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Call to Prayer

In the Inspire Prayer Group recently there has been call to prayer about how we embody the Good News in the flesh in the hopeless world we find ourselves in right now.

We share the comments below as ‘humble offerings’. They are ‘thoughts in progress’, not a final statement of truth or formed opinion. People are wrestling with the Lord for His wisdom and blessing in this the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We don’t want to miss anything the Lord has to say, so we share these with you for discernment and further prayer.

When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people,  if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 2 Chronicles 7: 13-15 NIV

“In three short months, just like He did with the plagues of Egypt, God has taken away everything we worship. God said, “You want to worship athletes; I will shut down the stadiums. You want to worship musicians; I will shut down Civic Centers. You want to worship actors; I will shut down theaters. You want to worship money; I will shut down the economy and collapse the stock market. You don’t want to go to church and worship Me; I will make it where you can’t go to church.” Maybe we don’t need a vaccine… maybe we need to take this time of isolation from the distractions of the world and have a personal revival where we focus on the ONLY thing in the world that really matters, Jesus.” (Posted on MET (Methodist Evangelicals Together, UK) Facebook page, as a quote from ‘someone in the USA’)

We are called to be distinctive in the world, different. Instead we have become just like the world. May we become distinctive once again during this time of fear and panic in the world.

As many places go into lockdown, maybe we are being called to embody our salvation and spread the gospel in a new way. Maybe we should pray for that.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. Mark 16: 15-20

There’s something about the commission to announce the good news to the ‘whole creation’, especially the way in which that announcement happens, i.e. through the signs that accompany believers: casting out demons, speaking in new tongues, protection from snakes and poison, healing the sick. In the past few months in different parts of the world there have been fire, famine, flood and now pandemic disease. The world is tired and fearful and now more than at any point in our lifetime, we are being led to embody the power of the gospel in the face of everything that’s happening. And the power of the gospel is the perfect love that casts out fear. It’s not a new or original thought, but it’s come into very sharp focus with this plague, however bad it turns out to be.

At a time when the church is dis-incarnating out of fear and/or government mandate, we need to be praying about how to embody the good news in the flesh before a hopeless world. We have an amazing missional opportunity. How we can be as creative about visible witness as we are about online piety, when all the world (and most of the church) has retreated into virtual reality. We don’t know what this will look like – yet – or what our opportunities might be – but we are going to be in this season a long time. Online connectivity can be a means of grace for sure; but it can only supplement not substitute for embodied fellowship and mission in the likeness of Jesus. Come Creator Spirit!!

A Facebook post saying ‘the church has left the building’. What does that look like? For a few months our church has been feeling that God is saying the it needs to be a place where those outside can come and learn for themselves about Him. We have been warned that they will be very prickly until they learn to relax in love. It is a desperate, tired, fearful, hurting people who need Him. A whole new level of need. But He is what they need and He will meet them there.
Could this be the beginning of that? If so, how can we prepare to meet and love those people. It also reminds me of a picture from about a year ago of the world facing a tsunami of fear. Definitely it’s time to listen and see what He is saying to us just now, and what He is calling us to do.

Our doors are closed but we have the same Gospel to proclaim & the same empowering Holy Spirit who drives out fear.

If you would like to share an insight or word of prayer, or connect with the Inspire Prayer Team, contact us:

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