Ever since God broke my heart for the youth a few years ago, it’s been the kids on the fringe of society that pulls my heartstrings the most.
As soon as Pam (Urban Saints Impact Team Leader in the North East of England) shared her heart for the mission in the Bradford community during the recent 24/2 Prayer event, I could feel my heart being stirred and ignited. When I saw the video with the spoken word piece , I straight away knew I was going to cry! That’s been God’s way of showing me his heart for a situation. I tried to hold the tears back but couldn’t. (Could’ve been slightly awkward at work but thank God I work in a place where it’s ok to be vulnerable!)
When we were invited to spend a moment to ask God for a word to ‘pray one thing’ my imagination straight away saw the words PURPOSE painted bold in bright colours and a huge canvas that I had laying behind my bedroom door for years, waiting for inspiration. I knew right away that I had to go home and paint it. I drew a quick sketch on the back of my notepad there and then.
It’s been a long time since I worked on anything this scale and used acrylic paint, but trusted God to guide me through the process.
I used new techniques that I have always wanted to try, but never felt confident to attempt. I knew I just had to go for it, if I wanted it to look anything like the picture I had seen in my mind. I was stepping out of my comfort zone!
I had to turn my living room into a mini studio in order to work on a canvas of this size. Over the month that it took to complete it, I would find myself waking in the night knowing the next thing to add to the painting - at one point I even dreamt the exact brushstrokes and colour, and woke knowing that was what I had to do next!
Whilst working on it, I knew this piece needed to go somewhere where it would be seen by the kind of youth that had been the focus during the 24/2 Prayer, that had inspired the painting in the first place.
I contacted Pam to ask if there was anywhere in the Bradford community that was used for the youthwork that the picture could hang. Straight away she told me of a local boxing centre that is being used for youth work in the community, that could display it on their wall.
I really believe not only will the picture be a conversation starter, but will speak into the atmosphere. The scripture embedded into the lettering is the living word of God from Jeremiah 29:11:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
I expect and believe that it will accomplish that which has been spoken into the atmosphere and help to bring change to lives of the youth in the area.
I may not be able to help in practical terms of boots on the ground, but I can help to effect change through prayer and following the prompting of the Holy Spirit to step out of my comfort zone and create something new. What is God prompting you to do?
Liana is part of the Volunteer Support Team at Urban Saints.
How would you answer?
If you could only 'pray one thing' for young people and children, what would it be? You can find out more about #prayonething and see what others have previously contributed by following the link below: