As I sit in this sacred space and transcribe the prayers from these journals, I am once again deeply moved by a reminder of the raw passion, united purpose and unrelenting faith that dared to believe in a God who answers prayer! These prayers flow directly from the hearts of believers who captured the vision for 24-7 prayer in our community through the unity of our churches. They reflect a bold journey of faith that took a vision of what could be and turned it into a living expression of what should be, when the body of Christ unite together in prayer.
The Onkaparinga 24-7 Combined Churches Prayer Room began as a dream in the hearts and minds of a small group of like-minded Christ followers who felt a distinct calling from God to raise the banner of prayer in our churches and community. Each of us were actively involved in prayer ministry within our respective churches, but felt a growing restlessness with the status quo and believed that God had so much more He wanted to do if His people would unite together and call upon His name. This is where the journey began:
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know”. (Jeremiah 33:3)
When God revealed this prophetic word from Scripture to me on the 9th September 2005, I never imagined the extraordinary impact it would have on my understanding and expectations of prayer! What I did know was that God had been calling me for a long time to do something significant regarding prayer, only, I had no idea what that was to look like.
In my first ministry appointment as a Salvation Army Officer in Palmerston (Northern Territory), I was given a video entitled "Transformations" to watch. This video is a documentary journal of four communities from around the world who had captured the vision and power of corporate prayer on a mass scale. I was inspired by God's prophetic call for churches to unite together in prayer, resulting in miraculous community transformation. My inspiration grew into a passion to bring the churches together in our community to pray, which was further fuelled in my second appointment to Horsham (Victoria) where I saw "Transformations 2" . We engaged our congregation for the first time in a 24 hour prayer meeting where God's call became stronger, but not yet clearer. All I knew was the churches needed to unite in prayer!
In the first year of my current appointment in Noarlunga (South Australia), I read a powerful booklet called "The Prayer of Obedience" , which fanned the flame that was burning within my spirit. It was at this time God spoke to me from Jeremiah 33:3 and I knew it had to begin with my own prayer life. In the months following we hosted a couple of 24 hour prayer events and I felt a clear call by God to open a prayer room in Noarlunga. At that stage I didn’t know about the existence of the International 24-7 prayer movement until I met Captain Stephen Court, who was a guest speaker at the Adelaide One Mission Conference. I learned about the 24-7 Prayer Room his church was operating in Vancouver (Canada) and was introduced to the book "Red Moon Rising” , which exposed me to the beginnings of the 24-7 Prayer movement. This book and my encounter with Stephen gave clarity to what had been brewing in my spirit for several years. God clearly wanted a 24-7 Prayer Room in our city. I shared this vision with some other Christians who attended a Combined Church Prayer Meeting at our church, which led to the formation of a working group of awesome prayer warriors who embraced this exciting vision.
Over the following 18 months we worked towards the establishment of this prayer room and despite barriers, busy-ness and bureaucracy, God would not release me from this calling! Finally, at the beginning of August 2007, our church signed up for The Salvation Army Southern Territory Year of Prayer and it seemed right to use our rostered week of prayer as a launch for our Combined Churches 24-7 Prayer Room. We stepped out in faith and commenced the prayer room in The Salvation Army buildings. We operated there for 7 weeks before moving into a shop front in Huntfield Heights, a southern suburb of Adelaide. The location of the shop front is a story in itself, as I believe that God led us to the darkest place in our community for His light to shine. The devil attacked, but God prevailed; people doubted our vision, but we persevered; finances were scarce, yet God provided!
“Lord, my flesh wants to cry out to you in absolute frustration at the barriers we have faced today in advancing the vision of the 24-7 Prayer Room. Yet, my spirit rejoices because I sit before the God of revelation whose vision for this prayer room is unmistakable and unrelenting! My faith has been tested today, but I stand firm in the knowledge that “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)
You will not lead to where you aren’t already!
You will not call what you haven’t equipped already!
You will not ask for what you haven’t done already!
