23 plucky prayer-ers gathered at Grays Baptist Church (left) on Pentecost Sunday evening (23 May).
They represented some of the mainstream denominations in Thurrock – the Anglicans, the Methodists, and, of course, the Baptists.
The evening began with a session of ‘unplugged’ worshipful songs led by Gareth Marsh. The songs he chose all reflected the desire to see the nation transformed.
After this we asked Rev Colin Baker of Grays Baptists, Rev Rosemary Pritchard of Grays Methodists, Rev Janice White and Rev John Guest of St Margaret’s, Stanford, to read out together the simple liturgy that is the three GDOP prayers which were being prayed right around the world on this day of Pentecost. After each prayer was said, the congregation gave a response. These were:
Almighty God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Together with believers all over the world, We gather today to glorify Your Name. Apart from You, we can do nothing. Transform Your Church into the image of Jesus Christ. Release Your power to bring healing to the sick, freedom to the oppressed and comfort to those who mourn. Pour Your love into our hearts and fill us with compassion to answer the call of the homeless and the hungry and to enfold orphans, widows and the elderly in Your care. (Acts 4.34)
All: Holy Spirit, we need Your comfort and guidance. Transform our hearts.
Father of mercy and grace,
We acknowledge that we have sinned and that our world is gripped by the power of sin. Our hearts are grieved by injustice, hatred and violence. We are shamed by oppression, racism and bloodshed in our land. We mourn all loss of life in murder, war and terrorism. Our homes are broken and our churches are divided by rebellion and pride. Our lives are polluted by selfishness, greed, idolatry and sexual sin. We have grieved Your heart and brought shame to Your Name. Have mercy on us as we repent with all our hearts.
All: God of mercy, forgive our sins. Pour out Your grace and heal our land.
A Prayer for the World – “For God so loved the World…”
Lord Jesus Christ,
We lift our voices in unison with believers from Africa and Asia, from the Middle East and Europe, from North and South America, and from Australia and the Pacific Islands May people from every tribe and language become Your followers so that Your blessing brings transformation among all peoples.
Let Your kingdom be established in every nation of the world so that governments will rule with righteousness and justice. And may Your Name be great, from the rising of the sun to its setting.
All: Jesus Christ, You are the Saviour of the world and the Lord of all.
We then all joined in saying the Lord’s Prayer together.
The next section of prayer involved four prayer stations around the auditorium. These stations were maps of:
- London with it’s 33 boroughs
- The M25 encircling London
- The UK with London at its heart
- Thurrock, the first borough to the east London along the Thames
Being Pentecost Sunday, we prayed for the Holy Spirit to be poured out on all flesh, as on the Day of Pentecost that saw the ‘birth of the church’, as described in Acts 2. We prayed repentance for the nation, the City and the borough. And through this, for healing (of the land); salvation (of the people); cleansing (of the spiritual climate); and redemption (of communities) – nothing short than the complete transformation of society through Jesus Christ.
Some of the themes prayed over London (right) were:
- The Government and Local Government
- Parliament, the new Prime Minister and the new Liberal Democrat – Conservative Coalition
- The Houses of Lords and Commons
- The financial sector – The City / Canary Wharf
- Poverty & Homelessness
- The safety of our capital – Police, Fire, Ambulance & terrorist threat
- The 2012 Olympics
- The Royal Family
- Immigration, the sex trade, racial harmony, young people, drug and knife crime
- Universities and Museums
- Sport, Fashion, the Press, Media, Film & Entertainment Industries
- The Art World
- The Church – the blessing of diversity, the necessity for unity
- Imported Religions e.g. Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism etc.
- Industry & Commerce
- The Thames – Gateway & Valley
We prayed over the M25 (right) as a symbol of journey and connectivity and as a series of Gateways in and out of Greater London, uniting communities. We also prayed for safety and commerce.
At the map of the British Isles (left), folk prayed for The Union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, along with the UK’s world standing (relations with the EU, Commonwealth, UN, Israel and the US). They also sought God regarding the ‘prophetic destiny’ of the UK – our nation becoming a ‘light to Europe’. (We have just entered a window of opportunity in which to reap a harvest and sow again into the future after that window closes once more.)
When it came to praying for Thurrock (right), we upheld the borough being at the 30th junction of the M25, being a place that links Kent and Europe with the rest of the UK to the north west and north east. We interceded for the council, the church, the health service, the emergency services, law and order, social issues, minority communities and education. We prayed against apathy and for vision; against division and for unity.
Then there was a total change of emphasis as we went ‘global’. With the FIFA World Cup starting in 20 days’ time in South Africa, it seemed appropriate that in the ‘second half’ of the GDOP gathering we should pray for all 32 nations competing in this year’s tournament.
But first, a song from Gareth – and Tim Harrold. Slightly adapting an old spiritual ditty, we sang He’s Got The Whole World (Cupped) In His Hands. Tim sang (fairly awfully) all 32 names of the countries according to the bunting that hung across the front of the church (left)…
“He’s got Slovenia and Slovakia in His hands,
He’s got North and South Korea in His hands
He’s got South Africa and England in His hands,
He’s got the whole World Cupped in His hands”
We then split into 8 groups to pray for the 8 World Cup groups of 4 teams each, which are:
- Group A – South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, France
- Group B – Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea, Greece
- Group C – England, USA, Algeria, Slovenia
- Group D – Germany, Australia, Serbia, Ghana
- Group E – Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon
- Group F – Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand, Slovakia
- Group G – Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast, Portugal
- Group H – Spain, Switzerland, Honduras, Chile
Each of these 32 nations’ details were on pre-prepared sheets (one for each nation) with a series of prayer pointers for each, covering things like economics, poverty, politics, persecution, international relations etc.
The gathering finished with a final song led by Gareth and a closing prayer from Rosemary.
We had just joined in with 250 million other believers praying in 219 nations around the globe. It’d been the biggest prayer meeting – ever – on the planet. Thank you Jesus, King of the World.
Thurrock’s GDOP M25 Nutcracker events all week:
- Tuesday 25th – 7am to 10pm Nutcracker Prayer Day at the Stanford 24-7 Prayer Boiler Room. There are a number of themes being prayed for throughout the day as well as a Community Meal at 7pm and a time of worship at 8pm.
- Thursday 27th – 7.30am to 10.30pm Nutcracker Prayer Day at the Grays Community Prayer House (The Old Tennis Court) (Includes Grays Leaders Prayer 8.30-9.30am). Come at any time during the day. Breaking bread at 12noon and 6pm.
- Saturday 29th – 2pm onwards Nutcracker Prayer Gathering at Thurrock Services. THERE IS A STRONG POSSIBILITY THAT RADIO 4 WILL BE COVERING THIS EVENT – SO PLEASE COME ALONG!
- Sunday 30th – 3pm onwards Nutcracker Prayer Gathering on the bridge over the M25 between South Ockendon and Aveley (B1335 Stifford Road)
- If you’d like a copy of the World Cup 2010 Prayer Guide (on PDF), please contact Tim on 07929878089 or firstname.lastname@example.org