Edmonton Crossroads community (Canada and Bermuda Territory) committed to non stop prayer from the initial Call to Prayer on 1st January 2011. Prayer Sergeant Sylvia Overton shares the challenges, breakthroughs and answers to prayer that have happened so far:
'Our small corps located in the margins of downtown Edmonton were largely unfamiliar with prayer. We set up a seven day non-stop schedule and called a team of seven people together who would be responsible for filling shifts, orientating clients and offering prayer support.
People were made familiar with prayer styles during the Sunday meetings and Wednesday night Spiritual warfare and training nights. The corps officer's space was stripped out and made into a prayer room with this vision that it was the upper room, the engine room of the church. The vision was of a large furnace room where the fire was being stoked by prayer shifts.
We placed prayer walls, art, sound system, a cross with prayer requests, a prayer box, a reference library, lounge and coffee machine in to make it possible to endure our three-hour-long shifts! Later we added a DVD player and lap top with audio Bible... we found people liked to have different ways to spend their time in our prayer room.
Initially the team had to work hard to build relationships with those interested in using the prayer room. Finding cover on the weekends was tough! We would often spend part of the time with the client on their shift to encourage them. Non stop was promoted tirelessly throughout the year at Sunday meetings and supported with weekly testimonials to stir up interest. The schedule was straightforward - you wrote your name in the allocated space... we had some regular prayer shift featuring themes like Human Trafficking; prayerful art; brigades; intercessory prayer group and women's ministry.
We also ran four kids/youth prayer days in conjunction with SA PRAY 24/7 - the Canada and Bermuda's Territorial Children/Youth Prayer Challenge in response to the Global Call to 24/7 Prayer. Those were a hit with the kids and youth and encouraged some of them to use the prayer room on a regular basis, also bringing their parents into the experience.
We have Mark 11:17 strung up in the sanctuary - 'My house shall be a house of prayer for all nations' - so I think we covered that! We have recovery people of all kinds: Metis, African, Somali, Ukrainian. The aim was to mobilise individuals in prayer so that they would use prayer not just for themselves but as an active and powerful tool to respond to life's hardships. To empower those who often feel left in hopelessness. And the result has been more people requesting prayer, taking prayer shifts and seeking counsel through prayer.
Answers to individual prayers include: healings, deliverence, salvations, job/career changes, gained employment, freedom from addiction, abuse and violence.
Corporately: leaders raised up, more soldiers, more candidates for officership, increased interest in volunteering in the drop in and ministry work in general; more working girls coming off the street seeking help; provision for ministry; cohesiveness within staff and leadership.
Our mission with prayer at Crossroads is to win souls for Jesus by laying a foundation in prayer so that spirit filled converts would be made disciples and commit to be part of a covenanted community; ambassadors for Christ who draw people into the love of Christ. As long as prayer remains at the foundation of The Salvation Army we anticipate the fire spreading worldwide and we hope our efforts here at Crossroads has modelled that well... from small beginnings, anything is possible with Christ!'