Hero photograph
Bishop Steven Benford
 
Photo by Nicola Wong

Prayers for the Diocese… At all times, pray by the power of the Spirit. Pray all kinds of prayers. Be watchful, so that you can pray. Always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6. 18)

Bishop Steven —

You may have read in the Diocesan Newsletter that once a month I go to different churches and spend up to 2 hours praying for the Diocese. Some of you have joined me for some of the time, and one or two have asked me what it is all about…

I believe in the reality and power of prayer. I am not especially drawn to uniformity of practice, and indeed a variety of styles can often be wonderfully refreshing, and my goal is that we pray as we can, not to worry about what we cannot do. For these monthly times of Prayer for the Diocese it has developed into a generally unstructured time of prayer. Usually we are silent, and for myself I try to start with about 15 minutes of being quiet and open before God – not bringing specific requests or concerns, but waiting on Him.

My own practice is then to use a notebook (I prefer an electronic version) and I name every Parish, Ministry Unit, Chaplaincy and Anglican “presence” before God: the leaders, personnel, the situation as I know it, items for thanksgiving as well as problems for solving. I try to balance offering a list with giving time for God to inform my prayers.

I will pray for the non-church part of the Diocese, with specific intentions though it is much more general in nature.

I pray for our country – for our leaders and for prosperity.

And (unashamedly) I pray for a Christian revival. I rejoice and celebrate in the almost innate spirituality that is in many of the people and much of the geography of New Zealand, but we are Christian – followers of Jesus Christ, and I believe he has something for all people that can’t be found apart from him.

I hope to continue to follow this habit, and am open to different ways of prayer – please do let me know what would be helpful for you. And please feel welcome to join: there is no requirement to stay all the time, or for a minimum – come and go as you are able. If you don’t feel able to pray – come enjoy a time of quiet, and if you are not able to attend – set aside a few moments wherever you are and remember before God our Diocese and all who live and worship here.

The next date for Prayers for the Diocese  is Thursday 24 January 3.30pm to 5pm at St John's Roslyn, 373 Highgate, Dunedin.

+Steven.