This article was originally published in Edition (1) of Prayer Magazine, Autumn 2004.

Unveiling the Vision

THE HISTORY

In September 1999, I was a happy Missions Coordinator of a Pentecostal Church, minding my own business, taking groups to Africa and Eastern Europe. During a planning session for one such mission to South Africa, I felt a burden from the Lord to raise up ‘One Million hours of Prayer for Wales’. This was quite a surprise to me as prayer for me was something I only excelled at when there was an appropriate crisis.

Needless to say in my dismissive attitude to God, the whole trip to South Africa was a miserable experience. It was as if the Lord had ripped my heart out and left it at home.

When I returned I started a process of investigating what could be done to promote the concept of one million hours of prayer for Wales.

Prayer Cards, TV adverts and emails were the order of the day and the response was literally overwhelming. The final count was 125,000 people from over thirty nations praying for Wales. There were even people in Iceland praying for whales, thinking we were asking for prayer for the mammals, not the country!!

Within five weeks the target was reached and yet the responses kept pouring in, this went on for further nine months – and in November of 2000, the small group that God had called to administrate this project, sensed God say ‘stop counting’.

Our focus and attention then went onto a fresh question, “What do you want us to do now, Lord?”. That was probably the most difficult question we had asked ourselves. The season which ensued was a trying time for our own egos and agendas.

THE IMPACT

In all of this God was faithful and He certainly does answer prayer. In the two years after the project, we saw a marked increase in the number of prayer networks that exist in the nation of Wales. In more recent times, some key community transformation projects have started. They believe that their beginning can be attributed to the prayer of people that prayed in the million hours campaign.

I suppose the nature of prayer is that history usually measures its effectiveness, it’s almost like a partnership between heaven and earth where our part is to find the burden of God’s heart in a situation and His part is to bring about change over time, based on the prayers prayed.

In our ‘microwave society’ we often seek instant answers and huge change within days of our prayer. What if we adopted an outlook that said Lord, I will pray until change comes, no matter how long the process – come Lord Jesus.

REMAINING QUESTIONS

Having reached the goal in the million hours campaign and then taking a stance on serving ministries, through promoting events and providing news, we kept in touch with thousands of new friends across the globe.

There was during the months we stopped counting, a sense of work not being completed, something being left undone. There was an ache in our hearts for more of that heavenly chaos that ensued having recently touched on a project that God had really energised.

We were at a place of desperately asking God if we could go deeper in prayer. We kept asking the same question for weeks – with regard to prayer ‘Lord, what is it that needs to be done in these Islands’.

Here is what we concluded.

  • To see true 24-7 (Round the Clock) Prayer across the UK & Ireland
  • To see a Prayer coordinator in every Town, village and Hamlet in the UK & Ireland
  • To mobilise Prayer for every person by name

Coming into January 2001, we had spent months praying into developing a project which would answer these points – at every turn we failed miserably. It’s ironic that we pray for insight, get revelation and then don’t consider the terms of engagement of working out the very thing we had prayed for. This was one of the most monumental oversights we had made.

WAITING FOR THE GREEN LIGHT

It has been nearly four years now of waiting, praying and meditating on these three prayer points. The biggest single sense of direction we’ve had is this – ‘These points will never be answered by any single person or ministry – they will only be addressed by a movement of change. In other words – we all need to work together if these points are ever to be answered’.

What has also been amazing is the volume of contacts that we are still in touch with since the million hours of prayer campaign.

During Easter time this year, having prayed through Lent, I had an overwhelming sense that it was time. It was time to partner and start to develop an information system to let people know what God is already doing with prayer in the UK & Ireland and to build faith for more prayer.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Media surrounds us , bill boards on bus stops, radio stations, magazines, newspapers, and of course, television. It’s almost impossible for people to these days to avoid coming into contact with media.

So let us use some of the potential of media to report on prayer, needs and answers to prayer

DREAMING A DREAM

Imagine the day when the whole nation will be to access information from Christians who are ‘experts’ in their field, who would both report what is happening in that area of society and also provide some suggestions to believers as to how to pray into the various situations.

