This blog represents the thoughts of the author. While they may reflect the theological position of The Renewal Fellowship, they should not be seen as an official statement.
James 5:16 provides encouraging words for those who believe in the power of prayer.
- Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (New Living Translation.)
Two parts. First is confession. None of us is a saint – all are sinners. No matter how righteous I may believe that I am in terms of theology and behaviour, I fall short. I ask for forgiveness not only from God the Father but also from my brothers and sisters who hold different expressions of the faith. Along with my confession of sins is my prayer “for each other”.
In that light, we* present a unique 28-day prayer initiative leading up to a very different General Assembly. Starting May 10th, we will be publishing a weekly prayer guide and inviting discussion on a special Facebook group page.
The guides will be emailed and posted to the Renewal Fellowship and the PSALT websites. We are working in partnership. Those of similar theological thinking are teaming up with other kindred souls in the PCC to prayerfully seek God's will to be done. We are approaching this from a firm conviction that Living Faith does not need to be amended. We prayerfully stand against any proposal which would depart from the authority of Scripture.
And yet … our intent is for these prayer guides to be picked up and used by everyone. And we truly mean everyone – no matter what theological perspective they hold. This is not a private or secret group.
Which brings me to the second part of James' statement. “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” should not imply that I see myself as righteous. I may believe that my theology is authentic, but I'm not going to condemn yours if it leans in a different direction. It's up to the Holy Spirit to convict and correct, not me.
We don't know exactly what's going to transpire on our four-week journey. All we ask is for insightful, faithful, and respectful discussion among ourselves so that we, as God's children, can lift our prayers to the Father in holy unity.
The “Pray for GA” team hopes that this campaign will prepare all of us – commissioners and observers alike – for a very different Assembly. Technology may be a challenge. And with a proposed two-minute limit on commissioner comments, there will not be an opportunity for substantial discussion on anything.
All of that is a concern no matter what our theological perspective. The Rainbow Commission is 119 pages. Life and Mission Agency is 175 pages. But don't be misled – the report on the remits is only two pages but the implications of its recommendations are profound. The entire agenda includes 350 recommendations. You can read all the reports individually or download a 78-page summary document.
Historically, the Renewal Fellowship has arranged through the General Assembly Office for a designated prayer room to be made available at each year's Assembly. (We would have done so this year if GA were in person.) This year, the prayer room goes online. Details – how to connect and what to expect – will be announced.
For now, spread the word. Share the prayer.
* Prayer team members are Rev. Sampson Afoakwah, Rev. Monika Bereczki-Farkas, Rev. Andy Cornell (convener), Barb Ferrier, Robyn Ferrier, Rev. Grant Gunnink, Rev. Rodger McEachern, Rev. Sybil Mosley and Rev. Jon Wyminga.