Stop, slow down, and seek me (a reflection from Journey to the Cross prayer week)

By The Prayer Week team

Pressed flowers in a book

Earlier today the elders reviewed and weighed the various prophetic and other contributions from the week of prayer. They said: "First of all, thank you for taking part! Secondly, as we've reviewed what came out, we see that God is reminding us to focus on him in this season. We note that our prophets, who often hear God with direction for the church, are not now hearing something about change, or a fresh focus - but simply that this is a season when God wants to draw us close!"

It has been so encouraging to see the whole church come together during Journey to the Cross, our week of 24-hour prayer leading up to Easter. It has been great to see the ways God is moving. Together, we filled every slot from Monday to Friday - that’s 99 hours of continuous prayer, involving around 120 people!

So, firstly, well done to all of you who made time in your schedule to dedicate an hour (or more!) to pray for the healing of our land and for God to draw close to those that don’t know him. Also, to all who weren’t able to sign up, many of whom are frontline workers or perhaps suffering illness or loss, we hope that you felt lifted up by your church family. Thank you and bless you too! 

It was clear from the many who sent in prophetic words and pictures that one of the main things God is saying to us is very simple: ‘stop, slow down, and seek me’. 

For example, as Lin Jeshua shared, it is important that we stay ‘plugged in’ to God, very much like how a phone battery needs constant charging. We must also remember that God promises us that, when we turn to his ways, we will be like a ‘well-watered garden’ (Isaiah 58:11). 

Similarly, Julie Yeow reminded us from 2 Corinthians 4:8 that even though we may be ‘hard pressed on every side’, it is God’s loving nature to not allow us to be ‘crushed’. She writes: “Just this morning I attempted to press some flowers. I felt God say that the church is like these flowers, ‘pressed’ by this pandemic and also the world in general but not crushed. Actually, they are preserved and made beautiful in the process! Some things would get crushed & destroyed by being placed in a big thick book, but not the flowers, and in this time certainly not the church!”

Amen! Lord, may we be like those flowers, pressed, but made more beautiful in the process, and may we use this time of isolation to seek your face and ‘plug in’ to you in prayer. May you be refining us, purifying our hearts, showing us your love and your power, and equipping your church to do your will on earth. 

What now?

For those who would like to continue to pray with others globally, you may be interested to hear that 24-7 Prayer is joining with the UNITE714 initiative, and encouraging people to pause to pray twice a day in unison with millions of others around the world. For more information, check out the movement here!

We also want to recognise, though, that some of us may be struggling to connect with God, be it through the challenges presented by the virus or simply the loss of routine. We would like you to know that we are here for you, both in prayer and practically. So if you do have a pastoral need that can't easily be met by others close to you, or your missional community, please let us know by contacting @email, which will be seen by the current pastoral team. 

We know that God is working all things for the good of those that love him and that he is conforming us to the image of his Son (Romans 8:28-29), and so we also want to pray that, just as many have already begun this journey of deeper intimacy with God, he would continue to take us all further into the knowledge and love of him.

Let us not forget that our God is an active God. He wants to meet with people, whoever they are, because he loves us all. Whether you are feeling great in your relationship with God, or whether you are reading this at a real spiritual, emotional, or physical low, God wants to meet with you. As we turn to him in prayer, however sophisticated or feeble, we can trust that he will be there for us.

More than that, we can pray in faith that he will be using us, his church, to impact the world and see those that don’t know his love encounter Jesus and know him as their Saviour. Hope is here and breakthrough on its way! Look out for more on our missional approach in the coming weeks.

Let us finish with a poem written by John Snelson, a prophecy for us as a church, that this time now is the “Good Friday” of our resurrection story.

Keep praying!