“You who bring good news to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,
and he rules with a mighty arm.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:9-11
Something seems to have shifted in our church. Maybe it was the day of committed prayer a lot of us spent on Tuesday. If that’s so, God has answered and done more in one day than months of our striving ever did. We particularly prayed for the church to be open to whatever the Spirit of God wanted to do. Maybe it was just ‘time’. Whatever the reason, God seems to be carrying us into a happier season.
We’re living in extraordinary times, when we are seeing God move among us, not just in healing power (Peter came to church again today without his crutches, like a new man;) but also in bringing unity to the church, there’s a lightness in people even though we’re nearing the end of term.
There are big shadows as well as bright lights: no-one can deny the troubles in the world are stacking up.
But there was a strong gentleness in our prayer meeting tonight, together with a willingness to stand up and speak or pray in front of others. It felt like we were in safe hands, as indeed we are.
Tonight we did the ‘work’ of prayer: entering into the painful places where things weren’t right; acknowledging the levels of domestic violence in this country; praying for the work of Restored and their launch among faith leaders in the House of Lords tomorrow; hoping that it will be a turning point when someone had the faith to say, ‘God wants this to happen, and I’m going to make a difference.’ But it was also lovely to share the testimonies of how we have seen God’s breakthroughs in gifts of unexpected healing and peace.
The invisible realities determine far more about our world than we often admit; it is not the other way around. Prayer enables us to stand with God and say, ‘yes, we want your beautiful realities to appear on the earth.’ We can never celebrate those enough.