Red Moon Rising tells the story of 24-7 Prayer, a prayer movement which started in 1999 and is still growing and expanding. From small and seemingly weak beginnings, this prayer initiative has become an international, inter-denominational, and non-stop prayer movement in more than half the countries of the world.
The book tells the story of how God works in his people and inspires them to do what grows into amazing things; and that it all begins with small nudges of the Holy Spirit.
It is an inspiring, encouraging, challenging book which leaves me, on one hand, in awe of what God does through His children and on the other, makes me say, “I’m in”! It makes the idea of prayer something that I want to do.
In contrast to other worthy and informative books on prayer, this one leaves me feeling that even I can be a part of something wonderful rather than feeling condemned by the paucity of my prayer life.
The starting point of the movement was simple—a dream and a vision of a calling to pray; eventually seeing a wave across Europe with a great number of young people rising up to pray. The vision of 24-7 Prayer, or The Vision Poem, as it is now known, says: “The vision is Jesus—obsessively, dangerously, undeniably Jesus.”
As Pete, one of the authors of the book, and his wife Sammy started to pray and move with the “nudges” of the Spirit, God was at work in other people across the UK and beyond with a similar idea. Like the person who gave up his job with an idea to set up a website to connect people, when there was no clear idea what it was for.
Apparently coincidental meetings of people, beautifully orchestrated by the Lord, began to piece it all together. Starting with a prayer room in a warehouse in Chichester, England, committed to a month of continuous prayer, the 24-7 Prayer movement has grown exponentially. As these small starts were made, God engaged with people powerfully so they wanted to continue. Others heard about it and also wanted to be “in” this extraordinary wave of prayer.
But let’s go back a hundred years when the Moravians were beginning their year of continuous prayer, which has now been continuing for over 100 years. Pete discovered that the idea of 24-7 was not original at all, but deeply rooted in the Moravian movement which, starting from its own prayer room in Germany, sent many missionaries across the world to spread the Gospel.
As people started engaging with God in these 24-7 prayer rooms (there are currently over 21,000 of these in different kinds of locations and countries), creative, spontaneous ways of worship and prayer developed. Individuals found themselves alone in a prayer room, experiencing the presence of God in wonder and power. They discovered that the best times were in the night and these slots became the most popular! Many people came to faith for the first time as they entered a prayer room and were met by the Lord personally and powerfully, being changed forever.
What started as a prayer room now includes modern-day “monasteries”—houses of prayer with community focus based on five principles: presence, prayer, mission, justice and joy.
To me, one of the most extraordinary stories is from the Spanish island of Ibiza. For many young Europeans the island was a hotspot for alcohol, drugs and sex as young people crowded it for the sun, sea and party atmosphere and to escape the pressures, problems and deep-seated grief and pain in their lives. But rather than being a “no-go” area for God and Christians that you might expect, young Christian people inspired with the vision of 24-7 Prayer, engaged in worship and prayer in these places.
The 24-7 Prayer movement is not just about prayer. It also has mission and justice as its core values. Starting from a seemingly small incident when Pete and his wife, on a journey through Europe, felt the nudge to buy young prostitutes ice creams and chocolates, these core values propel 24-7 even further.
Following a pattern they developed for mission trips, the first part was to pray in a place, establishing, if possible, a prayer room and maintaining continuous prayer throughout their visit. Then the team play—they enjoy the place and see the goodness of God in the location. Not to condemn the place, rather to celebrate the life and love of God in it. Then they obey—sharing Jesus in word and action—taking to a servant-style evangelism. This might be assisting young girls safely back to their homes or taking someone to hospital. Then obeying the prompting of the Holy Spirit to pray, speak and act. People were healed on the streets, impacted by God. There is now a base in Ibiza for 24-7 Prayer and the miracles continue.
The book traces different strands of this emerging movement. The examples are extraordinary. The case studies unexpected. Altogether it speaks of the Lord’s sovereignty and purposes. Read it with an open heart and you will be in awe of what the Lord can do through a willing heart that says “yes, Lord”.
The story goes on; Pete has written another book (Dirty Glory) which gives more case studies and outlines the further developments of the movement.
Pete stepped down as leader of 24-7 Prayer in 2019, but continues to be involved at a strategic leadership level. He is the Pastor of Emmaus Road Church, in Guildford England. He has written several other books on prayer.