I thought I'd put a brief post on here for those who wish to be kept up-to-date about our August prayer initiative.
One of the things our congregational survey into the vision for the autumn threw up was that people felt the need to be sure the whole thing had been the subject of enough prayer. The vision involves spending a million pounds or so. Now how do you define 'enough.' Pray continually, said Paul to the Thessalonian Christians once. That's a standard isn't it?
So to be sure we were demonstrating clearly that we were doing something extra, we abandoned business meetings in the August evenings (a couple have sneaked through - tut tut) and offered the chance to pray at 6.00 a.m. every week day. We have also made Wednesdays in August a day of prayer. There is breakfast after the early prayers, several 'services' and the church open for prayer all day.
I offered to lead most of the early prayer times. Not out of anything especially holy but a cross between trying to lead by example and wanting to see how I would do at something that was really quite difficult. Maybe that is holy. Who knows? In fact, talking to another person who has been several times, a person I know not to be a morning person, I was told that the reason she had decided to come was 'because it is difficult.' Often we make it as easy as possible for people to come to things - convenient times, refreshments, short meetings. Why not consider doing something hard? The equality of opportunity is that everyone can choose to make the sacrifice.
So the first week we had four or five people each morning. Last week it drifted up to five or six. The first two days of this week have seen eight and ten. Wednesdays are different because there is a group that normally meets on a Wednesday who join us. Also, the smell of breakfast has a lure of its own. 17 and 15 people have prayed on Wednesdays at 6.00 a.m. There have been many younger adults with us (for whom 5.30 alarms are not easy) and that is impressive.
There is more information about specifics from lectionary readings (Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Proverbs, Mark and James) and about listening to God at the church web-site.
During this time, dry conditions have prevailed for those wanting to carry out a harvest, ventures and camps have been rain-free, some of the sick seem to be doing especially well and there is a sense of 'we're doing a good thing' amongst the attenders. If you are from the parish why not come once before the end of the month? Show God you are serious. Do a hard thing.