Sunday, June 27, 2010
This spring, we did one week of 24-7 Prayer in our church. This is a movement started by young, alternative, punk Christians in England. It has spread around the world, and after participating, I can see why.
We set up a prayer room on the KNU campus, and we invited people sign up for an hour to pray IN the prayer room - stringing together a continuous week of prayer night and day (hence 24-7). Our prayer room had several different "stations": repentance, The Lord's Prayer, a wailing wall (for deep unanswered prayers), general requests, maps, thanksgivings, a cross, music, and a "Holy of Holies" quiet, curtained off space in the middle of the room. We covered most of the walls with white paper, and we invited people to write or to draw their prayers all over the place. Some people even brought their own art supplies and added in some paintings. We gave people prayer request cards and asked them to take requests from their students, friends, and coworkers.
This week of prayer was the best thing our church has done in a very long time. This infused us with spiritual life and creativity like nothing we've ever done. I had some fears that it might feel contrived or strained, but the opposite was true. Having a prayer room that evoked creativity moved our community into spontaneous and free-spirited prayer. This gave us a hunger and a longing for prayer. We completed our week of prayer with a prayer service on Pentecost Sunday, and this was by far the most powerful service that I have ever seen in our church. Now, 5-6 weeks later, our services are still having more of a "sense" of God's Spirit.
I love that the 24-7 Prayer movement is not just "spiritual." Their catchwords are: prayer, mission, and justice, and they actively promote mission in a variety of different ways. Also, hosting a community prayer room really strengthened our church's sense of community - even though most of us prayed our hour alone. This thing is ancient, modern, and post-modern all at the same time. Joining together in prayer unites the various cultures and perspectives in our diverse church. This is a place where we can all agree and participate.
We are planning to do another week or two of prayer in the Fall semester. We are considering a variety of options for how to do it in the fall: teaming up with another church (or group of churches), making a larger prayer room open to the wider KNU community, linking the prayer room with our Wednesday night service, etc. We're still praying about what to do and how to do it, but I fully expect that 24-7 Prayer will become part of the regular rhythm of our church.
I highly recommend checking out the 24-7 prayer website and reading Red Moon Rising, the book describing this prayer movement.