mission = prayer + action

We’ve recently had the great privilege of connecting with Theresa Stone, 24:7 UK’s Prayer and Commuications Co-ordinator, because of our involvement with helping to co-ordinate a three-month season of 24:7 Prayer in Ilkley and Wharfedale. Theresa lives in Raynes Park, West London, with her husband and friends who can “be” church together.

We’ve been inspired by her encouragement, passion for prayer, and heart for mission. In this guest blog, she tells us a bit about how these things all relate; her journey; working for 24:7; and an exciting new prayer initiative they have launched with Alpha for 2012 – Kingdom Come.

Theresa Stone

I have the wonderful privilege of working with some incredible people at the 24-7 Prayer movement; put simply 24-7 Prayer is a global, non-stop prayer meeting that began in 1999 among the young people at Revelation Church in Chichester who set up a 24-7 prayer room in response to wanting more of God. The idea caught on and travelled like wildfire around the globe!

“My job is to mobilise, encourage and catalyse prayer in the UK and I love it as it involves my favourite things: talking to people, hearing really good positive stories about how God is moving, designing resources, and then getting to write about how God touches lives and changes nations through the power of prayer on the 24-7 UK website!

“How did I get this job? Well it’s a long story! In short I have a passion for prayer, mission and justice birthed in two roles I previously held in communications, one at Micah Challenge International on their 10.10.10 campaign to see poverty ended globally, and before that I worked for a couple of years as the press officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide, an international charity advocating in government and in the media on behalf of the human rights of persecuted Christians.

“All this came from my training as a broadcast journalist and realising that the kind of stories I really wanted to tell were not currently being written in news organisations!

“I remember working on justice campaigns at CSW and Micah Challenge, and prayer was always a key part of the advocacy element, but I think I was touched when an external communications consultant came into advise on a project and spent a lot of time focusing on the ‘prayer’ element.

“At first this frustrated me, as I am a big ‘doer’ and I wanted to change the world myself!

“Then after hearing an amazing lady called Janet Munn, from the Salvation Army speak at Raynes Park Community Church on a global call to prayer based on the same biblical call that bed-rocked the Micah Challenge 10.10.10 campaign, Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” I just found myself crying and smiling at the same time, having that piercing knowledge that God was speaking to me about what he has desired from me. My heart.

“There is no formula to humanity changing situations…no press release, or story alone will bring about the kind of change I was desiring, without prayer.

“So prayer and action are uniquely linked in my role in life, which I see as catalyzing change for the better.

“Working for 24-7 Prayer has been a joy as it urges people not just to pray, but also to take action on injustice, go on mission and show the world how to ‘be’ not just ‘do’.

“I’m personally challenged to be even more hands on as we move into the future. I want to do as Mother Teresa did, and see the face of Jesus in the poor and despairing and hopeless right here and now, but not without prayer as the foundation.

“I love the fact that ‘unity’ in the Church is a key element of how effective we can be in the world. 24-7 Prayer and Alpha are resourcing a partnership Year of Prayer in the UK and Ireland called ‘Kingdom Come 2012’ or KC:UK/ KC: RL next year as part of our call to see this nation ‘living on prayer.’

“As nations of the world come to the UK and Ireland for the Olympics and Paralympics, we believe that God wants the Church to rediscover God’s compassion for the world, and to receive again God’s call to go into the world. It builds on recent years of non-stop prayer in Scotland (‘The Big If’) and in Northern Ireland and the republic of Ireland (What If’) We’re encouraging people to pray in all kinds of ways, in all kinds of places, holding regional events, prayer rooms, prayer walks, prayer staking. We’ve made a special online KC:ToolBox full of downloadable prayer resources to help them do this. We want to see prayer that spills out in mission and justice!

“Prayer excites me as it often changes our hearts to ‘become’ part of the answer to the pain and the problems that we see in the world…. those who drink from the everlasting water of life will not be thirsty anymore. You could talk about the need for prayer and action, as the need for taking breaths as we swim. Spluttering and coughing in a swimming pool won’t help you rescue anyone who is drowning…you have to breathe ‘in and ‘out’ regularly, as well as moving your arms and legs.

“I’m still discovering what this means in practice, and how to live the kind of life that balances all the elements of action and dwelling in his presence.

“24-7 prayer develops rhythms of prayer that are lived out in community, for example, we all set our alarms to 12 every day, and pray the Lord’s Prayer together We’ve found that setting rhythms of prayer is one key to this lifestyle, but I’m becoming more and more aware of the need for me to thank God for all that he has done so far in my life as I try to live out the call 

“There isn’t a formula to do this, but I rest in the knowledge that relationships grow and change all the time, and as I go forward with my relationship with God, praying and thanking him, I can trust him to lead me to become more fully his, and more fully part of a dynamic change in this nation.

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