Looking through her Crumpsall (north Manchester) bedroom window in 1986, Rebekah Evans, who was nine, saw miserable faces. They were weary and forlorn, looked worn down and isolated. That moment of observation and a small, innocent prayer eventually led to Rebekah founding the Neighbourhood Prayer Network (NPN).
NPN was officially launched at Wembley Stadium in 2012, when the National Day of Prayer and Worship brought together more than 32,000 people.
When we think about what goes on beyond the letterbox, thankfully, most families are fine. Yet, the crime levels, domestic violence and debt are ‘off the chart’. Therefore, the original idea to help and pray for our neighbours is as true today as it was in 1986.
For most of us, the church is not represented on our street. Of course, there are church buildings on about 40,000 streets in the UK. However, 220,000 streets don’t have one. So, the big question is, how do Christians represent God on their street when no physical church is built there?
NPN aims to stand in the gap. With a simple perspective of ‘Pray’ each day, ‘Care’ each week and ‘Share’ each month, we work together to help Christians connect with the people they live around.
During the Covid-19 pandemic when we were all trying to make sense of what was happening, Christians reached out and became more pastoral, prayed and cared for people to a degree the church hasn’t done since the Second World War.
All of this should teach us a lesson. Any street can be ministered to through friendship and humble servanthood. Writing a card, making a cake, cutting the grass. Let’s focus on our neighbours, find out who they are, their journeys, their troubles, how we can pray for them, how we can help them, and how, finally, when they ask, we can introduce them to Him.
NPN coordinates Neighbour Sunday, which this year will be 15 October. For more information and to download the digital toolkit, visit their website.