Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28 19
Prayer matters – it mattered to Jesus and it mattered to the early Church and so it should matter to us. If we are really honest, no one can boast a perfect prayer life. Life is busy and sometimes our prayers can be missed or we are so busy with our own demands that we don’t allow God in. Prayer is how we have communion with God our creator, who made us in His image to have an intimate relationship with him. A relationship so intimate that Jesus asks us to call God ‘Abba’ – Father – Daddy; ‘Our Father who art in heaven’. So prayer is important, intimate and finally, it makes a difference. We may not see the answer to prayer and at time God may seem silent, but as Rowan Williams explained at a lecture at my Theological College in Cambridge, prayer is like sunbathing – as you pray, you feel different, warm, but not aware of change going on in you, but at the end you have changed – in the case of sunbathing you have tanned, in the case of prayer, you have melted your heart a little in communion with God.
So with the importance, intimacy and power of prayer in mind, our Archbishops Justin and Setamu have called on all in the Church of England to begin today nine days of prayer for the spreading of the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ across this country.
As our Parish’s response – we (the clergy) will be posting each day on our website and Facebook and via email, a specific area of the Parish to pray for, a suggestion of what to pray for and a short reflection.
The Church used to be the heart of the community, but with vastness of Parishes, in many ways, schools have replaced churches as centres. Therefore, on each of the nine days, we will focus closely on an area of our Parish and the school that serves it. If we are to continue to fulfil the great commission of going to baptize and make disciples, the work of our Parish and the Lighthouse project in schools is a vital part of our ministry and deserving of our prayers.
Today’s area for prayer is the part of the Parish which is across the M23. At the heart of this area is Worth School and Worth Abbey. Founded in 1933, the Abbey and Independent School has its Catholic Faith at its heart. Recently, a group of young people in their thirties called the Forerunners have joined the school to assist in the making of Christian disciples in the school, with the backing of the new Headmaster Stuart McPherson and head Chaplain Fr. Peter. As over a third of the pupils are not Catholic, our Rector, Anthony, plays a crucial role as the Anglican Chaplain for the school. Please pray for Worth school, its staff, pupils and all those involved in the proclaiming the Gospel in that place. Also pray for the area of our Parish, often forgotten by us, on the other side of the M23.
Who in your Son Jesus Christ,
Declared the coming of your Kingdom,
Strengthen us in the ways of righteousness
And peace, that our brothers and sisters may
Know the healing power of the gospel,
And that you will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.