A New Way: Both Exciting and Scary.

We were really excited last month to hear from Mike Wittle about his prayer life during lockdown. We’ll let him take it from here:

My name is Mike, I put my faith in Jesus back in 1973 and currently worship at St Mary’s Church, Bletchley. I’m married, have 3 children and 7 Grandchildren. I’ve been asked by Paul Oxley to share my lockdown experience. Lockdown has and to some degree still is something I continue to come to terms with. For me it was a frustrating and sometimes scary time, where I was confronted with things from the past that I thought I had dealt with years ago. It has also been a time of change where I have met with God anew, been challenged and propelled by the Holy Spirit into a deeper understanding of prayer and the unquestionable fact that everything I do is sustained through prayer, God’s Word and the Holy Spirit. 

None of this is new but there are times in life, and this is one of them, where God has confronted me about my prayer life envisioning me in a new way which is both exciting and scary. 

My journey started with Spring Harvest Local at Easter in particular listening to Pete Greig and reading his book ‘How to Pray’ which was an inspiration to me. This fired me up in respect of the 24-7 Prayer Movement together with LECTIO 365. Subsequently I felt very strongly that God wanted a 24-7 on-line prayer room to be set up across the City of MK. This lead me to speak to Paul Oxley, St Marks Church. Paul indicated that this was precisely where God was taking PRAYMK and he encouraged me to test this before God which I have been doing.

One Sunday whilst attending an on-line service at a church in Swanage we have connections with I discovered that they had booked a speaker from the 24-7 Prayer Movement. It turned out that the Swanage and Purbeck Churches under the umbrella of ‘Churches Working Together’ had set up ‘Mizpah Swanage House of Prayer’ where they are praying 24-7 in blocks across 24 hours. Praying into a word given by God about a ‘Wave of God’s Spirit’ flowing over the area and up through the whole of England from the south. This just blew me away as I had asked God that very morning to confirm this vision in some unexpected way, well you can imagine how I felt after that service! 

“I felt that we as members of the world wide church are like this now. We are all shedding a lot of old feathers ready to grow new ones and we are vulnerable.”

Alongside this a friend of mine shared at one of St Mary’s morning prayer sessions verses from Isaiah about our hope in the Lord and that we renew our strength and soar on wings like the eagle. I remembered that eagles shed a significant number of their old feathers each year to make room for the new feathers so that they can soar high up on the thermals to spot the food for their young. When they shed these feathers they are at their most vulnerable but they have to do it. I felt that we as members of the world wide church are like this now. We are all shedding a lot of old feathers ready to grow new ones and we are vulnerable. Wow some thought as we grapple with new ways of worshiping, praying and being a Christian but the point being there is no escape from this process if we are to fulfil the mission of God. 

I was listening to Elevation Worship and the song ‘Rattle’, about old dry bones coming back to life (that felt like me). I read Ezek 37: 1-14 which is full of resurrection power, God’s miracles, breath from the four winds and phrases like ‘you will know I have spoken’ and the fact that none of us are past it or the indeed the church. 

A friend had two identical words about 3 days apart confirming I should speak to David (my Rector) & Paul and then David spoke on James 1: 5-6 which hit home.  

Finally an old church acquaintance contacted me out of the blue, having gone to the trouble of tracing me via my daughter to share how a word I had given her husband back in 1995 (when he wasn’t given long to live) had come true to the letter in 2009. She felt I needed to know this right now! That was it I then shared the vision with Paul & David and now in this article as requested. 

Summing up – I know that God is doing something new in me. I also believe He is doing the same across the City of MK and it is to be underpinned with prayer, 24-7 prayer as far as the City of MK is concerned. 

Mike Wittle, 21st October 2020

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