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A hidden groundswell of prayer

by Michael Ford last modified 01 May, 2020 06:24 PM

Across our diocese, praying people are using their homes, their offices, their gardens and other places, to intercede for the Church, the government, and for those in need.

A hidden groundswell of prayer

Original photo courtesy prayer24-7

Some efforts are co-ordinated, such as in St Mary's Weymouth or the Wylye and Till Valley, and some are organic, as people pray at home or reach out to others ad hoc.

In addition to Thy Kingdom Come, and the Daily Hope phone-in service launched this week by the Church of England, there is a wealth of prayer networks, with faithful praying people interceding in various ways.

From arty spaces full of lights, photos and colours, to simple prayer cells; from comfortable rooms to digital interaction; from countryside to coast to urban streets, people are praying as never before, as coronavirus forces many of us to press 'pause' on our regular lives.

Prayer 24-7 began in 1999 as a youth group experiment in praying for a full 24 hours, and has since gone international. Founder Pete Greig has written a number of books, and the movement is characterised by fervency, creativity and use of social media. A number of 'new monastic' communities have sprung up, with groups gathering to pray in homes and purchased premises.

The Wall of Answered Prayer is an ambitious initiative to see a huge national sculpture celebrating a million answers to prayer, built of a million bricks in the shape of a moebius strip near Birmingham. Land has been secured, and building work is due to start later this year.

The World Prayer Centre, based in Birmingham itself, has established ecumenical networks with Churches Together in England and a number of other bodies, and has set up a temporary website to co-ordinate prayers across the internet in this time of coronavirus.

Branches of the 4-million-strong Mothers' Union meet to pray however they can, in homes, over the phone, or by other means, and are well resourced by the team in London.

WEC (Worldwide Evangelization Crusade) seeks to unite believers in praying for unreached people across the world, and features virtual prayer groups, informed by updates for the classic book 'Operation World' and other online resources.

HOPE Together sees 2020 as a key year to pray and see people come to Christ, and seeks to establish prayer networks where people pray together for 20 minutes for 20 people on the 20th of every month.

The likes of Iona and the Northumbria Community mine a rich vein of Celtic-inspired spirituality, producing resources and supporting their own inspirational networks of believers.

Ffald-y-Brenin, a retreat centre in Pembrokeshire, seeks to establish houses of prayer in people's homes to pronounce blessings over the local area, to support local business and agriculture, and to see healing and salvation for those in need.

Hidden Houses of Prayer seeks to embed prayer into daily routines, much as Brother Lawrence did in 'Practising the Presence of God'.

These are just some examples; there are many more. Are you involved in a prayer network? How do you meet during lockdown? Do tell us about it.

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