I have just concluded my cycle pilgrimage around the cathedrals of England. 42 cathedrals, covering more than 2000 miles of cycling have taken me 27 days to visit, pray in and give thanks for. As you might imagine, the theme of patient endurance is very much in my mind.

Patient endurance, (sometimes called perseverance) is a key theme in the New Testament. It is something of a mark of Christian discipleship. As we come into this season of Pentecost, through the novena (nine days) of ‘Thy Kingdom  Come’, Jesus says to the disciples ‘stay in the city until you have been close with power from on high.’ (Luke 24.49) The need to stay, wait, and persevere in prayer is as true for us as disciples today as it was before the first Pentecost.

Over the last four years of my time as Director of Mission and Evangelism, parishes and communities have found many creative ways to persevere in prayer, and witness to the wider community. parishes and communities have requested grants from the Mission team to support them in this work. One of our prison chaplains requested a grant to create press stations in the chapel and give books of prayers over 300 inmates. Other churches have developed prayer tree installations, to enable people to write and hang their prayers upon the tree. Still others have purchased prayer maps, made prayer journeys and decorated prayer rooms. This creativity in prayer can be a great encouragement to many pray for the first time or in new ways.

COVID-19 caused many people to reconsider their priorities. Even though some of our church attendance may have become irregular during this period, and our numbers may be lower on Sunday; peoples spiritual appetite for God have not reduced. ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ is a wonderful opportunity to re-invite people into prayer and an encounter with God. I do hope that you seek out the diocesan resources on the web site. These will help you to pray for all God’s people. Paper-based copies that have also been sent to incumbents so that each parish can see the kind of format that they are. Addition paper copies of all these resources can be ordered. However, with the ‘green agenda’ in mind, we want to use as little paper as we can. I hope that these, and the parish and prison-based ideas that I have shared may encourage you to pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ for all God’s people. Justice, joy and peace is what Jesus offers. It is so very much in need at this time. So, as a diocese, and in the words of St. Paul, may we ‘be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.’

Find out more and download resources at southwark.anglican.org/tkc.