Some reflections from our 24hour of focussed prayer on 23rd/24th October 2020
"As we follow Christ in the footsteps of St Chad, we pray that the two million people in our diocese encounter a church that is confident in the gospel, knows and loves its communities, and is excited to find God already at work in the world. We pray for a church that reflects the richness and variety of those communities. We pray for a church that partners with others in seeking the common good, working for justice as a people of hope."
We were very encouraged by the response to this call to pray together for the fulfilment of our shared Diocesan Vision as we take forward ‘Shaping for Mission’. The 24 hourly slots were all filled by individuals and groups often representing areas of ministry in the Diocese, by parishes and teams, by our overseas companions and friends, and in what felt to be an important innovation, by different Deaneries. We offer our apologies to all those who felt they had insufficient time to organise a time of prayer for their Deanery or Team but hope to address this next time!
The day began with Morning Prayer at 07.00 led by Bishop Michael via Zoom and his recorded call to worship is still available here.
Members of Diocesan departments such as Transforming Communities Together, Discipleship Vocation and Evangelism Team, Enabling Church, the Safeguarding Team, Schools and Chaplaincy teams met to pray mainly via Zoom. Individuals, local groups and churches and members of the Mother’s Union were invited to pray in their homes. Others gathered in threes or fours, meeting in person or in larger groups online.
St Chad’s Boningdale and Messy Church demonstrated the inspiring and creative use of resources and styles of praying which were in evidence from visual and tactile activities to extempore and silent prayer. Telford Deanery combined pre-recorded videos from each parish with time between for spontaneous prayer whilst others such as St Bart’s Penn in their 23.00 slot chose to live-stream their contribution direct from their church on Facebook. A particularly memorable contribution came from Richard Barrett who in his 05.00 slot prayed for all churches, church schools and Fresh Expressions in the Diocese.
It was heartening, moving and encouraging to be prayed for by our global companions and friends in Canada, Germany, Ireland, South Africa and South East Asia; they covered specified times including 03.00 and 04.00 which was particularly appreciated. Other denominations in our local area such as the Beacon House of Prayer in Stoke and Pray for Schools England also participated. The Cathedral and the Community of St Chad, incorporated prayers for our Diocese into their regular times of prayer. The Lichfield staff prayer group and some parishes moved their prayer meetings to fit in on Friday. News of how the day progressed was posted on our Diocesan Facebook group, including photographs, short videos and personal reflections on the experience. Some of those are captured in this pdf.
The weekly Diocesan Prayer Diary included additional material and ideas to encourage our praying. These are available each week at this link: Diocesan Prayer Diary Future plans include using the Weekly Prayer Diary to focus on Deaneries and also to provide material for the daily prayer time at 6.00pm throughout November being promoted by Bishop Michael and our Archbishops.
May we be shaped by the Good News of Jesus, the light of the world
And may we seek your kingdom as People of Hope. Amen.
(Taken from the Shaping for Mission prayer)