Monday 20 September 2010

Pastries and Prayer

Yesterday morning, we had a visit from Chris Duffett, vice-President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. Chris brought his own irrepressible personality and sense of humour to the children’s talk and sermon. Even better than that, after the service he took some of us out into Peterborough city centre to offer pastries and prayer.

It’s a simple idea! In two’s and three’s, we went into shops offering a free pastry and also free prayer to shop-workers. In other words, we were taking a gift of grace and of prayer to a group of people who would not normally be able to get to a church service, even if they wanted to. Some of us also offered the same to shoppers in the pedestrian thoroughfare.

The responses varied. Some accepted the pastry, but had no need of prayer. ‘My life is fine at the moment’ seemed a common comment. Others declined the pastry but were glad to pass on a request for prayer. A few were willing to be prayed with there and then. Between the twelve people who went out from my church as ‘saints on the streets’, we must have had some contact with 50 or more people who are not Christians during just an hour! I’m not aware of one of them taking offence at our offer, and many were genuinely pleased at our approach. My partner in the gospel was Chris, and we took prayer requests for a man having problems with the cashpoint, relatives of a woman who had melanoma, women with breast cancer and a good education for a secondary school pupil to name but a few.

It’s said that Christians and non-Christians share the same view of evangelism: neither of them like it! Yet pastries and prayer was non-threatening way of sharing just a little of the love of God. Next week, we will be sharing in the ‘Big Welcome’ of Back to Church Sunday. I doubt that we will have anywhere near 50 non-churchgoers joining us (although I’d love to be proved wrong). We hope the world will come to church, but perhaps we should be cancelling our church sometimes so that the church can go into the world? Now, haven’t I heard someone say that before?


  1. On Sunday to help us with the pastry and prayer we had little prayer cards where we filled in information about the shops, businesses or people and their requests for prayer.

    After we had handed out all the pastry’s and cakes we met together back at the Church and prayed for 10 minutes. We divided up the cards by random amongst ourselves with the prayer information. After praying in pairs we then swap prayer cards with someone else in the team and prayed in pairs once more. Afterwards I challenged the team to keep the cards they had and spend time praying for the people detailed on their cards. I took 2 cards out of the 50 home with me from team members who had visited different streets than I.

    The next day (Monday) I walk hurriedly down one of the streets in Peterborough after a meeting. I'm in a rush to get back to the car as the ticket had run out. I notice a lady picking up small glass balls up off the street and at first I think that her bracelet must have broken and that she is picking up the glass beads. I stop and stoop down to help and gather a small handful of glass marbles to give to her.

    The lady explains that some men had just been in her shop and as they left she noticed that one of them had taken some of the solitaire glass marbles which she was selling in her shop. The lady had chased them down the road and as the men fled the marbles where thrown on the streets. She was really upset.

    After talking for a little while I explained to the lady that I would pray for her shop and for her protection too. I mention that on Sunday I had sent some teams of people to go out and about to offer pastry and a prayer. I look up and down the street and ask which one is her shop. It transpired that she is the manager of a shop called ‘Pic and Pay.’

    Out of 50 prayer cards from the previous day ‘Pic and Pay’ is one of my cards...