“I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:5,8)
I wonder if we really believe this? “Apart from me, you can do nothing”? This is why the Archbishop’s call to prayer for the whole of the Church of England seems both unprecedented and apt. All over the UK, Anglican churches have been called to engage in a week of prayer leading up to Pentecost. That is exciting. There are about 16,000 Anglican churches in the UK. Can you imagine the impact if even 3 from every church took seriously the call to prayer? Can you imagine what God might do?
I really hope that you will respond with me to this call to prayer. As Tim goes on sabbatical, we delight in what the Lord has done, but we don’t underestimate the challenges we face as a church. We are reminded time and time again that it is the Lord who builds his house. Apart from him, we can do nothing. In which case, we’d better know what it is to remain or abide in him; we’d better know what it is that he is asking us to do and what he is saying to us, his church, this city and this nation.
As a church we are setting aside short moments during the week to pray in the Chancel. A list of those times are shown on page 4. I would love to see us all committed to prayer for that week; Listening to God as a family; offering to pray for those in our workplace where appropriate or our neighbours and setting aside time as couples or as individuals to pray.
Earlier this year, the Lord’s Prayer was banned from some cinemas as “it carries the risk of offending or upsetting audiences”. Dare we pray it, repeatedly, fervently, passionately, in the week before we celebrate the Spirit coming with power on His church? Empowering us, equipping us to be the people God has made us to be.
Come on Lord!