The Prayer Course: More than a Formula

“…it taught my non-praying church to pray… More than a formula – through Pete’s discussions – it assisted people in having permission to pray.”

This is what Church of Scotland minister Nathan McConnell had to say about 24-7 Prayer’s The Prayer Course (prayercourse.org) after running it in his church Downfield Mains (https://www.downfieldmainschurch.org) in Dundee.

Nathan told us how he went into The Prayer Course a bit wary. He thought it could potentially be a good supplement for the Alpha Course which they had recently finished but he was concerned that another video series might bore people, or just not feel relevant to them.

However, his concerns were soon dispelled as people gathered one night a week to watch the video sessions, coming from outside of the church as well. And for those who engaged with the course, it made a significant difference in their prayer lives.

“Honestly, we didn’t know how to pray as a church,” Nathan admitted. “The Prayer Course laid a foundation”

One example is a young man who, at the start of The Prayer Course, confessed that he just couldn’t pray out loud but by week 4 was praying in tongues!

A highlight for Nathan was when they had a joint time of prayer with other churches they are networked with across the globe. Not expecting a large number, Nathan organised an on-line prayer gathering in his home with these other churches and invited anyone who want to join in to come along.
Forty-five people turned up to pray for 1 1/2 hours with and for complete strangers in other nations! Packed into the living room, sitting on the floor, yet happy to be there.

People have grown in their confidence, praying for one another and sharing prophetic words with one another. And they now have time in their worship for prophetic prayer ministry and healing prayer where they have seen God answer their prayers and heal people!

We asked Nathan if he would recommend that others do The Prayer Course. His response?
“Do it! And, pastors, take it seriously. If you want to move your people forward, The Prayer Course will give you a platform.”

The Prayer Course has been downloaded over a million times and just this week, 24-7 Prayer launched the new, fully updated, free, downloadable Prayer Course!
There are eight sessions, leaders guides, thirty different accompanying prayer tools, and it follows the same format as Pete Greig’s newest book How to Pray so that the Prayer Course and the book can be used side by side if so desired. For more information go to prayer course.org.

The Haven

We chatted recently with Stella Campbell, formerly of Northern Ireland, now happily residing in Aberdeenshire where she is a Church of Scotland minister. We thought you might find her journey with prayer encouraging and inspiring.

Stella’s first encounter with 24-7 Prayer and the concept of a “prayer room” was in 2008 during a city-wide 24-7 prayer week in Aberdeen.

This encounter opened up new ways of praying & thinking about her spiritual walk and began her journey with creativity in prayer. The thought that there was creativity within her was a new thought and these new ways of praying were developing and releasing that creativity in an unforced way.
24-7 Prayer also brought her into contact with a more holistic way of praying, introducing her to other traditions & practices, such as contemplative prayer. This journey into prayer paralleled with her ministry training where she was coming into contact with similar practices, but she felt it was 24-7 that made her more receptive to what was given in the training.

One of the other, less expected results of that first prayer room in Aberdeen was meeting a small group of people who formed community around their shared heart for prayer and for the city and that community would become a lasting source of support for Stella.

Stella eventually became minister to two congregations in Aberdeenshire, where she didn’t wait long before introducing the idea of a 24-7 prayer week. She remembers with amusement that first prayer room she planned completely alone, working late into the night to get it finished in time, nervous and excited by turns as to how her people would respond.

Four years on, and Stella’s church just finished a week of 24-7 prayer in their now-dedicated space for prayer called ‘The Haven.’ What’s more, Stella had nothing to do with that week of prayer other than attend because the team made it happen themselves. They are now hungry to and asking how to encourage their people in their individual prayer lives and spiritual growth.

Stella has loved watching her congregation grow in confidence in prayer and openness to trying new ways of praying. Many members have gone from, “How will I ever fill an entire hour with prayer?” to the words prayer rooms are known for inspiring, “An hour just wasn’t enough time!” And as a result, the congregation has also become more open to the prophetic, to healing prayer, to creativity in prayer.

This past Sunday before the service, Stella went into ‘The Haven’ and was immediately aware of the sense that the room had been “steeped” in prayer, testament to just how much God has done through prayer in the past four years in a little church in Aberdeenshire!