A call for focused prayer from Easter Sunday, March 27 to Ascension Day, May 5 has been taken up by over 70 parishes that are rallying congregations in prayer for everyone to respond to God in repentance and faith.
The prayer movementForty Days with the Risen Lordis led by the Bishop of Wollongong Reg Piper in line with Policy One of the Diocesan Mission. The Mission aims to see 10 percent of the population converted by 2012.
According to the media and communications arm of the Diocese of Sydney, Anglican Media Sydney, 185 people have so far become prayer warriorspeople committed to active, regular prayer.
Meanwhile, Anglican Youthworks has produced a prayer journal for churches. Moore College theologian Peter Bolt has produced a series of Bible studies published by Matthias Media. Also available are childrens material and sample sermons from Bishop Piper.
Seventy-four churchesthe majority in Sydneyplan to use the prayer journal while others will use the small group material and preaching outlines. Beyond Sydney, churches in places such as Lightening Ridge, Queensland, London and Canada have also ordered the resources.
The seven Anglican churches in the Willoughby City area are combining efforts over the 40 days and are using the resources. Rector of Stephens, Willoughby, the Rev Ross Nicholson, said the weakest aspect of the Christian life is often prayer, so he hopes this time of focused prayer will encourage regular prayer amongst his congregation. Nicholson is incorporating the sermon ideas into his preaching program.
Further west, Toongabbie Anglican Church Associate Minister Neil Atwood says there has been a lot of interest in his parish for the project and he hopes other churches in his region will also take part.
St Andrews Cathedral is incorporating the resources into its Bible study program.
The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, hopes the 40 days will have a life-transforming effect similar to that of the first disciples during the period between Jesus death at Easter and his ascension.
Their experience profoundly changed them and the course of history in the first century, he said.
Meanwhile, Bishop Piper is encouraging churches to hold Ascension Day assemblies, or prayer gatherings, on May 5.