In the scriptures we see examples where Christ prayed through the night. A friend challenged me to try the same thing. I had never cultivated this as a practice (although once or twice in a trial I prayed through the night) but the thought got stuck in my brain and kept simmering.
Eventually I had the opportunity to visit a prayer room where people were praying 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It was incredible and beautiful to see; I couldn’t shake the idea! Imagine the impact on the global kingdom movement if we had a 24 hour prayer room in every major city!
Inspired to Action
Soon after, a friend handed me a copy of “Red Moon Rising” by Pete Greig which chronicles the movement of 24/7 prayer rooms (of various denominations and subcultures) that began a global growth in 1999. I was inspired to take action but our resources are quite limited – we have no church “building”; so for us the first hurdle was space. A second hurdle was people: how would we do something 24/7 without burning people out? But, as with any great endeavor: start with the small steps, begin moving in the right direction and keep moving in that direction for a very long time, and keep a pace that is honoring of wisdom.
Starting Where We Could
Rather than start with the full unending prayer movement (a massive endeavor), we did a 24 hour period of non-stop prayer in our apartment (one small step). It still seemed daunting – 24 hours in our one bedroom apartment – but we believed it was a small sustainable step in the right direction. In the future we would plan to do more of these as strategic opportunities to invite people into the prayer movement.
But why do this? Is this some formula? Is this to get some sort of result? No, ultimately it is driven by the need to know Christ more, the need to let His heart conform us as we enter into His Holy Place with petition and thanksgiving. It is driven by the severity of the condition of our world (in every sense). It is driven by love. We gained incredible blessings through the experience! It was amazing to have people constantly coming and going seeking Christ. It was a true family experience. Let love be your motivation.Our prayer is driven by the need to let God's heart conform us. It is driven by love. - Jeremy Chambers Click To Tweet
Here are some insights we gleaned from our experience with 24 hour prayer:
- Initial Steps: pray for the time you are setting aside, determine the best location, cast the vision to your friends for 24 hours of prayer in your city, ask people to commit to covering one hour slots for that 24 hour period (give freedom for friends to invite more friends), create a sign-up sheet, have good instructions for people to come and go appropriately to/from the prayer room.
- Be prepared for significant and unusual spiritual warfare in the weeks leading up to this.
- Focus the aim: We prayed for (1) intimacy with the Father, (2) movement in our city, and (3) with global perspective. We were very intentional about that.
- Remember Matthew 7:21-23. In this passage people seemed mature but the Father still told them to depart for He never knew them. We don’t want to lead people to simply pray, rather, we want to lead people to Jesus and intimacy with the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit. Let the motivation be love for the Christ and love for others. Doing good things without love can be dangerous.
- Try setting up a communion station, a community journal for people to write in, and a list of key passages for people to prayerfully be thinking through or praying during the time (e.g. John 17, Ephesians 3:14-21, 1 Thessalonians 5:23-25, Colossians 1:9-11, Philippians 1:9-11, Revelation 4, and a number of Psalms).
Step Into Prayer
Please pray about taking steps toward more prayer and even the possibility of doing something like this in your city. Imagine how you could creatively invite others into this precious and sacred sacrament of prayer!
- Jesus invites us into His expansive global Kingdom movement. Prayer is a sacred pathway to His Kingdom of hope, love, peace. If you are engaged in any Kingdom of Heaven sort of mission, please consider the value of prayer. Ask yourself if there are any creative ways that you can kickstart a prayer movement in your city.
2. Intimacy with Christ – Prayer requires that we humble ourselves to come before the throne of the King, which is exactly where He pours out His intimacy into our hearts. How can we serve the King without that intimacy? An older friend recently said to me, “when you get to be my age, all you can do is pray.” But the thought struck me, “Why wait until I am older? Why not pray today AS IF ALL I COULD DO IS PRAY?” Why not cultivate a lifetime of intimacy, so that when I am older, I already have a legacy of a culture of communication and immersion with the Divine Trinity? May we begin now.
3. You are part of the household of faith – It was 20 years ago that I embarked on my journey of global ministry and have never stopped since, yet I have only rarely seen something this incredible. I have rarely seen the truths of Ephesians 4 so vividly on display: there is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. Please consider how prayer in your city would draw more people into these deep communal and spiritual realities.
Please take a moment and ask the Lord if there is a way for you to help spark more of a prayer movement in your city. True spiritual pioneers start with prayer. Lay the groundwork. Seed the movement!Join a Fall ’18 Learning Cohort