Archbishops' movement inspiring Christians worldwide to pray for friends and family

(Photo: All Saints, Fulham)

An ecumenical movement launched by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York has inspired a fresh wave of prayer among Christians for their loved ones.

In the four years since it was launched, Thy Kingdom Come has seen huge growth, with Christians in 172 countries now taking part. 

This year reached new milestones with endorsements for the first time from Pope Francis and the Queen. 

Earlier this year, thousands of Christians filled Trafalgar Square for a major prayer event in the heart of London on Pentecost Sunday that was led by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and joined by worship artist Matt Redman. 

There were also contributions from all five presidents of Churches Together in England, as well as the Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, and the Methodist Church's Rev Trey Hall.

2019 has also seen record numbers of people downloading the accompanying app, which provides daily video reflections, Bible readings, podcasts and alarm reminders to pray for five people to come to faith in Jesus.

In a global survey of Thy Kingdom Come participants, the vast majority (92%) said they were praying for friends and family members to come to know Jesus, while nearly two thirds (62%) said they were planning to follow up or talk to the people they were praying for. 

Nearly three quarters of participants (70%) also reported feeling more confident in sharing their faith as a result of taking part. 

Nearly 40% of survey respondents said they had taken part for the first time this year, reflecting the growing nature of the movement, while 99% said they wanted to join Thy Kingdom Come again next year. 

The movement started with a simple invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Anglican Communion to pray for more people to come to faith in Jesus during Ascension to Pentecost, as inspired by Acts 2.

But it has since spread to 65 different traditions and denominatins, with participants taking part all around the world in countries like Brazil, Australia, South Africa and the Solomon Islands.

The app has now been downloaded in 86 countries, up significantly from the 36 last year, and Christians from 65 different traditions and denominations took part in the movement this year.

Thy Kingdom Come events have included special worship services, prayer meetings, prayer walks, and continuous prayer sessions. 

Archbishop Welby said: "Once again the Spirit's work in Thy Kingdom Come has humbled us, stretched us and taken breath away.

"I have previously said I cannot remember in my life anything that I have been involved in where I have sense so clearly the work of the Spirit.

"My sense of this only grows as we learn that this year we had engagement from followers of Christ in over 170 countries, take up across the denominations and traditions and the clear focus on seeking the empowering work of the Spirit for our effective witness.

"I am looking forward to all God is doing in answer to our prayers."