Another piece in the jigsaw…

I’ve been musing somewhat on that most wonderful, diverse and amorphous of organisations/movements, 24-7 Prayer for a while now; ever since Carla published a little Happy Birthday piece the other day. Now the wonderful Phil Togwell has added his reflections on his part in this strange group of individuals, and it is finally driving me to write something on these pages…

For those of you who don’t know Phil, his blog is well worth a peek. He is probably the most honest person I know, when it comes to talking about the realities of stumbling along the Way. He is UK base leader for 24-7 Prayer, and my fiancé Andrea’s boss. He is very open about how he stumbles in following Jesus; about how he ‘leads’ the UK 24-7 community without knowing where he, or it, are going… and he is a much more genuine leader because of that.

Phil cares about community, about webs and networks of people supporting each other as they live for God. He leads by connecting people with others walking similar paths; shares stories that challenge and inspire (including his own). His example is the best you can have: not a perfect, well-presented, in-control mega-Christian leader; but a vulnerable, stumbling-in-the-dark, if-God-can-use-me-He-can-definitely-use-you example. I have been more challenged in recent months by Phil’s random musings and the stories he shares than by any other single Christian.

God love you bro; you are very definitely the right man in the right place.

But then, that is the enigma that is 24-7 Prayer. Somewhere between the prayer rooms that start-up in churches around the country and the awesome, inspiring, tear-wringing books Pete Grieg produces, are a collection of individuals who have caught some kind of God-passion virus. 24-7 is not a church, or a defined organisation. It doesn’t have a strategy, or even a mission statement (as far as I know) that helps you work out if you are ‘in’ or ‘out’. There are gatherings, and mission teams, and communities and Boiler Rooms; but they are spontaneous, disorganised, formed by differing networks of churches, denominations, individuals. Its far easier to say what 24-7 Prayer ‘the Movement’ isn’t, than what it is.

If this post doesn’t make much sense, its probably because this thing called 24-7 Prayer doesn’t make much sense to me. At ‘I am 5’, the 5th Birthday celebration in London 2 years ago, they gave out the jigsaw pieces Phil and Carla have blogged about. I still have my piece of the jigsaw in my wallet. Every time I go to get change I see it there, and it’s a constant reminder (not that I need one) that this movement has a tug on my heart…

In those two years I’ve not worked out what my place is within this movement; I’ve prayed in prayer rooms, supported Jude’s journey with the City of London Boiler Room, walked with Andrea as she works out her place as part of 24-7’s UK team… It’s never been clear to me where, if anywhere, I fit. But every member of this movement I’ve met has made me feel welcome; has encouraged me; has allowed me to contribute and taken my contributions as valuable. There are very few Christian groups that are so welcoming, so genuine, so inclusive.

As Andrea and I move into married life, as we seek to work out where God is taking us, one thing seems certain: We are, somehow, pieces of this jigsaw, part of this thing. We’re not sure where we fit (well, more in my case!), but neither of us can deny that this is a thing God is doing, and this is a family of which we are (somehow; strangely) part…

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