“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear them from Heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
In response to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s call to prayer, yKea (the youth ministry team at Diocese of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh) organised a week long prayer road trip around the diocese. Throughout the week our focus for praying was to align our hearts with God’s, to seek His face and pray ‘thy Kingdom Come’ over our land. A small team join Hannah O’Neill and Marian Edwards (the DKEA Youth and Children’s co-ordinators) on the road trip. It included four Emmanuel Church Lurgan interns – Robbie Norton, James Patterson, Matthew Turner and Ryan Osborne. Beth Tays towards the end of the week. Here’s a glimpse of what we got up to during the road trip…
Sunday 28th May
The week kicked off with the first prayer gathering in Virginia. We had a time of worship and a variety of prayer styles including led prayers, prayer stations and praying in groups. It was wonderful to be joined by Cootehill Christian Fellowship for the evening. Pastor Paul Hackett lead prayers for unity amongst our churches. We know that ‘where God’s people dwell in unity…there the Lord commands His blessing.’ (Psalm 133) And so, as we planned for this road trip, our desire at yKea was to gather Christians from across church backgrounds to unite and pray together. We believe that many of the partnerships formed during our week of prayer were significant and we hope to continue to build on these relationships in the future.
Monday 29th May
Day 2 of our road trip started with assembly in Cavan Royal School where Robbie (one of the interns) taught about prayer and Ryan (another intern) shared some of his own personal experiences in prayer. We then headed to Killeshandra for scones and a chat with Rev Ali Calvin, to hear a bit about her parishes and pray before an assembly in Killeshandra NS. Then it was off to Cootehill for lunch and a prayer walk before our evening gathering in Crom Church, Co Fermanagh. Crom is a beautiful setting by Lough Erne and it was great to have so many join us from Fermanagh and Cavan to pray. We had a time of confession followed by prayers for the local area and Ireland. Each evening we had a different global focus and on Monday we prayed for the East Africa Crisis. It was a real joy to pray together with fellow Christians in God’s presence. Afterward, a highlight for the team was getting to climb the bell tower and ring the bells!
Tuesday 30th May
Tuesday began with two assemblies-Fairgreen NS (Belturbet) and Newtowngore NS. We used our assemblies as an opportunity to teach the children about prayer and how their prayers are just as important and significant to God as the prayers of grown ups. After our morning of assemblies we enjoyed a picnic and prayer walk at Drumreilly and then made a stop at St Catherine’s Church, Fenagh to pray before heading to Carrick-on-Shannon. Whilst few in number at our prayer gathering in Carrick, we had a great night of prayer and worship together.
Wednesday 31st May
On Wednesday morning we had our final assembly of the week in Mohill NS before returning to Carrick-on-Shannon for our coffee morning for church leaders at the Bush Hotel. This was an opportunity for us to honour and celebrate those who lead and serve in our churches, both clergy and lay people. Bishop Ferran Glenfield shared a few thoughts with us on prayer. Then there was a time of prayer for each other, to encourage and lift one another up. As a team of mostly 20 somethings it was an honour to be able to pray for our leaders whose legacy we stand upon. After the coffee morning the team enjoyed lunch with Bishop Ferran and hearing about what God is doing in the diocese. Together, we then headed to Elphin Cathedral where the bishop taught us about the history and we had a time of prayer and worship. Robbie recalls the significance of our time at the cathedral ruins, “A personal highlight was at Elphin where we heard the history, prayed and worshipped. It felt significant not just for that place but for the whole land; that God wants to spring up old wells and move afresh!”
We spent some time at ‘The Well’ in Longford to meet with June Murphy and hear her vision and heart for Longford town. In the evening we had our prayer gathering in Longford. One particularly significant part of the evening was hearing from a local young person, Sinead McWeeney, who shared about her own faith and desire to share it with her friends. She told us about the Global Outreach Day on May 27th when they organised a youth event where they were able to invite their friends along to and tell them about Jesus and His love for them. Fuelled by her story we then prayed for youth ministry in Longford.
Thursday 1st June
It was a very wet day on Thursday but that wasn’t going to put us off travelling around and praying. We decided to trek down to Clonmacnoise Monastery. It was amazing to hear the history and Christian heritage of the place. With its fairly central location in Ireland we stood and faced the four provinces of Ireland and prayed for Ulster, Connaught, Leinster and Munster. We long to see God move across our land, in every corner of Ireland and to see lives transformed through Christ. Our afternoon was then spent at OM’s Lackan House in Roscommon. They had just celebrated 60 years of OM worldwide, and 15 years in Ireland. They gave us a tour of their base and told us about their ministry across Ireland. We were then able to spend some time praying for OM along with a few of their volunteers. Then as usual, we had our prayer gathering in the evening, this time at The Core, Roscommon. Folk gathered from lots of different church backgrounds and there was a great sense of unity as we prayed.
Friday 2nd June
For our final day of the road trip we travelled to Sligo. We spent time at Drumcliff with Archdeacon Isaac Hanna and heard about his plans for the group of parish with Church Army. It was really exciting to see how his dreams are unfolding into reality. We spent some time walking around the church grounds and praying for ministry there. We then finished our diocesan part of the road trip with the prayer gathering in Calry Parish. Rev Patrick Bamber had invited Christians from across Sligo to take part throughout the evening and it was incredible to see and hear about the variety of things happening in that part of our diocese. Once again, unity was a running theme for the gathering and indeed it seemed to be one of the main themes of the entire week. Matthew one of the interns from Lurgan had this to say, “I felt that the theme of unity and bringing all the churches together was so powerful. It could be the beginning of something bigger and greater than we can even dream, that through this unity God will do amazing things throughout the land.”
At the end of the week it was amazing to gather with Christians from across our nation in both Belfast and Dublin, at the 24-7 Prayer Ireland ‘Kingdom Come’ events. We thoroughly enjoyed the road trip and gathering a sense of what God is doing throughout the diocese. Thank you to everyone who came along and engaged in prayer during the week. Special thanks goes to all those who hosted us for meals and accommodation. And finally thank you to the team who joined us. They were an encouragement and blessing to so many as they prayed around the dioceses. Looking ahead to the future, we are excited and expectant for how God is going to continue to develop unity amongst His people and transform communities across our diocese through the power of His Spirit.
Emmanuel Church Lurgan Interns: Robbie Norton, James Patterson, Matthew Turner and Ryan Osborne
Unveiling the new banner at the prayer gathering at Core, Roscommon
Praying at Drumcliff Sligo
Father Pat Lombard sharing at the gathering in Calry Parish, Sligo
On top of Bell tower at Crom Church: Wilson Kells, Ryan Osborne, Hannah O’Neill, Laura Dunlop, Rev Ali Calvin, James Patterson, Aaron Magee, Robbie Norton, Matthew Turner, Marian Edwards
Coffee morning for church leaders at Bush Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon
Praying around Elphin Cathedral