“So you’re an American”, I said to Bob, who had joined our little group of team leaders from local churches. “What brought you to England?” Bob smiled at my question.
Earlier, he’d listened quietly while we all shared what our churches’ PMC had been up to. I’d explained about the blog and given everyone a little leaflet that I’d produced earlier that day, asking for prayer for PMC.
Now, very graciously, Bob explained that he was here to speak at the meeting. Oh dear! At that moment I’d have given anything for the ground to have opened and swallowed me up!
I would only later discover that, during more than 30 years of ministry in the mid-west Bob had risen to executive Pastor and Senior Associate for Mission and Outreach. I’d have been even more mortified had I known that he had been Director of the Partnership for Missional Church (PMC) – or that he is currently working with dioceses within the Church of England, leading church leaders and teams through the PMC process.
Mercifully I didn’t know all that as Bob tucked into his pocket the little leaflet on which I’d written:
“Trying to ‘do’ Partnership For Missional Church (PMC) without a foundation of prayer is like sowing seeds and then neglecting to water them. It pretty much guarantees failure. We need to pray if we want to see success. To read about the amazing things that God has been doing all over Britain and around the world in response to prayer and blessing, go to:– https://pmcwoosehill.blog/prayer Now you can make a difference! Could you spare less than a minute a day to pray for and bless the families, homes, schools, churches etc. of our community? The above blog page will tell you how! Your prayers would be so valued – and so worthwhile!”
A lovely phone call
The previous evening, I’d received a lovely phone call from one of the ladies who faithfully pray for the church at the monthly meeting which, this time, had coincided with our Mission Innovation Team (MIT) meeting. “We’ll be especially praying for you as you meet” she told me.
PMC has had it’s ups and downs over the past eighteen months, as illustrated in a delightful visual aid, created by Steve Lewis, to chart the journey so far:-
Our recent MIT meetings hadn’t been particularly productive. We’d had been struggling to come up with ideas for reaching out into the community and making contacts. So, as we started our meeting, we were grateful to know that the ladies would be praying for us.
Suddenly, an hour or so into the meeting, it just seemed to suddenly take off! Ideas flowed – certain ideas seemed to impress themselves on our hearts. Those ideas sparked other ideas – and we really felt that we were being inspired. At the end of the meeting we talked about how amazingly it had gone.
“It must be all the prayer!” I exclaimed. Steve said something very interesting, “it took off at twenty past eight!” “How come you can pinpoint a time?” I asked. He replied “it felt it so noticeable that I looked at the clock“
One of the things which the Holy Spirit had seemed to particularly impress upon our hearts had been the idea of seeking out local people who have come to the end of their professional careers and want to ‘put something back’ in terms of skills and gifts that might help others in the community.
Later that evening I emailed the ladies who’d been praying to thank them and to tell them how immediately their prayers had been answered. At that point I couldn’t know that we would soon see yet more answers to their prayers.
After my embarrassing gaffe
The next evening, after I had I had made my embarrassing gaffe with Bob, he wound up the meeting. In his talk he said : “Don’t just see the people you are reaching out to only in terms of their needs – but in terms of the gifts they will bring.”
Well! I turned to Patrick on my left – he was wearing a smile a mile wide. I turned to Faye and Steve on my right – and it was clear that we had all recognised a lovely affirmation of what we had sensed that the Holy Spirit had been impressing on our hearts during our MIT meeting the previous evening.
When I got home I emailed those lovely praying ladies again “There is surely no question now that your prayers for us have been well and truly answered! Thank you again – so very much! Please be encouraged!”
But more was to come
The next morning we arrived for the second day of the PMC conference. Bob Armstrong came over to talk to me. He asked if I knew anything about the growing movement in the UK of people praying for their their streets. “I do“, I replied. “In fact, I’ve written about it in the blog page on Prayer and Blessing. The link is on the little leaflet I gave you yesterday.” Bob asked some more questions then the meeting resumed.
Later he said that he always trusts that God is forming a prayer team whenever there is a movement of the Spirit afoot. “Without God this is just a bunch of activity,” he explains “With him this is the ministry of our Living Lord Jesus. I want nothing less.”
So – this is very much about the prayers of those lovely ladies at the prayer evening. And there are others who have been praying for PMC and for our community. It’s also about those who’ve worked so hard for the past eighteen months to establish PMC in Woosehill Church. Most of all it’s about God responding to prayer and calling the church to pray for our neighbourhood.
Even my embarrassing gaffe ‘worked together for good‘ because if I’d known who Bob was when he joined our little group I would never have dared to give him that little leaflet. And all of this puts me in mind of the prayer at the end of the very first post on this blog:-
Dedicated to God
Dear God, we dedicate this blog to you and ask you to make it your own. It is our desire that you should be seen to be at work in our church and in our neighbourhood, drawing hearts to your heart and transforming lives. And we want to record what you do – for your glory, for the building up of our faith and for the sake of precious souls in our community who desperately need you. We want this blog to to prove that you are a prayer-hearing, prayer-answering Heavenly Father, who still wants to demonstrate the love that took Jesus to the cross and the power that raised Him from the dead.
Perhaps you could come to the Woosehill Church prayer meeting on the 3rd Thursday of every month. You would be so welcomed! If you can’t do that – let me repeat what I wrote on that little leaflet. Could you spare less than a minute a day to pray for and bless the families, homes, schools, churches etc. of our community? So much violence and tragedy in the news lately! No wonder God is calling people all around our country and all around our world to pray for their communities!
Click here to get some short prayers and to read about the amazing things that God has been doing all over Britain and around the world in response to prayer and blessing.
Your prayers would be so valued – and so worthwhile!
“I strongly suspect that if we saw all the difference even the tiniest of our prayers make, and all the people those little prayers were destined to affect, and all the consequences of those prayers down through the centuries, we would be so paralysed with awe at the power of prayer that we would be unable to get up off our knees for the rest of our lives.” (Peter Dreeft, Professor of Philosophy)
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