23rd January 2020
Just under three weeks ago, we set out on 21 days of Prayer and Fasting here at King’s. I copied the idea of starting the year in this way from my friend Tope Koleso from Jubilee Church, Enfield, among others. As I have said before, corporate prayer at King’s has not historically been one of our strengths, but these last few weeks have been very encouraging.
As we draw to the end of our 21 Days, I have been reflecting on what we are learning. In no particular order, here are the things I feel have worked well:
1. Teaching about prayer on Sundays alongside the 21 Days has been helpful. I opened the series by speaking from Acts 4 on the Believers’ Prayer, and each week we have focussed on a different Biblical model for prayer.
2. Holding an hour’s prayer meeting from 7 to 8pm works. People can come straight from work, and finishing by 8 means you still have your evening. An hour’s prayer seems more attainable for those of us learning to pray.
3. The daily regularity of the 21 days has built momentum. Offering prayer meetings every night has made them accessible to more of the church, whatever people’s work or life rhythms. In the past, we have tended to hold our corporate prayer meetings on Wednesday nights, which does not work for everyone.
4. We found keeping to a similar pattern each evening worked well. We started and finished on time; we worshipped for 15 minutes, prayed for 30 to 35 minutes and finished with another time of worship; we combined praying in small groups with other moments of encouraging everyone to raise their voices to God.
5. Having a theme for each evening gave focus to our prayers. We introduced topics (e.g. Vision 2030, youth and children, healing, Sunday meetings, sites) and provided prayer points to guide people in their prayers.
6. We are a multisite church but came together as one church for six evenings, reserving Fridays to meet at each of our four sites. The experience has been tremendously positive for both one-church unity and site community.
7. I believe it has helped that Deb and I have attended every night.
8. Suggesting alternative models of fasting has made this important spiritual discipline more attainable. Many people have followed our example of a partial fast each day. Deb and I have eaten breakfast, and then an evening meal after the prayer meeting. Others have undertaken social media fasts, meat fasts, or fasted on certain days.
9. Attendance has been consistently high every night, with hundreds of people gathering each evening to seek God. Even storm Brendan didn’t stop people turning out! Many have joined me and Deb in committing to all 21 days, while others have come as often as they can. Many have brought their children along. Some who live too far away or were unable to come out at night, committed to praying in their own homes each evening.
10. The spiritual health of the church is at an all-time high. As we have moved through the last few weeks, I have observed an increasing hunger for God and freedom of expression in worship and prayer. We have had many evenings where people have encountered God in a powerful way.
This has been one of the most significant seasons I can remember in my 24 years of leading King’s. It has ignited a fresh passion in us to seek God and see Him move that is wonderful to see. We still have much to learn about corporate prayer, but this has been an important step forward for us as a local church.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
Steve Tibbert leads King’s Church London, with sites in Catford, Downham and Lee. Over the past fifteen years the church has seen continued growth, both in size and diversity. Steve is also involved in Newfrontiers and regularly coaches other lead elders. His book, Good to Grow, was published in July 2011. He is married to Deb, and they have three sons.