Tuesday, April 03, 2007

24-7 Prayer: The World on a Shoestring

I'm trying to think of the words I need to describe the 24-7 prayer movement.

You know how some things get under your skin, into your blood and then become a part of who you are? When you try to speak about them it's so difficult ! How do you explain this thing that is so integral to your breathing?

24-7 is a movement, a passion, a people... A family devoted to Christ centered, mission minded prayer--commited to encouraging Christ communities all over the world. It's a family woven together across thousands of miles through something much bigger than the internet that connects us. It's the heart of God pulsating, bringing dead ones back to life, inspiring passionate prayers that change the world, prayers that undo our hearts in the presence of our Maker, prayers that allow His heart to impact ours.

And as we are impacted and moved, prayers as we go!

Go. Yes! Go and do . Go be the church. Be the Body. Be the answer to His prayers, our prayers, His heart for the world.

Not because He needs us so very much. Just because He has chosen this mysterious way of spreading His love... through us, His followers. Nevermind that we are frail and broken.

A band of friends in England were inspired by the Moravians who prayed non-stop for a hundred years. This little band of friends wondered if they might try praying non-stop for a month.

8 years later and the prayers keep on. Prayer room to prayer room, week to week, 8 years of constant prayer! The idea of setting aside a space and consecrating it to prayer, then dividing the week into hour slots and getting friends to cover every hour was and is contagious and irresistable. Not because a prayer room is a magic place. No. Just because it seems that God is ready and available to those who set aside time with Him and when they turn up, He does too.

So here we are, 8 years later with reports of prayer rooms happening in over 65 nations. And those are just the ones we can track! An 8 year prayer meeting :-)

What makes me so excited about people praying? Well, for one thing, most of these prayer people are young. Far and away, the majority of people seeking God in 24-7prayer rooms around the world are teenagers and folks in their twenties. Of course I've seen little children entering into the experience as well, and grandparents. But there is something going on that has captivated the longing of young people all over the globe.

If you're my age, ask yourself how many teenagers you know who love and long to pray. How many speak of freedom in His presence, joy, tears, and communication like they've never known?

Here's a scenario I've experienced over and over...

We empty a room of most of its furnishings. We cover the walls entirely in huge sheets of paper. We set up a few prayer stations or prompts to help people. There might be a globe, a cast iron cooking pot where we can burn our confessions that we have scribbled on scraps of paper. There is plenty of art supplies: markers, paints, pastels, pencils, glue, paper, clay... whatever. There's always music. A cd player and some speakers and lots of music to choose from. Soft stuff. Wild stuff. Dancing, crying, intercession stuff. There might be a guitar, a djembe. It doesn't really matter.

The common thread is that we set this space aside to meet with God and we invite others to join us in covering the week. After the first few hours, the prayers are spilling all over the walls. They have poured out of hearts and now adorn the walls. You walk in and find yourself invited into the hearts of others, the heart of God.

How many times have I heard people say, "As soon as I walked in I just started to cry" ? I see it again and again, God blessing the week, the hours, the room.

People are changed.

And changed people change the world.

Brian and his family moved far from England. Among other things, they host the summer teams who walk the streets of Ibiza caring for the the party crowd. Scores of young Europeans who traveled there to blow their minds on drugs and sex and clubs find something so raw and real in these people who voluntarily clean the vomit off their faces and help them safely back to their hotels. They find love in the realest, truest sense. Much to their surprise, they find Jesus.

All over the globe, this subversive love that serves others is being lived out. The 24-7 family has given their lives over to three simple things, (the vows of the Moravians.) Let us be: True to Christ, Kind to People and Take Good News to the Nations.

I guess I could just go on and on and on but I'd rather send you to the 24-7 website and ask you to take some time to look around. As you do, please consider this: God is using 24-7prayer in crazy, huge, amazing ways all over the globe.

Incredibly, it operates in a threadbare little shoestring of a budget.

Please, this has no impact on me because we don't receive any kind of funding from the 24-7 movement, would you consider giving a gift to this group that has young people falling in love with God and reaching out to change the world? It's so easy. Just push the donate button on their site. (FYI: There's about 2 dollars to every English pound right now.)

And go check out what Nelly (former Young Life staff, current youth pastor and always wonderful friend) is saying about the movement too!

1 comment:

Sue said...

Amazing how Christ tingles my body with approval when I experience, read, hear, think of, His people doing just what He said. 24-7 is so like Him to meet the multitudes right in the midst of life. "Call to Me and I will be exactly what your soul needs", He says. He tells us of His power and is truly showing even the youngest of generations that He came for them. Might we feel the tingling and know it is HIM!!