I take the title of this blog from an book that was very influential for me in my early twenties as I began to wrestle with my vocation and God’s calling on my life.
The book by Ronald Dunn published in 1992 sought to encourage Christians to pray for the world, for their community neighbours and one another. I still have a beaten up old copy that I found myself reaching for in the last few days.
It has struck me that we have become a far more prayerful church over the last 2 weeks, I see people engaging with daily prayer in many creative ways and it is a joy to pray with you all from wherever we are. This has always been our calling and as a Priest a very significant part of my life and vocation. I found myself looking to the text that Dunn quotes in his book as his ‘core’ Bible verse, it come from Ezekiel 22:30 “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land …… but I found no one.” This my friends is not just my vocation but ours as his church, we are called to stand in the gap and now more than ever. To quote Dunn:
“God has always sought intercessors, someone to stand before Him for the sake of the land, but He had a hard time finding them. In Ezekiel’s day God looked for one to stand in the breech between God and Israel. He found no-one ……. God is still looking.”
At this time of fear and anxiety, at this time of very real emergency in our land, in our world we are called to stand in the gap, to be a people of prayer, it has been good to pray together however dispersed we are, please still contact me personally if you want prayers said for specific people or situations, but let us all pray together – God cares, he loves us, he answers prayers I have seen it so many times.
So my prayer for today is that God is with us as we pray, that he continues to mould our prayers and shape this wonderful praying community we have become. I will use the words of an old hymn I know that may not be as popular now written by James Montgomery in the early 19th Century as my prayer:
Lord, teach us how to pray aright with reverence and with fear;
Though fallen sinners in they sight, we may, we must, draw near.
Our spirits fail through lack of prayer, O grant us power to pray;
And, when to meet thee we prepare, Lord, meet us by the way.
God of all grace, we bring to thee a broken, contrite heart;
Give what thine eye delights to see, truth in the inward part.
Faith in the only sacrifice that can for sin atone,
To cast our hopes, to fix our eyes, on Christ, on Christ alone;
Patience to watch and wait and weep, though mercy long delay;
Courage our fainting souls to keep, and trust in thee alway
Give these, and then thy will be done; thus strengthened with all might,
We, through thy Spirit and thy Son, shall pray, and pray aright.*
Your friend and Vicar