Thy Kingdom Come 2021

This week marks the beginning of Thy Kingdom Come, an annual, global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray from Ascension through to Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus.

You might have heard of it. You might have been involved with it, in the last five years. You might have great plans for the coming 11 days. Or, you might be reading this and thinking, what is Thy Kingdom Come and how can I be a part of it? 

What started in May 2016 as an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Church of England, has grown through God into an international and ecumenical call to prayer with Christians from 172 countries and more than 80 denominations praying ‘Come Holy Spirit’, so that friends and family, neighbours and colleagues might come to faith in Jesus Christ.

From Hong Kong to Honolulu, Trafalger Square to Vatican City, the global wave of prayer has seen Christians coming together in prayer and praise for the evangelisation of the world.

Every person, household and church is encouraged to pray in their own way - across our diversity and differences. During the 11 days of May 13 – 23, it is hoped that everyone who takes part will deepen their own relationship with Jesus Christ, pray for five people to come to faith, and pray for the empowerment of the Spirit that we might be effective in our witness.

This year, many churches will also be praying for the needs of their local community and the wider world.

Throughout the centuries Christians have gathered at this time to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Thy Kingdom Come picks up on this tradition, and the effects have been remarkable in bringing forward those who had not preciously heard the Good News of Jesus Christ and His love for the world.

Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, says: “Thy Kingdom Come is about prayer: praying for those on our hearts, praying for those who don’t know Jesus - to find him, praying for our Church as we seek to be simpler, humbler and bolder. I pray for you, too.”

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, says: “In praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ we all commit to playing our part in the renewal of the nations and the transformation of communities.”

Whilst at the heart of TKC remains the commitment to prayer for evangelisation, this year things are a little different and the resources have been designed to refresh, encourage and inspire worshipping communities, families and individuals who may have struggled with the idea of Church at Home.     Highlights include the Cheeky Pando video series for children, packed with Bible stories, prayers, animation and worship songs, plus special guest appearances from ‘celebs’ including Adventurer Bear Grylls and CBeebies Presenter Gemma Hunt. These can be used as part of church at home, gathered church (online and offline) and in school assemblies. The series is the main content in the Family Prayer Adventure Map and App.

With youth in mind, there’s also a Prayer Escape Room and a series of video reflections from names including rapper and author Guvna B.

The Thy Kingdom Come App, available in nine languages, includes audio content from 24-7 Prayer’s Lectio 365 with audio reflections from Pete Greig, Archbishop Justin and 24-7 Prayer GB UK Director, Carla Harding.

You can also make a mark of where you are located on the website’s virtual map to ‘light up the world in prayer’.

Archbishop Stephen has written this year’s Prayer Journal with the hope that those reading it will be spiritually nourished and re-encounter afresh, the love of God.

Emma Buchan, Thy Kingdom Come Project Director, says: “We hope and pray Pentecost is a time of great joy after what has been such a challenging season.”

A global pandemic cannot put stop to the power of prayer. In fact, for many, all it has done is compound the need to support and encourage one another, and grow in our loving service of the community and God’s world.

This time last year in the Diocese of Leicester we were clapping for carers, gathering online together as church communities to pray and spend time with God - some virtually all day and all night throughout TKC - while others fasted, discerning the way forward for their churches in the face of coronavirus. TKC gave life to new and innovative ways to pray collectively during a pandemic.

This year, as we slowly start to emerge into a more familiar way of life, we look to be Shaped By God Together as a diocese.

Youth worker, Lou McGoldrick, is a big cheerleader for TKC and the opportunities it affords young people in our diocese. She says: "Thy Kingdom Come is a movement that we have joined in with every year in many different ways, we've had young people make videos, we've used prayer stations in schools and takeaway creative prayer bags. We haven't always stuck to the standard premise of praying for five people, this has often been part of it but we have often used it as an opportunity to ask God, ‘what does it look like to bring more of your kingdom this year where we are?’

“This year we’re focused around caring for our planet and its diverse people, asking what might it look like to pray and act to see more of God’s kingdom in this way?"

Reverend Barry Hill, who you may know as team rector of the Market Harborough Resource Church Team and Resource Church Enabler for the Diocese of Leicester, is also a member of the Board of Thy Kingdom Come and has been involved with the prayer movement since its inception.

He says: “It’s been the most amazing move of God’s Spirit to see how the Church around the world and here in Leicestershire has responded to the call of Thy Kingdom Come to spend a focused 11 days of prayer together each year. 

“To see and hear stories from Christians of how their friends and family, colleagues and classmates have come to know more of God’s love has been inspiring.

“In just five years, millions of Christians in over 172 countries, across almost every denomination and stream have joined this global movement of prayer. We are united in not just praying generally, but specifically, that the Holy Spirit would embolden us so we may witness more confidently to the hope we have in Jesus Christ.

“As we see such need in the lives of those we love, our wider communities and world, the hope we have is a gift beyond measure.”

This year’s resources have been tailored to make it as easy as possible for churches and clergy, mindful so many of us are exhausted and have much on our plates. 

There is a variety of resources for different contexts, for those accessing online, via the app, in person or a mix. There are resources for all ages and traditions. Most are offered free of charge. 

So why not download the app, or register on the website for the daily email, or pick up a printed prayer journal and join in praying with so many others, Thy Kingdom Come.


First published on: 10th May 2021

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