More than 50 nations have responded to a call by Australian prayer leaders to pray at sunrise on New Year’s Day at a public location such as a hill, lookout or landmark in their city or town, or even at home.
“Basically the New Year’s Day Sunrise Prayer Relay is a relay of people praying all around the world at sunrise on New Year’s Day, says Pat Steele, a prayer and worship leader in Wollongong on the NSW south coast.
“In 2018 there were people praying in 50 nations including 172 registered public locations in Australia. In 2019 we are expecting this will grow exponentially, with more people praying, in more locations, and in more nations.”
Pat says this year God put on his heart to pray for souls to be be saved, to pray for unsaved family and friends to come to Jesus in 2019, and for our nations to be saved.
“The words God gave me were ‘Wherever you are at sunrise on New Year’s Day, pray for souls to be saved.’ It is so simple, but so powerful.”
This will be the fourth year of the New Year’s Day Sunrise Prayer Relay. It was late December 2015 when God gave Pat the vision that led to the first event. With only 12 days until New Year’s Day 2016, Pat learned that the venue which normally hosted their church’s New Year prayers couldn’t do so.
“I saw flames light up all across Australia and then around the world.” – Pat Steele
“So I went down to the harbour and was praying for a location just to go and pray; and I saw a figure of a man holding an Olympic-style relay flame,” he recalls.
“This was at South Beach Wollongong, where there’s a big lighthouse, so as soon as I saw that I just spoke it out at Wollongong Lighthouse … the vision just moved out and panned down the coast and I saw all these other high points, significant locations around the Illawarra; and then it zoomed out and I saw flames light up all across Australia and then around the world, so from praying for just one place to pray on New Year’s Day it’s spread like wildfire.”
Pat shared the vision with Warwick Marsh, coordinator for Australia’s National Day of Prayer & Fasting, and many believers joined their network to pray across Australia and around the world. The following year, New Year’s Day 2017, people prayed in more than 23 nations, and on New Year’s Day 2018 the prayer relay expanded to at least 50 countries, including 172 public locations in Australia. The International Prayer Council has even adopted the event as a global celebration.
This time around, they have decided not to publish public locations because it was administratively difficult and because Pat felt God giving him a fresh direction to simplify the event.
“There’s a lot of people in nations where they could get in a lot of trouble for praying.” – Pat Steele
“We were talking about partnering with prayer organisations in other nations to be able to verify locations in those countries, but it’s almost like holding fireworks in your hands because it’s expanding at a rate that you can’t really control,” Pat says.
“In 2019 we are expecting the number of nations to grow – we have already received registrations from a few we haven’t seen before and I am hoping the number of nations to double.
“In 2018 we partnered with Open Doors to pray for the persecuted church; we have many brothers and sisters joining us to pray in nations where they could face severe persecution for praying. North Korea, Pakistan, and United Arab Emirates were probably the three most dangerous places for Christians that were registered in 2018.”
For 2019’s prayer relay, promotion is being done locally within the church and by word of mouth.
Warwick comments: “David said in Psalm 108:2, ‘I will wake the dawn with my song.’ During this time of prayer we want to focus on giving great praise to God. We also want to pray for revival and transformation, that God will bring healing to each of our nations: 2 Chronicles 7:14. Let us all pray for a great harvest of souls for the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“In declaring Jesus Christ as Lord at this worldwide Sunrise Prayer Relay we are circling the globe with prayer, praise and worship and surrendering our lives to Jesus Christ for the glory of God. Psalms 113:3 says, “From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.” Use the prayer resources on the website and social media and register your location at: www.sunriseprayerrelay.org Our prayer is that with your help, this worldwide Prayer and Praise Relay will go viral.”
Pat says suggests people start around 15 minutes before their local sunrise time and pray for about 30 minutes – or longer if they wish.
“We encourage you to pray ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ (Matt 6:9-13) aloud as the sun rises, and make a declaration that Jesus is Lord of your life, your family, your region and your nation. We then encourage you to stand in prayer for souls to be saved, pray for your unsaved friends and family to know Jesus in 2019. You may also like to make a simple declaration over your nation like ‘Australia for Jesus,’”. (Click here for more prayer resources.)
“Your group might like to include praise and worship in your time of prayer as well as Scripture readings. You could also include communion, a time of fellowship – for example, breakfast – and then go and share the good news.
“Whatever you decide to do, let’s together pray for souls to be saved. This is the cry of God’s heart, ‘He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.’” (2 Pet 3:9.)
See 2019 short promo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAq7YT6eXoE
Share photos and videos from your location on social media.
Use the hashtag: #sunriseprayerrelay
Longer Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAq7YT6eXoE