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10 May 2016

Thy kingdom come: why churches should join in prayer for evangelism this Pentecost

Thy kingdom come: why churches should join in prayer for evangelism this Pentecost

by Emma Buchan, Archbishops' evangelism task group project leader 

This Sunday, tens of thousands of Christians across England began a week of prayer for every follower of Christ to receive new confidence and joy in sharing this life-transforming faith. We'll be united around a shared longing to see more and more people right across our nation discovering the life-transforming love of Jesus Christ.

It all started last year when the Archbishops of Canterbury and York put out a call for every congregation in the Church of England to join a "great wave of prayer" for evangelism in the week leading up to Pentecost. The week was to be called Thy Kingdom Come – words that encapsulate our longing to see more of God's kingdom in our time, and see more and more people meeting Jesus Christ and coming to faith in Him.

We've been overwhelmed by the response. More than 3,000 prayer events have been registered – and we know that's just the tip of the iceberg! Many churches are hosting continuous prayer spaces, often partnering with others in their deanery and other denominations in their area. And we are seeing huge numbers planning special prayer services, prayer walks, prayer stations, and other creative ways of being with Jesus.

The week will culminate on Pentecost weekend with eight Beacon events in Cathedrals around the country, led by Archbishop Justin Welby and other senior clergy, along with amazing worship leaders. These events will be an opportunity to come together in joy and celebration, asking the Holy Spirit to pour out on us afresh and send us out as witnesses and evangelists for Jesus Christ.

Emails have been flowing in from far and wide – as have tweets and other social media posts – from parishes across a range of traditions and a variety of locations, even overseas. From urban town centres to rural parishes, from the centre of England to the USA, from Bermuda to Brussels, and from Spain to Israel, congregations are joining with us to hold their own prayer and worship events. Meanwhile, in a wonderful development, the Roman Catholic bishops of England and Wales have given the week of prayer their backing and asked Catholics to support the initiative.

There are three things that churches are being asked to pray for over the week.

The first is for all Christians to find new life in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Whether it's the abundance of joy He brings us, or the deep comfort in sorrow, we're asking everyone to pray for every Christian to have their personal relationship with Jesus replenished and deepened in extraordinary ways.

The second is for everyone you meet – from your family and close friends, to those you bump into on the street – to see something of Jesus in you that draws them discovering his love for themselves.

And the third is to pray for the Church to be so alive and filled with the joy of Christ that it overflows into every community in love, service, compassion and generous welcome.

As Archbishop Justin Welby said recently: "As Christians there's nothing more important than our relationship with Jesus Christ. When that flourishes it overflows into the world around us – to our friends, to our family, to those we work with, to everyone we know. And when the Church is full of the presence of Christ, we overflow and transform society in the most beautiful and wonderful way."

That meeting with Christ starts with our prayer lives, both individually and together. So that's why we will be praying next week, in our thousands, up and down England and beyond – and we'd love for you to join us.

You can find out more about Thy Kingdom Come – including lots of resources for prayer and how to get involved – at www.thykingdom.co.uk.

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.