Dear Rosebank Union Church,

This morning we all work up to the reality of a completely new way of living.

Last night as I listened to the president speak I was deeply moved by the concern shown for our fellow citizens, as well as for our economy. I was also encouraged by the call to pray!

Just like everyone else, we at the Church have been thinking, working and praying hard about what this new way of living means for us.

Last week our efforts were focused on creating an online platform for us to still gather for meaningful worship on a Sunday. I’m so proud of what our team created, and also so pleased at the response from you, the Church! Our estimates show that we had at least the same number of people worshipping online this past Sunday as we would on a normal Sunday, if not more!

Thank you for gathering in worship on Sunday, and I want to encourage you to continue meeting together for worship (in your own homes now, of course!). We will have the same online platform available, and will continue in our series. We will record from the RUC ‘studio’ one last time this week, and from next week be recording in our homes.

Our focus this week, and our call to action to you, is to pray!

I heard a story just this morning of farmers in rural America where there’s lots of snow. In times of a severe snowstorm the farmer would tie a rope from the door of his house to the door of their barn, to enable them to navigate from the house to the barn during times of heavy snow.

I initially thought that was pretty crazy! Surely the farmer would know how to navigate to his own barn after all the years of living on the farm, even in a snowstorm?

The reality of the story is that sometimes a sudden change of circumstances can be so disorienting, even though the surroundings are familiar.

That got me thinking: this morning we all woke up to a drastic change of circumstances, a heavy snowstorm, if you like. And despite the familiarity of still being in our own homes, the rapid change in circumstances has the potential to be completely disorienting. We need a rope!

That simple rope, is a daily commitment to the Scriptures and to prayer.

I realise that for some of you in the centre of this complex reality this ‘rope’ may seem so simplistic. Perhaps you are thinking more about action plans and contingencies.

That’s absolutely valid and true, but if we think for a second that we can get through this with our own clever thinking and plans, and without casting ourselves fully on God, we’re deluded. And we will find ourselves lost and disoriented in the snow pretty soon.

Rosebank Union let’s do this, let’s pray!

Here are three ways you can escalate your prayer starting this week:

246 Prayer:

Set an alarm on your phone for 2:46pm every day. When that alarm goes, pray right where you are, in the middle of whatever you’re doing, for your family, friends, business, church, country & world. Whatever. Just pray!

Why 246 Prayer? Because one of our theme verses for this period is Acts 2:46 – we want to be a church that continues to meet daily in our homes.

Prayer Portal:

Send us your prayer requests using the prayer portal on our #Liftthesail web page. Be as detailed as you would like, or as anonymous as you like. People at RUC are going to get sick, and we want to say: we love you, we’re ready to help you, and we want to pray for you!

Join our very first online prayer meeting!

I’ve got to say, I’m a little excited about this! Wednesday night, 25 march, 7pm, we’re going to have a good ‘ol prayer meeting, but obviously in our homes.

We’ll be using Facebook live, so simply join the #Liftthesail Facebook group , log in at 7pm tomorrow night, and pray with us!

I want to end by reminding you of what we learned from the Scriptures this past Sunday:

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God

(Ephesians 5:1-2)

We prayed from Romans 5 that God’s love would be poured into our hearts through his Holy Spirit. The purpose of that prayer wasn’t just to experience a feeling, but to accept His love so that we could walk in it i.e. live in it!

And you know what? Perfect loves casts out fear (1 John 4:18). So live in His love, and walk in kindness and love to others at this time.

See you on Wednesday in my lounge for prayer. All 1000 of you 😉

God Bless