It really feels like the last week of this initial phase in my studies. It was a very rigorous week as I had to present my topic to the faculty and then answer their questions and critiques. This is part of the process, the further along I go, the tougher the scholars will be as they probe and pick at my work to make sure it will contribute to knowledge.
I look forward to being home. I miss my Sue and the family so much. I miss my All Saints family also. I look forward to preaching on November 5th. I am so grateful for the guest speakers that did such a wonderful job while I was in Oxford. Thank you Andi, Joe, Ray, Bob, and Brendan. A great gift you all are to the community of All Saints.
I have been journaling my experience here; it has also helped me expound on ideas and narrow my focus. Here is a snippet of my journal from last week:
I am fractured in many different places emotionally, psychologically, and physically. I naturally go to self doubt when faced with a big challenge. I also look around for ways to balance it by looking for others words and ideas rather than contemplating the word, my soul, and the Spirit of God. I want to believe that I have the ability, intelligence, and power of the Spirit to navigate this…So, God I ask…help me with my unbelief. I need discipline, grit, and the belief that God is directing me everyday. I believe this project will have repercussions that impact the Kingdom of God in ways that are far beyond my imagination, and it will create conversation and new forms that can impact the urban church in cities all over the world.
I am ready to continue this work. See you next Sunday!
I am about to begin work on a PhD, much of it around ways a church, in an urban setting can be sustainable, and provide a place of health, hope, and service to the neighborhood in which it resides. One of those ways to care for a neighborhood is to know about it, and pray for it.
Prayer walking is a great way to get active in prayer and is as simple as it sounds – you pray as you walk. Why not try it and learn more about a place and God’s heart for a community.
24-7 is a prayer network out of the UK that details a way to prayer walk your neighborhood. Please let me know the neighborhood you are prayer walking so I can pray with you.
There are many ways to do it but here are a few suggestions for giving it a go for your neighborhood, and your church.
- Start and end together: agree a place and time to meet to start walking and talking to God together. Begin by explaining why you’ve gathered to pray and a few pointers for those who haven’t prayed this way before. If you’re going to split into smaller groups at any point, then agree a place and time to end together.
- Planned route or a wild goose chase? You can decide ahead of time where you’re going to go or you can simply ask the Holy Spirit to lead you as you walk. Just make sure you don’t get lost!
- Try going out in twos: Jesus sent his disciples out in twos. It’s not intimidating or as conspicuous as a large group can be, and it is safer than people going on their own. If you have a larger group breaking into pairs can help you cover more ground. For safety’s sake you might want to make sure that at least one person on each team has a mobile phone in case you need to contact each other.
- To be seen or not to be seen: you can pray quietly or in a volume that doesn’t draw attention if you’re on a covert prayer mission. Silence is okay too. It’s not about being seen to be praying, it’s about seeing and praying. Having said that, if you feel confident sometimes the Lord can ask us to pray boldly in public!
- Pray the positive: even in areas that are considered ‘dark’ or ‘desperate’, try to pray blessings rather than ‘tearing down’ prayers. Focus on God’s plan, purpose and destiny for the place and the people that live there. “Your Kingdome come, your will be done…” makes an excellent start!
- Ending well: if you’ve gone in different directions why not meet up at the end to share what you’ve felt, seen, prayed and heard from God. If you can keep a record of what you share so you can build on it next time.