Lord, you are “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to [your] power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20) I will not abandon your vision! I will not be discouraged! I will not lose faith in a faithful God!”
I will never forget the night we gathered for the opening of the new facilities at Huntfield Heights for our prayer room. A small, but I believe prophetic number of 24 people (given our goal of 24 hours of prayer) gathered in the prayer room to offer prayers of praise, prayers of repentance, prayers for unity, prayers for the lost, and to acknowledge the bridges God wants to build between a broken community and the Body of Christ. There was a spirit of unity and expression of praise like I have never experienced before!! Voices were raised, tears flowed, hands were washed and lifted high, communion was shared, candles were lit, prayers were uttered, Scripture was read, and the Spirit of God moved in a powerful way!!
The twenty four of us dared to believe in the possibility and power of 24-7 prayer in our community! We were inspired by the stories of 24-7 prayer we had read from around the world, but could the Holy Spirit move in the same way in the southern suburbs of Adelaide? Is revival and community transformation really possible, here and now? The same Spirit that moved at Pentecost moved that night and fuelled our faith to believe that God can and will, if He is asked!
“O Lord my God, what an extraordinary night we have experienced in the opening and dedication of this Prayer Room! Words cannot begin to express my deep sense of awe at your wonder working power. (Daily, you are renewing my spirit and revealing yourself in fresh and new ways. Daily, you are redefining my understanding and experience of prayer. Daily, you are restoring me more and more into your likeness.) Your Spirit was clearly present in this place as your people united in spirit and in purpose. Let your will be done as your people turn to you in prayer!”
“Dear Father God, with all my heart I thank you for the gift of this 24-7 Prayer Room. We dared to pray for it and believed that you would provide and Father you have blessed us once again. Thank you, thank you Lord for the opportunity to unite together with our brothers and sisters in prayer.
Lord, with all my heart I believe that you’re going to move in mighty and powerful ways in this community. With all my heart I believe you have placed us here for a purpose, that you will bring transformation within this community, that we will see lives changed and the darkness and oppression that has for too long hung over this community, be lifted. Lord, these people are hurting so much, use us Lord, we are your open vessels ready to receive your direction. Break our heart for what breaks yours, equip us for the task you are calling us too.
My prayer also Lord, is that you unite our church together in prayer, that those who haven’t yet experienced the intimacy of meeting with you here will be inspired to do so. Lord, speak into the hearts of your people. Help us become a praying church – a people so passionately committed to seeking your face. Father, I pray for revival in our church, ignite the fire within each one of us, unite us in prayer, for your kingdoms cause. Father, I get so excited when I think about the future of our church and this community as we commit our lives daily to you. I pray for patience, knowing that your timing is perfect. Use me for your glory. Lord, with all my heart I love you, I am yours, I surrender my life to you.”
The purpose of this book is to engage you in our journey of discovery about the possibilities of prayer and to inspire you to capture the vision of the 24-7 prayer movement.
As you read these prayers, you will gain the privilege of entering into the hearts and minds of other believers. In doing so, allow yourself to connect with their passion, petition and at times pain expressed to the heart of God. Tread delicately through these pages with a sensitive spirit to the vulnerability of those who dared to call out to the Creator God. Invite the Holy Spirit to ignite or restore a passion for prayer in your own faith journey.
Throughout this book you will also find stories of divine encounters and answered prayer! These stories are posted regularly on our website to give testimony to the activity of God in our prayer room. It is one thing to believe in and speak of the power of prayer, but quite another to read about real life encounters with Jesus Christ. Revelation 12:11 reminds us of the power of testimony in overcoming the accuser who is actively discouraging believers in their prayer lives.
Another expression of prayer that is shared in this book is through the medium of art. The prayer room has been set up with a number of visual aids and activities to encourage diversity in the expression of prayer. Prayer is not just an audible activity, but also an experiential one that engages all the senses. If a picture really does speak a thousand words, then the art contained in this book will add volumes to these pages.
Be inspired and challenged as you interact with this journal of prayer…