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A time to pray together?

July 2002 | by Gordon Murray

Do you think that it would be good thing for non-ecumenical Evangelical churches to unite together for prayer in their localities? The Council of the Protestant Truth Society does.

At a meeting earlier this year it agreed to make a public appeal for this to be implemented wherever possible. Moreover, it suggested that such united prayer should take place during the same week in 2003 as the ecumenical Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Our thinking is straightforward. In the first place, we should be praying constantly for the progress of the gospel in our land, and no doubt are, both individually and in our churches.

But it is good to come together from time to time to pray unitedly on a wider scale. In June of this year the Grace Baptist Association in East Anglia called for a week of prayer for revival. Other examples could probably be given.

Secondly, while differences exist between the various groupings of Evangelical churches, we should be united in the great fundamental truths of the gospel. Where better to demonstrate that unity than at the throne of grace? It makes a practical reality of our claim to be all one in Christ Jesus.

Thirdly, by meeting at the same time as the ecumenical week of prayer we declare both our separation from it and our concern for Christian unity on a proper foundation. It challenges any who are halting between two opinions.

It also provides encouragement for those who may be isolated in their area through their conscientious separation from the Churches Together movement.

Fourthly, there is so much to pray for. We should share a common concern to see God’s purposes being worked out in and through our churches, with beneficial effects in society.

We may well lament what we see happening around us, but it could be a reflection of spiritual failure on our part. Perhaps we are convicted about this possibility.

All this makes the need for prayer more urgent. There is no lack of subject matter whether on the local, national, or international level.

In taking the initiative in appealing for united prayer, the PTS Council recognises that it is entirely the responsibility of local churches to decide whether to act on it and how it might be organised in their localities.

Committed to encouraging the expression of Evangelical unity, the PTS sees itself simply as a springboard to get the idea off the ground, providing help or encouragement where it can.

Whatever the response, none of us can deny that we need to see more of the power of God at work, both in our churches and, through us, in our nation.

What better way to enter a new year than with concerted prayer by believing people across the country that God would have mercy upon us? That he would display his grace in the effective proclamation of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ?