What has the church ever done for us?

'What has the church ever done for us?' In the spirit of Monty Python's Life of Brian I'm tempted to list education for all, clean hospitals, prison reform etc. 
'But apart from that, what does the church ever do for us?' 
'Pray - the church prays. Every week. For the world, for the government, for the structures of our society. For us. For you.'

For years, St Peter's Church has been visiting every home in the parish, inviting parishioners to think about how the church can pray for them. It goes way back before my arrival here in 2006, and there is a faithful core of 'Prayer Walkers' who push a card through people's doors, then follow it up with a visit to collect the card. We then pray for them - and the info they've given us - the following Sunday. It does beg a few questions...

Why do we do this? 
We want people to know that St Peter’s Church is here to pray for those who live within the parish boundary. As our former Bishop commented, ’No one else will do this – it’s part of what the church is here for.’

People can pray themselves, can’t they?
Anyone can pray – no special language is required, and you don’t need a ‘professional’ to pray for you!. However, not everyone does pray, and not everyone is aware of Christian prayer and all that God has done to make himself ’knowable’ through his Son.
Our 'Prayer Walking' lets people know that the church is alive, well, and still believing in a God that is active in his world.

How does it work?
The leaflet invites people to complete one or more of 4 boxes: A ‘Thank you’ box that helps them express thanks by writing a name or a sentence; 3 further boxes asking prayer for family, the area they live, or something they hear in the news.

This month we are attaching a teabag to the card, inviting people to take a 5 minute break (with a cup of tea) to complete the card. We also invite people to join us on the Sunday to worship and pray at our 10.30am and 6.30pm services, as we use their prayer requests.

Finally, we add that it is God himself who invites us to call on him, and our ultimate prayer for all our parishioners is that they'll come to know him for themselves, and the peace that he brings to those who come to him through his Son, Jesus Christ:

‘Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God's peace, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.’ Philippians 4:7 (NIV)


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