in grace he chooses to use us. By seeking personal intimacy with God and praying together, what actually happens is that we are made ready to become the honed instruments God will use to bring healing in our own communities.”
Prayer is a hallmark of HOPE. Email or phone 01788 542782 for a monthly prayer calendar and use HOPE’s creative prayer ideas to inspire prayer in your church