This Advent sees the start of a new and permanent weekly wave of prayer in Bishop Auckland. It’s called ‘Pray24:BishopAuckland’ because its aim is to achieve 24 hours of prayer cover every week for the town, from Wednesday noon until Thursday noon.
At its core, Pray24 involves a team of individuals or couples or small groups each committing to taking on board responsibility to pray for Bishop Auckland for either 30 minutes or a full hour of the 24 hours. This will usually be done privately in the homes of the individuals or as they prayer walk around the town. A locally produced prayer guide provides actual topics for prayer.
At the next stage, the plan is for organised opportunities to come together to pray – but not at the start. ‘One step at a time. Let’s do what we can do first’, said Catherine Knights, the Pray24 coordinator.
This local wave of prayer was inspired by ‘Pray168:Southampton’, a similar prayer activity in Southampton. Catherine and her husband, Chris (Bishop Paul’s Chaplain) – who helped to start the Southampton prayers – have worked with a handful of others to create the Bishop Auckland prayer team since they returned to the Durham Diocese a year ago.
Catherine said: “Set in a big city, Pray168 aimed to cover the whole week of 168 hours, though that hasn't yet been achieved. However, Bishop Auckland has really heard God's cry to arms as prayer warriors.
“We already have a team of 24, covering 18 hours and from at least half a dozen local churches. All the team members have a big heart to see God's glory invade the life of the town, its people and its businesses. Chris and I are both truly encouraged by the response.”
A special service in the Bishop’s Private Chapel in Auckland Castle will be held on Wednesday 30 November, to start spreading the waves of prayer throughout Bishop Auckland.
For more information, you can view the Pray24:Bishop Auckland Facebook here. Catherine is also keen to offer her support to anyone in the Diocese who might like to start their own local prayer wave.