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Let me tell you a story

The year is 1997. I'm 11, and my dad regularly supplements his orders of Christian books and CDs with something for my sister and I. This time it happens to be a brand new album called "King of Fools" by Delirious.

As I play through the album I finally get to track 11, and after one of the eeriest introductions I've ever heard these words ring out:
Is it true today
That when people pray
Cloudless skies will break
Kings and Queens will shake?
Yes it's true
And I believe it
I'm living for you...

What a question!... What a challenge!... What a response!...

Christian 11 year old me got quite excited by the prospect. What if my prayers meant that things might change? What if my prayers shook things up? What if i could influence the world around me by praying?

Do I really believe that?

Flash forward 13 years to 2010, and there's a social media campaign that sees that same song, "History Maker," reach the midweek chart high of number 4 in the UK charts. That Easter the push of the Christian population in the UK meant that that song was heard on radios everywhere. For a week it reminded people that maybe there was something in this praying...
Listen to "History Maker" here
Somewhere after that first listen I came across 2 Chronicles 7v14 for the first time. Every time I have ever read it there's been something about it that has inspired that same excitement deep within as Delirious did for 11 year old me:

"If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land."

But the same question is there... Do I really believe it?

On my good days the answer is a resounding "Yes!"

On others it's more like an "I guess he could if he wanted to..."

But I want to believe it. And I want our young people to believe it too, not just because we've told them it's true, but because they've experienced it for themselves.

To that end, we're going to be having an afternoon of prayer and worship on Saturday 30th June at Beeston Methodist Church... We have chosen the date and location deliberately, knowing full well that it clashes with the opening of Methodist Conference which is taking place at Nottingham University Campus that afternoon, a mile away as the crow flies!

We want to see young people coming together from across the District, to pray for those representatives of the Methodist Church from across the Connexion as they come together to here reports and discuss issues that affect the whole church. We want to see young people praying for the building of the Kingdom of God in our country as a result of the decisions made. We want to see young people praying for the freedom of the Holy Spirit to move among his people. We want to see young people praying for the growth of their church...

... And we intend for Conference to know that they are being prayed for by our young people!

In fact, there are plans afoot for our event to not only happen in Beeston, but for it to be rolled out across the Connexion, for young people to hopefully gather in Churches, Circuits and Districts up and down our nation, all intent on praying for the present and future of the Church...

Forget "Where two or three are gathered" for a second and imagine where hundreds, no, THOUSANDS of young people are united in pray, I truly believe God says "There am I"! The thought of thousands of young people "humbling themselves, and praying, and seeking God's face" and God hearing those prayers and answering mightily is one that gives me goosebumps even typing it!

Can you get excited with me?

Logistically we've got loads more to prepare, but there will be lots of different ways to pray throughout the afternoon, different people - young and old - leading slots of acoustic worship throughout the afternoon, we'll be able to live stream the opening of Conference so we can dip in and out of what is happening, we'll try and find a way of helpfully explaining what Conference is and why it's important that we pray, we'll eat together, and we'll hopefully get a visit from people who are involved in Conference - we're in conversation with the current Youth President, Michael Pryke, and the Youth Conference reps - during their break.

More will follow, but please save the date and share the excitement with your young people.

by Marc Williamson

© 2017 Nottingham and Derby District of the Methodist Church