Tuesday, 17 July 2012

A prayer for growth


Bob Jackson, a retired Anglican priest and former member of Springboard, gave a talk at a Continuing Mission Education day for the Diocese of St. David's, Wales, and mentioned that a church in the Norwich Diocese had written a prayer for use by the congregation asking the Lord for growth. The result was that they could not keep up with the new people coming into their services. Here is the prayer - adapted for my Parish - which I commend to anyone reading this:

Lord Jesus, you promised that you would build your church.
So, then, please build your church amongst us in St. James.
Help us all to grow deeper in our relationship with you,
and please increase the number of new Christians in our congregation week by week.
For your glory in this city. Amen.

But before you take this and try to use it as a sort of magic formula for growth please stop and think. We don't believe in magic we believe in a God who has called us to work with him in the salvation of others. We don't believe in special forms of words that are calculated to bring perfect and instant results. We believe in a God who is sovereign and King over all. We are HIS servants not the other way around. Besides God does not listen to our words so much as our hearts. "Better that that your heart be without words than your words without heart" wrote John Bunyan. In a recent book by W. Bingham Hunter on prayer called "The God who hears" he writes:

"God does not respond to our prayers. God responds to us: to our whole life. What we say to him cannot be separated from what we think, feel, will and do. Prayer is communication from whole person to the Wholeness which is the living God. Prayer is misunderstood until we see it this way."

If you belong to God and your will is his will, and vice versa, then I have no doubt that a prayer like the above will 'work' because it puts us - body, mind and spirit - completely in sinc with God's will.

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