The Prayer Centre

words by Chris Bond

This guide to the Prayer Centre at Hope Chapel tells the story and vision of the Prayer Centre and how you can be involved.

The calling

In 1999 God called a group of Christians, led by Silas and Annie Crawley, to start a Prayer Centre for Bristol. Alongside their existing passion for prayer this calling was confirmed by a number of prophetic words from others. One of these was an incredible and hilarious encounter with a Ugandan evangelist in the Bristol young offenders prison. Around this time, they also came across Hope Chapel, a 200-year-old Congregational church building that was just about to be closed as a church. After some initial meetings Silas and Annie were invited to start a church in the building, and that is how Hope Community Church began in 2000.

The leadership team of the newly formed Hope Community Church went away for a weekend to ask God about His plans and purposes for the church. The dream to be a prayer centre for the city was one of the four areas of focus that God highlighted over this weekend. In March 2002 £160,000 was raised to build the Prayer Centre space at Hope Chapel including large prayer room, kitchen, bathroom and ancillary space, all to facilitate ongoing prayer day and night.

 

The reason

The calling to establish a prayer centre seemed, through the bringing together of the team, through the various prophetic messages, through the timely provision of Hope Chapel as a building, and through the provision of the finances to build the space, to be something that God was initiating. It is still appropriate to ask though why a prayer centre is needed and how it fits in with God’s wider plans. Looking at the Old Testament, New Testament and church history gives us a foundation for understanding the place of a prayer centre such as this.

Firstly, in the Old Testament, Israel thrived and walked in their destiny as a people when they centred their lives around worshipping and following God. The books of 1 and 2 Kings clearly show both the chaos that came to the nation when the king and the people forgot about the Lord, and the fruitfulness that came when they lived His way. One of the highest points of Israel’s history was when King David established 24/7 prayer and worship in Jerusalem. The nation flourished at this time probably more than at any other. David commissioned a large number of people to sing, worship, pray and give thanks to God day and night (1 Chronicles 15.1-17.27). Seven subsequent leaders after David re-established this order of continual prayer and worship. Whenever it was in place Israel experienced spiritual breakthrough, deliverance and military victory, a foretaste of God’s Kingdom coming on earth as in heaven.

Secondly, in the New Testament Jesus shows us that in order to see God’s Kingdom come on earth, we have to partner with God through prayer. Jesus continually went away to quiet places to pray (e.g. Matthew 14.23, Mark 1.35, Luke 5.16, Luke 6.12), showing that even He needed to pray in order to see God’s goodness and purposes on earth. We see His disciples learn from Jesus how to pray (Luke 11.1-13) and then to pray as individuals and as communities throughout the New Testament (e.g. Acts 2.42, Acts 12.5). There isn’t a requirement to build prayer centres in the Bible but there is a clear teaching that prayer is central to the church and Christian life.

Thirdly, church history shows a strong link between prayer and human flourishing. The Moravians of Herrnhut, Germany are one inspiring example of this. These were a community of asylum seekers who had been given a home on land owned by the Christian aristocrat Count Zinznedorf. Relationships within the community were at first dysfunctional, but God moved amongst them to change this and from 1727 they began to pray 24 hours a day. This prayer meeting went on continuously for 100 years and is credited with starting the modern missionary movement. The Moravians were the first missionaries of their time to go out around the world. One person affected by their prayer and ministry was John Wesley. Through the Moravians John Wesley had a powerful encounter with God which set him on fire to bring revival and transformation to the United Kingdom. Perhaps you and I can trace our Christian heritage back to the Moravians of Herrnhut and their 24/7 prayer room!

 

The invitation

We would love you to join us in this call to be a prayer centre for the city. You can book a prayer slot as a one-off or come regularly. Please let us know in advance if you would like to bring a group for your booking.

This is our current pattern of prayer at Hope Chapel:

  • We host one 24 hours of prayer each month as part of One Church One Day. Our 24 hours of prayer is the first Tuesday of each month. You would be welcome to join one or more of the hour long slots through these 24 hours. The schedule is published on Hope’s social media shortly before the first Tuesday of each month.

 

  • We host various prayer meetings for Christian groups and ministries across the city such as Together 4 Bristol and Bristol School’s Connection. If you are connected with these or other ministries that would like to pray at Hope Chapel we would love to hear from you.

 

  • The Prayer Centre and Prayer Sheds at Hope Chapel are available for Hope members and other Christians who have completed our induction to pray anytime (except when certain events are happening in the building) 

How do I do this sort of prayer?

People pray in a variety of ways. Our current One Church One Day schedule is led by 24 people with a range of styles including quiet prayer, piano and guitar worship, Taizé, singing the psalms. You’re welcome to pray in the style that suits you. Feel free to use the piano and plug your phone into the speakers if you’d like to play music.

The 24/7 Prayer website has some helpful suggestions for how to pray for an hour >here<

 

How do I book?

Link to >Prayer Centre Application Form<

  

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I need to pay to use the Prayer Centre?

A: No. Hope Community Church covers the running costs of the Prayer Centre. If you would like to give financially, details of how to give are on the website www.hopechapel.co.uk/giving. But, we would rather your main attention was given to prayer.

 

Q: Can I use the Prayer Centre for my daily quiet time?

A: The calling on the Prayer Centre is to be a place of prayer for the city and beyond. So, think of it less as a space for your own personal devotional times with God (although as we pray and intercede, meeting with God personally happens along the way!), and more of a place where you can come and pray for the city and others.

 

Q: Is the Prayer Centre just for Christian prayer?

A: Yes, Hope Chapel and the Prayer Centre are dedicated as places of worship of Jesus Christ. Whilst we love and respect people of other faiths and none, this is not a place for them to come and pray to their gods or practice other spiritualties.

 

Q: Can I bring a group to pray with me?

A: Yes. We have a slightly different approach for group bookings and will explain this as part of the induction.

 

Q: How old do I need to be to use the Prayer Centre?

A: We welcome people of any age to come and pray. If you’re under 18 we need to arrange this separately. Please contact the office to make arrangements.