'God has got it covered'
Baptist minister Hayley Young was invited to preach at a Thy Kingdom Come beacon event alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, Bishop Michael Curry and others. She shares a little of her message from Saturday night.
As the lead minister in a Local Ecumenical Partnership, we have been really trying to engage in the Thy Kingdom Come prayer initiative over the past two years. As a minister as I really struggle to get people to prayer meetings and this provides a really good opportunity for people to engage in prayer. As a church we really took on the challenge of praying for five people we know to come to know Jesus, to see Heaven breakthrough in their lives.
I had the privilege this year of participating in the Beacon event at St Albans Abbey where 4,000 Christians from across Hertfordshire came together to worship God, to seek His Kingdom breaking through in our lives and lives of those we care about. Worship was led by Soul Survivor and I was the warm up act for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
The service also took place the day of the Royal Wedding, and as a result people were buzzing about prayer and inspired by the words of the wedding sermon of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.
Bishop Michael happened to be one of the guest preachers at the Beacon event. He shared his passion for people to come to know Jesus, building on what he had said at the wedding about love being the centre and the reason for life, this love is shown to us through Christ.
Archbishop Justin shared from his own experience of identity and how our identity is found in Christ, and that this is for everyone.
I was asked to share about how we pray Thy Kingdom Come, so I reflected on the account in 2 Kings 6:8-23. I had chosen this passage not just because it is an amazing account of the prophet Elisha at work, but because of the role of the servant.
In this account the servant is following Elisha round as he is getting all these prophetic visions. God has been telling Elisha where the rival king's armies are going to strike – so Elisha then goes to the King of Israel and explains this to him. This results in the King of Israel strengthening that part of his territory, so they are always one step ahead of everyone trying to attack them. Politically, this is very helpful for the King of Israel.
I can kind of just imagine the life of Elisha’s servant: as things get more and more political he gets more and more nervous. In this passage the servant has found himself right in the middle of a potential civil war between two rival kings. And you can just feel the fear rising in him as the account says he goes out early in the morning and the city is completely surrounded by an army.
The servant goes back to Elisha and says: ‘Alas, my master what shall we do?’
And Elisha says to him: ‘Don’t be afraid, those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’
Elisha had God’s perspective.
In this moment, when any human would be completely freaked out, Elisha has hope: so, he prays that his servant would be able to see the situation from God’s perspective.
And there is this amazing moment when Elisha prays and the servant's eyes open – suddenly he is able to see what is really going on.
God has totally got them covered.
I love this scripture when I think of prayer and praying in God’s Kingdom, because for me sometimes prayer doesn’t work immediately; sometimes I struggle to get people to a prayer meeting; sometimes it feels like hard work, sometimes I just have to keep going and going. Sometimes, doubt and fear get in the way.
And so, at the event we were reminded to keep interceding for those we love and care about to come to know Jesus because our prayers shouldn’t stop after the ‘event.’
We were challenged to allowed God’s love to motivate our prayers and actions.
We were inspired to be co-workers in the Kingdom of God by showing them what Jesus’ love looks like and encouraging people to find their identity in Christ, so that they can know God as their Father.
The event included some time of sharing about what denominations and churches had been doing to engage in prayer between Ascension and Pentecost; there was joy as people shared what God had been doing.
There are many good Christian initiatives, but what spoke to me so clearly through this time of prayer together and the service was this: when the Church puts aside their differences and worships God and seeks His Will together, His presence shows up and assures of His love, motivates us to persevere in prayer and unites us as children of God.
The Revd Hayley Young is minister of Panshanger Church in Welwyn Garden City.
Watch a recording of the Thy Kingdom Come Beacon event where Hayley preached alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Bishop Michael Curry below