I don’t think too many Christians would argue with me when I say that we should be praying for our communities. You don’t have to search far in London to see great need; physical, emotional and spiritual.
But sometimes Christians can be cautious in knowing how to engage with their local communities. Sometimes the need can appear overwhelming; what can we do as individuals? Or even as the Church? It can seem a bit too dangerous to step out into a world that might be very different to our own. That’s why it’s sometimes easier just to pray.
However, praying for communities is also about recognising that God can use us to be answers to those prayers. Being willing to step out of our comfort zones and into the hurt that Jesus himself came to live in. Believing that prayer can change situations, and us.
XLP has always been about trying to bridge the gap between Church and its local community. Where there isn’t confidence or expertise in knowing how to work with young people who are caught in crime and educational failure, XLP is there to try and build a bridge. To show those who are on the edge that there is a God who cares deeply for them and has not given up on them. And to try and take Churches and Christians on that journey too. Showing that there is a God who speaks value to us as individuals.
Often action can only come out of a place of prayer – following the leading of God and responding to his heart for those around us. That could look like being willing listen to someone, or reaching out and speaking to someone new; it could be giving your time, influence, money. God loves to use us.
At XLP we really believe that transformation comes through relationships – long-term, trusting relationships. Having someone who will listen to you, understand you, and speak truth and worth over you. All those relationships start with an encounter.
All through Jesus’ ministry he was willing to stop for the one. Can you stop for someone today?