Prayer is pivotal to unity. Relationships are pivotal to unity. Prayer and relationships are the seedbed for effective and sustainable mission.
Jesus in his high priestly prayer in John 17 prays to the Father that those who follow him might be united in all they do.
It’s no surprise then that prayer is at the heart of unity.
We have seen evidence that where local and county (intermediate level) groups make time to pray together on a regular basis, they are more likely to be engaged in dynamic forms of mission.
A great example of this is in Highworth, a town close to Swindon that saw a partnership with Christians Against Poverty (CAP) grow out of a prophetic word at a Churches Together Prayer meeting.
Prayer also brought together thousands of Christians in the South West in 2021, gathering along the famous coastal path to pray for God’s Kingdom to come. Over 3,500 people took part as Christians from all sorts of denominations found spaces in fields, on beaches and in other public spots to pray and worship together.
During the coronavirus pandemic, when many of us felt like we were locked ‘in the upper room’ (Acts 1) and couldn’t go out, prayer was a vital part of our Christian response to the challenges. The Prayers of Hope initiative began with a national day of prayer and action on the eve of the first lockdown, and then encouraged us each Sunday evening at 7pm to join in prayer for the world and the challenges of the pandemic. Premier Christian Radio continues to air a weekly broadcast of the Prayers of Hope programme at this time, with many of our national Member Churches contributing prayers to the broadcast. There have also been opportunities to pray for the NHS.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is a key event in the ecumenical calendar. It began in 1908 and takes place from 18-25 January every year (although some areas observe it at Pentecost or another time of year).
An evangelistic initiative that has grown enormously in the last few years is Thy Kingdom Come, which is an ecumenical prayer movement bringing together a wide variety of denominations during the Pentecost season. Many of our Member Churches have taken a leading and active part in this initiative, with Beacon events happening all over the England. Read more on our Thy Kingdom Come page.