New Year call to prayer 2018
For use on 31st December 2017, in the week leading up to 6th January 2018,
or in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, 18th to the 25th January
HOPE’s dream is a growing church showing Jesus’ love and telling the Jesus story, at the heart of every community. As we come together in prayer meetings, home groups or church services, let us begin this New Year coming before our Father in heaven to ask for his mercy on his Church, on our country, and to ask for his Kingdom to advance across our nations.
As 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the ending of the First World War, there will be opportunities in the year to look back and look forward. Notably in 1918 on 6th January, King George V called a national day of prayer in order to ‘bring our cause to God’. In 2018, 100 years later, let’s start a year of prayer for the UK from 6th January, bringing our nations to God.
Another significant date is 4th August. On 4th August 1918 King George V called another national day of prayer; 99 days passed and on the 100th day the war ended. In 2018 we will be marking the 99 days before Armistice Day on Sunday 11th November 2018, praying for peace in the world but also peace in the hearts of men and women, that they might be reconciled to God through Jesus.
HOPE’s leadership team began 2017 praying: ‘…that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ’ (Colossians 4: 22-4).
When we brought denominational and ministry leaders together in September 2017 for 24 hours to pray about HOPE 2018, we were reminded of Elijah praying for rain after three years of drought. In faith he told King Ahab ‘Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain’ (1 Kings 18: 41). But he had to send his servant out seven times to look for the rain clouds before he came back with news of a breakthrough: ‘A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.’
Throughout the UK there is a sense in many parts of the Church that God is preparing us for a spiritual breakthrough. Again, let’s take Paul’s advice: ‘Stay excited about your faith as you serve the Lord. When you hope, be joyful. When you suffer, be patient. When you pray, be faithful. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Welcome others into your homes’ (Romans 12:11-13 NIRV).
‘Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!’ (Ephesians 3:20-21).
Time to pray
As you start the year in prayer, choose from the following outline, topics and themes which suit your prayer gathering, service or half night of prayer. You might want to set up a Prayer Wall, a Prayer Tree or Prayer Stations. There are a number of short videos which could be used to introduce an area for prayer. Choose scriptures that are relevant to your context; have times of reflection/listening/silence and weave praise and prayer together.
A time to remember, to worship and give thanks
How has God been at work? Use hymns, songs and personal testimony of God’s faithfulness, goodness and compassion, to honour Jesus as our King.
A time to say sorry and ask for God’s mercy for ourselves, our churches, our communities, our nation.
A time to pray for strengthening of the family of God in your church/community/workplace
What do we value about those we are with on the journey of faith? Share in groups.
Pray for a fresh empowering of the Holy Spirit to equip every person to be more confident in who they are in Christ – use Colossians 1:10-12
Pray for families to be strengthened, children/grandchildren to discover Jesus, and children’s workers to be resourced and encouraged.
A time to share your vision for 2018 – HOPE’s dream is to see the church grow by 10% in this season. Use the HOPE video.
Share an outline of your 2018 dream for your church/community/place - Jeremiah 29:7.
Pray for specific leaders and for faith to work together to see the dream realised; for God’s blessing on your community; for God’s Kingdom to come in your area; for many people to put their faith in Jesus.
A time to pray for the people we know to encounter Jesus Christ – Pray4Five
Use the Talking Jesus video and/ or the booklet Talking Jesus: what can I do?
Invite everyone to recommit to praying for five people. Invite them to put the initials of the five people they are praying for on Post-it notes on a prayer wall, or hang the names on prayer tree, or light a tea-light candle for each of the people you are praying for.
Ask God for the faith to pray for these five and for the confidence to reach out, caring and sharing about Jesus. You can find more resources on the Thy Kingdom Come website
A time to pray for young people in the churches in your community
Use the Hope Revolution video
Invite youth leaders to share points for prayer and invite young people to take oart in the orayer event. Pray for all involved in work with young people and children, as well as inviting younger people/children to lead in prayer.
A time to pray for those on the margins
Read Isaiah 61:1-4
Use the Prison Hope video or highlight ministries handling local issues for those on the margins.
Spend some time in silence to reflect on Isaiah 61:1-4, then turn to worship and to prayer