On Tuesday I heard this quote from Eugene Peterson: “The role of the pastor is to teach his/her people to pray”. This inspired me afresh because this aspect of being a vicar resonates most deeply with what I believe God called us here to Romiley to do.
I am no expert on prayer! It is a fathomless subject to explore, and the gap between how I’d love to pray and the reality of my prayer life remains a both terrifying and motivating one. I am, however, passionate about prayer, because I believe that prayer is a foundational key by which we will see the world renewed, our communities transformed, and revival break out around us.
I am also passionate about helping others to grow in depth and freedom in your relationship with God. It greatly encourages me that God revealed this quote to me on the day that we set up our prayer room for 100 hours of prayer, because part of the vision God gave us for the room is to learn together to pray.
Late last night I went to the prayer room for the final hour of the day, after a long day I just wanted to sit and become more aware of God’s Presence with me. As I did so I tried to listen to both God and to my heart. After a day packed full of meetings and emails, I let my heart express what I really long for. I got up and walked around the room, calling out to God for the salvation of people in Romiley. My heart beat faster as I prayed simply and honestly, asking Him to bring people to himself.
Then I sat and listened and God spoke to me about us taking the veneer off our lives, removing the defences we use to make ourselves look okay to others. I expressed to Him my longing that we become a more honest, vulnerable, trusting family.
As I walked around the room, I noticed the pot for seeds of faith and decided to plant one. I paused to think of what I was planting in faith to spring up, and wrote ‘Generous generation’. I prayed that as we pour truth and love into our children and young people, they will go on to live generous lives, building God’s kingdom.
Then I sat in silence for a while and let my heart’s desires bubble up to God again. This time the longing I shared with God was for more of His supernatural power in our church: signs, wonders, specific accurate prophecies, healings and that amazing sense of being in a ‘thin place’ when we worship.
As the hour came to an end, I reflected on what I had prayed. Honestly it was only then that I realised that the four things most deeply in my heart, the four things which motivated me to pray and cry out to God for His power were the four dreams which spur us on at St.Chad’s ; Open hearts, Open Heaven, Generous Generations and to see Romiley won for Jesus.
I set off home for bed with my faith stirred and stretched, my hope renewed and above all a deeper love for the people of Romiley.