Prayer, Community and Transformation: Meet AFCM UK

Author: Alison Rebello

Prayer, Community and Transformation: Meet AFCM UK

As part of the new CDSC (CHARIS Diocesan Service of Communion) group in the diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, Alison Rebello recently shared the story of his community, Anointing Fire Catholic Ministries (AFCM), at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Sunderland, as part of a 40 hour Adoration event. Read below how the community has been evangelising in the North East of England and beyond for over 27 months. 

To give some background about AFCM: Across the UK, we have over two dozen communities and over 100 worldwide, with its base in Kerala, India. In the North East, our main group is called AFCM Newcastle which also has associate groups like AFCM Teens, Friends of Youth (University group), and a seven month old AFCM North East England, which has a wider community participation.

Within the group we have a core group of 4 families. We gather and pray online every Monday where a group member shares a Bible passage, a short thematic presentation and something that has impacted their life that week. There is also praise and worship for ten minutes, ten minutes of intercessory prayers and a further discussion/planning on the needs of the wider group. We also take part in the UK wide Zoom intercessory prayers, including exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on Mondays between 1-2pm.

Additionally, we do Stations of the Cross for various intentions every week at 5.30am on Friday morning. Our weekly 45 minutes Zoom prayer is on Wednesday at 21.15pm, where we have recently introduced our children(AFCM Teens) to do praise and worship, share scripture, bidding prayers and songs etc., for the first 15 minutes. After that, the adults take over by sharing testimonies inspired by scripture, Bible reading and a few prayers. At times, we say a rosary if no one is available to deliver a talk.

Daily Bible Verses Leading To Transformation

We share a daily single Bible verse for the 35 group members to pray during the day. It is currently posted by 8 volunteers in a weekly rota, where the scripture passage is posted in English and Malayalam, our mother tongue. And everyone from the group is asked to pray and add the numbers to the WhatsApp group.  So, by the end of the day, this single verse is said anywhere between 500- 1000 plus times by all group members, which has a huge impact on their daily lives.

Regarding the impact of this daily single Bible verse, we recently heard an inspirational story from a lady from our group. When she received this daily Bible verse, she shared it with her mother, sister and brother, who live in India. When the mother received the verse, it spoke to her in a way that she was prompted to pick up her Bible, which she was not used to until then. This little act helped her read the Bible daily. She has had a big change of heart and now she leads a much better prayer life.

A similar thing happened with her sister who was married for 15 years and did not have a child. One of the verses shared had a strong message for her and she started following it up. Now she is blessed with a child and her prayer life has helped her family life immensely.

While all this was going on in the family, her brother, who was married for 7 years without children, also started working on his prayer life. He drew inspiration from the Bible verse and the impact he had seen in his mother and sister’s life. This helped him overcome his struggles, and he, too, is blessed with a child.

As a meaningful tribute to this blessed exercise, they have now created a family WhatsApp group and are doing a similar daily single bible verse sharing exercise, which brought about a change of hearts and intimacy with God. Praise God for the power of scripture.

Keep Praying Earnestly

There are many other inspirational stories like this which have come about as a direct result of this WhatsApp scripture sharing exercise.

We have also made use of this WhatsApp platform to pray for various needs and prayers requests and regularly arrange six and twelve hour Rosaries for specific community intentions. So I request everyone to keep praying earnestly and remember Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Remember that anything which weighs heavily on your mind is worth giving up in prayer to God-He is sure to come to your rescue.

Let me end by quoting David Roper from his book, Seeing God: “Prayer is asking for understanding. It’s the means by which we comprehend what God is saying to us through the scripture. Prayer focuses and unites our fragmented hearts. In the quiet place of prayer, God comforts, instructs and listens to us. There we learn to love and worship him.”  If this inspires you, keep praying as you do now. If you think otherwise, I urge you to give it a try. Scripture has the power to reach your inner being and nourish you beyond comprehension.

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