There are many reasons the annual 24-7 Prayer Gatherings are special and one of the main highlights of the year for many us. Those reasons largely have to do with relationship – the opportunity to reunite with friends from around the globe who feel like family even though we typically only see each another once a year at the most. And it is opportunity to make new life-long friends.
This aspect will be quite different at this year’s Gathering as we will be gathering online rather than shoulder to shoulder in a Spanish monastery, old theatre or breathtaking cathedral. And though we all lament this, there is something else about these yearly Gatherings that makes us not dare miss our online time together here in a few weeks. These Gatherings are always prophetic and more relevant to the times than we can fully grasp in that moment. And often without realising it, we come away equipped with tools and a word from God that take us into the coming year and all that it holds with a readiness that only the Spirit of God could orchestrate.
I have shared here below our blog post following last year’s Gathering in Belfast to demonstrate what I mean. I think you will agree that this message from Alain Emerson of 24-7 Prayer Ireland was a readying for what was to come in the new year and is still poignantly relevant.
And I would encourage you that if you haven’t already, register here for ‘For Such A Time As This’ – the Online Gathering the end of this month!
Sleep, Eat, Repeat – Last year’s blog post
24-7 Prayer Gatherings – they are always fun, always inspirational, encouraging, challenging and renewing. Always a special time of prayer, worship, learning and being together as a tribe. But every few years one comes along that feels significant to the life and direction of the movement.
This was most definitely the case for Belfast ’19 a couple weeks ago. There was and is now a sense that we are beginning a new chapter in this story God is writing. Yes, some of that will be related to the transition of leadership that happened – and what a deeply beautiful, joyful, celebratory transition it was!
But this sense of entering a new chapter is deeper and more far-reaching than just this transition of leadership. It is more akin to further out and deeper in.
Alain Emerson spoke the first night from 1 Kings 19 where Elijah, after a major victory, flees into the wilderness, exhausted, frightened and discouraged. This passage has been reverberating within me ever since and the sentence “Arise, eat, for the journey is too great for you” feels particularly significant for this moment in time.
God is speaking something to His people across the globe and it has to do with preparation and where He is to be found.
There are small but encouraging signs that the prayers we have been praying for many years for revival in the Church and in our own hearts, for spiritual awakening in our nations, have been heard. The signs may be small, like the “size of a man’s hand” to quote Elijah’s servant, but they are there.
But are we ready?
How many of us would admit to being exhausted right now, maybe discouraged, maybe even frightened? Are we truly in the best health, the best state of mind, the right posture of heart to receive and take part in a move of God in our world?
God told Elijah in the cave that He was about to pass by. But when He did come, it was in the quiet whisper.
Are we in such a place that we will be able to hear Him when He does come in that quiet whisper rather than the noise and hype we often associate with “revival” or “awakening”?
From this place of being renewed by God and meeting with Him in that quiet whisper, Elijah impacted the roles and positions of influencers and those in authority, he gathered those who were still devoted to God, he rewired an entire culture and history.
So what do we need to do to get ready?
Sleep, eat, repeat. Sleep, eat, repeat. “Arise and eat for the journey is too great for you.”
We need to learn rest. We need to feed on God’s goodness and presence. We need to posture our hearts, minds and bodies towards Him in such a way that our ears are trained to hear and recognise the quiet whisper and every part of our being is ready to run long and hard in a sustainable way without burning out.
This sleeping and eating may in reality look like middle of the night prayer slots and fasting for some of us. It may look like a letting go and stepping back into a place of quiet and hiddenness for a while for some of us. It may look like a pruning of activity and more time given to waiting on God for others of us. And for some of us it may look quite literally like rest and feeding ourselves on the things that will renew and refresh us physically.
But for all of us, it is about preparation and posturing ourselves for when that quiet whisper comes and changes everything.