Tuesday, April 3

Reflections on the 24-7 Prayer Movement

Our church just finished up doing a 40-hour prayer room in my office. Paint, prayers, and holy words are splattered all over the paper covering my walls. They are the earnest prayers of twelve year olds, twenty year olds, and retirees. They are the prayers of families, mamas, and tweens. I never want to take it down.

But that's what I always say at the end of a prayer week. The scraps of paper and the art supplies strewn around the room are like ancient relics. They are altar-like signposts that declare, in simple ways, that God's presence met us.

Ever since this sacred virus of 24-7 prayer got in me, I've found a new freedom to meet with God. Yesterday a wise mama-type in my hometown was helping me debrief on my life in Portugal, asking where it seems God is taking me next. As I talked about the 24-7 prayer movement, she asked, "So, what have you learned about prayer?"

I said, "I've learned that it's much more fun that I ever imagined."

24-7 prayer has taught me how free I can be before God, and how much He longs to meet with us.

I was twenty-three and spiritually exhausted when I found myself signing up for my first one-hour "prayer watch" in Portugal. The Borden's and Uhlers' converted Marty's office into a sacred space, and we dared to devote ourselves to a week of non-stop prayer. That first hour went by like 5 minutes, so I signed up for another. And then, another, this time for one of those insane (but wonderfully still) 3am spots. Before we knew it, the whole week was filled, and people were arm-wrestling for spots on the last day.

God gave me some tender words from Isaiah during my time in that prayer room. I'll never forget what it felt like to scribble them on the walls in blue pastel, and then to write poems in between the lines in black ink. I wept over those words. God had met me in a simple room with paper-covered walls. And here was my altar, built by messy pastels and smeared ink.

I couldn't bear to see those words thrown in the Portuguese rubbish at the end of the week, so I ripped it down, and the paper sits framed in my room today.

Since that first prayer room in Portugal, I've had the pleasure of being a small part of 24-7 prayer rooms in Milan, Naples, the Netherlands, Kansas City, Santa Barbara, and now even in little La Plata. My dream is to see this movement of prayer stirred in Italy in a mighty way.

This week, in 11 countries all around the world, at least 42 groups of people are praying, non-stop, with the dream of knowing more of Jesus, and Him sending them out to love others in His stead. In 8 years, with hardly any budget to speak of, there are 24-7 prayer rooms in 65 countries. Truly, this is a move of the Spirit of God! Especially when you consider that this movement of prayer is largely composed of young people.

A few nights ago, during our 40-hour room, I opened up the prayer-room door to 2 sweet twelve-year old girls, Annie and Alleigh, coming to pray at the midnight hour.

Now, think back to your middle school years. Can you imagine signing up for an hour of prayer with your best friend, at midnight?

Annie and Alleigh came out at 1am giggling (and in desperate need of hot-cocoa), as they had landed a fair amount of paint on their clothes during their wild expressions to the Father.

"Battle scars, that's what the paint really is," I told Annie's grinning mama.

If you're moved at all, go to the 24-7 Prayer Global site to read more and consider giving to this growing movement. And check out what Lisa is saying about 24-7 Prayer, too!


Arianna said...

It is good to be in your presence. Are you coming back to California sooner?

Arianna said...

Also, I enjoy your creative use of words.
Hearts on paper, you know.