Report from Global Day of Prayer Pentecost Service 2008
Eight hundred of us gathered in Central Hall, (including 70 in the overflow hall), representing many different churches in Southampton. We watched the DVD “God’s Call to the Nations” which helped us to see the big picture that our gathering was a part of.
It was an amazing feeling looking out over a room packed with 800 people and thinking about what God can and will do with His church in our time. There was something about Sunday that united us and made us feel part of God's bigger picture. The potential for what God will do if we lay down our agendas, look to him and work together as intercessors, worshippers, evangelists and friends is so exciting!
We joined together in a wonderful time of worship, led by a group of musicians from several different Churches in Southampton. A great swell of praise and adoration ascended from the auditorium as everyone seemed ready and eager to lift up the name of Jesus. Several readers led us in the first six sections of the Prayer for the World, interspersed in one or two places with appropriate sections of songs, and we read the final prayer section together, declaring: “Come fill the earth with your glory as the waters cover the sea. The Spirit and the Bride say ‘Come Lord Jesus!’ ”
This led us very naturally into a time of praying for the nations of the world, and we all prayed together for the different countries and situations on our own hearts. The images on the screen helped us to focus on particular world concerns – poverty, injustice, AIDS, conflict and natural disaster. Then we were led from the front in praying for Zimbabwe, Burma and other situations.
We moved on to pray for the United Kingdom. We bowed before the Lord and asked his forgiveness for the sins of our nation, then prayed in small groups for the different national issues of particular concern to us.
Then our focus turned to our own City of Southampton. A Polish pastor led us in a prayer (in Polish) for the Poles and Eastern Europeans in our city, a UCCF worker led us in prayer for the students in our city and for the work of the university Christian Unions, and an Asian pastor led us in prayer for those from Asia and Africa living in Southampton. We are all important people in Southampton, each part of Christ’s body here and to represent this everyone was offered a piece of a 1000 piece jigsaw of an aerial view of Southampton. We were encouraged to take these pieces away and use them as reminders to pray for one another and for our city. The jigsaw pieces really touched people. It brought home how important it is to feel part of a bigger picture and to remember that we are called to function as a body, not individuals. Somehow, knowing that hundreds of other people are praying for our city this week spurs us on - like the great cloud of witnesses, only more tangible!
We prayed for our Mayor elect and for his wife and took up an offering for Street Pastors, one of his chosen charities this year. As the body of Christ, we want to bless our city and we want this offering, which raised over £2000, to be a sign of this. A video of places and projects from around the city to the music of “God of this city” encouraged us once again to focus our prayers on Southampton and to pray for the greater things that are yet to come and greater things that are still to be done here. Oscar Penhearow, who served the Lord faithfully as our City Missioner for 25 years, closed the meeting in prayer, sending us out to live for the glory of Jesus.
Finally, a few comments from some of the leaders involved in the meeting:
“What a wonderful evening, such a joy to see Christians from around the city joining together in Unity, getting a vision and a heart for our city and grasping the hope that together we can reach out to the corners of Southampton for Christ.”
“I loved the fact that although we were from all sorts of different churches and streams, the overriding atmosphere in the building was one of hunger for God's presence and for his kingdom to come, and his will to be done.”
“I felt that we had a truly amazing time in God's presence. Surely we don't have to wait another year for something like this again? I feel that there is a hunger and willingness across the church in the city for more. Is there some way we can build on the obvious desire in so many people's hearts for God's presence and power to be revealed to our city?”
“This year's event was a significant step up from last year with more churches represented and a greater sense of cohesion. I am very excited about next year now.”