Half term seems a long time ago now but I’m still processing all the conflicting feelings about Prayer48 this year.
Firstly, I really want to thank everyone who was involved in any way. Thank you to all who delivered prayer cards around the parish. We know that they had an impact because several people emailed their prayer requests and thanked us for the cards coming through their letterboxes! That really is a great outreach to the parish. In the end we had over 80 prayer requests; many from the boxes around the area, some from email and some from other forms of social media over the course of the weekend. It is lovely to know that we’ve has at least 2 emails telling us of answered prayer after the weekend.
Chris did a fantastic job with taking services, leading Messy Church and staying in church overnight with the young people on the Friday night. My primary thanks have to go to her because it really wouldn’t have happened without all of Chris’ hard work.
We opened on Friday evening with a launch service. Sadly, it wasn’t well attended but I think everyone who came benefited from James’ lovely reflection on prayer and the opportunity to sample the prayer stations that were all around the church for the whole weekend. The rota for people coming to pray in church over the weekend was filled up and I’m delighted to report that we really did have 48hours of constant prayer.
On Saturday morning June led a very beautiful healing prayer service during which we prayed for each and every situation on the prayer cards. Some of them were very heartfelt prayers for friends and relatives with devastating illness, others were for healing of broken relationships while others were requests that we would pray for difficult situations. It was very moving to have the opportunity to pray for every one of those requests.
In the afternoon we had a lovely Messy Church with lots of crafts, slime, rockets and a lovely tea. There were not a lot of families but some of those who came were visitors which was lovely.
On Saturday evening Sarah, Anne and I stayed over in church. It was quite a long night because it gets dark so much earlier and stays dark so much longer in October than when we usually hold Prayer48 in May. It was a very peaceful evening and I really felt God’s presence with us as we prayed through the prayer cards and experienced other forms of prayer through the prayer stations. Each of them allowed us to talk to God, and indeed to listen to Him in a different way. We did get some sleep as well 😊
On the Sunday morning we had a lovely all age service led by Chris. It really was all age as everyone had the opportunity to be as involved as they wanted to be. At lunchtime a few of us brought some food and decided to have lunch together, inviting anyone who wished to join us. As it happened it was the first day at St John’s for our 2 new ordinands Will and Sam and they were able to join us as was Nicole who had just started in the choir. It was lovely to have the chance to get to know them all a bit better. In the end there were around 10 of us for lunch and we all had a really good time. Miraculously, though we had only a little food between us, it managed to stretch and everyone had plenty!
Our Prayer48 weekend ended with a lovely service of Choral Evensong. It was an open invitation for anyone to come and sing with the choir and there were about 20 of us - only half of us regular members of the choir.
One of the things I really like about Prayer48 is the variety of activities and services, there really is something for everyone and each person can explore and experience their own relationship with God in their own way as well as having the privilege of being able to pray for others who need to experience God’s love for themselves.
Prayer48 is a lot of work to put together and I’m so grateful for everyone who helps but the team is definitely getting smaller and if we are to have such an event in the future we need more people involved with the planning and with the weekend itself. It has been suggested that we should make it just a one day event but isn’t that just making it easier for ourselves? 48 hours of constant prayer is quite a sacrificial undertaking in some ways and despite our busy lives sometimes it’s good to deliberately make the time to spend with God and in promoting His love in our parish!
I’m planning to hold a debrief meeting for anyone who would like to feedback anything about the weekend and also for anyone who would like to have a say in where we go from here. It will be advertised in church, in the bulletin and on the website so please keep an eye out. Alternatively you could respond by email either to the regular church email or to <firstname.lastname@example.org>