Thursday, July 23, 2009

Praying 24-7

Pete Greig from 24-7 Prayer is calling people together to pray for Europe in a massive prayer meeting in Amsterdam.

And people will come. But, when local churches may lament how poorly attended their prayer meetings are, what is drawing them? A longing for more in their lives? A desire for God? A move of the Holy Spirit? Yes, I’m sure it is all of those things. But one element that marks out the 24-7 prayer movement is their use of creativity in prayer. If you’re not familiar with this movement then check out the 24-7 Prayer website to get a flavour of what is happening.

Across the UK and now across the world prayer rooms are appearing populated with people praying in shifts for a week or more around the clock. In a typical prayer room we see prayers graffitied on the walls, we see original pieces of art work sculpted or painted as prayers during the prayer times. There are candles to set the ambience and CDs are often playing.

Another element that may surprise some is the rediscovery of liturgy. In prayer room across the world people are searching out and reading ancient prayers. Celtic prayers and prayers of medieval monks are again touching people as God breaths new life into these words. People in these prayer rooms are also writing new liturgies. Having just finished reading the 24-7 Prayer Manual I want to read Punk Monk for some insights from the monastic traditions that can be applied today.

People can wander around a prayer room looking icons in the form of artwork and read prayers written on the walls or sometimes follow specific trails with items to pray about at various points. Some of this is created spontaneously while to room is open but also a lot of work can go into preparing prayer stations. On occasions, 24-7 prayer rooms have even used labyrinths so that people can walk meditatively around the room as they pray – their attention brought to certain items at certain points. As you can see in this prayer room organised by Bath City Church - log on to facebook to see the photos.

People are being drawn together and motivated to pray. They are finding prayer interesting. They are finding prayer exciting. People are praying: not out of duty, not because they are made to feel guilty, not even as an exercise in self disciple. They are praying because they want to. They are enjoying it.

In our church we have seen a glimpse of this in our Time With God where we do just one 24 hour stint every few months. I long to see more of this. Don’t you?

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