[ACNS, by Rachel Farmer] A bishop from Bangladesh claims the Archbishop of Canterbury’s global ecumenical call to prayer has helped bring new life to the church with more people attending services and Christians praying together more frequently.
The Bishop of Barisal, Shourabh Pholia, part of the Anglican Church of Bangladesh, reported back on the impact of Thy Kingdom Come, which was run for the fourth time between Ascension and Pentecost this year.
He said: “In many places, they were so encouraged that they are continuing their prayer twice in a week or once in a week. Some of our priests said that the church has got a new life and now more are attending services. Children, youth and women were encouraged to pray, and they received blessings.”
This year more than two million Christians in 172 countries (almost 90% of the world’s countries) and across 65 different denominations and traditions took part in the 11 day wave of prayer in May and June. Participating churches were encouraged to ask people to pray for others to come to know God. Prayer resources for all ages, designed to help people pray as individuals or in groups, were translated into many languages including Maori, Arabic, Malagasy, Japanese, French, Finnish, Spanish and Swahili.
The new Thy Kingdom Come app was also downloaded thousands of times in almost 100 countries.
Anglican Communion Lead for Thy Kingdom Come, Bob Key said: “I believe Thy Kingdom Come is one of the most exciting things we are doing across the Communion. Exciting because it stems from the commands of the Lord Jesus, is clearly being used by the Holy Spirit to enrich the church’s evangelistic mission.”
In Sri Lanka the Anglican Diocese of Colombo took part and the Bishop of Colombo contacted 1,000 independent churches encouraging them to join in. Coordinator for the Sports Movement and Prayer ministry, Shamel Rajapakse said: “30,000 people prayed for five people each, after we printed ‘Pray for 5’ prayer cards and gave them to our members in the 124 churches of the Diocese. We also translated the material into our local languages.”
He said they were now working towards even greater participation in 2020 with the Mothers’ Union, young people, sports movement and many other denominations taking part.
In Southern Africa Anglican churches combined days of prayer with external outreach to the homeless, including two prayer walks where they offered food and prayers.
The Bishop in Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis, recorded a video in Arabic supporting Thy Kingdom Come which was distributed across several North African and Middle Eastern nations. Next year they plan to hold a large Beacon event, gathering hundreds of people together to pray in the Cathedral in Cairo.
Bob Key is continuing to travel around the Anglican Communion encouraging further participation in 2020. He said: “It is a privilege to help churches around the globe centre on praying that friends, families, communities and countries should come to know the saving love of God in Jesus Christ.”