Sunday, January 10, 2010

Is 24-7 Prayer a movement?


Was just reading Andrew Jones blog with an interestingly titled article called "How to spot a church movement" As you may know I am obviously deeply involved with 24-7 Prayer and we like to think of ourself as a movement as a pose to an institution or an organisation (not that either of those two words bother me).

But are we a movement?

Its interesting because we almost have a two dimensional modus operandi on one level we exist to inspire prayer and call the church to prayer. Which in many ways is not so much a movement but an organisational task which involves the logistical and practical outworking of a biblical concept. Admittedly it's an exciting task but it could just be a job, lets face it you can call people to prayer without even being good at it yourself. This doesn't happen much but I could see 24-7 prayer weeks etc. being run by theorists not practitioners. Once again I have no worries with that because in the end it's win win, the result is hopefully the same: More People Pray.

I think what makes 24-7 prayer a movement is what the prayer has birthed. It's the mission focussed communities and activities that have been spawned by praying people that make it a movement. Thats the bit where we constantly feel like we are playing catch up, this is more than an organisational task, more than counting the amount of countries we have had prayer rooms in, this is the constant surprise we feel when someone comes to us and says "I've started this" or "I'm thinking of doing...". There have been moments when we have had to stop and almost say "How did we end up here?" a question I ask myself on a pretty regular basis! When something is a movement it feels like it is being blown along by the wind of the spirit, it's wild and unpredictable, new things happen.

But heres my quandary, what about when we get so used to the wild and unpredictable we take it for granted? 5 years in to Ibiza we still have crazy happenings but if the truth where told it doesn't feel so wild! The situation hasn't changed, in fact in many ways our summers seem to get wilder and wilder. Maybe it's us! If you hear about something long enough it becomes part of the furniture or just another everyday story, we lose some of our wonder and our awe at God's wildness.

Think of it this way, if you sat through a hundred thunder storms one night after the next, they would lose something of there impact. I don't want that to happen, but then again I wonder if it's inevitable.

Maybe 24-7 Prayer will transition from being a movement into an institution. Isn't that what happened to YWAM?

Or maybe there will be a two way split:

1. We bank prayer.
We just get on with organising, facilitating and administrating prayer rooms, prayer weeks, prayer years across the globe. Inspiring people to pray.

2. We become a church planting movement
We just get on and independently plant communities in areas that need them, we build a credible network of support and encouragement for pioneer initiatives around the globe!

Prayer births movement, but is prayer a movement?

Maybe thats what we are doing already, maybe we don't need clear de-lineation.

Right now I am happy with being part of 24-7 Prayer.... whether, it's a movement, an institution or and organisation.

Personally I think becoming a movement is relatively easy, maintaining a movement is the tricky bit.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Some great thought provoking questions. Some I have been thinking about in the short amount of time I have been following 24-7. I think it is interesting how we always have to put things into categories as people. It helps us understand the world around us and makes us feel better about things. I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing and you never said it was but it is just an interesting thing we like to do. Anyhow, to answer your question I don't think prayer is a movement. Prayer is an everday thing that we can access whenever we want. I believe Prayer births movements as we have witnessed throughout history. The question is when and why do these movements tend to grow up as we say and die. Is it so new movements can come about? I am excited to be a part of 24-7 in this exciting time of it's life. Just turning 10yrs old soon it is so young yet so much has already happened and there is so much that will happen. I pray that as it grows up that it will always remember its roots are based in prayer and that it will always be a prayer movement even though it may move on to bigger things.