The chatter all around me, and the less frenetic pace at which people are walking around the hotel is a give-away. World Prayer Assembly 2012 is over...
It all feels like the end of a family reunion, and I have good evidence that relationships oil the wheels of this community and its parent body, International Prayer Council (IPC): I have almost run out of business cards and other people were resorting to scraps of paper on which to scribble their contact details. The last name I collected was on the back of my money exchange receipt.
Sadly I wasn't around for most of the final session and finished the last few moments watching it on TV. I don't have big recollection of the content but a sentence stuck in my head. It was from one of a number of young people who were invited to the vast stage to give a youth-eye summary of the 6 days. Like all of his counterparts on the platform he was concerned that the 3 generational focus of this final commissioning session should be kept intact. The steady message was that young people needed their spiritual parents and as this young man from Malaysia put it, "We don't want to be a headless-chicken-leadership generation!"
The big question which most people left with was - what do we do about all we have learned? Or as Brian Mills put it, "We want to put feet on our prayers."
One thing is for sure - the unassembled Assembly will keep praying. Two hours after the final curtain, I strolled through the hall to find people still praying. Right now I can hardly tell the difference between chatter and prayer in the noises all around me. I was even treated to the novelty of a young man praying while using the urinal! Evidently there was some issue that needed sorting out before he got home. It helps to know that God never averts his gaze.
As a part of my follow-through I thought I would take up Mill's idea about feet and so took advantage of a free foot massage! But I also feel that my spirit has been massaged and renewed as I prepare to walk away from the event tomorrow. And as I leave I am confident that God was also busy in the world as a result of our incubated experience of prayer this week. It’s funny how such a monastic experience can shut you off from the news and yet plug you into the world. Everyday we were reminded of some part of the world where suffering and injustice needs prayer and concerted action. But I have also been reminded how much difference it makes when God gets in on the action. And I know I'm not alone.
So much was said about young people and prayer. I hope that people won't go away to spend the next 10 years calling them up on platforms to be prayed for and admired for what God is doing in their lives. Having made young people 'come to the front' of churches for over 30 years myself I'm now thinking how much more powerful it would be if they were so integrated in the preaching, praying, teaching and leadership that no one even noticed they were there. When we’ve achieved that, we will no longer need metaphors about batons and relay races. It will be as natural as breathing the same air together.
- 27/06/2012 14:48 - Peace in Ireland - Let's shake on it!
- 13/06/2012 09:29 - Principles on Capitol Hill
- 11/06/2012 17:09 - A Stone of Hope in Washington, DC
- 01/06/2012 16:01 - Long to reign over us
- 23/05/2012 09:15 - Africa's future hope