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The BLOG

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Our Blog this month has been written by Julie Pennells

 

Prayer is an important part of our Christian journey and there are many references to this in the bible including 1 Thessalonians 5 v 16, where we are told:  ‘Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.’ 

Prayer visiting has taken place regularly for many years in our village through the Bearsted Area Churches Together (BACT) group. Roads are selected and letters delivered alerting occupants that the team will be visiting.  The pair assigned to the particular roads pray together, then visit each house, asking for any prayer requests.  These are noted down and read out in church – in fact, they were read out on 28 May 2024 and were very moving to listen to.  You can find these at the bottom of the is page...

 

I have been prayer visiting in the past, but lately I have found excuses not to do it.  Knowing the significance of prayer and the value that is brought from the resulting prayers, I felt driven to find out from others what inspires them to do this part of our Christian outreach.  For one it pushes them out of their comfort zone but feels that God has called her to be involved with this outreach to our community.  Another felt that the time commitment was small and it raises the profile of the church in our community.  Another person explained that it is an important opportunity to meet those who might not attend church, have a belief, have lost their belief or are asking questions to show our love for them all. A desire to spread the Gospel was a further motivation.

 

But how did the prayer visiting team overcome any fears beforehand I wondered?  

“It is quite natural to be concerned about encountering a hostile reception from some that we visit”, one visitor explained, “but this has never happened in all the times that I have been involved and many people do appreciate the call even if they do not have a prayer request.  We always pray for this event before during and after, recognising that we are doing this not in our own strength but in God’s strength.”  Another person was worried about facing the doorstep responses and any possible questions. However, being paired with an experienced prayer visitor made it much easier and gave her the support she needed. She led the visit with a prayer before the start which helped too.  One visitor explained that being with someone else minimises the awkwardness along with the fact that there’s generally several groups out at the same time.

 

How did you find it on "the doorstep" and what were the benefits that prayer visiting brought, I asked?  “Although we only had a few prayer requests this time it felt really positive to be able to offer this to the local community and the fact that this is a joint initiative from Bearsted Churches Together is a powerful witness to the sense of a wider church working together.”  One prayer visitor noted that very occasionally someone may be a bit abrupt, but this is very rare in their experience. Another reported that, “No one was rude or aggressive: those who answered and didn't want to submit a request were very civil and polite. Those who engaged with us were very grateful for the visit and opportunity to talk for a few minutes and most thanked us for giving up our time.”  “Occasionally you feel as if you have allowed someone to speak or to ask something which they would not have been able to otherwise,” and that, for one prayer visitor, is the most significant benefit of all.

 

If there was one stand out thing you got from this round of prayer visiting, what was it?  One family said that our visit had prompted them to re-explore their faith.   Another prayer visitor explained that God is faithful and empowers us to be witnesses to his love and grace to our neighbours:

 

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12: 9

 

Despite it appearing daunting, it obviously was a very positive experience for those involved and results in so many contributions from people in our community.  I’ve decided that I am going to give it another go during the next round of prayer visiting in June.  Will you join me? 

If you are interested in joining the prayer visiting team just let us know here

Here are the prayers we collected in the April prayer visits:

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