Following Jesus

Sam Rae from Aberdeen shares with us the impact that quality discipleship while living in authentic community has had on his life. He is currently working as the Youth & Children’s Intern at Emmaus Rd in Guildford.

At one point or another we all have to make choices that we don’t feel ready to make. Whether it’s what sandwich you want for lunch or what to do when you leave school – making choices can be stressful.

When I was deciding what to do upon finishing school, it felt like I was being pulled in a hundred different directions – go to university, study this, study that, apply for an apprenticeship. It felt like whatever decision I ended up making would have a major impact on the rest of my life.

Throughout the whole process I was desperate to follow God’s plan, yet it felt like He had left me high and dry in my time of need. I was stressed out and everyone around me knew it. I was told again and again “God will reveal His plan to you piece by piece” but it felt like God wasn’t giving anything away.
University deadlines were just around the corner and to say I was feeling stressed was an understatement. It was in the peak of my stress that I came across this quote,
It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. You cannot make progress without making decisions.” —Jim Rohn

This quote freed me to make a decision and to stop worrying about which specific direction God wanted me to take. God goes with us wherever we go. Whichever choice I made, God was going to come with me.

I chose to take a gap year. As cliché as it may sound, I wanted to devote my year to finding God and discovering my identity in Christ. Nowadays there are so many different gap year programmes that help people do exactly that but I chose to do 24-7 Prayer’s The Vision Course.

It claimed to be “5 months of radical discipleship and personal growth – laying foundations of biblical knowledge, cross-cultural mission, character development and, of course, prayer.” And that’s exactly what it did.

I grew more in that 5 months on the course than I ever had before. I was learning about authentic community first-hand; being loved and cared for by people desperate to see me grow. I was being stretched more than I thought possible. I was giving my time and talents to God. And learning to truly lean on Him gave me a confidence that people had never seen in me before. The saying ‘God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called’ is true and my life is a testimony to that.

Growing in our knowledge and understanding of God’s Word allowed us as students to follow Him with a greater passion whilst also laying a solid foundation of basic theology.

I would urge anyone reading this that if you want to grow more than you have ever before and be championed by some amazing leaders then check out THE VISION COURSE.

Pray for the Harvest

Anna Wakening of St Paul’s & St George’s in Edinburgh shares about their recent 24-7 prayer week held for the purpose of calling the church to pray in the lead up to their Vision Sunday.

“In the week leading up to our ‘Vision Sunday’ we as a staff team decided to run a week of prayer to gather the church together to pray into our vision.

Having previously been an employee of 24-7 Prayer I felt that this would be a great opportunity for me to use some of the experience of those years. So I happily volunteered to take on the set up of the prayer room. This was on Tuesday, the prayer week was to start on Monday. There was some panic and trepidation when Sunday afternoon came and the room was still bare. But with the help of some faithful volunteers, the prayer room was finished within a few hours! Amazingly, this did not take a lot of resources – I borrowed bean bags from Youth, colourful squares of paper from Children’s Ministry. And with a creative friend alongside me, we were able to create a beautiful atmosphere like you can see in the picture above.

The theme of the prayer room was around Luke 10:2 – “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest.”
Having an agricultural background I focused on the the four simple stages of harvest: Ploughing, planting, growing, harvesting. I gave a brief description of each but kept it simple to allow people to interpret for themselves as they spent time praying for the church.

It was a great privilege to be able to use the gifts that God has given me to help the church to pray and journey forward together.

As we looked at our Church vision, we wanted to gather as a church to pray into the specific areas of ‘Pray’, ‘Serve’ and ‘Give’ as these three words are shaping and changing the culture of our church body.

The week of prayer culminated with our ‘Vision Sunday’ where Dave our Rector shared from his time in the prayer room. He talked about the four stages of harvesting and how we as a church are presently in the stage of ploughing. Taking the old, used soil and turning it over to help the soil to be nutrient-rich and ready to supply all that the seeds need to grow.

We continue as a church to seek to grow as we are called to be whole-life disciples, sharing the whole of the gospel, with the whole of society, through churches of grace.

I just want to encourage you that if the desire to run a prayer week is strong within you but you are daunted by the task of setting up a prayer room, have no fear. The Lord God has given you everything you need to be everything He wants you to be.
There are lots of resources available on the 24-7 Prayer website and they have a great sign-up system that made the whole process really easy, therefore giving me the time to focus my energies on the content of the prayer room itself.”