Near the end of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer’s ‘Morning Prayer’ service the congregation prays the Prayer of Saint Chrysostom:
Almighty God, who hast given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications unto thee; and dost promise that when two or three are gathered together in thy Name thou wilt grant their requests: Fulfil now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of thy servants, as may be most expedient for them; granting us in this world knowledge of thy truth, and in the world to come life everlasting. Amen.
I’ve always been struck by this line in particular: ‘Fulfil now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of thy servants, as may be most expedient for them.’ It’s a beautiful and important acknowledgement that when we pray, we do so, in a sense, blindly: we don’t know how God will choose to answer.
Day three of mission in Penrith was a day of God answering our prayers in ways that were unexpectedly expedient.
As an experiment suggested by the staff here at St. Stephen’s, we set up a coffee machine in the morning and sent several team members out on the street with signs advertising free ‘drive through’ coffee at the church. There’s a turning circle for weddings and funerals at the front, and we hoped many would drive through for a coffee on the way to work or home from dropping kids at school, and receive a flyer about St. Stephen’s Open Week. It was an exercise in opening up the church to the community in the hope of beginning to build new relationships.
Over two hours, we served seven cars.
This was not what we had hoped for. Yet, unexpectedly, we had over thirty walk-through coffees! In God’s grace, five of these expressed an interest in coming to church on Sunday. One Hindu man asked if he could meet with someone to learn more about the Christian faith. Several bibles were given out at the end of lengthy, encouraging conversations. Pray that these interactions might be just the beginning of relationships in which the gospel might be shared and received – as may be most expedient for them.
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