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A prayer encounter on the street

If you had one wish, what would it be? That’s the question which young people in Canning Town posed to local people as they offered them prayer as part of a mission in 2012. The impact of that mission continues today as the London borough’s young people take part in a HOPE Mission Academy.

In summer 2012 churches in the East London area called their mission Love E7 as young people from the area showed practical love to the people of the E7 postcode. They picked up litter, hosted youth drop-ins and cafes, cleared gardens and chatted to people on the street. On the third day of the mission they were encouraged to go out with no agenda, but to ask people a simple question: ‘If you had one wish in the world right now what would it be?’ and then to offer to pray for them.

Two girls from the group joined Amy Stott, one of the youth leaders, and asked this question of a Muslim lady. The woman replied that she could not have children but had always longed for twins. The girls offered to pray for her; the lady was taken aback but said yes.

Amy recalls: “After a beautiful prayer from one of the girls, something wonderful happened. The lady looked up and said ‘When I fall pregnant I’m going to come to your church and celebrate my joy with you.’ Wow, what a moment! The girls were so excited to hear honest, real and positive answers.”

The pattern of prayer for people on the streets of Newham has continued. “It is amazing to see the young people with a new passion for this outreach,” Amy says. “Now I have a problem when we need to get anywhere on time, as our youth group members want to stop everyone along the way and offer them prayer. A 15-year-old lad standing in the middle of a group of policemen offering to pray for them is a sight. Somehow that excitement has created a culture of ‘let’s pray more often and pray for others’. This is part of our dream in the Newham/Canning Town Mission Academy, that the young people will see mission as something they do in their daily life and love to do.”

Lucy Cooper, 14/03/2013



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