‘Where there‘s despair in life let me bring hope.’
This is where are 24/2 prayer time started this October. A sense that God has called Urban Saints to be part of the narrative bringing hope to young people.
But what does hope actually look like? It can be hard to develop our thinking beyond it’s a belief that ‘nice things’ will happen in the future. That’s a view with little substance, when a young person or an adult is in a situation where they are feeling despair. Why does hope make a difference? Well thankfully through the course of the 24/2 prayer time, the theme of hope came up several more times (including when we asked those attending our Together 2022 final hour gathering to share one-word prayers written on paper!) and gave us a picture of Jesus centred hope. Thankfully, that kind of hope is more than simple optimism.
These two verses were shared by various member of the team over the course of 24/2 and give us a picture of where our hope is rooted.
We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. - 1 Thesalonians 1: 3-4
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. - 1 Peter 3:15-16
When we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, hope is a natural by product. This truth has proven to be true time and time again and the reason is that Jesus has already completed the work of Faith. One of our team shared this verse recently...
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. - Ephesians 3: 20-21
‘Immeasurably more’ is a phrase that is filled with hope. It reminded his that it is only Jesus who offers a secure and steady hope in these uncertain times.
If you want to explore more about the root of Biblical hope there are Energize sessions exploring that idea here:
There is so much to say about the root of our hope in Jesus. One of our supporters who grew up in Crusaders and now helps at her local youth group prayed this for today’s young people.
My prayer for youth at the moment is that they know they are a chosen generation. I believe the enemy has tried to silence them during covid but instead of young people staying home, it feels like the young people I know are seeing a need for community and connection and bringing new friends almost weekly because there's not much else put on for them.
Praying further she referenced this famous story from Genesis...
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. - Genesis 50: 20
This moment where Joseph and his brothers are reunited and then miraculously reconciled is a beautiful picture and is absolutely filled with hope. As we are praying for young people and working with them, it is important to think about the power of reconciliation as the starting point to redemption and the place where Hope grows. What better example do we have as Christians than the life of Jesus?
If you want to look further at the life of Joseph and it’s offer of hope, you can find them here.
One of the unique things we tried for his year’s Together 2022 event was to commission a prophetic piece of art from one of our supporters. She entitled the piece ‘Into the Deep’ Sharing from the perspective of ‘Where do we put our hope when we feel out of our depth? We are often quick to try and solve our own problems, rather than rest into God’s strength and purpose. She reminded us of the Bible verses in Ezekiel...
As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross. He asked me, “Son of man, do you see this?”
Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. - Ezekiel 47: 3-10
It is a reminder to place our hope, especially when we feel out of our depth, into God’s hands. For where the river flows the deepest there is the most life. Isn’t that an amazing source of hope?
One of our trustees, shared a very personal experience she had had a few days before and when she had felt out of her depth and slipping into hopelessness. God met her in that moment and reminded her of the hope that we have and the responsibility we have to share that hope.
I have to say I felt a sense of hopelessness – so much so that I have been forgetting to do things this week, as my mind has been overwhelmed and saddened for children and young people, but then I was reminded of 1 Peter 3:15-16 and the fact that we, as Christians do have a hope that is steadfast and certain and we need to communicate this to the many children and young people we work with who are feeling hopeless at this time. Thinking that things will never change.
Urban Saints Groups are needed more than ever in society today – I don’t need to tell you that. We all need to be communicating the hope we have to the young people we work with – this is never more urgent that now.
One of my favourite movies has the line ‘Fear con hold you prisoner, hope can set you free.’ It seems very much that God wanted to remind us of the fact that He is our constant source of hope and freedom and that as Urban Saints we have a responsibility to do our part in sharing that hope with the children and young people in our care.
Serena McCarthy - Engagement Lead
You don't need to wait until March to be part of our prayer network either - find out more in the prayer area of our website.