Lancashire

Week of prayer for churches across the Fylde coast

Lesley Amos and Stephen Haskett
Image caption Organisers Lesley Amos and Stephen Haskett want to unite Christians from all backgrounds

A church in Blackpool is asking other faith groups on the Fylde coast to leave their churches open for a complete week of prayer.

St. Mark's in Layton have built on their recent success of a day of prayer by introducing a week of prayer that will see access to the church 24/7.

The week of intercession runs until the evening of Saturday 7 May.

"The vision of this event is to unite Christians from all backgrounds across the Fylde coast," the church said.

A large area of the St. Mark's worship area has been divided up into different stations where people can go to say prayers for help with community problems.

One of the organisers, Stephen Haskett, pointed out some cardboard boxes and mattresses where he hopes people concerned for the homeless might concentrate their attention. "This is the kind of place where we think homeless people might sleep. Obviously not everyone is like that because we have a problem with sofa surfing on the Fylde.

"Homelessness is a massive issue in the area and we want people to pray about it."

Another organiser, Lesley Amos, showed me a creative prayer space they hope young people will take an interest in: "We are encouraging the kids to come and think about what they are doing," Lesley told me.

"There are places where they can come in, drop a tablet in a bowl of water and think about forgiving people. There's a bubble tube where they can send their prayers up to heaven.

"There's a wall where they can ask God questions and we might be able to talk to them about what they have written. This is the kind of facility we see more and more in schools."

Throughout the week there will be prayer meetings and events going on across the Fylde. These encompass friends in existing prayer ministries who have agreed to help at one-off events such as a prayer walk around a socially challenged part of central Blackpool.

The organisers, who have come from churches in the Layton area, want people on the streets and in community spaces so they can "really take prayer outside the church walls and into the hearts of those places."

Both Lesley and Stephen see this prayer week as just the beginning.

"We want people to join in with us and then take it back to their own churches," Lesley said.

Stephen added: "This is the starting point. We hope that through this, not only will prayers be answered and the whole Fylde coast area enter into a time of blessing, but also prayer weeks like these will start cropping up all over the Fylde coast."

Joe Wilson presents the faith programme on BBC Radio Lancashire from 6am each Sunday.

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