I am part of a interdenominational church group called Church Without Shoes. Every year, this group starts Holy Week with a forty-hour period of prayer. We call this period “40 Hours of Prayer”. Pretty straightforward, right? The prayer is hosted at a church called Sanctuary Ministries, a church that is centered on worship, prayer, prophecy, and artistic expression. This church has really put their talents into this forty-hour prayer period. They divided the period into 40 1-hour segments, each led by a different pastor (I did two periods this morning as the pastor scheduled to take over for me couldn’t make it). They further divided this hour into stations based on Jesus’ teachings in John 13-17. I wanted to share these stations with you, so I took some pictures. Here they are:
This is the first station. I and the people I led repented here and reminded ourselves of God’s promise of forgiveness.
This is the entry to the prayer room. It is designed to replicate the door to a Jewish household on the night of Passover. You can see the blood above the door (not real, of course). The idea is that we were interceding for our valley (our area is a valley, and we pastors often speak of it in that way). We were asking for the destroyer to pass over our valley and God’s blessings to flow in.
The first station. We read Jesus’ “new command” to love one another. We thought about someone who needed His love, wrote their name on a card, and asked Him to fill us with His love for them.
The second station. We had the names of people suffering from anxieties given us by the churches over the past several weeks. We asked that Jesus would comfort them in their anxieties (see the hands of Jesus coming out of the troublesome headlines) and then we moved their names into His green pastures beside the still waters (Psalm 23).
Third station. We read Jesus’ teaching on abiding in Him from John 15. We prayed for those who have lost connection with “the vine” and then connected their names to the vine.
Fourth station. We asked the Spirit to direct our attention to one of the pictures (all of which were hands in some state of action). We then reflected on what God was saying to us in those pictures. Some of us wrote what we heard down on paper and clipped it underneath the appropriate picture. I heard God telling me to be more open to people, especially those that seem like “lost causes”. (My paper is the second one under the picture of the open hands.)
The final station. We prayed for unity among all the churches in our valley, the same thing Jesus prays for in John 17. There were church names on cards. We each picked a name, prayed for that church, then attached it to the cross. I did not know most of these churches. Many of them were far different from my church (more ecclesiastical, more denominational, etc.). I prayed for them anyway and ask for unity with them and with all followers of Jesus Christ.
We ended with communion. I took communion three times with three different groups of people, and I loved Jesus every time.
40 Hours of Prayer is a highlight for me. It would be even without all the artistry, but it is especially so with it. I experienced joy, hope, peace, faith, etc. while leading people through these stations. If you’re in our area, stop by before 5 PM tomorrow and pray yourself. If not, pray where you are. You may not be in our valley, but we want all of God’s blessings to be upon you as well.
God bless us all as we move to Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday!