24-7 Prayer’s International gatherings are high points in my year. Not just because I’m always (ALWAYS) challenged by the speakers, or I lose myself in the passion of worshipping and praying with people from across the globe; but because there are three things I love about when we gather that you may not read about in publicity or pick up on Twitter…
1. The Tribe
Ever met someone for the first time who quickly feels like family? This happens every time I go to a 24-7 gathering. I’ve got friends in Hong Kong, South Africa, Canada, Austria, Switzerland, (I better stop listing them or this could get boring) and they’re from the Free Church, they’re Catholic, they’re Anglicans and more… Each and every one of them teaches me something about God. Jesus was right – we need each other. There’s something pretty amazing, powerful and challenging about uniting the Church and it blows me away every time I see it in the faces of friends.
2. The Tears
If you’ve never witnessed the generosity of a 24-7 Auction, then you have never lived. It began as a bit of fun – make a mix tape of tracks loosely related to 24-7 and bring it to a gathering. Then something sacred happened – we auctioned off these homemade offerings and gave the proceeds to people in the room who needed it. It was simple, it was hysterical and it was tearful. Every year since we pick something to make, we auction them off for utterly ridiculous prices (it’s the most fun offering I’ve ever been part of) and then give all the proceeds to people present who really need it. IT NEVER FAILS TO MAKE ME DANCE WITH GLEE AND BURST INTO TEARS!
3. The Tension
The first time I read The Vision, the poem / cry at the heart of this movement, I was an 18 year old learning to pray in the first 24-7 Prayer Room. I remember the impact the words had on me. I felt it somewhere in my gut. Those words got hold of my heart and my imagination and I wanted more than anything to live for Jesus without compromise. Honesty moment – I don’t. I fail daily (hourly) and I need people, God’s Word, the Holy Spirit and yes… gatherings like 24-7’s, to show me the tension, and call me to something better. Our gatherings are one of the ways the Holy Spirit kicks me up the backside and reminds me of that teenage longing that still rings true in my 30-something heart. The Vision is still the vision. The Vision is still Jesus… obsessively, dangerously, undeniably Jesus. I just need reminding of it.
So if you’re undecided about coming this October maybe my three reasons will entice you to find out more about The Gathering. If you make it to Birmingham, come and say hello. I’d love to make a new friend.
If you’ve been to a 24-7 Gathering in the past, share what impacted you most in the comments below.
Carla Harding is the National Director for 24-7 Prayer Great Britain. Her life was hijacked by God in 1999 during a two hour stint in the first 24-7 Prayer Room. Carla lives in Chichester, UK with her husband Steve and their children Jackson and Eloise. She loves prayer and worship, friends and food, a well told story, international adventures and a challenge to get her teeth into. In her spare time Carla is an active member of Revelation Church and the lead singer of a functions band… but that’s another story.