“Thy Kingdom Come…”
One of my earliest memories is of being taught the Lord’s Prayer by my mother. I don’t know how old I was, but not old enough to read it for myself I imagine, so I repeated it back to her, line by line, each evening before bed. Soon I learnt it, but it was some time before I understood what all the words meant literally, and especially as I learnt what we now call the ‘traditional’ version. It was several more years before I understood the importance of this prayer, and more again before the implication of the words ‘Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done….’ began to have a reality for me and I came to understand it personally. Since then I have experienced the power of praying this prayer individually and in groups, large and small. One of the most moving things is to pray it out loud, whilst also listening to the person next to you praying it out loud.
This year the Archbishops’ initiative ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ is marked again on the nine days (novena) between the feasts of Ascension and Pentecost, 30th May to 9th June, and we are invited to pray with Christians around the world, encouraging us to explore through prayer how we might witness courageously to God’s life-changing work.
In May 2016 the Archbishops of Canterbury and York invited Christians from across the Church of England to join a wave of prayer during the days between Ascension and Pentecost – a time when the church traditionally focuses on prayer. They encouraged everyone to ask for the Holy Spirit to help them be witnesses to Jesus Christ and to pray for others to discover that living faith. Worship helps to us recognise who God really is, it opens our hearts to what is good, and it catches us up into the life of heaven. It is something we are called to every day of our lives and it is fulfilled, among other ways, when we pray and when we say the Lord’s Prayer.
What started as an idea gained momentum and in 2016 more than 100,000 Christians from different denominations and traditions took part from the UK and across the world. They joined in more than 3,000 events and services. The time of prayer culminated in six national Beacon Events over Pentecost weekend at cathedrals in different parts of the country.
Over the next two years, every diocese in the UK took part, and 85 per cent of Church of England churches and cathedrals were involved as well as the churches of the world-wide Anglican Communion and many other denominations and traditions. Leaders from Churches Together in England, including Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Baptist and Methodist churches, Free churches and Orthodox churches came together to pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come’, and the event is now truly an ecumenical one. This year it will be even bigger.
We are invited to join in many events in our churches and in our Diocese. Prayers will be said in structured and less structured ways every day, and the churches aim to have a more visible presence to our communities. Locally this year all churches are invited to join together for 10 days of 24 hours a day prayer which is being hosted by St John’s in Crawley.
As the apostles prayed together following Jesus’ ascension, waiting for the Holy Spirit to come at Pentecost, so we will wait and pray. They prayed in obedience, trusting that the way ahead would be revealed. We pray at this time that the Holy Spirit will show us new ways of living and loving. When God is at work in us God is also at work through us in changing the lives of others, so let us pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come….’ together, and open our hearts and minds to new possibilities.
With every blessing
Please click on the following link to sign up for the 24 10 prayer event at St John’s:http://www.24-7prayer.com/signup/0f6187