I’ve just got off the phone from a marathon of radio interviews. Starting at 6.50am with Radio London, I’ve done back-to-back interviews with all the local BBC radio stations: 18 interviews in total and a reach of about 15 million people, talking about Tearfund’s new research into the importance of prayer for people in the UK, and explaining how integral it is to all we do. I didn’t dare have a cup of tea in case I needed the loo and I’m definitely needing some breakfast now.
But how exciting to be able to speak to so many people about prayer!
This year Tearfund is turning 50 and we have declared it a year of Jubilee for us as an organisation, with many things planned, both outward-facing and internal. Prayer has always been a central part of what we do, but this year one of our commitments is to up the ante on that and focus on prayer even more.
To that end, we are setting aside five days throughout the year as Jubilee Days: days when we turn off the internet, stop our regular work, and take time to commit ourselves again to God and each other. We have also teamed up with the 24/7 Prayer movement to pray constantly, everywhere we work around the world, for a year.
We also want to encourage and equip more people to engage with worldwide issues and to pray for the sort of work we are involved in around poverty, climate change, conflict and natural disasters.
Inevitably some of the interviewers asked me why I was calling people to pray at all – shouldn’t we be getting on with the practical stuff instead? It was great to be able to talk about a whole life response to poverty: yes we want people to give and also to act, both in our lifestyles and in calling governments and global institutions to work on behalf of the poor. But we also know that prayer changes things and, alongside the gritty, practical work we do in some of the neediest of places, we need a movement of prayer to bring about significant change.
So, at Tearfund, we are committing ourselves to praying for global transformation. Sounds grand doesn’t it, but I’m going for it! On a personal level, I’ve committed myself to pray an hour every week for the whole of this year as part of our 24/7 prayer initiative.
Would you join me? We’ve developed Tearfund One Voice to help us all to pray regularly and effectively for global issues of people and planet, and Archbishop Justin Welby has written us a special Jubilee prayer. So please: take a look, sign up and get praying!