Arise:March’s theme in 2023 is to COVER, DISCOVER and RECOVER; to cover our streets in prayer, discover local prayer needs, and recover the true meaning of Easter for Sheffield.
This is the third year that Arise has invited people across Sheffield to prayer-walk and bring hope to the city.
An app has been developed to coordinate the efforts of everyone taking part, which creates a map of the routes that have been prayer-walked. The more a street is prayed for, the brighter it will glow on the app. This year people will also be able to upload the prayer needs they have discovered to the Arise:March prayer app so others can join in prayer for those needs.
CEO of Together for Sheffield (the multi-denominational Christian charity that powers Arise) Ben Woollard says that the new ability to share the discovered prayer needs with others will have a big impact:
“We know as followers of Jesus there are needs all around us, wherever we walk and wherever we go. Arise is an invitation to connect with the needs of our neighbourhoods and bring them to God. We’re going to be encouraging Christians to ask the people in their areas – such as the people they see at the school gates, or in the local corner shop – what they would like prayer for.
“We know God is often readier to answer prayers than we are to ask. So many people in our communities don’t connect the idea of Easter to Jesus’s death and resurrection, or even with the church. We’d love believers across the city to help share the Good News of Easter with the people they know.”
In addition to the month of prayer-walking, churches across the city are uniting and displaying banners that read, “Our church is praying for you this Easter”. The banners also feature an invitation to passers-by to upload their own prayer needs to a website; these requests will then also be added to the Arise:March prayer app. Furthermore, Arise is also encouraging people to build relationships in their local areas by giving Easter gifts to their neighbours, with lots of churches using the Real Easter Eggs (Fairtrade chocolate eggs that include the Easter story) to do that.
Ben adds that praying for particular local streets and situations helps believers to strengthen their personal connection to their area, as well as contributing to the overall aim of covering Sheffield in prayer:
“We pray and trust that God is going to bless everyone who lives on our streets, but a huge thing happens during this sort of prayer and that is the prayer changes us. We go out there praying for change around us and God, by His grace, creates a change in us too.
“How many times over March can you pray on your walk to work? Or when you’re walking to a local shop, or just going for a walk around the area? Look at your area through Christ’s eyes: try to discern what God might be doing there, and pray for that.
“We’d really invite people to explore different ways of prayer-walking. You could focus on petition prayers of blessing over the streets. You could go for a contemplative walk with Jesus and abide with him, talking to him about what you’re seeing and what you’re feeling. You might know particular people who live on certain streets and you might want to be specifically praying for them and their lives as you’re walking up and down those roads.”
Arise:March runs throughout the whole month, with a launch event taking place on Saturday 25th February at Sheffield Cathedral. The Arise:March prayer app is web-based, which means that anyone with an internet connection can access it on any device: mobile, tablet, laptop, or desktop. It goes live on Wednesday 1 March, and everyone who’s signed up to the Arise Community will receive a link to the app first thing that morning.
Ben thinks the month-long campaign is a chance for everyone to follow Jesus in a prayerful way:
“God could have put you anywhere, at any time in history, and He’s placed you in Sheffield at this time. There’s an invitation for us all across denominations and churches to arise and bring hope to our city.
“As people who are planted in Sheffield we are called to faithfulness in this city, and committing to prayer like this is a great opportunity to be a light for Christ.”
You can join the Arise:March month of prayer-walking, and sign up to receive your link to the app here.