for the poor, the broken, and the lost
Prayer is powerful in itself. It's a mystery, but God is the one who brings every intercessor to their knees. When we voice to him what he has laid on our hearts, things change. But we are often called to be part of the answer to what God lays on our hearts to intercede for too.
Here are five ways the Sanctuary's community seeks to do that, which you could also explore:
1. Seeking to engage more of the church with God's heart for the world
The more people praying for justice, the more hearts softening in mercy, the more actions changing for good, the more difference in the making gains momentum....
Our praying community has a high proportion of creatives and worship leaders, many with experience of working for a wide range of justice and mission organisations.
So one of the primary ways we take action is through the first strand of our core work - to freely give our time and talents to write and share songs, liturgy and creative resources widely and freely though our online worship resources library.
This empowers others to pray about these issues in an informed and heart-felt way, and to involve yet more people around them in doing so too.
Join in this forward momentum by using sharing our resources, spreading the word about people and places God has laid on your heart and/or writing your own expressions of the intercession he has led you in to share with others around you.
2. Sharing creative expressions of God's heart with those around us
The deeper we know Jesus, the more compassion we have for those who don't - and the more we intercede out of this place, the more Jesus leads us towards those we are praying for...
Increasingly, as we pray for people to meet God, our creatives are also finding themselves led to engaging in some rather beautiful acts of accidental, creative evangelism.
Just as we're bringing the world into our worship and prayer, we're learning to lead worship and prayer in the world, finding gently provocative ways to beckon those outside the church towards God's heart.
So a second strand of our core work has emerged, where we take action in response to our prayers through engaging creatively with local and regional mission as God leads - and sharing these ideas through our national, resourcing network to inspire others to find fresh ways of sharing the gospel with those around them.
3. Cultivating a ministry of encouragement and challenge
Alongside our core work of prayer, resource creation and creative evangelism, we also seek to engage in other actions in our personal lives, and the life of our community, which further express the hearts we are growing and expressing through our work.
The first of these supporting strands comes through ministering encouragement, as well as praying for, those in need and those making decisions that effect the vulnerable and voiceless. Three of the ways we are seeking to do this regularly are by:
- writing to leaders to thank and encourage them when they stand for righteousness, justice and peace, and to let them know we're praying for them (as well as campaigning for specific issues we feel led to hold them account on)
- writing to persecuted Christians regularly through CSW's Connect and Encourage ministry
- engaging with campaigning organisations, as and when that feels right, to actively challenge, raise awareness and speak up for the people we are praying for to people in positions of power.
4. Exploring and committing to God-led lifestyle changes
Prayer for the world changes us from the inside out. When our hearts are captivated by God and his love for others, they change. And if our hearts are truly changing, so will our priorities on how to spend time and money.
So a second supporting strand we seek to give attention to in our lives, is how our choices (particularly as consumers) are affecting those we are praying for on a daily basis.
Our approach to this is heart-led, out of prayer, rather than list-led out of trying to get everything right all at once, but these articles might help get you thinking about some possibilities.
- How to be a part of the answer to your prayers
- How living in God's rhythm helps us care for the world
- Acting justly - living thankfully and sacrificially at every age (This resource is part of a wider piece of partnership work with Rachel Turner on Worship and Justice at every age.)
(For more articles relating to lifestyle changes as a form of worship, go to our articles section.)
5. Extending worship by giving generously
One of the core values of the Sanctuary is generosity - we give our time and talents freely so our resources and evangelism can also be given in the same way.
For some of us this means living on reduced income, with earning potential surrendered to God and those we are praying for and reaching out to. But for all of us, it means finding ways to give to the people we're praying for. Could you join us?