As our 247Prayer week started last night, we started with a bang - 20 to 30 people in the room, worshipping passionately for the first hour of what promises to be an amazing week of non-stop worship and prayer. For the first time in this prayer room, we are setting the goal of having alternate hours of worship and prayer throughout the week, day and night. So far, so good, with nearly all of the worship slots covered by an amazing worship leader - thanks to all who are taking part. If you've not signed up, it's not too late - you can do so online here: http://www.24-7prayer.com/signup/75a230, or you are welcome to just pop by the prayer room any time of night or day in the coming week.
Some people have asked why the emphasis on worship this time round. Well, it's a good question. The scripture that’s really inspired us for this week is “Sing O Barren Woman... for more are the children of the desolate wife than of her who has a husband” (Is 54:1).
For centuries the ‘woman’ of Isaiah 54:1 has been understood to represent, amongst other things, the church: so it could be thought of as, ‘Sing O Barren Church’. Because we are the ‘Bride of Christ’, and whilst we are waiting for our husband’s return, there is a sense in which we are desolate without him (even whilst, at the same time, we have his Spirit – it is a case of the now and ‘not yet’ of the Kingdom, “we see in part now, but one day we will see clearly...”).
And why is this ‘woman’, this church singing? Because of the hope of new birth, the hope of a fruitful life again. And this is the gospel really: the incredible hope of new, fruitful lives with Christ.
We have much to sing about! New birth, new beginnings, new perspectives on ‘true life’.
So, we are gathering in the Prayer Room to worship God, to sing out of a place that is aware of barrenness – in our own lives, our churches and city. And we are gathering to sing into those places - those words of hope and blessing that God would have us sing over the barrenness that we see.
Hope this inspires you, as it has us, to focus sometime this week on seeking God in the place of worship and prayer. You are welcome to join us at any time - our door is permanently open (or, at least, always has a welcoming person behind it to let you in...). Look forward to seeing you,
The Oxford Prayer Room team