This article was originally published in Edition (8) of Prayer Magazine,  Oct-Dec 2006.

E is for E-mail services

In the past decade technology has advanced amazingly.   Ten years ago hardly anyone had heard of e-mail.   Now if you want to participate in what is happening around the world, you can’t live without it, and the world-wide web.

Prayer news and needs, and connections between prayer leaders and ministries, these days depend on e-mail.   Information about the latest challenge to the faith of Christians, even from remote areas of the world, is easily available.   Our knowledge of global needs has been transformed by rapid, instant communication.   Whenever a news-story breaks, we can get a Christian perspective from the area within hours.   So we no longer have to play catch-up.

There are some really worthwhile sources from which to obtain up-to-date information.   Prayer Alert is a well-researched weekly prayer resource, produced on behalf of the British Isles Prayer Association.  www.prayer-alert.net and also The Impact the Nation email service from Prayer in Action, which has a main focus of Britain and Ireland and again comes out weekly.  www.prayerinaction.net

For a regular resource for daily prayer for the Persecuted Church, with country by country coverage, I recommend Window International – the window being the 10/40 Window.   Every October there is a particular focus on needs within that window.   www.win1040.com

For a resource that combines some stories from the nations, plus needs for prayer, you can’t beat Joel News.   During the past year it has incorporated into it the popular Friday Fax www.joelnews.org

Or your group may have its own sources that it should continue to access.   Regular prayer should be based on relationship.   So if we have connections with people in various fields – like the police and the legal profession, or medicine or education – let’s use them as sources for prayer.   Many missionaries are now connected to the internet and can be a resource.   However instead of merely asking to receive their newsletter, ask them also to point you in the direction of where you can get up-to-date information at any time about the nation in which they serve.   These days, too, many national Christian leaders and ministries are better informed than an individual missionary.   Or you may have people around you from other parts of the world.   Get them to tell you about the needs of their nation. 

However - a word of wisdom and warning.   Do not pass on any prayer information that you are not sure about – sure of the source, sure of the facts, and sure of the time.   There are ‘spam’ communicators out there, who delight in spreading untrue information to confuse praying Christians.   And there are some e-mails ‘doing the rounds’ with information which is being re-cycled from a couple of years previously.  

Every church or group of praying Christians, concerned for the issues of the day, the needs of the nations and the advance of the kingdom of God, should have access to e-mail.   And once you receive the information – why not send it out immediately to those in your circle of friends who also have an e-mail, or print some copies off for everyone to have at your next meeting.

We are better connected with God’s children around the world than we have ever been.   And we need to be!   The enemy is at work, and we must combat him through prayer.

 

E is for Expeditions 

We’ve all heard of prayer walking.   Prayer Expeditions are merely an extension of this.  

My friends John & Yvonne Pressdee first pioneered Prayer expeditions in this country way back in the late 1980’s.   In connection with the launch of March for Jesus (large crowds of people marching with music and prayer through cities and towns), John had a vision for a prayer walk lasting several days.   The first ones of this kind were from John O’ Groats to London and from Lands End to London – two prayer walks happening simultaneously.  

To do something like this required a great deal of advanced planning, as well as a vision from God.   Yvonne became the planner and John the spiritual leader.   They needed to identify the route, travel it, checking out likely stopping places.   They then contacted churches or Christian leaders in all the towns and cities along the way.   They would walk about 20-22 miles a day praying all the way, but stopping for necessary drinks and food.   A spiritual diary was created concerning the history and spiritual needs of the villages, towns and cities they passed through.   Not only did the walkers have this as a reference guide, but also prayer supporters back home could follow them in prayer.

At each overnight stopping place they usually arranged an evening prayer concert in conjunction with local churches, who would take responsibility for providing an evening meal, bed and breakfast.   Sometimes, if the resources weren’t there in the church, a school hall or community centre would be hired for the night.  

In addition to the prayer walkers, the prayer expedition would include several vehicles – usually one at the front of the walkers, one behind (to pick up stragglers), and a camper van in which the welcome necessary supplies would be kept.   Sometimes they had to set up a camp kitchen – it really was an expedition!

Over the years, many such expeditions have been planned.   A small team of us walked once from Holyhead in Wales to Lowestoft in Suffolk – so making the sign of the cross over our land (we intersected with the previous John O’ Groats to London walk).   Later ones included London to Berlin and Berlin to Moscow.   Each of these was multi-national, particularly with Christians from Germany joining in.   There were some utterly extraordinary God-incidences along the way, and some amazing answers to prayer.   Those of us walking became closer to God and very aware of the Lord speaking to and through us.   It was awesome!  

We obviously learned as we went.   What started as a small team sometimes became more than a hundred walking and praying, with police marshalling us as traffic would be affected.   Local authorities or church dignitaries occasionally put on receptions.   Secular and Christian media took an interest.   The length of the prayer walks sometimes extended to 80 miles a day, with small teams of walkers being bussed to walk and pray part of the route, with the others ‘leap-frogging’ over them at the completion of their stretch.  

Reconciliation became part of the process when we walked from London to Berlin and Berlin to Moscow.  This then led to a walk across First World War battlefields, a walk around Ireland, plus the Reconciliation Walk from London to Jerusalem.  It also inspired David Pott to do a series of expeditions along the Meridian Line (still happening) on issues to do with the Slave Trade, and Steve Lowton to lead a team from Canterbury to Rome in 2005.  

In other parts of the world these expeditions have occurred.   Many nations have held their own Cross Walk (making the sign of the Cross and carrying a wooden cross).   One prayer expedition covered Cape Town to Cairo – over several years.   Recently one man completed a prayer walk around the coasts of Great Britain.   The Pressdees have been involved in prayer walks along the ancient routes taken by pilgrims from Winchester to Canterbury, and more recently in walking and praying between the World War II airfields of East Anglia and Lincolnshire.

If you wish to plan your own walk, why not contact them for advice www.prayerexpeditions.co.uk

 

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