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Pray for London
Post Easter 2020

Pray London
"Light in the Darkness"
Living a New Life of Hope
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Pray for London - Post Easter
CCNL (Christian Churches Network of London)

2020 For most of us, this Easter was "different" than what we usually experience. Different is not horrible or bad - just unexpected, unusual, maybe a little weird - definitely different! Still "God with us" wherever or however you experienced Easter 2020. Maybe you led or joined in an on-line service of some kind, or perhaps you had a private personal reflection time at home, or maybe you shared a celebration with your immediate family members that live with you. A learning opportunity for us all.

However you marked this Easter, absolutely nothing diminishes the glorious, liberating purpose of Easter.

A holy God who chose to love us past, present, and future - His creations. He deeply wanted to be in relationship with us so that we might also know and love Him. Because of that, He chose to become flesh, human just like us, to offer himself to stand in the gap between His holiness and our sinfulness. He invited us to be adopted into His family as His children. Miraculous. Mysterious. Magnificent. The early disciples discovered that where there seemed to be no hope - there was indeed great hope - beyond what they could ever have imagined. The good news, the "gospel" is always this, then and now...... even in the midst of all our current concerns, fears, and somewhat hopeless uncertainties, Jesus cares intimately for us. He has risen from the dead, and He is bringing His Kingdom here on earth as it will be in heaven. Let's pray that we will live this truth out abundantly in our city of London.

Colossians 3:1-2 "So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from His perspective."

We have a challenge for you in the coming weeks. Something different again! Many are taking the opportunities of physical distancing as a motivation to walk daily and have some exercise. Would you consider making it a part of your practice to pray more as you walk? It may be in your neighbourhood, or as you go get weekly groceries, or around your workplace. It may be out in another part of the city, or on an unfamiliar path. If you cannot get out to walk, maybe as you hear the news, or meet on Zoom or some other online platform, pray. Make some notes of you observe and hear, who and what you could be praying for. However it works for you, we invite you to please join in!

**A very special side note for those who are pastors or ministry leaders. You might be thinking to yourself. "Oh no, not one more thing to add to my overloaded 'to-do' list, another task to tackle. I just want to go for a walk to decompress, to just breathe." Many leaders express that they feeling like they are living in that classic "Bruce Almighty" movie where Jim Carrey is inundated with prayer requests coming at him at the speed of light. You, as leaders, are juggling so many new challenges and multiple technology venues; feeling deep concern about creating viable enriching community in new ways; seeing bills come in and questioning how long finances are sustainable; wondering what the "new normal" may look like as summer approaches or if people will actually return ....and then there's the ever- present 'caring for the flock'- connections with those afraid, hurting, lonely; funerals that can't take place but still grieving; weddings to be rescheduled; spiritual guidance given without being face-to-face, the list grows daily. Does that describe your inside voice? The very human side of Jesus must have felt that kind of pressure - time was all too short, untrained disciples, opposition from those who should have known better and were reluctant to change, and just the sheer magnitude of people wanting Him to meet their needs - the feeding of the 5000 comes to mind. Possibly a bit overwhelming when you put yourself there beside Him. He too knew the need to escape for restorative quiet and solitude - you've preached those sermons!

So we pause and pray for a gentle rain of peace to wash over each of you... to bless you and to strengthen your soul. You are indeed an essential & eternal service - don't forget that - and we deeply thank God for you.

Now, back to the walking part! It is a healthy prayer practice to pause - really pause - to invite God into the details of how you are reacting about what you see and hear around you. Our world around us is in daily upheaval. Do families seem to live in this neighborhood where you walk? What clues are there about age groups or cultural groups who may live there? What schools are nearby? What churches, gathering spaces, parks, or restaurants are nearby? Are there businesses and employers in the area you could be praying for? What is special about this part of London that perhaps you have not noticed before? Look carefully - what signs of life or expressions of kindnesses do you notice? Ask God to open up your heart and mind. Pause to attune yourself to both your and His thoughts, attitudes, and questions. Where is the Spirit wanting you to linger a little while longer and observe more? The verses in Colossians 3 above urges us to "see things from His perspective." Do you see things any differently than you may usually see when you actually seek to look with God's eyes?

Be really curious with God. When you get home, write down what you noticed. The next day, maybe go a different way. New street. Different area. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Share your insights with a friend, or two, or three. Ask them to join you in this journey - not physically, but in prayer. If we say we love London as Christians, how are our prayers reflecting that love God has for this city?

As you walk, consider these verses: 1 Peter 5:7-11 says "So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does."

Colossians 4:2-4 " Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should."

May this be an adventure together with God, and with one another. Alert. We are not helpless nor hopeless during this time of caring for the wellbeing of our community - physically, emotionally, economically, spiritually. We wait on God. Trust in Him. May He be so alive and active in our city of London.... and in each of us.