PICT1397Last Thursday (7 January), eight leaders from churches in the Grays area met at the Grays Community Prayer House to pray with fasting during ‘office hours’.

There was a richness in diversity as representatives from across the denominational spectrum trudged or drove through arctic conditions to together for this annual gathering. (Left: Rosemary Pritchard of Grays Methodist Church arrives at a snowy Old Tennis Court).

With no one really leading the day – except for the Holy Spirit to guide us – the prayer themes were loosely planned as follows:

PICT13969-10.30am Prayer and worship
11am-12.30pm Praying for Thurrock
1-2pm Communion
2.30-3.30pm Praying for the UK
4-5pm Praying for each other

In reality, the two final sections became one, and we finished about 5.30pm.

We opened the proceedings by listening to St Patrick’s Breastplate, that wonderful spiritual Celtic prayer of declaration and dedication. This opened the door on a time of getting into God’s presence and discovering his purposes for the day.

PICT1398The major aspect that came out of the Thurrock section was a word given by Steve Morley of West Thurrock Chapel (pictured here in the centre with Colin Baker of Grays Baptist Church and Rosemary), echoing and reminding us of a previous word over the borough from about a decade ago, and then again at a 24-7 in Corringham in 2005, which Steve was unaware of.

He read from Judges 6:11 and the story of Gideon and brought out from it the following points:

  • Gideon had low self-esteem
  • He was subject to poverty in all respects – he had a ‘winepress mentality’
  • The Angel of the Lord tells him, “Go in the power you have”
  • Gideon’s self-esteem is raised and he is empowered to act
  • “Obedience Liberates Divine Power”
  • When John the Baptist doubted the Messiahship of Christ, the reply from Jesus included the phrase “The good news is preached to the poor”
  • The Parable of the River: a man is standing by the river watching people float by, so he helps them to get out. Another man, instead of fishing people out, says, “I’m going to stop them being thrown in in the first place”. (Meaning, some have a ‘micro’ view and some have a ‘macro’ view, but both are valid.)

PICT1400Steve sees in this image a picture of where Thurrock is at – a place of low self-esteem, requiring an outside influence to raise it out of it’s own sense of all-encompassing poverty.

(In 1988, Tim Harrold was involved in the rescue of a woman from the mud at Grays Beach; similarly, this has become an enduring prophetic and motivational image of Christ’s ‘coming from the outside in’ to a dire situation with a redemptive rescue plan.)

We sang together Godfrey Birtill’s Just One Touch From The King (Changes Everything), in which is the phrase, “O hear O hear O land the word of the Lord”, which we changed to, “O hear O hear O Grays the word of the Lord”. We asked the Lord to:

  • bring about the societal transformation of Grays and Thurrock
  • smash the ephods of the past (remembering that Gideon had made an ephod as a memorial to his victories, which quickly became an object of idolatrous worship)
  • declare over and raise up the borough to be the collective “mighty man of valour” we all know it has the potential to be
  • turn around the Midianite-like invasion of the ignorance of God and the absence of the knowledge of self-worth in his sight

PICT1399Steve noted that the trumpets and jars of our day are the methods of service we are at liberty to utilise in our churches, schools and community. We all have gifts and talents given by the Lord to use, so let’s use them.

At noon we said the Lord’s Prayer together, each reading out a different version. At one o’clock we had communion and this was followed by a section of intercession for the UK, with the obvious focus of the up and coming election.

Later we prayed with one another, for personal challenges and church issues. This was a time of deep intercession and the prophetic gifts were released for each other’s encouragement and edification.

PICT1402PICT1401The day was deemed such a success by those there at the end that it was proposed such a day should be repeated three times a year – at New Year; after Easter; and in early Autumn. Watch this space!

Others who came throughout the day were:
David Bareham (Chafford Hundred Community Church, above in the thick sweater); Pete Howe (Thurrock Christian Fellowship Grays, left); Stanley Vambe (Grays Pentecostal Church, right); and Andy Higgs (Stifford Parish, above, deep in prayer).

We’d like to thank you for your support and willingness to take time out for the sake of joining in prayerful union.

Tim Harrold (Transformation Thurrock and the Church-in-the-House)