Called by the United Christian Broadcasters (UCB), 10,000 churches covering more than 400 towns and villages across the British Isles are going to pray together for Prayer Week 2004, which will take place from the 16th to the 23rd May.
This week is to support the rising challenge of Christendom in the UK, and ease the warring relationships between churches and denominations. Nowadays these poor relationships cause a great nuisance among ministries, and tend to discourage the faith of Christians.
The objective of Prayer Week is to see churches of all Christian denominations join together for a week of prayer across the whole nation. It is hoped that this will send a clear and visible message to Governments and Governing bodies that it is possible for the church to stand united as one. As the motto of the prayer week says, “Christian stand with Christian; Church stand with Church; Nation stand with Nation.”
The vision of the Prayer Week is set in the scene of Acts as all Disciples of Christ prayed as 'in one accord' and witnessed the coming of the Holy Spirit. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit in prayer, people are able to reconcile and become united, rediscovering the love within the one body of Christ, just as it says in John 17:23, 'I in them and you in me, all being perfected into one. Then the world will know that you sent me and will understand that you love them...'
A passage from 1 Kings has become the foundation scripture for Prayer Week:
"Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come here to me’. They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which was in ruins. Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes... With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord” - 1 Kings 18:30-32
The background of this story is very similar to the situation in the UK. At the times of Elijah, there was severe famine and national decay. Just like today, the society in the UK is spiritually decayed, church attendance has decreased and people are hungry for the truth.
However, in this critical period, the relationship between different denominations, different outlooks, and theologies within the body of Christ is broken up. This is also indicated in 1 Kings; the altar of the Lord was ruined, and the 12 building stones, each representing a tribe of Israel was scattered. Only by the power of God can all these different parts be brought back together again to form the one body of Christ.
The prayer drive will simply be started with individuals, then it will expand into a network of prayer at church level, local level, national level and up to international level. Individuals are asked to be fully committed in praying throughout the week. Finally, a church or fellowship prayer meeting is recommended to bring as many congregations as possible together. Churches within local areas are advised to organise joint church worship and prayer teaching conferences.
The prayer guide resources are all available on the official website (www.prayerweek.com)
Running alongside the prayer week is a 3-day Prayer Week Conference running from 20th to 23rd May, titled "It's Time", and is based on 2 Corinthians 6:2. It will be held at Princes Drive Baptist Church, Colwyn Bay. A number of workshops and conference sessions will be available to learn further about the practice of prayer. A major highlight of the event will be a Prayer Concert Tour lead by the prayer minstrel, Godfrey Birtill. It will cover 8 venues across Britain over 8 nights during the prayer week: Stoke-on-Trent, Belfast, Newcastle, Tunbridge Wells, Birmingham, Liverpool, Llandudno and Colwyn Bay.
This year, the Prayer Week has stretched its reach across international borders and into 39 nations worldwide including: Ireland, England, USA, Canada, India, Australia, Russia, Nigeria, Kenya.