Rebecca Kail shares with us what happened when she responded to the nudging of God to facilitate some 24-7 prayer in her community of Elgin and this past April churches united to pray for 48 hours!
Here’s her story…
Wow! Prayers were answered, reconciliation took place, people returned for a second or third hour, and throughout the whole of Saturday, a group of young people (with no connection to our prayer weekend) sang God’s praise immediately outside the prayer room. Forty-eight hours of prayer with over 50 people (plus others at the opening and closing events) from four main denominations (Baptist, Catholic, Church of Scotland, Episcopal), at least six local independent congregations, and a youth group. Even tourists joined in and left keen to bring 24-7 Prayer to their own communities! And a whole heap of appreciation was expressed for this time of prayer, with requests to have more 24-7 Prayer events.
And yet, days beforehand, only a handful of people had signed up to pray…
God had been nudging me about 24-7 Prayer for a while. ‘Make it ecumenical,’ he said, ‘and right in the centre of Elgin’. ‘Yes, but how?’ was my response. I wasn’t a church leader and didn’t have a congregation to mobilise. All the 24-7 Prayer information on their website says that a committed team is the most important thing. ‘Start by mentioning it to people,’ God said. So I did. After a while, someone I barely knew offered to help, and another couple joined us, and that was the team! A friend suggested St Giles’, the most central building in Elgin, as the venue. Amazingly, when I emailed a request to the minister (who I had never met), he agreed enthusiastically.
So we sent round posters and notices to all the local churches with the pertinent information such as venue, dates and the on-line sign-up link provided by 24-7 Prayer when you register your prayer room on the website.
Next was finding worship leaders and both individuals asked said yes – hurrah! And we were thankful to gain a couple of extra volunteers to help us man the prayer room across the 48 hours.
We chose a wide range of prayer stations to make sure there was something for everyone – quieter areas for contemplation and reading then activity areas for making prayer bracelets, adding to the prayer wall, contemplative colouring, hanging the names of family and friends on a prayer tree, shredding sins and forgiving others. Both the local and world map prayer stations proved popular, with many writing up prayers or adding the pre-prepared prayer.
And many said how encouraged they were to see local Christians uniting in prayer for their communities.
We were delighted to see everyone, at the praise and worship events and in the prayer room, whether they booked in or just turned up on the day. And we received encouraging feedback from participants such as these comments:
“A fantastic time to come apart and focus on God”
“Wonderful ways to pray… and prayers were answered as well”
“To make prayer a tactile, visual, wholistic experience was quite new to me. I loved it.”
“God’s spirit is here and His anointing is very evident.”
“So much to pray for: 2 hours disappeared in no time”
“What a wonderful idea! A lovely experience for our whole family”
“A beautiful sense of prayer. Thank you for listening to the prompting of the Lord.”
“Looking at others’ prayers for our community, nation and world was humbling.”
“Wonderful to experience unity and fellowship with other Christians from quite different backgrounds.”
“We wish to encourage more people to come and meet with God next time – our community and our world is in such need of prayer”
“Please could we have all this again?”
Of course, in retrospect, we learned what can be done better in the future around communication and explanation of the concept of 24-7 prayer. That said, the team only needed to step in to keep the prayer going between midnight and 5am. And those who prayed during these quieter times treasured the tranquillity. For myself, outside of a prayer meeting, I doubt I’ve ever prayed for more than about 15 minutes at a time. With all the prayer stations, I prayed for whole hours and looked forward to going back for more.
This weekend built on and added to the prayers of all those who have sought over many years to encourage more prayer and greater Christian unity in Elgin and throughout Moray. All of us in the team hope that these prayers will continue to be answered, and that other congregations will take up the baton of periods of continuous prayer and invite others to join them.
We are the church, let’s pray together!
So if prayer is on your heart and you’re wondering whether to start a prayer room, you can do it! With a tiny team, few financial resources and minimal social media skills, we managed to bless our community with this opportunity to pray.