Historical and Current Examples of 24/7 Prayer

Old Testament

In Exodus and Leviticus we read that the priests had to keep the lamps in the temple burning. The Lord was very specific about the command that the fire on the altar was never to be allowed to go out. The priests worked in shifts so that the temple was filled with prayer, worship and song for 24 hours a day.

Essenes

In the time of Jesus one of the four branches of Judaism, the Essenes, believed in praying for 24 hours. The community was divided into three so that they could take turns every third day to stay awake and pray right through the night.

Early Christian Church

The early church was born out of 24-7 prayer. It is generally accepted that the disciples prayed in unison for ten days before the Spirit descended on them at the Pentecost.

International House of Prayer (IHOP – Kansas City)

In the middle 1980's the Lord called Mike Bickle to follow a life of prayer. He established a number of prayer groups and encouraged people to spend more time in prayer daily. After about 13 years, these groups started a 12- hour per day prayer watch and since September 1999, a full 24-7-365 prayer watch has been kept in Kansas City. It is called the International House of Prayer. The mission of these intercessors is to establish similar prayer watches all over the world. Mike Bickle, and the team that works with him, designed a model for prayer called "Harp and Bowl". The model combines scripture, worship, praise, spiritual warfare and intercession in a unique manner (www.ihop.org). This model for prayer could be described as a furnace for prayer: in the spirit of David’s Tabernacle, prayer is offered 24 hours a day. Currently, more than 1300 young musicians, singers & intercessors form part of the House of Prayer on a full-time basis.

Township saturated with prayer

A group of believers in a township called Orange Farm, with 1.5 million inhabitants, south of Soweto in South Africa, came up with the idea to saturate the whole township with prayer. They divided the township into 10 sectors and included the 10 smaller towns around Orange Farm. A pastor established prayer watches in every sector. Twenty Four of these prayer watches started functioning in the course of almost a year, resulting in a major decrease in crime in the area and a stream of people who accepted the Lord as their Saviour. Today, more than 80 places across this township have been planted and many more in the township throughout Southern Africa.

The youth and 24/7

A very dynamic prayer movement is the one that started among the youth in England in 1999. In September 1999, Pete Greig challenged 200 young people of a church in the small town of Chichester, near Southampton in England, to pray for their peers for 24 hours a day for 30 days. They prayed day and night for more than three months. By December 1999, a new prayer movement had been established. At present (2005), the movement is known amongst the youth as 24-7. Groups of young people creatively decorate a venue to serve as a prayer room and then start praying there for 168 hours, generally from Monday to Sunday. In some instances a prayer watch is kept open for a number of weeks. When these prayer watches become 24-7-365 watches, they are called Boiler Rooms. It is becoming more and more common to speak of a 24-7 as a Boiler Room. By the beginning of 2005, there were already 85 countries in which the 24-7 prayer movement had taken root and was growing. This had a snowball effect ever since then (www.24-7prayer.com).

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