One Hundred Years Later

By Inger J. Logelin

One hundred years after a revival shook all of Wales, a grassroots prayer movement is moving beyond the borders of this small nation to the world. In 1904 a revival began that transformed Welsh society. Some 150,000 were swept into the kingdom in the first six months. Taverns closed down, enemies reconciled, crime was nonexistent, pit ponies used in the mines became confused when their masters stopped swearing. From Wales the fire of God was spread to many parts of the world.

The Wales of today is very different spiritually and morally. Only eight percent of the population attends any kind of church. But, a prayer movement started in a small church in North Wales is fanning out around the United Kingdom and the world. When Steve Houghton founded Prayer Week, only his church and another participated. Houghton says, "This year more than 3,000 churches, prayer groups and many tens of thousands of individuals stood together, Christian standing with Christian, church standing with church, nation standing with nation. We heard of a prayer movement in Africa called 'Transformation Africa' calling people all over their continent to prayer. . . with their dates and our own dates aligning together without us really understanding what the other is doing, but the Spirit of God does."

Intercession is not new to Wales. Houghton says, "We have small prayer groups in Wales made up of faithful women of God who have cried out for 70 years or more for an outpouring of God's Spirit in our land again. They tell us how powerful, how strong they feel knowing that saints all across the nations of the world are joining with them...for one week of the year."

The fifth year of Prayer Week saw churches from 300 towns, villages and cities in the UK alone and 50 nations praying together during May 16-23, 2004. The objective is "to see churches of all Christian denominations join together for a week of prayer across nations." Organizers in Wales took prayer week to the community, and asked those with no relationship with God, "Is there anything you'd like us to pray for?" They opened "prayer surgeries" where people could come for prayer. Prayer cards were handed out in communities. Young people took to the streets offering to pray with people. At the same time as Prayer Week a community transformation project in the Rhondda Valley of Wales called Sporting Marvels used sports events to share the Gospel.

Praying Around the UK

Carl Brettle of the UK started his prayer week at the top of the London Eye praying "over" parliament, then visited sites across South Wales with seven intercessors from Tennessee. He senses God's hand "molding Prayer Week into a vessel for global prayer." In Gloucester, England a united prayer meeting had attendees from several churches. Monthly prayer times are being set up as well as a prayer school for the fall. In Mid Wales Anglican and Presbyterian ministers for the first time joined together praying for one another and each others' congregations.

They prayed in Ballymena, Northern Ireland where the Ulster Revival of 1859 took place. They were praying in Cannes, France where a prayer walk targeted an area where drugs are sold. The Cannes Film Festival, as Prayer Week fell in the same week, became a prayer focus. On the Isle of Man a group of intercessors walked to an old Viking site overlooking the Baldwin Valley and declared the Lord is Lord of Man. There they sensed the Lord speaking to them about their nation. In St. Helier, Jersey a drop-in cafe called The Prayer Place offered prayer, in conjunction with an island-wide evangelistic outreach that included house-to-house visitation and healing services. They report, "Many are coming to Christ." In Bray, Ireland an hour of worship and sharing was attended by people from all churches in the town.

An e-mail from Mobasa, Kenya encouraged Prayer Week organizers. It said, "This is great, it is so good, it is glorious, it is godly. I like it. We are together in it. Let us keep it up."

And that's just what Steve Houghton is planning for next year when he says, "Next year we have the potential to see Prayer Week grow yet again to well over 10,000 churches, perhaps even 50,000."

Inger J. Logelin

Have You Thought?

From two churches in a tucked-away corner of Wales agreeing to pray together has come a worldwide movement. Do you despise the small beginnings in your life?

Transformation Moment

"Let it never be forgotten: the prayer warrior who moves heaven will just as assuredly move hell. Prayer is twofold; it cuts both ways, upwards and downwards. No matter how humble the child of God may be in intellectual attainments, he has power in prayer to move heavenly forces in opposition to the spirit forces of hell. Often is it remarked: 'Things are worse than they were when we began to pray!' Of course they are! Your enemy, encamped against you, is watchful and alert-you take the aggressive and he is roused to fury! Prayer at the very beginning moves the opposing forces of the powers of darkness" (Wesley L. Duewel).

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