The sense of purpose and excitement had been building for ten days as One Voice prayed round the clock in the St Cuthbert’s Centre Prayer Room. As the crowds gathered there was a sense that something special and timely was about to happen in the ancient nave of York Minster.
Before the service started the crowd had already exceeded the previous year, and by the time we had started corporate prayer there were well over a 1000 praying Christians from churches and fellowships all over the area.
David Casswell, Vicar of Clifton, led some worship songs as people were arriving and also one song at the start of each section as we prayed for our city, our country and the continents.
A trumpeter called us to prayer and then Graham Hutchinson of Elim and Kate Wiley of the Church Army led us in prayer for our community and the city of York. Kate had prepared many headlines from the York Evening Press and placed them at ten strategic points around the Minster. People were encouraged to go and find a headline that they connected with and pray through the headline for our city.
Archbishop John Sentamu was observed quietly taking part, praying through the headlines.
An introduction to the Global Day of Prayer was brought by Juliet Wright the local coordinator, and she read the verse:
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chron 7:14 NIV)
Stephen Redman of the Ark Church, explained that it was God’s people who had the responsibility of bringing forgiveness and healing to our land by doing what God says – humbling ourselves, repenting and praying. As a symbol of our corporate repentance we put on wrist bands that said “2 Chron 7:14”. We then began to pray in small groups for our nation.
This session was finished by releasing a mighty shout of the name of “JESUS” over our nation, followed by cries of “God save the Queen” and “God save Tony Blair”.
As a large screen showed a Global Day of Prayer video, there was a sense in the room of the mystical link between the hundreds of millions of Christians who were praying all over the world.
Finally John Davies, Vicar of Huntington, led prayer for the continents. He led us to pray silently and also vocally altogether in an Acts 4:24 model. We turned to the East, the South, the West and the North, praying for the nations in each direction. This was a wonderful corporate act as we held our hands out in blessing over the nations of our world.
To conclude the evening, 16 flaming torches were lit, and a precession followed groups of four torches through the ancient gates of the city. At each gate there was prayer offered up for our city and in this prophetic act we believe blessing was released over York.
Many churches groups in York came together to repent and pray in union with almost half a billion other Christians worldwide. Only God knows the magnitude and significance in the long term, but there was truly a tremendous unity demonstrated to all onlookers. This was a unity of purpose and heart-cry and recognition of the Lordship of Jesus Christ amongst us.
One Voice have already booked York Minster for 27th May 2007 for another great Global Day of Prayer!