by Linda Macqueen

Grace Lutheran is certainly not the largest congregation in the Adelaide Hills. About 30 members worship regularly, including those on Zoom, and most are either retired or close to retirement. But the congregation is gaining a reputation locally for its spiritual vibrancy.

A recent example was the ‘Pray for Ukraine’ prayer vigil, hosted by the Grace congregation on 19 March, election day in South Australia. Noting that many people would drive past the church on their way to or from voting, they invited other churches and the general community to drop in to pray.

And people did indeed come – not in a rushing torrent but in a steady trickle throughout the day. Gill Stevenson, one of the organisers, said, ‘It was a statement of solidarity that Christians from other denominations came together to pray. Praise God for his inspiration, power and unifying love’.

‘Words that came to me repeatedly that day were, “God of the impossible, your will be done”. And, with our “shameless audacity” (Luke 11:8), we have the expectation that God heard every prayer and that he will answer in extraordinary ways.’

People who wanted a prayer guide could take a handout of notes, but others simply sat silently on the chairs or on the floor cushions and allowed the Spirit to guide them. Some people lit a candle to remind them of the presence of Jesus, the Light of the World.

Visitors were deeply moved, and thankful. Some suggested that Grace host a prayer vigil like this, or simply a quiet prayer space, once a month for the community.

‘The prayer vigil was a wonderful reminder to us and to the community that God is always with us, and with the people for whom we pray’, Gill said. ‘And we know that when we pray, God not only changes the situation for which we pray; he also changes us.’

Linda Macqueen is a member of Grace Lutheran Church, Bridgewater SA.



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