Snow finally arrived in Goldthorpe this week, and led to the prayer meeting on Thursday being cancelled. This morning, however, there were willing workers clearing the driveway so that the coffee morning could go ahead as usual:

It didn’t stop us carrying on with the third prayer walk of January, either! In fact, there is something rather good about seeing exactly where your footsteps are in the snow and it was quite reminiscent of Joshua 1:3! (“I will give you every place where you set your foot.”)

We started where we left off last week and prayed over the Job Centre, asking God to give jobs to people in the area and to help those struggling with unemployment, illness and low paid work. We moved on to the side streets off High Street:

One of the streets we prayed for is called Hope Avenue:

Hopelessness or despair seems endemic in many local villages. A recent BBC programme entitled ‘A Tale of Two Villages’ looked at the contrasting fates of Grimethorpe and Thurnscoe. “A palpable sense of hope now fills the village of Grimethorpe and people feel their future is once again secure. But five miles east in the pit village of Thurnscoe residents are still waiting for regeneration to make a difference to their daily lives. Many people there feel that the village is dying on its feet and that the money spent hasn’t delivered jobs or hope. So why the difference? How did they take the grim out of Grimethorpe?” the programme asks.
‘A Tale of Two Villages’

The fact remains that no matter what regeneration programmes are implemented from outside, people need hope. As we prayed for Hope Avenue and for Goldthorpe, we prayed that the hope of the gospel would be real in Goldthorpe. Our physical eyes see the same streets from which people long to escape. But we look with spiritual eyes also that say God can make a difference; God can turn things around; God can give us hope. The song ‘Jesus Saves’ starts with the bold declaration ‘Hope is here! Shout the news to everyone.’ That is our cry. Hope is here, in Goldthorpe, in the snow in January 2013, because Jesus is here.