Nearly 40 churches on the Gold Coast have joined together to create a 24/7 prayer canopy over the city in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games in April.
Organiser Len Rossow, from Genesis Church, says the aim is to cover the city in prayer around the clock now, during and after the event.
“It’s not a 24-hour canopy as yet but the intention is that this will be part of the legacy after the Games so that we actually set something in place now and it’s an ongoing thing in the city,” says Len.
With the 38 churches that have committed to pray at different times, the 24-hour canopy is about two-thirds complete, he adds. He notes that about 168 people are needed to cover a week in one-hour blocks of prayer.
“There’s going to be phenomenal opportunities for churches to engage with the community during the Games.” – Len Rossow
As well as praying for good security and transport for the Games, the aim is to create a “spiritual atmosphere” over the city that will make people more open to the gospel.
“There’s going to be phenomenal opportunities for churches to engage with the community during the Games and for there to be some great evangelism opportunities taking place as well,” says Len.
“So we want to pray really that there’s an empowering of that evangelism and those engagements so that the gospel is presented well, that it’s clear and there’s an openness to it.”
Len and his wife Helen are passionate about prayer and, in their retirement, are developing a House of Prayer in Gold Coast suburb of Carrara.
The inspiration for the 24-hour prayer canopy came from Jason Hubbard from The Light of the World Prayer Center in Bellingham, Washington State, whose members have covered their city in round-the-clock prayer for five years.
“As they’ve taken up the 24-hour prayer they’re seeing people getting saved each week.” – Len Rossow
“In that process, they’ve seen the crime rate drop, they’ve seen the abortion rate really drop, they’ve seen really great church growth – conversion growth, not swapping seats,” Len says.
Since initiating the 24/7 prayer venture in August, there have been great praise reports from churches about the increased prayer life of their people.
“One church said it had been a while since they had seen anybody come to Christ in their ministry but as they’ve taken up the 24-hour prayer they’re seeing people getting saved each week now,” he says.
Len stresses that the prayer model does not require people to come to one location – churches can pray in their own setting or people can do it in their homes.
“The concept is that we would get churches to commit for a period at least once a month, so it becomes a regular kind of thing. What I’ve said to churches, as I’ve been sharing this vision, is we’re looking for something that’s sustainable, so if don’t go over the top to start with – let’s work towards this being really sustainable long-term.”
“We need to be able to take up the insights and the discernment that comes as we’re praying.” – Len Rossow
The House of Prayer sends prayer points to add to each church’s prayers for their own community so that all the churches are praying for the same key point for the city.
“This is a passion for me. I think it’s so fundamental– we can’t just do it on our own, we really do need the empowering of God behind what we do and we need to be able to take up the insights and the discernment that comes as we’re praying.”
Next year, the prayer leaders have permission to conduct prayer sessions at various Games venues. And during the first weekend of March a team from the Australian prayer network will come to the city for a 40-hour prayer weekend.