On 27th May 2007 the third Global Day of Prayer was held all over the world. After a ten day period of 24/7 prayer in the York prayer room, the churches of York joined in the global prayer at York Minster. Initially youth groups ascended above the Minster to seek God in the ‘high place’. Although the night was very cold and wet, a crowd of around 800 people filled the Nave of the Minster to pray.
The evening began with Dave Casswell (Vicar of Clifton) and his band leading worship and then an official welcome to the Minster from Canon Jeremy Fletcher. He told us that his favourite description of the Minster was ‘a house of prayer’ and asked us to make it even more the case than it already was.
Stephen Redman (Pastor of the Ark Church) led prayer for our nation. There was a time of public heart searching and repentance, followed by a whispered prayer of the name of Jesus. The theme for the rest of the section was ‘the Wind and the Waves’ as we prayed over the winds of change and the waves of secularism in our land. Particular prayer was made for ‘Prime Minister in waiting’ Gordon Brown, for all those Christians holding the line against secularism, and for the upcoming initiative Hope 08.
Graham Hutchinson (Pastor of York Elim) introduced the next section where we prayed for the World. We split into groups in different parts of the minster, praying in diverse ways for many countries of the world.
Ian Birkinshaw (Associate Minister St Michael-le Belfrey) led a group having reflective prayer with a wonderful range of sound effects in the South Transept. Sue Wallace (St Stephen’s Acomb, & Visions) led Drumming Prayer in the Chapter House – a rhythm of prayer was established here. Carl Tinnion (YWAM) lead Praying through the Nations in the North Isle of the Choir, details of many Christian workers and people needing to hear the gospel were displayed along with maps and photos.
Jeremy Fletcher lead Taize Contemplative prayer in the Crypt and Allyson Lamb (Curate, St Michael-Le Belfry) lead Worship and Dynamic Prayer in the Zouche Chapel. David Stephens (Crossroads Fellowship) lead Individual Prayer in the Nave using multimedia to stimulate us to pray for particular needs. As group time came to an end, Trumpeter Rob Coleman called us back to the Nave to continue with the evening as a corporate body.
The last section was lead by Leanne Sedin (YoYo) and young people from the city as we prayed for Education, Local Government, Services and the Church in the city of York. As part of this time we prayed for the civic party and blessed them at the start of their year in office.
This section included a special video made for the evening where people on the streets of York were interviewed and asked “What one thing would you ask God to change about York?” The youthful participation in this section demonstrated the commitment by churches in York to working with young people and the active nature of the many youth workers, groups and organisations.
Graham Hutchinson drew the evening to a close by reminding us that Hope 08 would start at the Minster with a half night of prayer on New Year’s Eve.
The evening ended with the Civic Party marching out of the building carrying flaming torches which they handed on to young people, symbolically passing on the flame. Everyone was given a black bin liner and encouraged to now demonstrate Christian concern by cleaning up their street as an act of Christian service.
The atmosphere all evening was engaging and there was a real sense of the presence of the living God in the historic venue.
Comments ranged from ‘a very special evening’ to ‘a real meeting with God’. Initial feedback suggests that the great variation in styles of prayer not only kept everyone interested but made a deep impression on many Christians. The sense of ‘being part of something bigger’ was also evident. We pray that not only will this event be a stimulus to continual prayer in the lives of Christians throughout the city, but also the beginning of a true 90 days of blessing in our streets.