Every so often (or, perhaps, more often than not) we become aware of things stirring under the surface of our lives. Perhaps an unexpected emotional reaction to something surprises us, or we may feel inexplicably low or angry and can’t quite pinpoint the cause.
It may seem like the easiest option is to push on and ignore our feelings, thinking that we don’t want to be ‘led’ by our emotions, which is a good policy to have. After all, if we react to every emotion, we can be come quite volatile with those around us. Emotions are useful, however, for diagnosing what is going on, and so when we have an unexpected feeling it is important to find time to stop, pay attention to it and reflect.
Whether this rings true for you or not at the moment, taking time to be still in God’s presence is important. It gives the opportunity for our spirits to be rejuvenated. When we become still, the choppy waters of our thoughts calm down, and in that ‘stillness’ we become much more aware of what God might be showing us.
In the silence, we may become aware of things that God is asking us to let go of. Perhaps something has ‘control’ of us and we need to be free from it, or maybe we just need to put our cares and worries before God and leave them behind.
At Stour Valley Vineyard, our vision is to be ‘Surrendered to God, transformed by grace’. This is what happens when we simply take time to be still with God and let go. Transformation takes place on the inside and begins to filter through into our words and actions as we live day to day.
“Do not be conformed to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete renewing of your mind. Then you will know the will of God, what is good and is pleasing to Him and is perfect.” (Paul’s letter to the Romans 12:1-2)
In order to ‘let God’, we need to let go of control ourselves i.e. surrender the reins to Him. God will never wrestle the reins off us, He waits for us to give them to Him. It is our choice, and to be fully ‘surrendered’ to Him, we have to make this choice again and again in all areas of our lives.
As Christians, we believe that prayer changes things, not least ourselves. It is not just something that Jesus asked us to do, but something that becomes an integral part of who we are.
In June 2014, we had our first very special week of 24/7 of Prayer. We invited people to sign up for one hour in our prayer room where they could encounter God through thinking, listening, creating and communicating in a variety of imaginative ways. The results were far beyond our imaginations.
Over that week more than 40 individuals made use of the space, many visiting multiple times. We had people from Stour Valley Vineyard and the local community signing up for an hour or more with God.
“I would usually go to God with a list of requests, but in the prayer room I just sat still and listened and poured out my heart to Him. I had been suffering from pain in my leg for some weeks before and I realised that, when my hour had finished, the pain had gone.”
“I walked into the room and was so overwhelmed with God’s presence in there that I just wept.”
Since our first prayer week in 2014, we have held weeks of prayer to encourage us all to stop and take time out of our busy lives to reflect and listen. And the numbers have continued to grow! Stories of transformation have continued to be told.
In a world where it seems almost impossible to get off the merry-go-round that life can become, we are discovering this to be a profoundly important way of providing the opportunity to do just that: to stop and be still in God’s presence. It is remarkable how this simple act can make room for us to engage with God and to allow Him to bring us hope and healing.
Before booking your hour please take a few moments to read the health and safety guidelines for using the prayer room.
what is 24-7 prayer?
In 1999 a single, unsuspecting prayer room in England began to spontaneously multiply, touching 46 nations and millions of lives within a matter of months growing to become an international, interdenominational movement of prayer, mission and justice.
Every minute since that moment has been filled with unbroken (24-7) prayer, everywhere from the US Naval Academy and the slums of Delhi to a Swiss skate park and a German punk festival.
This movement of prayer is generating miracles, new monasteries and missions deep into the heart of the postmodern culture. If you would like to find out more about the movement you can visit the 24-7 webpage, alternatively you can pick up the books ‘Red Moon Rising’ and ‘God on Mute’ by Peter Grieg from the Welcome Desk on a Sunday Morning.
Many people talk to God from time to time, whether that is a cry for help, a shout of anger and accusation, or a continual conversation throughout life.
It says in the Bible that God never sleeps, so we can take from that that he is always awake and listening to us, His creation. God’s desire is that we don’t just talk to Him but that we know Him. The only real way to get to know somebody is to spend time with them. So the aim of the prayer room is for us to have a place where we can go and spend time getting to know God better.
We all have different ways of communicating: we can talk, listen, sing, draw, paint, express our feelings through music, silence, etc. The prayer room is a creative space to allow us to interact with God in a variety of ways. There will be information and stimulus to help engage, not just the mind, but the senses too.
The 24-7 Prayer Team