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. At the start of the week we scribbled our hopes and expectations of what God was going to do on pieces of paper and the folded them together to form an origami boat. We set them sail on the fountain as an act of prayer.
One morning we shared communion. One morning we tattooed each others arms with the fruit of the spirit. One morning we etched prayers on the pavement with stones and washed them away with water. On the last morning we wrote two prayers on a piece of cloth; one for Lisieux and one for our hometowns. We tore the cloth in two and committed to bind our prayers to the places we prayed for. That day Lisieux was adorned with fourteen purple strips of cloth each ushering in Gods kingdom.
Each afternoon we spent two hours at Hauteville; a depraved local council estate. We arrived on the estate to the sound of bangers and the smell of gunpowder. The floor was littered with burnt out fireworks from Bastille Day celebrations and the air tinged with smoke. A rocket whistled by. BANG! A group of twentysomethings stood menacingly in the doorway of the high rise flats observing their territory and watching our every move. They let off another rocket at random. Whistle. POP. We unloaded our resources and set up camp on the grass beneath the largest tree in the square which provided us some respite from the hot summer sun. We took a moment to pray. Taking a marker pen we each wrote a prayer on the sole of our shoes. â€˜peacemakersâ€™ was the single word prayer I scrawled on my trainers in large letters.
Ordered chaos ensued as the team moved to action; blankets were laid out and carrier bags emptied to reveal an abundance of coloured beads, threads, juggling balls and face paint. The parachute was unfurled and football teams selected. Our sole prayers began to spread out covering the square. Some remained still beneath the shade of the tree, others danced around the parachute and others still chased football and frisbee around the park. Within minutes the air seemed to clear. Bangs were replaced with the sound of children laughing and playing. Hostility substituted for hospitality; intimidation for intimacy. There was a tangible sense of joy, peace and festivity. Their territory suddenly felt like it was Gods ground.
Two hours later we left the estate, exhausted, but with an amazing sense of God with us. As I climbed wearily into the car I glanced at the soles of my trainers; nothing but dust and dirt. Our prayers had rubbed off, literally.
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Published on Aug 2, 2010