1) What is ‘As One!’ – The Shield 2016?
This is the title of a national prayer call being promoted by Pray for Scotland (PfS) and Parliamentary Prayer Scotland (PPS). The aim is to encourage the Church in each city, town or rural community to come together and stand in unity ‘As One!’ raising a shield of prayer over their area. This already happens in a few areas but we believe God is calling the Church throughout the nation to do this on a regular, ongoing basis as part of His plans for changing the spiritual atmosphere over Scotland.
The initial focus is the 40 days from Easter Sunday 27 March to the elections for the Scottish Parliament on 5 May 2016 – praying specifically about all aspects of the elections and at the same time for your area.
The key Scriptures underpinning this call are Psalm 133, John 17:20-23 and 2 Chronicles 7:14.
2) Why ‘Shields’ and ‘As One!’?
During mid-2015 a member of the PPS team had a series of impressions (pictures) of huge shields being hammered into the ground of Scotland, linking heaven and earth, and being locked together. There was also an impression of the ‘shield’ formation of Roman legionnaires known as the ‘tortoise’ or ‘testudo’ – see image. In researching the background to the ‘testudo’ we found that the command the Roman Officer gave to his men to get them into that formation – all he had to say – was (in English) just two words: ‘As One!’.
The ‘testudo’ is both for defence and offence (attack), but to be effective the men within the shields must move and act in unity. If one moves out of step or stumbles, the unity and strength of the force is compromised and they become at best less effective and at worst defeated.
This is a very powerful image of how the Church should be operating at local, regional and national level as we seek to extend the Kingdom of God in Scotland, and so this is why we have chosen ‘As One!’ and The Shield as the title of this prayer call [Psalm 133 and John 17].
3) Defence and Offence
We believe that as the Church stands ‘As One!’ in unity through prayer, a strong shield of protection will be raised over each area against whatever will come against it in the days to come. The interlocking shields, town by town, area by area, will create a strong shield over the nation. Under the protection of the shields the Church, working together through praise, worship, prayer and intercession can go on the offence and have a positive impact on the spiritual atmosphere over us, enabling the power of God to be released and resulting, in time, in the transformation of each community – and the nation!
As a visual symbol of the prayer call, and to connect the nation over the initial 40 days, a Shield displaying a Cross with ‘As One!’ across it will be taken round the nation (see image). As it travels from town to town and local Council area to area, our prayer is that local Churches will be encouraged to come together to pray for their communities and the nation. As part of the tour, a prayer of blessing will be said by one area over the next, creating a ‘river of blessing’ throughout Scotland.
[For details of the Shield’s tour route and dates, plus the information we are providing to co-ordinators in each local authority area – Click here]
5) The future
We now know that after the Scottish Parliament elections there will be the Referendum on EU membership on 23 June. We will be continuing to “raise our prayer shields” over the nation during that campaign also, as part of a wider UK call to prayer.
The longer term aim is that all over the nation there will arise regular local gatherings of folk from different churches coming together in praise, worship and prayer for their community and the nation – with a desire and commitment to persevere until we see that transformation that only the power and glory of God can bring!
[Click here for a pdf version of this document]