It was a privilege to play a small part in the opening section of yesterday’s wonderful Saints in the Stadium event at Langtree Park Stadium in St Helen’s. Several thousands gathered and we spent the day worshipping God and praying to him for our region and nation. The venue was great. The event was well organised. With lots of helpful input from loads of people. And it didn’t rain! But most of all, we prayed.
That was the most important thing about yesterday. We prayed.
Focussing the mind and heart on God and talking to him is not always easy. There are so many distractions. So many other things we could be doing – many of which are good! But if we don’t pray, we won’t see the transformation in our lives, and families and communities and regions for which we long. That’s why we must pray first.
I often feel like one of the first disciples of Jesus who said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray’ (Luke 11:1). I was reminded of this yesterday when I was getting a bit tired in the middle of the day. I was finding it hard to keep going. But those around me from The Belfrey inspired me. And I was also motivated by the many Afro-Caribbeans nearby too. It felt like they were more used to persevering in prayer than many of us white Anglo-Saxons. And to be honest, I think that’s true. It’s the black churches in the UK and abroad that are paving the way in the growing prayer movement and teaching us to pray. Anyway, these prayer warriors around me were pressing on and pressing in! And they encouraged me to do the same. And I was grateful. Because persevering in prayer can be difficult. But it is worth it. Every time.
So teach us to pray, Lord. Teach us, your people in the North, to call upon you. To listen to you. To honour you. To love you. Teach us to pray.