On May 9th several members of the PCC, sides people and Church Wardens all went to Oldham Parish Church for the Archdeacon’s Visitation.During my life I have been to many Visitations, most have been instantly forgettable; and many people have in the past seen such obligations in the church’s year as necessary but all rather boring.It is necessary in that it is a legal requirement for Church Wardens to be sworn into their office.The Archdeacon and Diocesan registrar also take the opportunity to say something about the running of the church and to give PCC members and Sides men and women chance to voice their support of the ministry of the church.
Most Archdeacons usually talk endlessly about gutters and downspouts and the need for the fabric of the church to be maintained, and the need to raise more money.All of which does leave you rather cold and thoroughly bored with the occasion (no matter how important it is for us to look after the fabric of the church).However, Archdeacon Mark thankfully spoke at length, and with much passion, about something far more important; the need for prayer.
It was extremely refreshing to hear an Archdeacon talk at a Visitation on a subject that is so important.The essence of his sermon was that if we are praying then everything else will come right.We will have enough money to support the ministry of the church; we will have buildings that are suitable for worship and churches that are well maintained.Prayer is the foundation of all that we do, it is the thing that keeps our relationship with God alive and us listening to where God is lead us.Without prayer we fumble around in the dark and lose our way.
Prayer is an area of our life that can, for some, cause anxiety, raising questions like “how should I pray”, “what should I pray for?”, and “is it wrong to pray for things I want?”Now, I’m not going to be able to unpack everything about prayer in a short magazine article, so until we can run a course about prayer I’ll just say this: Most of us have to work hard at prayer. Some do have a particular gift for prayer, but for most of us it is something we have to work hard at on a regular basis.Yet everyone can and does pray.Often at the difficult points in life everyone (including people who don’t profess to be Christians) will offer up a quick prayer.Many people have prayed for Madeleine for example, and such prayers are always good – prayer is never wasted.God is always more ready to hear than we to pray, as one of the collects remind us, so it doesn’t matter how we formulate our prayers – if they come from the heart God hears them.
During our Sunday services it is usually me that leads the intercessions; and whilst I am happy to do so it would be good to have others leading intercession too.At a parade service the children and young people of the congregation have for some time now been writing their own prayers, and it is marvellous that they have taken to this so well.One of the reasons I have encouraged this is because I believe it is important for us to pray for the issues that are significant to our young people, to hold their concerns before God in our prayers.And I’m sure you’ll agree they have all done a good job.
I would also like others in the congregation to lead the prayers of intercession – after all they are the prayers of the whole people of God, not just mine.I know that in the past others have read intercessions, so I hope that they and many others might be interested in sharing this part of ministry with me.I know that for some this might be a daunting task; but fear not, over the last few months I have been collecting various resources for leading intercessions to assist us.I will also be holding a “Leading Intercessions” workshop on Monday July 9th at 7.30 in church for any who want to find out more.Coming to the workshop doesn’t mean you will be signing up to lead intercession, but it will give you the opportunity to find out more before making a decision.Please think and pray about this, and if you want to come then please sign the list at the back of church so that I know how many handouts to produce.
Prayer, whether individual or corporate, is the most important part of our life in Christ.It is, in the words of Archdeacon Mark, something we ignore at our peril.Let us therefore pray, and continue praying, for one another.
Yours in Christ
Creation date : 24/05/2007 - 20:34
Last update : 22/05/2011 - 19:00
Category : Magazine (Archive)
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