A Britain-based ministry that has sparked a global movement of nonstop prayer is celebrating its 10th anniversary this week.
On Saturday, 24-7 Prayer is hosting an Iam10 celebration in London, where attendees will reflect on the last decade, spend time in prayer and worship, and participate in training opportunities.
Photo: 24-7 Prayer founder Pete Greig
"Over the last year or so, we feel that God has been marking the race out more clearly ahead of us, giving us fresh vision and direction, and IAM10 feels like the perfect time to 'go public' and explore this together," the ministry stated on its Web site. "Having briefly reflected on the past ten years together, we will look ahead to the next ten, and commit ourselves to following wherever the Lord leads us-probably in many wild, pioneering ways."
Launched in Chichester, England, 24-7 Prayer has seen prayer rooms form in 100 nations since February 2000, when founder Pete Greig called for a year of unbroken prayer. Today, intercessors of all ages meet in places as diverse as the U.S. Naval Academy, the British Parliament and a punk festival in Germany to pray in one-hour shifts for local and global concerns.
Leaders say the 24-7 prayer network has grown virally, with new prayer rooms forming every day. All groups need is a team willing to pray and a place to meet. "We don't need million-dollar buildings to plant 24-7 prayer," aid Robert Jobe, a member of the board of directors of 24-7 Prayer USA.
Greig says he received the vision for 24-7 Prayer shortly after he graduated from the University of Greenwich in 1991. While traveling through Europe with some friends, he stopped to pray for Europe at the cliffs of Cape St. Vincent in Portugal.
"I could see with absolute clarity before me the different countries laid out like an atlas," Greig wrote in his book about the 24-7 Prayer movement, Red Moon Rising. "From each one a faceless army of young people rose from the page, crowds of them in every nation awaiting orders."
In 1999, after visiting Herrnhut, Germany-home of the Moravians, known for their 100-year nonstop prayer effort in the 1700s-Greig decided to set up a monthlong 24-7 prayer effort at his church. The prayer went on for three months, and Greig knew God was up to something.
In 2000, the fledgling prayer movement launched a year of nonstop prayer and established 24-7prayer.com to cast the vision worldwide. Those global prayer rooms have since spawned diverse expressions of prayer, including a creative arts movement, modern-day monasteries known as boiler rooms and social justice initiatives.
In Mexico, Kelly Green launched a 24-7 prayer center across from a hotbed of prostitution known as Boy's Town. Green leads nonstop prayer, along with a night and day care center for the children of prostitutes and an educational center to help the women leave prostitution.Â
In Ibiza, Spain, Brian and Tracy Heasley lead a boiler room in the heart of a four-block district considered the party capital of Europe. From midnight until 7 a.m., intercessors hit the streets, praying for drug addicts, prostitutes and others in need.
"The heart of 24-7 Prayer has never been let's pray and pray," Jobe said. "The heart has been let's pray and do. Let's put those strategies that God reveals in the time of prayer ... and let's hit the streets."
A social justice initiative called Just 24-7 is in the works, and in January the ministry launched Campus America, an effort to see a year of unbroken prayer on all 2,614 college campuses in the U.S.
This week's anniversary event will be followed by an international gathering in September in Edinburgh, Scotland. The September gathering also marks the 100-year anniversary of the 1910 Edinburgh World Missionary Conference that many say launched the modern Protestant movement.
24-7 Prayer leaders say God may be up to something similarly world-changing in this generation. "We're on the cusp of something pretty significant that God wants to do around the world," Jobe said.
In his book, God on Campus, Trent Sheppard, a Campus America leader, says God has shown up in a significant way on college campuses every 100 years. He points to the 1806 Haystack Revival that began at Williams College in Massachusetts and is said to have sparked the U.S. foreign missions movement. A century later, the 1910 missions conference was held in Edinburgh.
"We believe the significance of the timing is in tandem with what God is wanting to do, as prayer always prepares the way for something God wants to do on the earth," said David Blackwell, a national leader for 24-7 Prayer USA and a director of the Campus America project.
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