On Monday 23rd October Debra Green also came to our networking day and spoke after Andy Hawthorne. Debra Green is the co-author of ‘City Changing Prayer’ and a Director of City Links.
Debra Green said that working in an office with evangelists, the passion for the lost has rubbed off on her. She said that it was her profound belief that prayer must always have an outward focus. The church needs to beware of being so introspective that it misses servicing evangelism in prayer.
Debra went on to say that we need the correct spiritual atmosphere over our city if we want evangelism to work. She recounted how DL Moody wouldn’t go to Manchester because the church was so disunited. In 1993 she said the situation was unchanged, and at the first prayer network meeting only 63 people turned up for the whole of Greater Manchester!
Debra told us that Psalm 133:1 had been a big influence on her, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” (NIV)
Debra declared unity is not just for the sake of unity. She said that
– unity has to flow into mission and
– unity has to be a catalyst for change.
In Manchester the breakthrough in prayer started when instead of ‘just being spontaneous’ God directed them to pray in themes, i.e. for the ‘structures’ of education, healthcare, business – the things that really affect people’s lives. Out of this is flowing a unity that benefits society.
Debra told how they invite non-Christians to prayer meetings e.g. when praying for education they invite teachers, pupils, governors etc. She said she is rarely turned down!
Now after 7 years of these meetings, the 63 have grown into over 2000.
Debra encouraged us that the church growth in Manchester is a function of the spiritual foundations that have been laid by praying in unity. Their prayer has had a sharp focus on the community issues that God has wanted to infiltrate.
The discovery in Manchester was that local government and the police are very interested in some of the same kingdom values as we are: regeneration, restoration & renewal.
Debra told us that one of their most important distinctives is positive focus – not whinging like Jonah. It is important to focus on the positive – the good part which is made in the image of God in people. She said that by praying for people rather than ‘against things’ they had seen an overall 11% reduction in crime.
After talking to us, Debra and her colleague Wendy Ashcroft led us in prayer.
Several prophetic words were given for the group.
Through Debra the prophetic word was “Give your gifts away – you have more gifts than you need. God is going to use you as a resource centre in the country. You are a resource city – I can see links with Hull and with Leeds, also international links.” She also said that she had seen a vision of the city walls and the crown of Jesus taking the place of the walls.
Wendy then read :
Isaiah 54:2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. 3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. NIV
She went on to say “Strengthen one another then stretch out. Lift your eyes up, see the vision that God is giving you. God wants to move in power like He did in the upper room. It’s for all generations – moving forward – don’t look back – don’t hold back. He is doing a new thing – springs of new life – new developments – new areas that you’ve never been in –new doors opening.
Some people have moved to York for a specific reason – some workers with a previously national ministry have been brought here for a purpose. They have keys to unlock something in this city. You see visions. You see things in the Spirit. God is breaking new ground, barriers are coming down.”
Then Debra asked those who wanted to ‘take something off’ to hang a jacket or top on the clothes rack in the room. She encouraged us that we were symbolically taking off one thing to put on a new royal garment. She urged us to ‘robe-up’. She said “The garments you are wearing are OK, but they are not for this season. God has a royal anointing for you – you have a connection with what happens in the nation and particularly the royal family. You will be my priests. You will wear garments of righteousness and praise. Receive garments!”
There was a very strong response from the leaders and soon the clothes rack was full!
Finally Graham Hutchinson closed by reminding us that God told Joshua he was setting boundaries on the land He was giving them, yet those boundaries were vast, over the horizon. Graham reminded us that we should accept no limitations upon us except those which come from God.