[ACNS] The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have called for a “great wave of prayer” for the evangelisation of England. In an “unprecedented step”, Justin Welby and John Sentamu have written to every parish priest in the Church of England, inviting churches across the country to take part in the focused prayer initiative in the week leading up to Pentecost Sunday.
They say they want “to see a great wave of prayer across our land, throughout the Church of England and many other Churches” from 8 to 15 May. At the end of the week, a number of “beacon” events will be held – at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Saturday 14 May; and at Durham, Coventry, Winchester, and Canterbury Cathedrals and St Michael le Belfrey in York, on Sunday 15 May.
These beacon events, led by renowned worship leaders and preachers, will provide space for people to “pray for the renewal of the Holy Spirit and the confidence to share their faith,” a spokesman for Lambeth Palace said.
Archbishop Justin will send a message via live video link to other beacon events taking place at the same time as the Canterbury event.
“At the heart of our prayers will be words that Jesus himself taught us – ‘Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,’” the two archbishops said in their letter to clergy.
“It is impossible to overstate the life-transforming power of the Lord’s Prayer,” they say. “It is a prayer that is reassuring enough to be on the lips of the dying and yet dangerous enough to be banned in cinemas.
“It is famous enough to be spoken each day by billions in hundreds of languages and yet intimate enough to draw us ever closer into friendship with Jesus Christ.
“It is simple enough to be memorised by small children and yet profound enough to sustain a whole lifetime of prayer.
“When we pray it with sincerity and with joy, there is no imagining the new ways in which God can use us to his glory.”
The archbishops are suggesting various ways churches can engage with the week of prayer; including the holding of day-long or week-long continuous 24/7 prayer; either as parishes, teams or deaneries; saying special prayers in Sunday worship; prayer walking; or handing out a novena prayer card to every congregation member.
In their letter to clergy, Archbishops Justin and Sentamu say: “As we travel around the country, we are continuously encouraged by the faithfulness, commitment and courage of all our Partners in the Gospel. Your ministry in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, often in testing circumstances, is an inspiring testimony to the transforming work of our Lord.”
They say that “ministry is empty and barren without prayer” and say that their hope is “for all Christians to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ; for all of us to have confidence to share the Gospel [and] for all to respond to the call of Jesus Christ to follow Him as disciples, to live out the Gospel and to seek God’s Kingdom from day to day.”
Partners in the week of prayer initiative include 24-7 Prayer, HOPE, the World Prayer Centre, the Neighbourhood Prayer, Network, and the National Day of Prayer and Worship.
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