Imagine a day, when serious issues that affect the police, politics, education, the arts and business are stopped from taking root by several hundred thousand people, who are informed, motivated and determined to see theses Isles fully return to their Christian heritage and become a force for Christian Mission and endeavour once more.

There are of course, hundreds of existing prayer networks that faithfully work both regionally and nationally. What we have started will in no way seek to replace anything, but will report on what is already going on and seek to strengthen and deepen that.

The information system we are talking about will embrace printed matter (this magazine).

It will have an extensive interactive website (coming next) and will broadcast on radio and television. The vision will report on all the regions of the UK & Ireland and will seek to build a network of prayer relationships from every aspect of society.

This is not a pipe dream. If we are to believe that God is still on the throne and we serve His Kingdom, then we are only talking of a commitment to relate with each other more and pray on the basis of expecting an answer. Often we pray in ignorance of the fantastic things God is already doing.

If you are like me, my faith grows when I ‘see’ something of a result or answer or breakthrough to previous prayer – little signposts along the way which spur me on to pray for the next person or situation that occurs.

I believe that prayer is effectual and when faith arises, prayer provokes change.

So in essence we have to ask ourselves a very basic question – do we believe in prayer or not?

If your answer is YES, then let us believe for the best possible outcome and prayer some outrageous prayers of faith in our nations.

Of course, people pray in different ways – that’s not the point. Some people will pray in silence, some will shout their prayer. I believe the key to change in these islands is that we gather together and truly believe God is over our Nations, and our Nations are submitted to His plans and purposes.

SETTING AN EXAMPLE

As you read this magazine you will come across articles about people who have influenced history. You will also read about people today making history in their efforts for changing society through prayer – Father Daniel Nash went before Charles Finney, praying in the salvation of the people Finney was to preach to.

According to Finney, it was Nash’s prayers that were the catalyst to seeing results in his meetings – tens of thousands of people were saved.

Furing the 1904 Welsh Revival, Evan Roberts (who attended a Calvanistic Methodist church in South Wales) recorded that ‘He had asked the Lord (Prayed) to close the gates of hell over Wales for one year”. That year over 100,000 people became believers.

What about George Muller who believed in prayer so much that when his orphanage in Bristol had run out of food, he had all the children to sit in front of empty dishes to give thanks for God’s provision. As they prayed, the baker’s cart broke down outside and the baker decided to donate the entire contents to the orphanage – immediate answer to prayer. And even today it goes on……

Many of us will have read the book, ‘The Heavenly Man”, which dialogues the life of Brother Yun, one of the leaders of the house church movement in China. The ‘Acts’ style of accounts of miracles and also supernatural events in this book are incredible. Were it not for the fact that many of them were witnessed, we probably wouldn’t believe them. Even more incredible is that the man who experienced these events is still alive and in part responsible for one of the greatest moves of God a nation has seen in the last half century. Brother Yun attributes most of what happened to the ardent prayer of the Chinese underground church.

John Mulinde is humble and yet a profoundly influential man of prayer. When Idi Armen was the dictator over Uganda and persecuting the church, pastors in Uganda would spend all night standing in swamps where they couldn’t be found, crying out to God in prayer for a turn around in their nation. Twenty years on, these same pastors led a ceremony, dedicating the nation to the purposes of God for the next one thousand years. The guests of honour were the new president and his wife, Yuweri and Janet Museveni. This is not to mention that Uganda was one of the most affected nations from the HIV virus and is now experiencing one of the fastest rates of decline of HIV in Africa. Uganda now has one of the fastest growing economies in its continent.

Closer to home we have seen the start of a prayer project which for the last five years throughout various locations, has been in a state of perpetual prayer. Pete Grieg felt it would be a great idea to have a room open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and invite people to come there any time of the day or night to pray. They could draw, play music, write poetry and generally express themselves while they prayed. 24-7 has since grown into a global prayer initiative with people getting involved from all over the world.

Steve Houghton, an elder of a Baptist church, called a prayer walk for his town, to which only one other lady attended. Feeling a little down, he did the prayer walk and felt God say that if he was faithful in his walk, God would grow the prayer.

The following year two churches participated, then the next year a dozen or so from the region, then the next year, 350 from around Wales. In 2003, over 1,400 churches from 17 nations took part and this year it’s estimated over 3,000 churches from 35 nations were involved. All praying for change, standing with each other – something must give with all this prayer.

