The Beginning (Peter's Prayer Letter)

September 2, 2010

Please stand in prayer with us…

Now, “We do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26). So please take as much or as little from these requests as the Spirit leads you to pray. If you have the time then meditate on the Bible verses, remind yourself of His promises, make mention of them to God, use the sword of the Spirit to wage war against the enemy; if you are in a hurry then ignore everything except the bold headings, and return later. Really we just want you to pray for us, whatever it is you feel you should pray, so, please stand in prayer with us:

- in thanksgiving for all that God has done for us.

“The LORD has done great things for us, whereof we are glad.” Psalm 126:3

(Psalm 100:4 ; Luke 17:15-16 ; Philippians 4:6 ; 2 Corinthians 1:11; 1 Corinthians 4:7, Jeremiah 9:24, Galatians 6:14)

Going back to Hebron School (as we just did, on our honeymoon tour of South India) really put into perspective how much God has done in the four years that I’ve been at university: not only for me but more importantly in me. I was given the chance to speak not only at Assembly and Prayer Breakfast, but also at the Staff Meeting, and it reminded me – and gave me opportunity to testify – how God has been changing me since I first came up to Cambridge. Outwardly, while the world continues to wonder whether my degree is in Mathematics or Theology (I spent two years out of my four at Cambridge studying each, and finally received a degree that does not specify which I studied – I am simply a ‘Bachelor of Arts’), I have not only become a Bachelor (of Arts) but also, less than two months later, ceased to be a bachelor!

More than that though, God has poured His love into our hearts abundantly, and not only given us the desire to serve Him full-time, but provided the resources in Cambridge: paid employment by my church, and a flat to live in free of rent! Thank God for all his blessings – and especially for our families, and the blessing it is to come from families in covenant with God. Pray that as we rejoice in God’s goodness to us that we would be filled with thanksgiving, and that in everything that we do, God would get the glory.

- as we begin married life.

“This is a great mystery… concerning Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:32

(Deuteronomy 24:5 ; Ephesians 5:22-33 , Colossians 3:18-19 , 1 Peter 3:7 ; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ; Genesis 2:25 , Proverbs 5:18-19 ; 1 Corinthians 7:29)

I find that people’s comments on marriage tend to reveal more about themselves than about the actual institution itself – from the open-jawed wide-eyed terror that lifelong commitment inspires in some of my university friends to the enthusiastic and eager recommendations of the joyfully married – but nevertheless it is often remarked that cross-cultural marriage is a challenge (as if marriage otherwise was easy!). Pray that by the grace of God, our cross-cultural combination would testify to the God of Israel, who is the Creator and Saviour of people of every nation, language, people group, and culture. Taryn is coming to England for the first time, leaving a family to which she is very close and a climate which is noticeably warmer than that of windy Cambridge. Pray that she would be warmly welcomed by Cambridge’s Christians and settle in quickly. Pray that the two of us would be able to make this first year of marriage a time of establishing a solid foundation upon which we can build a life of fruitfulness. Pray that we would love each other deeply – as deeply as Christ loved the church. Pray that we would learn to understand each other and so be able to pray together without hindrance.

- that as friends of the Bridegroom, Jesus, God would equip us to

“Go into the streets, and invite as many as you find to the wedding.” Matt. 22:9

(John 3:28-30 , 2 Cor. 11:2 ; Matthew 22:9 , Revelation 19:7-9 ; Matthew 25:10)

Pray our marriage would be a light that leads people to “the wedding feast of the Lamb”. I am being employed by CPC as an evangelist. I have a general idea of what this will involve – discipling students, street-preaching, befriending internationals, catalyzing prayer – but as the church has not before had someone in this role, the details of the job are as yet quite unspecified. This is very exciting! – but does mean there is potential for a lot of time to be wasted if I don’t take initiative and make the most of every opportunity. Pray that I will, and more than that, that I will be so intoxicated with the word of God and soaked in the Spirit of Jesus that I cannot help but preach the good news. Pray for creativity so as to capture the imagination of Cambridge in fresh ways with the glorious gospel of the kingdom of God. Pray for Taryn and me together that we would learn to work together as missionaries (! – sent out from India?) to Cambridge. There are a number of possibilites for what Taryn will spend most of her time doing once we are in England. Pray for the wisdom to know in what way we can both use our combined gifts and energies to the glory of God. One of the exciting things about going back to our old Hebron School recently was the opportunity to minister together, with her singing and me preaching, at both Assembly and the Staff Meeting. Pray for more occasions like these.

- that we would be a prophetic voice in Cambridge, pointing to Jesus.

“for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:10

(Revelation 10:9-11 , Ezekiel 2:9-3:4 , Isaiah 8:20 ; Jeremiah 1:9-10 , Hebrews 4:12 ; Ezekiel 13:17 ; 1 Thess. 5:19-21 , 1 Cor. 14:1ff . ; Acts 2:17 ; Isaiah 40:3)

Like John the Baptist, that ‘friend of the Bridegroom’, who went forth “in the spirit and power of Elijah [who was “a man just like us”], to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Lk. 1:17), pray that we would likewise would be filled with the power of the Spirit to point towards “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. I (Peter) am an unusual brand of Christian, a strange mixture of Reformed and Charismatic, of Free Church and Anglican, of Pentecostal and Calvinist. If you believe that the Holy Spirit still equips his church with the gifts of words of knowledge and words of wisdom (and the rest of the spectacular set of 1 Cor. 12), then please pray that we would be enriched “in all utterance and all knowledge… so that we come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:7). Much more importantly though, pray that we would be richly filled with the (completed and sufficient! – Rev. 22:18, 2 Tim. 3:17) biblical word of God, feasting on it as Ezekiel and Apocalyptic John both did, testing everything by it, and thus able to speak forth the eternal truth of God in a way that is living and active, and able to cut to the hearts of a generation more interested in Facebook than in the Holy Book. Pray that in everything we say and do, we would point the way to Jesus and prepare the way for His imminent coming.

