If you're wondering how to fill some of the extra time you now have at home, Crossway are offering a selection of free resources, including Ebooks, verse cards, articles, podcast interviews and Bible reading plans and devotionals. Check them out by using the link below.
The Evangelical Alliance have posted this encouragement to pray on their website:
At 7pm this Sunday, light a candle in the windows of your homes as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, our source and hope in prayer. Whether you are continuing to worship as congregations or not, we have the great privilege and freedom to be able to call upon God, wherever we are, individually and corporately, for healing in our country. We would pray for all in leadership at this time, making decisions about the containment of the Covid-19 virus, for those working in health and social care, and especially for the most vulnerable, whether elderly or those with underlying health conditions.
There are already stories being told of wonderful acts of kindness across neighbourhoods. Alongside your prayers, take the opportunity to telephone or email someone who is isolated, buy some additional food for your local foodbank, or offer to deliver shopping for an elderly neighbour. We may not be able to touch physically but we can make connections in so many other ways.
They are also publishing a weekly prayer each Thursday. You may like to use this week's prayer as you pray this evening:
Heavenly Father, we turn our hearts to you.
You are utterly faithful, and you have never failed us. Grant us hope, strength and mercy in our time of need. Enable us to throw our cares onto you, our mighty God.
O Lord, hear our prayer.
We pray for those touched by the coronavirus, those who face sorrow, fear, illness and isolation. We ask for compassion, love, healing, and kindness. Make us a people living in your perfect love that we may drive away fear.
O Lord, hear our prayer.
We pray for wisdom and clarity for those making key decisions, for scientists, medical experts, politicians and public health officials. We pray for acts of kindness to spread in every community. Enable us to be quick to see need and respond in gracious and loving ways. Take us through this time of trial.
O Lord, hear our prayer.
In Jesus’ name
“Cast all your anxiety on Him for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Debby Wright recently shared this beautiful prayer for our time. You may want to use it tomorrow evening when we join with Christians around the nation at 7pm and pray together.
Lord, I pray for protection.
I pray we would adjust our behaviours to be selfless.
I pray for a vaccine, a cure!
I pray for all the doctors and scientists who work tirelessly in this time, all those in services who will be in extra demand. For those who will suffer with the virus and those who will lose loved ones.
But mostly I pray as many have been praying, I pray for revival. Never before has the church been so united in prayer for a move of God. Could this be our opportunity? Our time to shine? I pray God would use us for his glory in this time. I pray the church will rise up.
By church I mean each Christ follower taking responsibility to live like a true disciple, led by God’s Spirit, acting in his name and extending Gods Kingdom like never before; being brave, selfless, helpful and practical.
I pray we would lovingly choose behaviours to be hygienic, but at the same time, look out for the vulnerable, offering to help neighbours, even strangers. Finding ways to encourage and build others up in the Lord. I pray for ideas, and I thank God for the internet which will be one of our greatest tools.
I pray we will be a blessing and source of peace to those who have none, that we will share our faith, as there will be openness to the gospel like never before.
I pray for those of us who may even feel led to take the place of caregivers and healers to those no one else will touch.
When it all settles back to normal my prayer is that normal will not be the same, that our nation will have cried out to God, humbled itself and joined us in worship and adoration of the one true Almighty God our Lord, our Saviour, our King.
DEBBY WRIGHT, VCUKI NATIONAL DIRECTOR
It’s great to see how creative the church is being in this time of forced isolation. The staff team is now meeting regularly via Zoom calls (for more information on how Zoom works, see our earlier blogpost KEEP IN TOUCH). The wonderful Breathing Space team are moving their appointments online. We had our first virtual Men’s Prayer Breakfast using Zoom this morning (which means there’s more room around the table – come on guys, join us next Friday at 7am…). Our street has started a private Facebook group to keep in touch and support each other. The Couch to 5K group are continuing their WhatsApp communications to encourage each other with their runs, even thought they weren’t able to run together. And we heard of at least one other Small Group that held their group meeting this week via WhatsApp, sharing thoughts about the passage and prayer needs together in real time. So please drop us an email, text, Facebook message, etc. and add your comments below to let us know what you and your group are doing to stay in touch.
Neal and Eluned.
This Sunday, 22nd of March, there is a call for the church to join together in a National Day of Prayer.
At 7pm on Sunday, Christians everywhere will be lighting candles in the windows of their homes as a visible symbol of Jesus, the light of the world.
In this rapidly evolving situation, there is, very understandably, a great deal of uncertainty, fear and anxiety. In a time of such uncertainty, we must remember what is certain: that God is on the throne, he is ultimately in control, and we can totally trust him through this valley.
In a time of such fear and anxiety, we are assured of the power of love over fear (1 John 4:18), and that the peace which transcends understanding can overcome every anxiety (Philippians 4:6-7).
Let us be a non-anxious presence as we step into the opportunity to be salt and light in fresh ways, bringing hope to those around us as we reach out with love. And let us humble ourselves and pray. That God’s kingdom would come, his will would be done, and that he would heal our land (1 Chronicles 7:14).
We are encouraging Vineyard churches across the UK and Ireland to join with this day of prayer and action on Sunday.
With our love and prayers at this challenging time.
John & Debby Wright
National Directors, Vineyard Churches UK & Ireland
This is a fantastic encouragement to pray together and witness to our faith in Christ – let's shine a light for him this Sunday evening! – Neal and Eluned
For further information, please visit the Evangelical Alliance website.
During the Covid-19 outbreak, it's important that we do all we can to stay in touch while it's not possible for us to hold church meetings – our mental, emotional and spiritual health depend upon it. There are a number of online apps that can help us do that.
WhatsApp is a free, online messaging tool that enables people to send text and voice messages, make voice and video calls and share images, documents and even your current location. You can form groups and then have group chats together. WhatsApp works on laptops, tablets and mobile phones, but you need a mobile phone for it to work on your other devices. To find out more, check out the WHATSAPP website.
Zoom is a cloud-based video communications app that enables you to meet 'virtually' with others, either by video conferencing or just with audio only. You can meet with up to 100 people at a time, so it could be a great way for Small Groups and teams to continue meeting together. You don't need a Zoom account to join a Zoom meeting, but whoever sets up a meeting has to have an account in order to get the ball rolling. Accounts are free, with meeting times on free accounts limited to 40 minutes. Find out more on the ZOOM website.
Google Meets is another way of holding group meetings. Again it's free, but you need to sign up for a Google account to take part in a conversation and the group size is limited to 25 people. THIS LINK takes you to the Google Meets page.
You can find tutorials for all these apps on YouTube, so why not do a bit of exploring and find out more about how you could keep in touch with others? Post any comments or questions below and we'll do whatever we can to assist you.