This article was originally published in Edition (5) of Prayer Magazine,  Jan-Mar 2006.

So why do Prayer Week?

What purpose does it have?

Shouldn’t we be praying all year round?

What do I do?

How do I get others around me interesting in having a week of prayer?

Will it make a difference?

The questions flow like a river and there aren’t always the answers people want but we endeavour to keep up with the ever increasing demands that come with organising and encouraging people to take part in ‘Prayer Week’. All we have ever really done is share testimony of what happens when people take the time out to pray, but not only to pray but to join  together and pray across church divides. Entering into ways of praying that we may not always feel totally comfortable with, but pressing on for the purpose of moving Gods heart to respond to the cries of the people in these nations of ours.

Why should we involve ourselves during Prayer Week?

When we join together to pray it releases something we do not understand, or comprehend or try to take a hold of and say ‘Yes that’s because we prayed’. Prayer is often a thankless task, at least while we are here on earth amongst our peers, but God hears every prayer, every cry and responds when He is good and ready. My greatest encouragement in this, is knowing, that when I stand before my God, he will have heard everything in my heart, long before I am with him. He’ll know it all, every moan, every groan, every laugh and every tear. I’m sure that many of my prayers will be answered long after I am gone.

It’s God’s will that we pray. It’s God’s will to respond, it’s God’s will we join together for ‘where two or more are gathered’. Prayer Week provides a stimulus to gather those who don’t usually involve themselves in prayer each week, to join and pray. It provides the focus to bring churches, entire towns, even whole regions together to pray and gain strength from one another. It helps us learn more about each other and through that barriers come down, fears are dissolved and more prayer rises to heaven pressing for the answers we desire.

What are we praying for during Prayer Week?

Joel 3:11-14 (NIV) 

       [11] Come quickly, all you nations from every side, and assemble there.

             Bring down your warriors, O Lord!

        [12] "Let the nations be roused;

            let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat,

        for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side.

        [13] Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.

        Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full

            and the vats overflow—  so great is their wickedness!"

        [14] Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!

        For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.

These verses have been our focus for some time. They express the only prayer request we have ever asked people to include during Prayer week. To pray for a great harvest.

Otherwise we just suggest, that as you know your region, your town, your church, your family and yourself, then we respectfully suggest you ask Holy Spirit what you should be praying for. We do not like to, or believe we would ever know, what you should be praying for.

Harvest time is coming…………….. in the last seven years since Prayer Week started we have seen a great move towards outreach, touching our communities. Check out www.citylinks.org.uk as an example. See & hear how ‘Redeeming our Communities’ through prayer touches a community when we stay focussed. This ministry will launch a national initiative during Prayer Week 2006 at the N.E.C. arena on Saturday 12th May. Will you be there to see history being made, first hand?? Visit www.worldprayer.org.uk for more details.

Is Prayer Week a local BIG event?? How do I get involved??

Prayer Week has never been a LARGE event although sometimes they do take place during Prayer Week. Prayer Week is what you make it.

This motto simplifies our vision. Prayer Week is whatever God lays on your heart to do. For some it’s a prayer walk through the streets of their town joining with other Christians from other churches and other denominations. In our home church last May, we opened for 24 hours a day for a full 7 days. Other local congregations took the opportunity of holding their weekly prayer meetings in our church. This was a great blessing to us all.

The imagination and creativity of Gods people never ceases to amaze me. One of our elders and his wife organised 24 hours of the reading of the scriptures with every minister in our town taking part by leading us all over the first few hours and reading in 30 minute slots. The incredible testimonies that came from this time, moved us all to tears. So many said ‘I didn’t want my time to stop. It all seemed to go so quickly’. Many stayed in the room we were using for hours at a time, listening to God. We followed this time with 24 hours of non stop worship. Groups taking turns and when no one was left we used CD’s.

Others in various towns invited the public to send in prayer requests, some went on the streets telling people it’s Prayer Week and is there anything they’d like prayer for? One team of folk even had a prayer stall in the local market for the week.

There are so many different ideas to get people praying, to get the youth praying and to get our children praying. Don’t limit any ideas you may have but allow them to burst forth and become a reality.

I have realised as I have met people all over our nations that it takes just ONE person with the drive, the passion, the fortitude and the God given heart to galvanise people in entire towns, entire regions and even an entire nation. You could well be a person like that. Dare to believe that what God has given you, is what he wants to happen in your church. On our DVD is a 3 minute clip to encourage people to join in. Show it to your prayer group, church or town leaders. It’s short, sharp and envisioning, based around the Lords prayer.

For the last 7 years I’ve been standing on what it says in

Romans 4:17b (NIV) 

    ……………the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.

People have kept saying what’s the point of this, it won’t happen but I have been calling things into being even though I could not yet see them happening. I still do.

So Prayer Week can be anything you want it to be. One of the most exciting parts of Prayer week is never knowing until closer to the time, what People have decided to do.

Although this year is already a little different. The team at the Word Prayer Centre in Birmingham are holding the next Trumpet call IV at the NEC on the last Saturday of Prayer Week. Prayer Week is what you make it

A Prayer Walking - God given initiative.

I had a conversation with Alistair Cole, prayer co-ordinator for the Elim Pentecostal Church who told me about plans birthed in a mans heart for his home county of Derbyshire. A man called Greg Hall saw people gathered in the top corner of his county, on the border with Yorkshire, and there they set out on a week long journey across their county praying along the way. Stopping every night for a ‘Prayer Celebration’ gathering in a town hosted by one of the local churches. Setting out the next day with more than the day before as people decided to join them along the way. Traversing their county during Prayer Week 2006.

Greg said to me ‘ It would be very good if we could link to any other county walks in the area. If there was a walk in South Yorkshire that we could have a common start with them going North and us South.

He continued ‘The overall purpose would be to stimulate and encourage a wave of prayer and mission throughout the county, as well as all of the normal aspects of
prayer-walking.  There will of course be a lot of localized issues for prayer as we go along.

Then I heard from John & Yvonne Pressdee of Prayer Expeditions who many of you will know have prayer walked many countries and continents in their efforts for God.  They too have a vision to prayer walk their home county of Kent. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people in many of the counties of these lands might do the same. To see an army of people prayer walking there home counties for Jesus all at the same time. I don’t know about you but it blows my mind

What will you be doing for Prayer week 2006??

So, perhaps if this article has stimulated your thoughts and you are not sure what action you need to take next, then check out our website. There you can download Prayer week logos, Prayer Week leaflets that you can then print off for your own use. Check out the many testimonies over the last few years, which are FULL of great ideas of what you might do during Prayer Week.

Our prayer for you is for Gods inspiration to fill your heart

 

Christian standing with Christian

Church standing with Church

Nation standing with Nation

 

Be blessed and have a great New Year

Love from

Steve & Gill Houghton

Prayer Week

www.prayerweek.com

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