Prayer is at the heart of Urban Saints but we are called to even more. To see many more people joining in the prayer cover for the 1000s of young people and volunteers we serve every week.
As we build up to the 24-2 Prayer event at the end of March, we’re going to share some stories and reflections on why we need to raise our level of corporate prayer.
When praying for our network of Urban Saints' Groups around the UK and Ireland, Stories of young people discovering safe spaces to explore faith and grow in their relationship with Christ are all the encouragement we need to keep lifting them up in prayer.
It can be harder though to visualise exactly what we should be praying for in the locations where Groups have yet to be launched - and even more so where Groups haven't even been imagined. Yet we know God is at work long before the first young people come through the doors for the first Urban Saints' Group gathering.
One thing that is becoming very clear to the Urban Saints team is that launching weekly Groups that will last - that have strong foundations and are developed robustly - takes a long time. Too long for those of us who want to see young lives changed now.
It's never too early to pray for those young people who will come along to the Groups but there's plenty more that we can ask God for and many of those requests can offer us the much-needed encouragement of glimpses of Christ at work. Stories of pieces of the puzzle falling into place in unlikely and unexpected ways. Tales of apparently chance encounters that turn out to be significant appointments. Rumours of God gathering the resources together as team members and volunteers step out in faith and obedience.
Finding the missing piece
In the Groups getting ready to launch there are lots of examples of volunteers who have just the necessary skills turning up at just the right moment.
- In one of the Groups just on the verge of starting, a volunteer has to drop out, but just as it looks like the Group will be short-handed, God provides another one who can perfectly fill the gap.
- One of our Impact Team Leaders was keen to provide food for each Group gathering and found there was a chef among their set of new recruits.
- A volunteer was reluctant to admit that they "couldn't help lead" but they could support by helping set up the venues - the very thing that the volunteer team had been missing.
What are the chances...?
As our local teams step out in faith, God is leading them to just the right people. These are no mere chance encounters but rather God answering prayers in surprising and unexpected ways.
- In the final few days before one Group opened its doors, a member of the local team had been praying for the chance to see a particular young person to invite them along. Not only did their paths cross but their parent/carer had been there too.
- Elsewhere, a team member had bumped into an old acquaintance who admitted that they had been "thinking of getting back into volunteering with young people".
The family reunion
God is reconnecting us with those who have been part of the Urban Saints family previously. Some have been away and now come back while others have been waiting for the right opportunity to get involved with starting new Groups.
- An informal meeting about the possibility of a new Group rekindled something in one particular group of people. They were longing to feel "part of something bigger again" - a feeling they had first experienced when involved in Crusaders many years ago.
- An Impact Team Leader approached a local school without knowing that the key contact there had previous experience with Urban Saints and was welcomed with open arms.
Unknown futures filled with hope
It is not just tales from Groups about to start that are providing such an encouragement to pray. There are encounters taking place where we don't yet know the end of the story.
- An Impact Team Leader felt drawn to a skate park in their local community and began to pray for it. Soon after a friend introduced them to a key staff worker at the park and now they are both exploring what an Urban Saints Group might look like there.
- There was a chance encounter over an Urban Saints' dinner that has prompted individuals across a whole local area to look to work together for the first time.
There are so many examples of God's provision before the doors even open for the first gatherings. These are the very encounters that we have been praying for long before the different new Groups launch. For every story we get to hear about, we know there are many more that we may never get to fully appreciate.
As we prepare for the upcoming 24-2 Prayer event, these glimpses are a great motivator for us as we pray. We'd love to see more of these little God-moments in the origin stories of every Urban Saints' Group - some in places we haven't yet dreamed of planting new Groups.
(Next time... we will think about the 'faithful servants' - those Groups that have been committed to their communities for years and even decades already)
Why not join us in our 48 hours of continuous prayer this March (Thurs 26th - Sat 28th)? Even an hour of your time could help us see God move in these small but significant ways. You can find out more about how you can be involved, wherever you are, by clicking on the 24-2 web page: