Not gathering physically hasn’t stopped thousands of people around the Sydney Diocese from coming together in prayer. The Lifting Our Voices to God online prayer event saw more than 1500 people log on to the livestream to join in praying corporately, being encouraged by God’s word, and praising the Lord in song. Since it was uploaded, more than 4000 people in total have viewed the event.
People from churches around Sydney brought COVID-19 before the Lord as they prayed for the vulnerable in our communities, for the frontline workers risking their lives to serve others, and for governments and others with key responsibilities during the pandemic. They prayed for worldwide issues such as the unrest in Afghanastan, global mission work, gospel opportunities and a new generation of gospel leaders.
Time was also spent praying for church leaders, for ministries to youth and children, for students, workers and businesses, and for the home lives of many in our churches.
The chat was filled with many expressions of unity, prayer and thankfulness. One user commented, “It has been so encouraging to see names and faces from recent and not-so-recent friends. For me, it has been an encouraging reminder of the great gathering we have to look forward to.”
Another viewer shared the encouragement it was for their family to see so many Christians participating. “So uplifting! Our God is great! My seven- and 10-year-old boys didn’t know there were so many Christians in Sydney!”
Prayer born out of prayer
The idea for a large prayer event came from a growing desire at St Philip’s, Caringbah to see more Christians praying together. Senior minister the Rev Eric Cheung has been greatly encouraged by the prayer groups he has seen popping up in his church over the past year.
“I kept asking my church what we should be learning in COVID, and everyone said we ought to be not relying on ourselves but on God – which means praying,” Mr Cheung says. “If we’re not praying together at a time like this, what are we supposed to be doing as a church?”
News of the event spread by word of mouth, with many encouraging their church members to attend and pray. The enthusiasm greatly encouraged Mr Cheung and the team of organisers, who were unsure of what to expect or how many would join in.
Mr Cheung hopes that Christians everywhere will continue to be committed to praying together. “We ought to be united together in prayer, and in anything else we can do together,” he says. “At a time like this, if we haven’t learned to pray, now is the time to learn.”