A call to prayer
Just before Easter, I received a letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York (okay – so did the rest of the clergy in England!) It was an invitation to take part in a week of prayer for people to get to know Jesus better. The idea is to have a great wave of prayer across the country in the week leading up to the festival of Pentecost on Sunday 15th May.
At the heart of our prayers will be the words that Jesus himself taught us: “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done”. The Archbishops explain that it is impossible to overstate the life-transforming power of the Lord’s Prayer. It is reassuring enough to be on the lips of the dying, yet dangerous enough to be banned in cinemas. It is famous enough to be spoken each day by billions of people around the world, yet intimate enough to draw us ever closer into friendship with God. It is simple enough to be memorised by small children, yet profound enough to sustain a whole lifetime of prayer. When we pray it with sincerity and with joy, there is no imagining the new ways in which God can work in us and through us.
In our diocese, the Bishops are planning a pilgrimage from north, south, east and west into Coventry. From ancient times, pilgrimages have been an important part of Christian spirituality, giving us time to focus on God. Bishop Christopher will be arriving in Stockton from Southam on Friday 6th May (time to be agreed), leaving Stockton at 9.30am on Saturday 7th May to walk to Napton, leaving Napton at 9.30am on Monday 9th May to Lower Shuckburgh, and leaving Lower Shuckburgh at 9.30am on Tuesday 10th May. Each walk will start and end in church with a short time of blessing and reflection. Please join us for any or all of the journey.
And locally, we will commit to a week of prayer, with Morning Prayer from Monday 9th to Friday 13th May at 9.00am, with 24 hours of prayer on 14th May, starting at 10.30am, all in Stockton Church. There will be a sign-up sheet in Stockton Church (or email me) for each of the 24 hour slots.
Prayer can be a powerful thing, changing lives, as we connect more deeply with God. Please do join me – and prepare to be surprised!