Rev. Iain Macaskill - Stirling Free Church
As with the first, the second lockdown prompted Stirling Free Church to set aside a time of online prayer each evening for all those affected by the pandemic, as well as for other needs highlighted through our WhatsApp 'Please Pray' group. This Prayer time continued, not just for a week, or two weeks, but for eighty days.
Through Zoom, the congregation was able to connect with those they support in local and international mission, including:
Answered prayers gave cause for thanksgiving. People in hospital, people suffering from coronavirus, people with problems, were brought before the Lord in corporate prayer daily, and God answered, sometimes miraculously. Prayer works! God is good!
Our nightly time of prayer drew people from Stirling and the surrounding areas-and indeed from across Scotland- bringing us closer together and enabling us to support each other in a time of lockdown.
Here are some testimonies from individuals who joined us over the period:
“The time of prayer was a constant, reliable and encouraging blessing throughout the lockdowns. It was so good to maintain contact with the church fellowship and others who joined us on a regular basis”.
“Blessed by praying, listening to prayers and being prayed for.”
“These evenings of prayer gave an opportunity to pray for mission across the world. It was a time of concentrated engagement in the Great Commission through our praise and intercession. What a joy!”
Another testified that even with the limitations of an online gathering, he had never before experienced such closeness of fellowship.
It was a joy also to see a young student, now studying at home, growing in faith and in praying for others. She summed up what these eighty days of prayer meant to her:
“One word - encouragement. Each night we came together in fellowship, from the youngest to the oldest; we prayed and drew closer to God. As a young Christian, hearing these prayers filled me with joy. Each night as we closed, I had a big smile on my face and an overwhelming feeling of faithfulness and love, strengthening my faith in the Lord my God.”
We prayed for former students of the congregation, some of whom came to faith during their time in Stirling, now living in countries where there is persecution of Christians and little opportunity to worship openly. We prayed for our ongoing ministry to them as they join us for worship online on the Lord's Day.
We prayed for the sick, the lonely and the bereaved. We prayed for those affected by Coronavirus and for frontline workers. We prayed and we praised. It was a mountaintop experience and good for us to be there. Praise be to God!