- for revival in Cambridge.

“Plead my cause and redeem me, revive me according to Your word.” Psalm 119:154

(Ezekiel 37:1-14 , Isaiah 64 , 2 Chronicles 7:14 ; Haggai 2:6-7 , Joel 2:12-19 ; Psalm 119:25, 37, 40, 88, 107, 149, 154, 156, 159)

Cambridge has an incredible Christian heritage – it was the cradle of the English Reformation; the launchpad of the Cambridge Seven, with all their influence on the Protestant missions movement; the birthplace of the now-international idea of University Christian Unions – and continues to be home to a reasonably large number of faithful ministries. However, in four years of studying there I have been continually frustrated by the lack of fruit – the impressive number of gospel seeds that are planted by the Christian Union’s annual evangelistic campaigns seem to be almost immediately snatched away by the enemy (Mk. 4:15). Pray that God would again breathe spiritual life along its cobbled streets – and into people’s hearts! – and that the atmosphere of humanistic cynicism would be replaced by the fear of the Lord, the beginning of true wisdom. Pray that God would unite churches to come together in repentance and faith to cry out for our city – and not just our own, but for all of Britain and Europe.

- that our hearts would be set on the one thing that is most important.

“that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to seek His face in the temple.” Psalm 27:4

(Deut. 6:4-5, Luke 10:42~John 12:1-3, Phil. 3:8-14 , Lamentations 3:24 , Revelation 2:4 ; Haggai 1-2, Psalm 23 , Psalm 84 , Joshua 24:15 ; Ezekiel 3:17 , Isaiah 62:6-7, Psalm 130:6 ; Amos 9:11 , Isaiah 56:7)

In the midst of trying to obey the Great Commission in Cambridge, pray that we would not forget that the most important thing is the Great Commandment; it is impossible to make disciples of Christ without being disciples of Christ. We want everything we do to be the fruit of prayerful intimacy with God, rather than letting prayer become a mere back-up plan after we have wasted our energy on running towards what are only our own ideas. At the end of last year when I was praying that God would provide a house for Taryn and myself to stay in, I was rebuked by God in reading Haggai 1:4 – “Are you worrying about your own house when My house is in ruins?” (paraphrase). And so I began to pray that whatever house we might live in would be God’s before it was ours, and also that the long-discussed idea of having some sort of continual 247 House of Prayer in Cambridge might at last become reality. As it has happened, God has provided marvelously, through the generous hands of Inge and John Ruddock, who are moving out of their two-bedroom flat so that we can live in it – free of rent! Praise God! Pray also for the dynamic as we will be sharing with Christina, their daughter (in her 20s), that the house would be a house of prayer and a place of dynamic Christ-centred community. Please pray with us for the establishment of night and day intercessory prayer in Cambridge and across the world. The last ten years have seen the sudden raising up of a prayer movement like nothing ever seen before – see the pieces by 24-7 Prayer and IHOP for an overview of this contemporary move of the Spirit by two organizations significantly involved.

Over the last year I have felt the call to ‘be a watchman’ impressed strongly upon me – from the time last summer whilst here at the Delhi Brotherhood (itself a house of regular, disciplined prayer) when the various mentions of biblical watchmen began to leap from their pages and into my soul, to the week just after finishing my Finals when I was graciously given the chance to visit Israel and to meet some of the Messianic believers that God is raising up there, and found myself on the actual city walls of Jerusalem reading aloud the 62nd chapter of the prophet Isaiah. Taryn and I hope to make it to 24-7 Prayer’s Edinburgh Gathering from September 16th-18th . Pray that we would both be able to be there, and that this would be a chance for her to catch something of the vision that has so dazzled me. (Also, if you are able please come and join us there – in celebration of my birthday, the 16th !)

- urgently for Taryn’s visa!

“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven” Matthew 18:19

(Matthew 7:7-11 , Mt. 18:19 , John 14:13-14 , Jn. 15:7 , Mark 11:23-24 , 2 Cor. 1:20 ; Mark 10: 27 ; 2 Corinthians 1:11 ; Mark 10:9)

Our flight to England is booked for the 10th September, but as yet Taryn’s visa is nowhere to be seen. This is perhaps not surprising, as when we gave it in, eight and a half weeks before the date of our flight, we were told that it could take twelve weeks to come through. We have been praying daily, confident that the name of Jesus is higher than any principality or power, and that what is impossible for man is possible for God. There is now a week before we are due to fly back.

If her visa is not ready, I will have to go back on my own and await her arrival in England without knowing when her visa may come, while she returns to Bangalore to wait with her family there. Please join us “in coming boldly to the throne of grace” to ask God for Taryn’s visa to come in time for us to fly back together – that together we may all give glory to God when our prayer is granted.

Grace and peace, Peter & Taryn