Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Better than another DVD: A week of prayer

Ellie Hughes who is part of our church and the founder of the Riverbank Trust wrote this blog post which I share with you in full. I join her plea which is that you might find a place somewhere to pray with others this week. We have a week of prayer ending in a whole night of praying into Good Friday and you are welcome to join us.

I’ve been particularly challenged this Lent as I’ve endeavoured to forego my slight addiction to DVD box sets. It would probably be worrying to count up the number of hours I’ve spent over the last few years investing in a fictional American government and worrying about whether they will survive the latest scandal, but this Lent I gave it a shot and lasted well into 3 and a half weeks before succumbing to its political charms. The revelation that has interested and humbled me during my not so strict fast is this - my heart’s own capacity to hide and numb itself in absolutely anything despite the opportunity to draw near to God, experience His love and be everlastingly changed by it. Seriously, I even took up Sudoku.

It’s becoming increasingly easy and attractive to shut our eyes and ears to the cries of our community and nation, and satisfy ourselves with the daily things of life. It always makes me think of the atheist advertising campaign that asserts: “there’s probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life”, and makes me wonder, if a stranger looked at my life, at the things I choose to care about - would it reflect that phrase?

Because the problem with that pithy phrase is this: Stop worrying? Enjoy life? We currently live in a nation that has approximately 3.8 million children living in poverty, where 70% of all crime is drug and alcohol related, where an estimated 2 million young people have been or are suffering sexual abuse, where 10% of children deliberately self-harm and where at least one in every 3 women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. We live in a world where 1.2 million children are trafficked every year, which averages out to 2 a minute, and their average age is just 14, a world where EVERY DAY 4000 children die of diarrhoea because they don’t have access to clean water.

Now keep reading, because otherwise this just makes for depressing reading. What makes it not so?

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

It strikes me that we live in a land, in a world and in a time that so desperately needs healing, where the need for the truth of God’s word, of His love and hope and conviction, has never been more relevant. We live in a community that experiences a significant amount of the issues outlined above, and this Easter I want to be an individual and part of a community that humbles ourselves, prays and seeks the face of God so that He may come and heal our land. So come and join us for Holy Trinity’s Week of Prayer beginning this Monday (2 April) and continuing every day at 9.30am and 7.30pm, culminating in our amazing Night of Prayer on Maundy Thursday. I guarantee it’ll be more exciting than a box set …


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