We show our faith and trust in God in prayer. It is in prayer that God takes hold of our lives and works through us in ways we can barely imagine possible. Our praying is particularly transformative when it is done in the company of others.
Jesus prayed at the Last Supper that we, those who follow him, might ‘be one that the world might believe.’ There is an invitation then, to make a lasting difference in our nation and in our world, by responding to his call to find a deep unity of purpose in prayer.
In 2016 we were truly encouraged as so many shared in Thy Kingdom Come. It is estimated more than 100,000 Christians were involved, with over 3,000 events and services. The flagship Beacon Events in a number of Cathedrals were packed (with over 300,000 people watching online) and there is no knowing how many individuals played their part with prayer at home. There was commitment from churches across the full diversity of Anglican parishes.
As we look to Thy Kingdom Come 2017, there is a remarkable and beautiful desire across denominations and countries to share in this great work of prayer between Ascension Day and Pentecost, praying for the witness of Christians in this country. The aim is simple and threefold:
- To join in prayer with the whole family of God the Father
- To pray for the empowering of God the Holy Spirit
- That we may be effective witnesses to God the Son, Jesus Christ.
The Presidents of Churches Together in England are jointly supporting this initiative. The Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales has committed to playing a full part and this will be high on the agenda when Archbishop Justin and Pope Francis meet later this year. The Free Churches Group is actively encouraging all its member churches to get involved and the Methodist Church and the Baptist Union are promoting the initiative among their people. A large number of the Pentecostal churches and new churches will be participating and several of the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches in the UK have signalled their support.
Provinces across the Anglican Communion have been invited to join in this great work of prayer and the World Methodist Council is encouraging all Methodists to warmly receive and actively participate in it. We also hope there will be a ‘Beacon Event’ in many of the capital cities in Europe.
At the heart of Thy Kingdom Come is the commitment to corporate and individual prayer; in local churches, chaplaincies, missional and religious communities, fresh expressions of Church, schools and retreat houses.
As we utter the words that Jesus himself put on our lips, we pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ because we long for God’s Kingdom to come on earth as in heaven. In the Kingdom of God the hungry are fed, the poor hear good news and the oppressed find justice. In that Kingdom the broken are made whole, the sick are healed and the sinner is set free. In that Kingdom all can know right relationship with the Father, through Jesus, the Son, and so find the goal and purpose of their lives.
In praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ we all commit to playing our part in the renewal of the nations and the transformation of communities. A large selection of prayer resources and ideas are available for churches, families and individuals.
Please join with us and start thinking now about your participation in Thy Kingdom Come 2017, from 25 May to 4 June 2017. It might be that you organise a special service, a vigil or a 24-7 prayer room. You may seek to work with other local churches ecumenically, in your Deanery or through your networks. You may want to take a group to a Beacon Event near you. You may choose to provide special resources for members of your congregation or others whom you serve for their own private prayers. As Pentecost falls at the end of half-term you might want to offer particular opportunities for children and young people to engage in this cry of prayer for the Kingdom to come. In whatever way, by every means we urge you to be as ambitious as you dare!
May we live to see his Kingdom come.
Find out more and get resourced at thykingdomcome.global