“Attended by a police officer at the beginning of the evening, at District Commander Dave Colwell’s request, about 50+ Christians (plus children) representing at least five different congregations, gathered to worship and pray from 10pm to 1am, at Southend Christian Fellowship’s Plaza Centre, on New Year’s Eve. The area used, was packed, with a need for over-spill seating in the adjacent corridor.
“Each of the three hours was led by church leaders from different congregations across Southend, and a member of Southend Prayer Wall, bringing different emphases for prayer and worship throughout the evening. Some of the main themes for which we gave thanks to God for his works of grace in Southend in 2010, were written up as we went along, as were the main issues for which we prayed, both for the Body of Christ and the communities of Southend.
We honoured Jesus in praise and worship; we prayed for the work of the emergency services, the hospital and people in their homes, at what is often an ‘excessive’ point in the year; we prayed for the breaking out of the good news about Jesus throughout the Borough and boldness and courage for individual Christians, as the carriers of that message; we made declarations of God’s intentions for us as his children and as churches; we picked up on the theme of the corporate Halloween evening of prayer and called for more of God’s light to overwhelm every kind of darkness in our streets and Borough; as the bells of Big Ben chimed in 2011, we spent the first quarter of an hour of the new year, exalting the name of Jesus together; we picked up on the prophetic significance of changes in the names of certain high-street products like ‘Grace’ and ‘Purity’ ladies’ fragrances and ‘Revival for men’ jewellery for men; and we finished the evening by corporately pronouncing a blessing on all that is wholesome, in the working, leisure, business and educational life of our town.
“We were also aware of many churches that would be holding their own services that evening, and called on God for an overflowing of his Word and Spirit on every church’s life and ministry, that would spill over into their communities.
“At the beginning of the evening, the police officer in attendance asked us to pray for a quieter night than usual for a New Year’s Eve, as typically-excessive drinking tipped over into excesses of behaviour, which police and other emergency services had to attend to safeguard individuals’ welfare. When Ruth Verrinder from Prayer Wall made contact with the Chief Commander a few days later, he was keen to know if a police officer had attended and thanked us for our prayers. He reported that New Year’s day had been a ‘green’ day: something that is unheard of, for that day, because a ‘green’ day is one on which police do not hit their expected target of incidents – i.e. a day when there is less crime, than they expected!
“What a privilege to stand in the gap, pray for the peace of the city to which we have been sent, and see God graciously answer our prayers as we agree with Him and together that His will be done on the earth, as it is in heaven!
“Anyone up for the next one?!”
– MARK CHURCHWARD