Caring in the Community
We all care about our neighbourhood and we thought it would be timely to tell everyone a bit more about our Neighbourhood Prayer Scheme. Well what do we do? Whilst it has only been running three months we have visited 180 houses and received 26 prayer requests, an average of nearly 15%. This compares favourably with the two schemes upon which our scheme was based, who had 10% and 20% responses.
Our Scheme is based on All Saints, Earl Barton (and the Norbury Prayer Visiting Scheme, which started in 2005). The aim of our scheme is to gradually visit every home within the parish boundary, to offer prayer for any situation that might be of concern to the residents of Barming comprising 5,000 homes.
The visits to collect the prayer requests usually take place on the second Sunday of each month. A few days before Prayer letters with a prayer card are delivered to the relevant homes. The letter explains the purpose of the visits and asks the recipient to complete the prayer card if they would like us to pray for someone in their family. Or equally, they might wish to give thanks for something!
Importantly there is provision for anyone who would rather not receive a call. If the card is displayed in the window where it is clearly visible we will not visit.
The prayer requests are then normally included in our next Sunday All Age morning service. Alternatively, it can be said more quietly in small groups, if confidentiality is an issue.
Whilst the team are out visiting, there is crucial prayer support given by two or three non-visiting team members being based at Longsole Church. These stalwart people pray with those of the team who are about to “go forth” and remain in church to pray for both team members and parish residents until the troops return, when all offer prayer for the requests received. The whole thing generally takes about an hour and a half.
The other schemes mentioned had six members in their prayer team although they initially started with two. Currently we have four visitors but rarely can they all visit at any one session, and two or three is the norm.
We had wondered if knocking on doors might feel a bit intimidating, but we have all enjoyed meeting our local residents and the prayer visiting cards pave the way.
Also we have found it remarkably easy as whilst some people don’t actually want prayer, our reception has been truly refreshing.
Needless to say we need more team members to reach out to our neighbourhood. If you would like more information or join our Prayer support team or Visiting team please contact Chris Bartlett (01622 729578) or David Garland (01622 727278).
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