There’s a fresh prayer movement developing in the nation as many followers of Jesus are sensing the Lord call them to pray. This became even more clear to me as I joined a thousand other leaders at Wembley on Saturday to pray for our nation. Despite the early start and long day, it was worth going. I appreciated the heart of the leaders: the desire to stand together in unity from all sorts of streams and denominations and together to call out to the Lord for change and transformation.
Much of the developing prayer movement in London is being pioneered by the predominantly black Pentecostal churches, many of whom have roots in the ongoing revival in Nigeria, which has been birthed from a strong prayer base. These people know how to pray – and we need to learn from them. They pray with fervour, passion and commitment. They believe prayer is fundamental to any significant work of God, and so are prepared to persevere and press on. They are led by some great leaders, like Jonathan Oloyede and Agu Irukwu who are people with faith and authority.
The message that came through loud and clear on Saturday was simply this: this is the time to pray. Right now. So pray. And I agree.
Of course we don’t pray at the expense of doing the other basic things Jesus told us to do, like reach out to our friends and neighbours with God’s love, and to continue to mature as disciples. Prayer is not an alternative to these things. Nor is it about hiding ourselves away from society and asking God to make it all ok whilst we disengage from real life. No, prayer is the engine that drives all these things. That’s why Eugene Peterson says:
‘If there is no prayer at the centre, nothing lives. Prayer is the heart that pumps blood into all the words and acts. Prayer is not just one more thing in an inventory of elements that make up a following-Jesus, kingdom-of-heaven life. Prayer is the heart. If there is no heart doing its work from the centre…there is only a corpse’
That’s what we must pray. And we must be praying now, restoring prayer to its rightful place at the core of the church. And we must be praying together.
Praying together is important, as it not only demonstrates our unity but it also allows us to be envisioned together for all the Lord wants to do, encouraging us to press on. This is why it is sad that something like 50% of UK churches presently have no central prayer meeting. And that is why it’s crucial at The Belfrey that we continue to push our bi-monthly Evenings of Prayer – the next of which is this coming Thursday in St Michael le Belfrey Church.
More than ever, now is the time to pray, as we hear a fresh call to prayer. So let’s obey the call, get on our knees and together discover that partnering with God in prayer makes all the difference.