Last week was the first of three weeks of prayer (BVWOP) we'll have here at Birmingham Vineyard in 2017. Last week saw more people commit to an hour of prayer than we have ever had and we heard so many stories and testimonies of what God has been up to, as well as having a wonderful time in worship and prayer at the Presence.
One of the values we have here at Birmingham Vineyard is encouraging people into the passions and gifting’s God has given them and releasing people into this. The weeks of prayer we have are no exception to this! Below is a story from Ruth Traynor who is now part of the team who put together the weeks of prayer, the resources and The Presence, alongside Liisa Wiseman and myself (Aaron). I've also included some stories which came in from last week:
‘Sitting in a church in Vestmannaeyjar, an obscure volcanic island off the coast of Iceland, I decided to see if I could get stuck in with 'prayer stuff' at church. I had been on the island for 2 weeks, with a 24-7 Prayer Team, spending a week in 24-7 prayer, followed by 5 days giving out free coffee and chatting with the thousands of Icelanders who had descended on the tiny island for the annual 'lively' Viking festival, þjóðhátíð (try pronouncing that one!).
I didn't want to get involved with BVWOP because I had suddenly become a prayer expert or finally 'cracked' praying, but it was because of the joy I had found in spending time with God and the creative possibilities found in prayer. I also loved looking outward to the community we were immersed in, letting the festival, the locals and everything we were surrounded by shape our prayers.
Although spending time on a tiny, obscure Icelandic island was an amazing experience, my experience of Viking culture wasn't the most profound 'takeaway' from my time. I became far more concerned with how we can recreate that level of outward looking and compassionate prayer in our everyday working-lives. That's why I love BVWOP so much - because the whole point is to challenge us to raise our prayer game in our everyday lives.
I have absolutely loved getting stuck in; being able to indulge my creative side, challenge my own prayer life and see others grow in their faith has been awesome. I would totally encourage anyone, if God has lit a spark in you for anything, to find an opportunity to get stuck in and play... see what God is going to do with you and your spark!’
So if God has put a ‘spark’ in you for something then say yes and see where God takes you. Here is a selection of stories from last week:
I came to the evening service with a painful back last night, after lifting some rubbish earlier in the day. Sitting or standing was really uncomfortable. Becky prayed for me during ministry time; it felt a little better, but was still sore. This morning it is completely better!
- My cell prayed for me about an OFSTED advisory visit – as a result it was a more constructive and positive experience than I could have imagined!
- I felt God prompt me to fast at various points this week – which I did. At the end of the week, although hungry, I felt as if God had met my need and I feel my relationship has deepened.
- I have previously struggled with praying for an hour, but this week I have felt as if the resources (breaking an hour up) have helped me engage with God like never before.
- Someone I met through work some time ago (and was able to chat to about God as she experienced Him in the midst of difficulty), has recently got in touch and invited me to her baptism!
- On the Sunday before the week of prayer started, one of our young peoples toenails was completely split in two by an opponent's football studs during his football match. It was very painful and kept bleeding! On Monday night we commanded the nail to be completely healed in the name of Jesus. On Tuesday morning we heard a shout - "Praise God, He's healed my toe!" The toenail was as good as new and completely un-split. What's almost as good as God's healing is the faith and immediate thanksgiving of this 9 year-old!
Got a story/testimony? We would love to hear it! E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, lets continue to press into God and see his Kingdom come!