Salvationists from across the United Kingdom with the Republic of Ireland Territory (UKI) gathered in Swanwick, Derbyshire for the UKI Territorial Prayer Network Prayer Gathering which took place January 27-29, 2012. The theme for the weekend was 'Freedom!' and Lieutenant-Colonel Janet Munn, the Secretary for Spiritual Life Development and associate principal of the International College for Officers and Centre for Spiritual Life Development was the guest speaker.

The weekend was coordinated by Major Jill Miller and Karen Findlay from the UKI Territory's 24-7 Prayer Network and Majors Dawn and Gary Lacey of Sanctuary 21 House of Prayer. Salvationists Mike and Jenny Clark led the group in worship and song.

Lieut-Colonel Munn challenged the participants with her series of teachings on the 'Glorious Freedom in Christ.' The weekend commenced by looking at the parable found in Luke 18:1-8 about the Persistent Widow and her plea for justice: showing initiative, insistence, and relentlessness for her case - and receiving justice from the unjust judge, the delegates were encouraged to think about their persistance in prayer.

The next day began with the question, "What do you imagine?". The aim was to look at some barriers to freedom - ignorance, deception, unresolved spiritual conflicts - and how the enemy works in ways to keep people captive,  and not enjoy the glorious freedom that they are entitled to! 'But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.' Romans 6:22-23

Lieut-Colonel Munn used Nehemiah rebuilding the city wall of Jerusalem as an example that even in the small things, there is a bigness. While he was mocked and ridiculed, he persisted in completing his task. "I am engaged in a great work, so I can't come down." (Nehemiah 6:3). Just like Nehemiah, many are also engaged in great works, and must not give into mockery, temptation or lies, showing the boldness of Nehemiah to continue in the pursuit for justice. Song of Songs 2:15 says, "Catch for us the little foxes...that ruin the vineyards that are in bloom." There was a time to think about the question What are the little foxes that are attempting to destroy the flowering garden in which you've worked so diligently?

On Saturday afternoon, Major Gary Lacey (Sanctuary 21) taught on the spiritual discipline of silence. In the constantly moving, fast-paced world, in which people are always surrounded by noise  - from music (on the radio, iPods, computers, etc.), television, and cell phones to the sounds of people, conversations and traffic silence is not a common thing!

However, emphasis was given to the importance to take time to stop and listen to God in the quiet, without interruption and noise. Jesus is a model in that He "often withdrew to lonely places and prayed" in the midst of His ministry. (Luke 5:16) The Lord reveals things in the silence that can be missed if christians are not quietly resting in Him. After Gary's teaching, the group was given time to practice this discipline, and that evening there were many testimonies of things that the Lord revealed during each person's time of silence.

The weekend ended by contemplating how freedom in Christ is better than people can imagine. Genesis 1:26-27 talks about God creating men and women in His own image, which shows how they are designed for intimate partnership with Him. While Jesus opens up the deep things of His heart to human beings, so they can and should do the same to Him, therefore living a life free of shame with Jesus.

 The participants returned home with a greater awareness of the joy that having freedom in Christ brings, consequently pouring out in such a way that it is evident to others, rejoicing in the freedom that is theirs in Christ!. We should be "the talk of the other nations: ‘God was wonderful to them!' Yes, God was wonderful to us; we are one happy people!" (Psalm 126:2-3)

Annie Carter
Intern at the Centre for Spiritual Life Development