Global prayers rise from centre of Norwich
2011: Spitting rain could not dampen the spirits of hundreds of Christians from different denominations who gathered on Millennium Plain outside the Forum in Norwich City Centre to celebrate the Global Day of Prayer on June 12. Helen Baldry reports.
The event in Norwich took place alongside thousands of similar events across over 220 nations worldwide where Christians unite to repent and pray. The Norwich event was the culmination of Celebrate Norfolk, a weekend of outreach and celebration of Christian activities in Norfolk.
People gathered in groups with their friends, family and church groups - some even came prepared with picnic blankets and waterproofs ready to join together in prayer, listen to testimonies and enjoy music from local performers including Christian rappers Neme and Cimac and singer-songwriter Josh Bunce.
Jill Gower from Call to Prayer said, "Its such a powerful testimony to the Lord when a huge crowd of believers gather and declare His praises in the middle of our city out in the open air. It is very special to join in with the millions of believers right across the world on this Pentecost event."
The service was led by Rev Paddy Venner from Eternity Norwich alongside other church leaders who led prayers for the city of Norwich, local and national government, schools and overseas.
The worship band was led by Mark Watson from City Church and was made up of musicians from a several Norfolk churches. Christian songs, including 'I Wanna Praise you' and 'You're the God of this city' were belted out across Millennium Plain.
Powerful testimonies from ordinary people whose lives had been transformed by God inspired the crowd. Mary, a single mother who moved from one bad relationship to another told her life story. "I was always in a relationship because it was better than being on my own. I felt really trapped and out of control and I ended up absolutely hating myself. After one of my terrible relationships went horribly wrong I ended up in a women's refuge centre with my children. I knew something was really really wrong and needed more than therapy or counselling to sort out.
"I started going to a mum and baby group at City Church and someone there gave me a Bible and I started to read it. It didn't happen overnight but now I know that I am loved. I always was loved and accepted by God but I didn't understand that. I am now happily single. I feel like that empty space inside has been filled."
Fred Prentice spoke about how he used to be very driven by money. He said, "I wanted to feel important and I thought material things would fill that. My wife kept asking me to go on an Alpha course. I thought I could get through it with the nice meals and so on!"
To Fred's surprise, God's forgiveness came into his life and washed away the hurt of many years. He said, "The biggest change is I know I am important to God and I now have no fear in my life. God has given me the right thoughts about possessions and money."
Norwich Christian couple Gordon and Norma Rudge testified about physical healing. Norma spoke of her illness seven years ago; she had a brain haemorrage and meningitis. The doctors in the hospital were ready to turn off the life support machine but her son, who was 17, was too young to sign the form. People were praying for Norma and she recovered to the amazement of the doctors. She said, "God had a plan for me to do His work."
The Global Day of Prayer service finished with the release of balloons with prayers attached for world nations.