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Dewiswch ddewis iaith
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Raising an Army of
Ordinary Intercessors (pt.1)

Owen Cottom

I can remember the night Ben and I first sat down to chat at length about the Cant i Gymru vision. It was June 2021. We were on a ‘lads and dads’ camping trip. Our young sons were finally fast asleep in the tents behind us (after the longest, most excitable bedtime routine I’ve ever lived through!). As we watched the sunset over the rolling fields of Llangennith, Ben reminded me of the question that had come to him in a dream two months before;

What would it take to plant one hundred healthy churches in the next ten years?

I wonder what response such a question evokes in you. I have to admit that I’m easy bait for an audacious gospel vision - I love to believe the best and dream big. But that night was different. As we chatted over this vision my main internal response was more sober. This felt weighty. This felt like more than a good idea. This felt way bigger than any of us had the resources to pull off in our own strength. This felt holy.

As the vision has marinated in my soul over the past couple of years it has awakened all kinds of things; hopes for revival, doubts about possibility, questions and ideas about strategy. But above everything else, it has awakened prayer. And I think its designed to.

When we’re faced with a task that is too big for us and a vision that will outlast us, we tend to turn to one of two basic options: harness all the strength and strategy we can muster to make a go of it by ourselves, or hide away in ignorance, hoping the task will pass by.

But there is a third way: we can pray. Prayer is the act of embracing our neediness. Prayer is the act of taking hold of God’s greatness. And prayer is the invitation to join our neediness to God’s greatness, asking Him to do what we are unable to do.

Jehosophat is a prime example of a third way leader. Surrounded by multiple enemy armies, the king of Judah was confronted with a task that was too big for him. He felt overwhelmed. At the same time though, he did have a script. As king he was expected to lead militarily - to organise the supplies, to galvanise the troops, to strategise for victory. I’m sure there were voices whispering “harness all your strength” and others tempting, “hide away and let it pass by”. Jehosophat chose the third way. He rose to his feet and he prayed,

“O LORD, God of our fathers, You rule ... O our God, You have promised ... ... but now we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us ... ... we do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You”
- (2 Chronicles 20:6-12)

What happened next is both stunning and informative. Not only did prayer ignite the spark that inspired victory; prayer was also an instrument of bringing the victory itself. God commanded that the priests be sent ahead of the army to sing (of all things!) and “as they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab” (2 Chronicles 20:22). No swords, no shields, just songs of praise. Talk about “an Army of Ordinary Intercessors”. Through the seeming foolishness of prayer and praise, the tide was turned and the land was delivered.

Our nation is in great need. The church has been declining. Society is fracturing. Lost souls are searching for home. So what will we do?

Will we choose the third way? Will we pray?

Those of us who have been carrying this vision in its seed form for the past couple of years have been carrying it first in prayer. We know that a God- sized problem needs a God-ordained solution. We are not just a bunch of visionary idealists. We are not a collective of gung-ho entrepreneurs. We are certainly not spiritual mavericks. We are ordinary men and women who have been captivated by the greatness of God and stirred for the glory of God. And so, we pray. We pray to a King who wants to revive Wales more than we do. We pray, believing that only prayer can spark and sustain gospel- victory in this land again.

I love many aspects of the Cant i Gymru vision. It is bold and compelling, faith-filled and humbling. But my favourite thing about the Cant i Gymru vision is simply that it pulls me towards prayer. I hope it does the same for you, so that together we might raise our voices across this land in a collective cry of humble hope:

“we don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on You”
- (2 Chronicles 20:12).