A movement began in 1999 that has affected more than 50 nations of the world. Starting with a group of young people in the ancient West Sussex city of Chichester, a chain of 24-7 prayer has spread from North to South and East to West. Not just in the UK or even Europe, but from Communist China to Washington DC. Prayer rooms have been established across the globe gathering people from different expressions of Christianity to pray round the clock. Meeting in places as diverse as caravans and nightclubs the prayer rooms, known as ‘Boiler Rooms’, have experienced the power of God in remarkable ways.
As is so often the case with a move of God, this movement started by accident and has been led by self-effacing people who are as surprised as anyone at what they have seen happen. This book recounts the story and shows how God has connected people together from different corners of the earth with a common passion to seek God in prayer. People who have attended these Boiler Rooms have sometimes come intending to spend only a few minutes in prayer and ended up staying for several hours. Others have walked in off the street to seek sanctuary, whilst yet others have come declaring a desire to become followers of Jesus. The common thread has been a willingness to persevere as this quote highlights:
PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens) Perseverance has been a key theme for 24-7. In many ways continual prayer is exactly that – a refusal to quit! With all the encouragements and even miracles of the first few years of this crazy movement it would be easy to make it sound as if everything is easy or automatic, when he reality is that we all live with far more frustrations in prayer than breakthroughs. We are called to persevere as we seek to love God, love one another and love the lost. (p239)
The authors identify three characteristics of prayer that is central to the ethos of the Boiler Rooms:
Intimacy: 24-7 prayer is not simply about functionality – adding effectiveness to the things we do. First and foremost a Boiler Room is about friendship with God and, as in any relationship, intimacy grows from time spent with the one we love.
Infection: And the thing about hanging out in God’s presence is that it is contagious. When an individual develops intimacy with God they inevitably become infected with his life and love. Just as infections spread when one person breathes on another, so God’s breath conveys the same life-giving power today that it did on the day he created Adam from the dust. It is through intimacy with God that we become infectious carriers of his life-breath. And a contagious Christian is an effective one.
Effectiveness: A Boiler Room is a centre for transformation, but before we see the changes reported in the newspapers, we will experience them in our lives. You don’t need 24-7 or a Boiler Room to discover intimacy with God, but maybe it can help! (p274)
Interwoven amongst the details of this present move of God are snippets from the history of earlier prayer movements, most notably Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians whose 24 hour prayer meeting lasted 100 years. As you read this book, allow yourself to be provoked and encouraged. I expected to find the story of persevering prayer to leave me feeling guilty and inadequate. Instead I find myself stirred inside; praying ‘God, could it happen here? God, let it happen here!’