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

Prayer Breakfasts have become well known internationally as a major annual event to which political and social leaders are invited for breakfast and prayer.   For a number of years the United States has had an annual Presidential Prayer Breakfast.   In Britain a committee of peers and MP’s has invited leading citizens to an annual prayer breakfast near Parliament.   In 2005 the event was held for the first time in the Great Hall within the House of Commons.  

These ‘invitation-only’ events draw hundreds of leaders from all walks of life together – some with little or no ‘faith’.   Participants have a good breakfast for 30 minutes, and interact with individuals they may never have met before.   Over the next hour they hear a respected speaker on a topic of contemporary interest, are introduced to people involved in prayer or Christian activity at national level in the world of work, are led in prayer, and have the opportunity to pray.   These events are sometimes followed by seminars on issues of global or national significance, in which Christians have made a significant contribution or impact.  

These national events have been replicated at local level.   In my county there is an annual equivalent.   Some places have also begun to draw people in specific walks of life together.   Locally we are shortly to start a twice yearly “Faith in Politics” prayer breakfast for people involved in politics at national, county, district and parish level, and for others who are elected to some form of public service.

Prayer breakfasts can happen around many issues or interests.  People in the educational or financial world could gather together regularly to pray about their area of interest.   I once attended a prayer service in St. Paul’s Cathedral at 7am, which was attended by business people who worked in London’s “Square mile”.   This was followed at 8am with breakfast in the cathedral restaurant.   Over 700 people turned out for both these!  

In the town of Reading, where I used to live, Christian leaders from a wide spectrum of church backgrounds and activities have for several years gathered weekly for breakfast and prayer.   A Continental breakfast, served buffet style, has been followed by up to 45 minutes of prayer for local issues and needs.   Usually one or two leaders, as expressions of the body of Christ, are asked to say something about their work or new initiative, followed by prayer.   Over the years this weekly prayer has brought a unique sense of unity and fellowship, and recognition of common responsibility for the spiritual well-being of the whole town.

Afro-Caribbean churches have another way to do prayer breakfasts.   They start with prayer – simultaneous, burdened intercession, with people on their knees before God.   Then, when the breakfast which is being prepared is ready, they stop praying and sit down to eat a really typical Caribbean cooked breakfast which has everything!   These prayer breakfasts can go on all morning – usually on a Saturday!   Some churches have regular men’s prayer breakfasts – where the men do the cooking, serve and eat, and then pray together for each other’s needs.  

One of the most memorable breakfasts the disciples had was after they had spent the night fishing, but caught nothing.   As they approached the shore, someone shouted.   They put down the net one last time and caught 153 fish.   Then Jesus said “come and have breakfast” (John 21.4-12)  

Just as individuals and families begin each day with breakfast, prayer too should be a feature of the way we start each day.   Putting the two together in a corporate sense ensures the value of both in meeting bodily and spiritual needs.

 

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