Lives Transformed Through Prayer

by Gerry Lynch last modified 18 Feb, 2016 07:58 PM

New C of E video campaign on prayer stars people who found faith at a homeless centre

Men and women who found faith at a homeless centre are to star in a series of short dramatic films for Lent and Easter by the Church of England. The five film stars have all recently come to faith through the Saturday Gathering, a fresh expression of church in Halifax – and most have experienced crime, alcohol, drug addiction, homelessness or violence in their lives.                                                                         

The “Psalm 22 project” follows on from the Church of England’s “Lord’s Prayer” campaign which was banned by cinemas before Christmas and promotes the justpray.uk website.

The new justpray.uk campaign will feature short teaser films over the next five weeks concluding with the launch of a two minute film on Easter Sunday which casts the five main characters in their own interpretation of a scene from the Passion of Christ. The film is based on Psalm 22 which includes the words “my God, my God why have you forsaken me ?” said by Jesus Christ on the cross.

The first teaser, launched today, features Emma, 24, who came to faith a year ago and still struggles with questions and doubt. In a podcast interview accompanying today’s film Emma says:

“Having faith is really hard. It's not easy to pray when you think no one is listening, it’s not easy to wake up knowing you’re going to go through the same stuff every single day.

“Without God, I’d still be drinking, taking drugs. I don’t even know if I’d be here, because I was a self harmer, I would have probably taken my own life at some point.”

Teaser films to be released over the coming weeks also include Howard, 40, who after eight months clean of drugs, alcohol and crime, got baptized and immediately used drugs again. His story is a battle between walking in faith and having doubts but says that his faith has kept him alive: “Where would I be without faith? I'd be dead a long time ago I believe. Yeah, I'd be dead. Not just spiritually but probably physically dead in a box somewhere. Faith's everything to me. It keeps me going, it gives me hope.”

And Rob, 46, who spent years living rough, but now feels resurrected away from a life of drugs, crime and trouble: “'When my brother died I got naughty, I got into drugs, I got into fighting, violence, prison. And when I was in prison I wanted to like, just die. I thought God was forsaking me then. Because I was asking for his help and it didn't happen. About 10 years later, I've turned into a Christian and I've changed my life around, and God hasn't forsaken me.”

The Revd Arun Arora, Communications Director for the Church of England said: “Each of the inspirational stories of those who star in the film is a reminder of how faith and prayer can turn life around. They are also a reminder that for many of us faith and doubt co-exist as neighbours and not opposites. The Psalms accompany us through life with their raw honesty, joy and despair at life, love and God. Lent is a time of self-examination and struggle. It’s part of the Christian journey that comes as a time of testing and honesty about who we are before God. And it ends with the triumph of Easter day, the sure and certain promise of God triumphant even after the darkest night.”

The Psalm 22 teaser trailers are being released once per week during Lent on the Just Pray YouTube channel. The final film will be released at Easter Sunday.

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