People from all over Urban Saints took part in our latest 48 hours of prayer. This 24/2 prayer event included a movement-wide prayer gathering as part of the final hour. We also saw, for the first time, local and ministry-specific gatherings seeking God together on behalf of young people and our volunteers.
Time to share
The now-familiar 24/2 format allowed supporters, volunteers and team members all around the UK and Ireland to take part for as much or as little as they could. Each signed up for one or more hour slots, equipped with some shared prayer points to provide inspiration and focus. Throughout the 48 hours, participants posted their prayers, words and pictures to encourage others to keep praying and to reflect back what they felt God was saying to us all.
The focus of our prayers centred on young people, volunteer leaders and for Urban Saints as a movement:
"Four words popped out of John 8: 30-36 as the things to pray for our young people: vs 30 'believe', vs 31 'abide', vs 32 'know' and vs 32 and 36 'free'. We need to pray for our young people to believe first of all, then that they would abide and if they do this they will gain knowledge that will give them freedom from all that would hold them in bondage and keep them from the abundant life Christ came to give them..."
"Youth work (and being a volunteer leader) can be a bit like a walk in the woods. Some parts look pretty straightforward, but as you proceed, some parts can be very muddy and care is needed not to slip over. In other parts, fallen trees block the main path so detours are required. Even if we feel we've prepared well and have everything in place, there can still be unexpected obstacles along the way. But if we continue to persevere, we will succeed. (Philippians 3:13-14)"
"Praying for Ant Horton (the new CMO), I was given a picture of a tree that had stood the test of time through the different seasons for many years. A strong root system surviving storms etc with long branches extending out horizontally. I felt God was maybe saying this is like Urban Saints – weathering many storms through our history, yet continually growing and extending outwards into communities – roots firmly embedded in Jesus. Evergreen."
We've been running a pop-up Facebook group for participants for the last three of these events. It offers an interactive space for people to share their prayers, scriptures, words and pictures, as well as seek inspiration and steer for their own prayer times. It is a small but enthusiastic community that springs to life during these times of prayer together.
Among the contributions this time were a series of pictures from different members of the Urban Saints team, who were also taking part in a symbolic "long walk" in different parts of the UK and Ireland. On the weekend of the 115th anniversary of the formation of the movement, it was perfect way to celebrate in an appropriately socially-distanced manner! For some, the walk was a representation of the long-term commitment required to make young disciples for Christ, while others used the opportunity as a prayer walk on behalf of the young people they support.
We also introduced a new prayer wall on the Urban Saints website and this quickly filled up with prayers and scriptures. We have yet to decide if this feature will remain permanently on the site but for now at least, you can view the prayer wall for yourself online.
Pray one thing
We also continued to encourage our intrepid intercessors to share their one-word prayers and pictures, using #prayonething. We received more contributions throughout the 48 hours and you can view a slide show of the full set below:
Pray with others
For the first time, we also saw local and ministry-specific prayer gatherings take place during the 24/2 via Zoom. 12 different gatherings took place - including prayer times for those passionate about Camps and Westbrook - which gave perfect opportunity to share more specific prayer needs relating to local Groups and Camps. It also encouraged the continued growth of our local prayer networks. Some of these networks were meeting for the first time, while others have been gathering like this for some time now, but all of them continue to grow in size and significance. If you are interested in joining one of these networks, we'll gladly connect you up with your local Regional Prayer Coordinator.
Pray all together
We've organised movement-wide prayer gatherings before but this was the first time that we've ended our 48 hours of prayer all together as one. The Saturday morning session was well attended, with many returning from local gatherings and their own individual hour slots to be part of the final gathering.
We heard from 12-year-old Priya about her experiences of lockdown during the pandemic and different members of the team led us in prayers of thanksgiving and in liturgy. The bulk of the hour was spent in small, break-out groups, praying together for young people and the different aspects of the mission of Urban Saints.
Thank you to everyone who took part in the 48 hours. We can't tell you enough just how important it is that we come together to pray for young people and for the faithful volunteers who support and reach out to them, week in, week out. We know that prayer changes situations and lives and we can't see the mission fulfilled without the committed support of hundreds of intercessors like you.
If you missed out this time, don't worry. There are plenty of ways to play your part in the future. You can put the dates of our next 24/2 in October in your diaries and in the meantime, check out all the different ways you can support Urban Saints in prayer on the 'prayer' page of the website: