Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote these powerful words in 1835, ‘More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.’ (Morte D’Arthur)
The apostle Paul wrote, centuries before, ‘The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.’ (James 5:16)
In Love Southend we have always put a high priority on worship and prophetic intercession as a significant part of our journey of discerning and responding to God’s agenda for Southend – for his love and kingdom to impact every aspect of life in our Borough. Along with many Christians and churches in Southend we have upped our prayer since the beginning of the Covid pandemic.
We put our existing monthly mid-week borough focused worship and intercession events online, meeting by Zoom. (Details for each month are on this website’s ‘events’ page.)
On March 20th, 2020 we created a ‘Loving Southend in Prayer’ WhatsApp group which ever since has been a source of faith, inspiration and encouragement. We have drawn on information from various sources including healthcare professionals, teachers, the police and council officers which has provided us with issues impacting the Borough to bring to God expectantly in prayer. We have taken time to listen out for God’s heartbeat and the voice of the Holy Spirit to guide and inspire us as we have worshipped and prayed. God has responded to our prayers and declarations in some remarkable ways including unexpected recoveries from serious illness and timely provision. We have received great encouragement from those on the frontline who have known we have been standing with them in the pressures they face.
In response to the developing situation an additional evening half-hour weekly prayer Zoom call for the Borough was initiated in mid-December 2020 for two weeks. It is still going!
Moving onto the streets
Early on in the first lockdown members of Love Southend felt the importance of worshipping and prayer walking around the perimeter of the hospital. For a number of weeks this was done on a daily basis. From this other things have grown – prayer runs and cycles around the hospital; prayer walking schools and parks across the Borough; and individuals worshipping and prayer walking their own ‘patch’.
There was a point when a number of folk in the network wanted to surround the hospital together in prayer. Government restrictions prevented a group physically attending the hospital, so the Loving Southend in Prayer WhatsApp group turned to the virtual. During their daily exercise one member videoed their walk around the hospital and added some Scripture and texts to the final video. This was circulated to all the group members. On Monday 25th January from 2pm to 8pm different individuals prayed over the hospital for 30 minutes before handing on the prayer baton to the next person. The video helped focus their minds and prayers as they virtually ‘walked’ the hospital perimeter.
During the pandemic we became aware of the artwork for keyworkers that Helen Yousaf was being inspired to paint. ‘Hope’ art packs of 50 A3 sized drawings celebrating keyworkers and reflecting God’s love and presence with them were purchased and distributed through Christian staff to hospital wards. A subsequent pack was donated to Southend for distribution to other emergency workers including GP surgeries, health visitors, paramedics and the police.
We received heartfelt responses of thanks for the encouragement and ‘lift’ these pictures brought. One email of thanks said,
“a HUGE thank you for the picture. I have shown my Inspectors during my 121 meetings with them – I have found it a really useful talking point and very thought provoking – so thank you sooooo much”.
Later on cards and gifts of appreciation were distributed with similar responses back to us.
It is a magnificent privilege to have a part in partnering with God through prayer and intercession to see Jesus’ ‘kingdom come’ and his ‘will be done, in Southend, as it is in heaven’ during such turbulent times for our community.