I have been going to the 24-7 Prayer annual Gatherings since 2008 and every time I am inspired, convicted, challenged and encouraged. Every time I come away with that warm glow that comes from deep, heart-to-heart chats with dear friends whom I only see once a year because we live in different nations, even different continents. And every year that list of friends grows significantly. This also means that I return home exhausted and bleary-eyed yet my soul is refreshed and my spirit strengthened.
The Overflow, 24-7 Prayer’s European Gathering in Vienna, Austria this year was no different.
Yet something was different.
There was a fullness this year that is hard to put into words. But I shall try…
“…he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:20 – 23
When you look at the life, ministry, teaching and parables of Jesus I think there is one overarching theme, one word that summarises – reconciliation. What I see in the great story of Scripture is God’s longing and plan to reconcile all things, especially relationships – relationship with Him, with one another and even ourselves.
What I saw and experienced at #Vienna18 was an overflow of reconciliation.
There were times of reconciliation with ourselves and with God, where we were challenged and called back to the main vision – Jesus Himself.
There were times of encouragement and inspiration, where hope for the reconciliation of all things was reignited and renewed within us.
“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…” 2 Corinthians 5:18
But for me the most powerful reconciliation was represented in two particular evenings, along with the beautiful partnership across the Gathering between 24-7 Prayer and the Austrian, Catholic youth movement Loretto.
What God spoke on the Thursday evening resulted in an extended time of shared repentance, forgiveness, prayers of blessing and renewed commitment to one another as Protestants and Catholics. It was a stunning moment.
The Friday night in the Cathedral involved a beautiful flow and interweaving of the more contemplative, sensory, adoration style of worship and prayer of our Catholic family, with the slightly more energetic, earnest and celebrative style I’ve come to associate with 24-7 gatherings. And all this in the midst of many who had not yet met Jesus, watching the Body of Christ worshipping as one before their very eyes.
Over those 4 days we experienced a portion of the fullness of God that exists where the Body of Jesus enters into the ministry of reconciliation with Him and we allow Him to build us “together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:14-22).
And this is just the beginning.
Crystal Cryer is the National Prayer Co-ordinator for 24-7 Prayer Scotland. Find out more about what’s happening in prayer, mission and justice in that nation through the 24-7 Scotland blog.