Dear praying friends,

Thanks for your prayers for us over the summer. With it being the summer things have been a bit quiet, so that there’s not loads of news I can bring you. So for this month I’ll give you a couple of praise points, a couple of prayer points, and tell you about our new prayer focus for the next year.

Praise
Please do praise the Lord for continuing and growing relationships with people in the town. Give thanks that the young couple who are with us most weeks are now back from two months abroad visiting family and getting stuck back into reading the Bible with Derek and Dawn respectively. Please also praise the Lord for the ways in which relationships we’ve built over the last two years are starting to bring opportunities to share the gospel in ways we hadn’t expected. We’re also thanking God for a couple of Christians who’ve visited us on Sundays recently and are wondering if we could be a home for them.

Please also praise the Lord that we’re still here, two years in, and just getting on with the everyday discipling and reaching out that is being a small, new, church. It’s thanks to the Lord’s keeping power, in great part through your prayers and generous gifts, that this is the case. All the glory to him!

Pray
As we get back into the everyday of ministry life please pray as we seek to build further relationships and bring people into the wider circle of the church family. Pray for those reading the Bible, coming on Sundays, or who regularly hear the gospel in normal conversations with us. Pray that the Lord would also keep us going in that slow process of seeking to share the gospel with many people who have never heard it before. Please pray also for new gospel opportunities that may be opening up. We’re exploring some new avenues with the school and in other areas. Please pray that the Lord would guide us into the right places. Please also pray for our relationship with the school as the Head is moving on at Christmas. Please pray that the Lord would bring in a new Head with an openness to our work, maybe even one of the leadership team currently there with who we have an excellent relationship. Please also remember Derek’s work with the Batley Bulldogs. You may have seen the death of one of their young players in the news. This has certainly made things challenging, but also brought many opportunities to share the gospel with people.

Matthew 9 prayers
As you know, we were praying last year for the Cleck 5.5. The Lord answered that in some excellent ways, bringing Kevin, Tracey, and Francine to us, and in some ways we didn’t expect. But we believe he is still at work to answer our prayers, and are trusting him for that.

This year we’re very conscious of our limited numbers. One of the unexpected ways the Lord answered our prayers for 5 mature Christians to join us was to take two of our members away. Don’t worry no-one’s died! As I mentioned last time, Beth had to leave for Wales back in the spring, and Joe will be leaving us when he gets married in a couple of weeks. We’re conscious that we need more workers to reach the 17000 people in Cleck, and the 50000 people in the Spen Valley. When I write numbers like that it makes me doubly aware of the fact that I’m about to write that we (from 29th September) will have just 13 members.

That got us Elders thinking about Jesus’ command to the disciples in Matthew 9.38 to pray for more workers for the harvest field. As we thought and prayed about that we noticed Jesus heart in vs. 36, and also what Jesus then does in chapter 10. As we talked together and with the church we decided that this year we would all commit to praying Matthew 9 prayers for our church.

That means we’re praying this year with three points of focus:

  • That the Lord might work in us as a church to give us soft hearts, moved like Jesus (vs. 36) to have compassion on those around us. To have our hearts moved, and even broken, by the reality that just about everybody we see as we walk around Cleck is on their way to hell. And out of that to pray two further things,
  • That the Lord might send more workers to his harvest field here (vv. 37-38). People of all ages, stages, and backgrounds, who are willing to come and get stuck in to reach the people of the Spen Valley with the gospel. The opportunity and harvest field around us feels far too big for just 13 of us. And finally,]
  • That the Lord might give us the boldness to just do it (I had a Nike t-shirt on when we came up with this!) as we think about discipling and reaching out (chapter 10). Once you start praying for more workers it can be very tempting to sit back and wait for the cavalry to arrive. But the cavalry simply aren’t coming. And the Lord’s first answer to the prayer he commands in vs. 38 is to send out the disciples to be workers in the harvest field themselves (chapter 10). The first answer to their prayers is them! So we’re praying that the Lord would give us courage and wisdom to get stuck into the work of discipling one another and reaching out more and more as this year progresses.

Please do pray with us that the Lord would give us soft heartsmore workers, and grace to just do it this year. Please pray that in this small corner of his harvest field the Lord might be glorified and his kingdom extended.

Thank you once again for all your love, support, and prayers. I know it’s a cliché, but we are all so very grateful to the Lord for all of you. If you ever want to come and visit Cleck please do give us a shout, we’d love to show you round and explain how you can support us further. And if there’s anything we can pray for you, please do let us know.

In Christ

Graham

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