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"Prayer Inspiring Engagement" – Citywide Day of Prayer May 19
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By Haydn Jensen

Prayer really is an odd activity when you think about it. The act of praying requires discipline and effort on our part, and yet the practice is basically asking God to do the work. Even so, many who have seriously invested themselves in praying about something will tell you how their attitudes and actions have often been shaped or even transformed by their prayer efforts. The popular Christian saying, “Prayer changes things” can often be revised to say, “Prayer changes me.”

Perhaps some of this thinking has motivated the organizers behind the May 19 London Citywide Day of Prayer. Through the encouragement of the Christian Churches Network of London (CCNL) and with the annual London Christian Prayer Breakfast as an inspirational start, organizers invite us to join others in taking time to pray for the city of London. The hope is that, as we take this time to focus on our city, it will encourage us to pray regularly for London and even make it part of our daily routine.

Day of Prayer organizers point to two Bible references to teach and motivate us. They share, “when God was sending his people into Exile, He knew they were going to feel like outsiders in a foreign land. In spite of that feeling, God asked them to: ‘seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.’ (Jeremiah 29:7 NIV)”

The second teaching comes from Paul’s instructions to Timothy, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1–4 NLT)”

“For over 15 years, CCNL has brought Christians of all denominations together for a time of breakfast conversations but most importantly prayer”, notes Eric Stolte, chair of the organizing committee. “For the second year we are extending our challenge to the wider Christian community to pray for our local leaders, for those that serve our community and for our at risk and vulnerable neighbours.”

The breakfast is an event well-worth attending and tickets are expected to sell out--particularly because this year’s event is headlined by Juno-award winning Steve Bell, activist and Canadian singer-songwriter. It will be held at the Lamplighter Inn & Conference Centre (591 Wellington Road South) Thursday May 19th, 7:15 - 9:30 a.m. Tickets are $25 each or $250 table of 10, and will be available beginning March 31, 2016.

Interestingly, even though the Prayer Breakfast clearly is an event, the Citywide Day of Prayer clearly isn’t. The idea is for each of us to intentionally build time for prayer into whatever else we might be doing on May 19. We are encouraged as Londoners, to dedicate time that day, “to share prayers with other faith-filled friends, coworkers and family, centered on concerns of the city and those things that make a city strong, generous and prosperous.” How we actually go about praying is really up to us. Some might find it easy to gather fellow Christians around us and pray, while others might benefit from organizational assistance and accountability from pastoral or small group leaders. One idea is to select three times during the day when we can take some time to pray and set an alarm for those times. A suggested prayer guide is available and can be found here. We are asked to focus our prayer attention on three categories: 1) for those that lead us; 2) for those that serve us; and 3) for those at risk and vulnerable. The prayer guide lists suggested prayer requests for people in each of these categories.

We can also listen to Faith FM 99.9 ( during the Day of Prayer and hear from London friends as we pray for our city live on air.

The central theme framed by organizers is that, “Our heartfelt petitions bring us closer to God, bring His help, and remind us that we are not alone. Our focus on a specific ‘day of prayer’, is to draw our attention to the power of prayer and remind us, as a community that there are needs around us that can easily be forgotten.” Note that last thought about needs being easily forgotten. Of course, God is not the one who is likely to forget the needs--we are! Our efforts to pray then, can bring about great change in us as a community of believers when more people are engaged in praying for our city. We experience the power of prayer as our attention and motivations are shaped by God working in us.

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