“And I will do whatever you ask in My name,
so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.
You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it.”
We continue to be challenged and encouraged by the promises of God in the Bible where we have been exhorted to pray! As prayer is one of the three key areas we are engaged in as part of the Vision that the Lord has for us here at St. Mary’s, we are continuing to seek to learn what this means in practice.
We pray because we understand prayer to be a form of service to God which He commands of us, and which we delight in obeying. As God also intends prayer to be the means of obtaining His solutions to many of the circumstances and situations we find in the challenges of everyday life, because it gives us the strength to face and overcome temptation, to strengthen other people spiritually and as a means of God’s will being ‘done on earth as it is in Heaven’, so we are continuing to seek to become a more prayerful community in many ways.
Further to a Prayer Workshop and a Prayer Ministry Training Day we followed this up with the formation of a Prayer Ministry Team. To encourage all members of the church, we offered a Sermon Series studying what God’s word has to say about prayer, engaging with key issues such as:
- Human frailties and Jesus’ teaching about the three imperatives to Ask, Seek, Knock
- God’s call for persistence and sincerity in our prayers
- How can we pray ‘mountain moving’ prayers
- How to pray when God seems absent
- Modelling ourselves on Jesus as the perfect example of what a prayerful life could be like
All in all, this was a thought provoking series for us as we came to realize more and more, not just the challenges but also the immense privileges, of being able to pray to our loving Heavenly Father.
The Team benefitted from a further Training Day on Saturday 16th April 2016 and it was also available as an opportunity to recruit more members to the team.
The St. Mary’s Prayer Ministry Team offers prayer for members of the 10.30am congregation, and for visitors and guests, every Sunday of the month. Also Prayer Ministry is available during the second Sunday of the month at the 9am service.
Since inception, the Team has asked God to help with numerous aspects of personal requests, which people have explained to them, either concerning themselves or on behalf of others. A team member writes, “The team are in awe of how they are being used by God. We remind ourselves that we are just channels through which the Holy Spirit can work, and it is a huge privilege to be part of something that touches people and builds community.”
15 people, some existing team members and others interested in Prayer Ministry, attended a very informative and helpful Training Day on Saturday 15th October 2016 from 10am to 3pm. Led by two experienced Prayer Team practitioners from Woking, the day included Biblical teaching, practical guidance, modelling examples and the opportunity to practise listening to God and to the person being prayed for at the same time. Our grateful thanks to leaders Colin and Judy.
The Prayer Chain plays an important part of our prayer life outside the Sunday services. As intercessory prayer is simply prayer for other people we intercede when we take the place of someone else by pleading to God on their behalf.
In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul says that Christians should be “….praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication ….” The word supplication has the meaning of bending, in humbleness and humility, and kneeling before the majesty of the Creator God in prayer for another person is a tremendous privilege.
The scope of intercessory prayer is awesome because it opens up the possibility that those we pray for may experience the power of God’s love, and feel the peace, healing and comfort of God’s presence with them in their time of need.
Here at St. Mary’s we seek to connect any of our members who are already leading a life of prayer, and who wish to intercede for others, with other people in our fellowship who would value prayer. We want all members of this fellowship to join in prayers to seek God’s best, not just for ourselves, our family and our church, but also for those with a particular need at a particular time. We believe that when everyone is praying simultaneously for the same request, there really exists a tremendous power in our shared prayers.
To be a member of our Prayer Chain simply means that you will receive a request to pray for someone in need, for whom you immediately intercede in prayer. The prayer request will normally come to you by email via the Church Office. If you are a member of St. Mary’s and would like to be included on the Prayer Chain list, then please contact the Parish Administrator.
At St. Mary’s we continue to host our Parish Prayer Meetings throughout the year. During our interregnum these will be held every Thursday from 7.30pm to 8.30pm in the Church Centre. The evenings are led by a variety of people using different styles, models and patterns of prayer, so that each evening is unique, stimulating and engaging.