Gatecrashing by Brian Heasley
The island of Ibiza has the dubious reputation of having more pubs, clubs and bars per square mile than almost anywhere else in Europe. As a result, hundreds of thousands of young people come every year with the aim of having the best holiday possible. This has led to many stories of excess, violence and incapacity. Gatecrashing is the account of how an organisation called ‘24-7 Prayer’ set up a base in San Antonia and quite simply began to pray. There are many heart-warming stories of how God led the team to support and help people in the community.
I have lifted the following quotes from the book because I believe they capture something of the essence of 24-7 Prayer and what it can teach individuals and the local church about the foundational ministry of prayer.
‘The reason these kinds of things happened and keep happening (stories of people they met and ministered to) is to do with a life of prayer and connectedness. You see, before we went out every evening, we prayed – I mean we really prayed. In fact our summers were immersed in prayer.’
Prayer ought to be at the heart of local church life.
‘Out of the place of prayer, mission has always happened.’
Prayer gives the church an outward focus.
‘A healthy community will have a healthy corporate prayer life but will also be full of people who have healthy personal prayer lives. People who are persevering privately are great to have on board when you are persevering corporately.’
A praying community will become a spiritually healthy community.
‘We live in a results-driven world: if we don’t see results, we can feel that we have failed. Yet so often prayer is the long haul or prayer is the secret place. When we pray with people, we get the opportunity to be involved in their secret history. We may never see the end result but when we pray, we have to trust that God is at work and that every time we pray something happens. We sow seeds in prayer that grow over time; sometimes we see the results, other times we don’t – but because we don’t see results doesn’t mean nothing has happened.’
We are called to persevere in prayer both as an acknowledgement of our trust in God and a conviction that he knows what he is doing!