Edinburgh: Something New

Many churches like to get the year started with a season of prayer, and at King’s Church Edinburgh we added something new for 2018: a half night of prayer.

As we have done for several years, we had a Prayer Room open from 6am to midnight every day for a week and were delighted that all the hour-long slots were filled. In the room was a book we had made giving suggestions of what to pray for over the course of an hour, and a wall display of expanding circles, echoing Jesus’ command to go to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). People were encouraged to write their prayers and prophecies on this and by the end of the week it was covered.

However, praying together as a church from 6pm to midnight on the last day of our week of prayer was new for us. There is always plenty to pray for – but how would we fill six hours? And would we fill the room with people to pray?

The night started with a family-friendly hour, led by our excellent children’s workers. Following the pattern of the prayer Jesus taught us, parents and children were helped to pray together. Cards with different pictures describing Jesus were scattered across the room to be found and prayed about. Large maps of our region and our world were laid out on the floor for people to walk across and pray for the people and places they cared for. There was time for repentance and forgiveness too: we wrote down sins we wanted forgiveness for on red cards which were then thrown in a bin, and we wrote down the names of people we needed to forgive for how they had treated us.

After the children had gone home, we still had a crowd of around fifty people eager to worship, seek God, and intercede. We had a plan of important topics to focus on, but we were also committed to waiting on the Spirit to lead us. We prayed for ministries and people in the church, other churches in Edinburgh, and for some of the New Ground church plants across Europe. We prayed out loud together, we prayed in smaller groups, we prayed in tongues… we kept praying! A couple of well-timed breaks, with coffee, cakes, and bananas to give fresh physical energy, helped keep us going, but there was such a strong spirit of commitment to calling on God, and an awareness of our need for him, that this felt much less like an endurance test to persevere through and more a wonderful opportunity to meet and speak with God. We’re looking forward to seeing how He will answer our prayers in the year ahead!