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11 May 2016

Thy kingdom come: how my new pets help me to pray

Thy kingdom come: how my new pets help me to pray

by Manoj Raithatha, national coordinator of the Evangelical Alliance's South Asian Forum

In having been a Christian some eight years, I'm acutely aware that there are times when my passion for the gospel and the sharing of it with others becomes secondary to other things in my life. And yet it's the gospel that has saved a wretched sinner like me from eternal death, giving me profound joy and intimacy with God. I don't know any message that surpasses this incredible message of God Himself giving His own life for the sake of humanity. So why do I go through lulls in sharing the good news of God's love to a broken world who are desperately seeking for meaning, purpose and contentment. I think I feel like this because I don't always maintain a spiritual discipline of prayer during times of ministry busyness.

However, something extraordinary has happened recently that seems to be changing that; bringing a greater consistency to my prayer life and a renewed passion to draw closer to God and His purposes. And it might sound off, but the answer is inviting two adorable kittens to join our family. I can't even believe that I am calling them 'adorable', when only recently I was still trying to get out of having pets. But after 18 months of resisting the torrent of pleas from my wife and kids, I caved in and they arrived. Tentative at first because I had never had cats, I have grown to really love them deeply. So much so that I even find myself thinking about them during the day when I am at work!

The first evening when they arrived they looked so vulnerable. Aware they had left their mother, I realised that my wife and I were in effect their new parents and would need to do our best in looking after them and praying for them. Yes, praying for them, that God would watch over their wellbeing and their development. Interestingly, when they finally settle down in an evening and I get to stroke them, I find my heart stills and I often drift into praying to God. Who would have thought two pet kittens would have improved my prayer life? Long may it continue.

In the early days of my Christian walk I found myself relentlessly praying for our nation, for the churches to be filled once again singing God's praises. And my hope is that with the help of two kittens my prayer life will grow in maturity beyond that of simply seeking personal help to that of seeing God's plans fulfilled in our nation. And Pentecost is a sharp reminder that it is indeed God's desire that all are saved, and like the early disciples we too as disciples are being called to play our part through prayer, word and action. I certainly feel we are at an exciting time in our nation, when Christians are choosing to work more collaboratively in mission. Wouldn't it therefore be great if all the Christians in our nation were to come together to set aside time this Pentecost between 8 and 15 May, praying for every Christian to receive the boldness of Peter to share our life-transforming faith?

Like me, you might not always have the discipline to pray as consistently as you should during busy days. But as I have come to realise, busyness is not always easy to walk away from. And that is why each of us need to find that one thing to help us maintain a discipline of prayer for our nation. In dying for us, is this not the least we can do as followers of Christ? For me, my pet cats will hopefully help me to stay on course. What thing do you have in your life that will help you to pray this Pentecost and beyond?

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are inviting churches to join a week of prayer this Pentecost (8-15 May), praying for every Christian to receive new confidence and joy in sharing this life-transforming faith. The Evangelical Alliance is backing this prayer initiative, Thy Kingdom Come, with daily features encouraging Christians to be praying for God's kingdom to come and His will to be done across the UK.