By John Beverly, Reader, Springline Parish
“Thy Kindgom Come”
A few years ago, Archbishop Justin Welby suggested we pray for the eleven days from Ascension Day to Pentecost Sunday. He thought we might fill a cathedral. In 3 years, it has become a global movement of prayer and reflection.
During the 11 days of “Thy Kingdom Come”, that is from May 21st (Ascension Day) to May 31st(Pentecost Sunday), it is hoped that everyone who takes part will:
- Deepen their own relationship with Jesus Christ
- Pray for 5 friends or family to come to faith in Jesus
- Pray for the empowerment of the Spirit that we would be effective in our witness
The Daily Devotions for the next two weeks are centred around this prayer event. And from Thursday until a week on Sunday the reflections are those based on the resources provided by the “Thy Kingdom Come” movement of the Church of England.
Monday – White Van Man
I love this story.
Two people approached the gates of heaven: a white van driver and a church preacher.
As the white van driver arrived St Peter said, “Welcome, good and faithful servant. Your reward is that mansion on the hillside with the beautiful, heavenly view.”
With joy the preacher thought, “If the white van man gets a mansion with a view, I’ll probably get a palace!”
St Peter said, “Welcome, good and faithful servant. Your reward is that little cottage in the valley bottom.”
Stunned, the preacher asked, “Why does the white van man get a mansion with a view and I get a cottage in the valley bottom?”
“Well,” replied St Peter, “When you spoke in church you brought great peace to the people. Many went to sleep. But when the white van man hit the road people were suddenly alert and prayed fervently!”
(With apologies to white van drivers!)
Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu once said, “For whatever reason, since humankind showed up on the scene, God does nothing without a human partner.”
The intercessions for last Sunday’s online service were led by Austin Overton and his mum, Sarah. Austin introduced the prayers by saying, ”Prayer is a plant the seed of which is planted in every human heart. If it is well cultivated and nourished it will produce fruit, but if it is neglected it will wither and die.”
On Thursday the national – now international prayer event …
starts. This is 10 days of prayer leading up to one of the three major Christian festivals – Pentecost – Holy Spirit Day. We will be using the resources offered by “Thy Kingdom Come” to join with them from Thursday onwards.
Meanwhile we can start with the Lord’s prayer. The words are so familiar that I find it very hard to concentrate on what they mean. So I’ve rejigged the words to help us concentrate. Please pray:
Abba Father in heaven,
May your name be holy, respected and revered and never a swear word.
May your Kingdom come – come soon, Lord Jesus:
Your will be done on earth exactly like it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we all need.
Forgive us our failings … just as we forgive others for their failings.
Lead us not into temptation – keep us holy.
Deliver every one of us from all that is evil, especially this virus.
For you are the greatest there ever can be – yours is the kingdom of the universe, all the power imaginable and, wow! Yours is the magnificent glory!
Thank you, Lord.
Amen to that!
Tuesday – Five A Day
As part of “Thy Kingdom Come” we are asked to choose five people and pray for them daily over ten days.
Choose five people you would regularly like to pray for and write their names down onto a list. If you’re not sure who to pray for, ask God to guide you as you choose. Once you have settled on 5 names, commit to praying for them regularly by praying the following:
in the face of Jesus Christ
your light and glory have blazed forth.
Send your Holy Spirit that I may share with my friends [here, name your friends]
the life of your Son and your love for all.
Strengthen me as a witness to that love
as I pledge to pray for them,
for your name’s sake. Amen.
When you start praying for them on Thursday you could use this simple prayer:
I pray that you will lead… to you.
Thank you that you love them. I pray that you would break into their life and show them your love, grace and peace, for your glory. Amen
Wednesday – Practicing the Presence Of God
Breakfast time is my daily devotional time. Since 1993 I have had this daily discipline. I agree with the very respected Christian writer Rick Warren that “No other habit can do more to transform your life and make you more like Jesus than daily reflections on scripture.”
Psalm 1 puts it like this: “The one who meditates on his law … is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.”
In other words, sitting in the presence of God does you good!
This isn’t like studying. It’s just a matter of reading stuff and letting it soak in with whatever thoughts it brings to mind. Instead of going to work on God’s word, the word goes to work on you!
When I started, I used a simple hook to get me to think of God. Every time I put the kettle on, I prayed, “Lord, should I have a cup of tea of coffee?” Know what? I changed from being a coffee drinker to being a tea drinker! I also do things like leave something lying on the floor to remind me about something – then when I walk over it, I remember!
Here’s some suggestions about how to remember your five a day:
- Fasten a piece of string round your wrist with five knots in – every time you notice the string (e.g. when you wash your hands) say the names of your friends to God.
- Put a post-it on a mirror so that when you look into it you are reminded to bring the names to God.