A wall of prayer is being built around Perth in Western Australia through seven “gates” or spheres of influence, from arts to business.
Wendy Yapp formed Perth Together to forge unity between the city’s churches. She says Perth Together Prayer Wall is growing daily and now involves hundreds of people in the spheres of arts, health, church, business, education, family and government.
“We’ve got a list of about 30 groups, and it’s growing every day.”
“Prayer is a glue that holds us together and one of the most loving and caring things we can do for one another,” she says.
The concept of a prayer wall began with a one-off event in March last year, when Wendy persuaded 130 pastors and ministry leaders to pray for each other and the city for the month. When she repeated the process in October, the event expanded to include 147 pastors from a wide range of churches, from Coptic to Pentecostal.
“Nobody really said ‘No.’ One Baptist minister pulled out on the second round and one pastor said no in the first round and came back and took part in the second round,” she says.
“The roots of that were from the Coptic churches, Catholic, Anglican churches, charismatic, Pentecostal, Baptist, Syrian orthodox, which is reflective of the fact that Perth already had those wide relationships.”
However, the prayer wall really began to grow when Wendy organised a “diversity dinner” to celebrate the surprising fact that Perth was now the most multicultural city in the country. Roger Sutton from Movement Day was the keynote speaker at the event, which attracted 160 people from 66 nations.
“It was honestly like a light switch went on in people’s minds and hearts and things just started to tumble forth like a tsunami of willing volunteers. ‘Why should just the pastors be praying? We should be praying too!’.”
“So we got teachers praying, we got worship leaders, youth and young adults ministers; then we’ve got a list of about 30 groups, and it’s growing every day.”
The idea is to have 12 groups within each sphere – one for each month – which will be like the main gates to the city.
“Within that, within the arts, we’ve got professional musicians, artists, dance, drama, design, sound and lighting, events, media and so on. So every month we hope to have one arts group standing guard at that gate, as it were,” says Wendy.
“Each of those groups would have a minimum of 30 people and they’re all given the same mandate – pray for one another, pray for the city – because professional musicians know how to pray for professional musicians; we don’t have to tell them.”
The prayer theme for December is fostering, adoption and general family issues.
“We’re not trying to set up a massive organisation; we’re just simply networking around a city.” – Wendy Yapp
Wendy says that each of the groups meets at the end of its month of prayer to get to know each other and discuss “what did the Lord say to us.”
“Those are the things we ask them to consider, but if they only want to get together to wine and dine, that’s fine. You do what you want; we’re not trying to control you.”
“We’re not trying to set up a massive organisation; we’re just simply networking around a city.”
Next year, the Perth Together team hopes to expand the business sphere from young women in leadership, social impact entrepreneurs, engineering and construction to include the food and beverage industry.
Wendy says she has been involved in ministry since she was 15 years old. “I was organising and coordinating events across first my village then in Glasgow,” explains Wendy, who retains her Scottish brogue. “In my early 20s I coordinated an outreach to reach every Chinese person in the city of Glasgow. I didn’t do it brilliantly but the heart, the seed of it, was there,” she says.
“I’ve lived and worked in Brunei for a number of years, had our first two kids there, then we lived in Holland, then we lived in the UK. Everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve done citywide or nationwide: let’s bring the churches together and work as one. Let’s being the nations together and work as one.”
“In Perth I’ve worked together with pastors and leaders who foster unity. We foster love – and unity is a by-product.”