Happy New Year!! I trust you had a wonderful Christmas, some rest and quality time with friends and family. As a new year begins I wanted to share with you my sense of anticipation for 2016. We are standing on the edge of a pretty significant year for our country and as the Church we have an opportunity to see the Kingdom come in fresh and new ways.
Because of Jesus all sorts of opportunities and possibilities lie before us.
I have found myself asking God over the holidays,
‘what is it going to take God to see a nation changed?’
'what is it going to take to witness an outbreaking of your Spirit around Ireland like we have never seen before?’
‘what is it going to take to see your church walk in loving authority and confidence in the year ahead so that we can truly reveal your manifold wisdom?’
As I have asked this question and prayed this prayer, I have found much to my discomfort, the question boomerang back towards me. ‘Alain what is going to take from you?’ As I try to sift the challenge of this in my own life and the call to a fresh surrendering to God, I have also sensed the Lord prompt me towards a renewed persistency in prayer; an encouragement to ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking.
As I look around the world at the brokenness, violence, independence and pride of mankind, I am stirred by the words of the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 4,
'Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully'
The call in these days is to say focused, to be alert, to watch, to ‘stay wide-awake in prayer.’ As we do this we have confidence, we are calling out to a loving heavenly Father who loves this world more than we can imagine and in Jesus has demonstrated that to us. Let us not patronise the place of prayer in our lives or in the church in 2016. Let us remember that the scriptures reveal to us a Father who is deeply impacted by the cries of His children and who is inviting us to co-partner with Him in His great dream for the world. Prayer is the primary place where we discern His heart and call forth these things into being!! As Martin Luther said, ‘prayer is not about overcoming God’s reluctance but laying hold of His willingness.’
Let’s lean into the heart of God in 2016 in faith and expectation for an increase of His presence and Kingdom in our hearts, communities and nation.
One way we can join in together is with the '100 days of prayer for 100 years of history’ we are helping lead this year beginning on 6th February. More info on this initiative can be found here. We would love to get at least 100 churches praying throughout the 100 days. Would you be up for joining in? Sign up here!
Look forward to journeying together in 2016!