The Gift of Prayer – an article for October from Archdeacon Nikki

During the month of September, we asked everyone across the diocese to join in a month of prayer for the work we are undertaking in transformation and change, which I have the privilege to lead. I hope you were part of that, and I write now to say, “Please don’t stop praying!”

Our transformation work is all about our wonderful and varied churches becoming more healthy and sustainable as we grow as kingdom people. You will notice an increasing focus on health and sustainability this autumn as we hopefully begin to emerge from the constraints of the pandemic. There will be things for us all to do, decisions to be taken, plans to be made, local visions to be dreamed and put into practice. You will hear lots more over the next few months, particularly about how we will be providing support for churches in working out what it means to be healthy and sustainable in your individual context, setting and tradition, and taking some steps towards this.

But none of this is of value if it’s not underpinned in prayer. God promises to build his church, and invites us to join in with what he’s doing. How we discern this is in prayer, seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And how it takes effect, is through God blessing our efforts as we cry out in prayer, recognising our utter dependence on him as we seek to be the body of Christ in Dudley and Worcestershire.

The four key elements of our Growing as Kingdom People vision are making disciples, transforming communities, sharing hope and worshipping God creatively, which when woven together make for healthier churches. Please continue to pray about your church’s engagement with these four areas, and get involved where you can, in ways which suit your gifts, skills and passions.

Please pray too for our churches as sustainability is addressed through our new Ministry Share system, about which PCCs have received letters, explaining how the costs of providing ministry in your parish or benefice are worked out. God is interested in our giving, so praying about it is key, and can help us to prioritise our church expenditure wisely and generously.

So please pray regularly and passionately with me for all these things. Praying is how we grow in our relationship with God, and loving him and knowing ourselves to be loved by him are the most important parts of our vision.

You may like to commit to daily praying our Growing as Kingdom People Prayer:

Gracious God, who pours out the life-giving Holy Spirit on your kingdom people,
Fill our hearts with love to worship you creatively,
Equip us to make disciples, inspire us to share hope
And anoint us to transform our communities,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose name we pray. Amen

Nikki Groarke
Archdeacon of Dudley

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