In the Rhondda Valleys as famous for its coal as its choirs, a small group of sportsmen who are believers were prompted two years ago with a question from their pastor (John Bullock) – ‘If you could do anything for God and not fail – what would it be?’

That question sparked a flame in the heart of Phil Davies, one of the people there, who later that day set about laying out a community transformations project called ‘Sporting Marvels”. Then just a few months later, the Lord was challenging Phil to focus on prayer to support the project on the Rhondda.

Phil saw a vision of 33,000 intercessors (one for every home), from anywhere in the world praying for breakthrough in the Rhondda. To date, over 1,000 people have signed up to pray and already there are tangible signs of change.

We have to bear in mind as there are sometimes quick answers for an individual situation, it often takes many years to influence a society or even change the direction of a nation. Just like Uganda, the full weight of change has taken over twenty years and the pastors there would be the first to admit there is still much work to do, but a miracle of change has happened.

There are millions of people in our Nations that have an affinity with Christianity, but that is all it is. They don’t attend church, have no contact with a church and try to live a life without the need for God.

SO WHAT CAN I DO…….

We have to remember that the people of prayer we have mentioned are not superstars, they started off with a simple desire for change, they wanted to believe that prayer works and had the faith to believe for change in the place where they were.

We are no different from our starting place today, but what we do with the future is very much up to us.

Every day we live, we awake to a fresh opportunity to allow God to use us to change a person’s life, or influence the environment around us for God.

There is lots of work to do, but again if we approach the opportunity in front of us being defeated before we begin, we may as well not start. If however, we truly believe God will move in the UK & Ireland once more, let’s unite and work toward that goal.

Let’s look at these three objectives again.

  • To see true 24-7 (Round the clock) Prayer across the UK & Ireland
  • To see a Prayer Coordinator in every Town, Village and Hamlet in the UK & Ireland
  • To mobilise Prayer for every person by name.

If this impacts your heart then why not join in, there is plenty to do.

Over the coming months we will be looking for correspondents in towns and villages across the land, who will report on the good news of answered prayer and will receive news from us to share.

We are also looking for church contacts throughout the UK & Ireland that will assist in promoting Prayer Magazine in prayer and church meetings (all with the blessing of your church leader, of course).

To be effective, we must work together on common goals and be faithful in testifying of answered prayer as well as providing news of prayer needs.

We are considering producing a smaller free publication – a kind of prayer guide that will list the quarterly prayer needs of ministries operating in particular fields. This will of course be informed and bring real issues from real people that are likely in some ways to affect us all. If these nations are an influence for God once more, let’s pray like David in Psalm 2:8 – “Ask of Me and I will make the Nations your inheritance……” (NIV)

When Prayer TV starts, we will have both a studio and roving prayer mobile, which will no doubt visit your area in response to the news provided by correspondents to report on what God is doing. Meeting with church leaders to provide an insight to help all of us understand where progress is being made. In the studio, we’ll promote stories of real people touched by God through prayer, as well as interview well known Christian leaders that have teaching and insight of prayer for all of us to benefit from.

We are also praying into having a secondary programme dedicated to praying for people live on air.

We will be developing ‘UK Prayer Team’ which will simply connect Christian Ex-Pats from all over the world to pray for their homeland, to ask God to pray for our regions, towns and home – joining in with us and providing prayer support outside.

We will work in partnership with more and more denominations, ministries and networks and I’m sure in the coming months we’ll be able to report about a surprising number of real illustrations of the great things that God is already doing.

Can you imagine that by the time you’ve finished reading through this magazine, other people will have been touched by God, people will have come to know Him for the first time, and prayer will have been answered in miraculous ways.

So there is plenty to do, plenty to pray for and plenty to allow God to change – it starts with us.

Let’s pray.

Dear Lord,

Before I ask you to change my nation, I pray that You change me. Make me more like You, like Your character, with Your love and mercy evident in my life. Teach me Lord how to reach out to the helpless, love to the untouchable and have faith to believe for a huge change in these Islands.

Amen.

With love and blessings

Carl Brettle


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