Prayer Week runs 7th-13th June. To help you pray, we've created a prayer resource:
For over 200 years, the work of Pilgrims' Friend Society has been fuelled by prayer. Andrew Symonds, a third-generation Trustee, reflects on the vital role of prayer in our charity's history
“I, the Lord do not change.”
- Malachi 3:6
“Every good and perfect gift is from above,
Coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
Who does not change like shifting shadows.”
- James 1:7
We live in times of change today. Yet some things do not change. We have a faithful, constant and unchanging God. At Pilgrims’ Friend Society another constant has been the place of prayer, right from the founding of our charity. In 1807, a group of 10 believers gathered to pray In Peartree Street, Moorfields, London, having been galvanised into action by the powerful preaching of John Hyatt at the nearby Whitefields Tabernacle on the following verses:
“because I rescued the poor who cried for help,
And the fatherless who had none to assist him.
The man who was dying blessed me,
made the widow’s heart sing.”
- Job 29:1-12-13
Prayer was central to their concern for the distressed and suffering of the Lord’s aged poor. The Napoleonic War was to continue for another eight years and food and work were already lacking, particularly in the cities, with older people among those least able to help fend for themselves.
This emphasis on prayer at Pilgrims’ Friend Society has continued over the ensuing decades, but now with the added component of heartfelt thanksgiving for all the prayers that have been answered.
Originally, the charity sought to provide monetary pensions, blankets and coal for a fire and cooking. This moved on to building specialised homes, to which was added care, then nursing. The laws changed, the regulations exploded, expectations expanded and challenges grew. Over the years, the work of the charity has included taking over existing Christian homes and housing schemes, as well as building news ones. All decisions and action have been bathed in intentional and focused prayer.
My own family have been heavily involved with the Society in different ways over the years. I am a third-generation trustee, following my father, Don Symonds and my great grandfather, William Faulkner. My mother and the latter’s wife were both Lady Visitors (volunteers who supported the homes) and my mother-in-law died in the home at Brighton.
Having been so closely connected to the Society over the years, I have seen first-hand how prayers are a precious resource.
Whether you are a long-term supporter of work, have supported us for a little while, or are a brand new supporter, we hope you will join us in our continued dependence on prayer, particularly in the upcoming Prayer Week commencing 7th June, as we lift older people and the issues that affect them to the Lord.
Don’t forget to download your Prayer Week resource
Check back on our blog each day for posts by our Prayer Week bloggers, who’ll be providing further insight on the big issues affecting older people.