Emerging from the 24/7 Prayer Movement, specialist prayer centres known as Boiler Rooms have been set up in numerous places around the world. Boiler Rooms are very experimental and regularly re-invent themselves to explore new territory and structures.
Prayer Beacons seek to apply Boiler Room principles and practices in the context of familiar and recognisable Salvation Army Corps settings, humbly desiring to help others to move deeper into prayer.
In November 2011 Pill Corps, South Western Division (United Kingdom with the Republic of Ireland Territory) was launched as a Prayer Beacon. Prayer has always been its DNA and a clear establishment of a rhythm of prayer and the transition to a Cell based model of doing mission has strengthened this.
The ideals at the heart of a cell-based church and a prayer beacon blend together. At Pill these values are based on:
- Praying and developing intimacy with Jesus;
- Engaging in mission;
- Learning through good teaching, training and equipping;
- Reaching out to those who don't know Jesus;
- Sharing authentic and honest community and hospitality
- Caring for those who are in need or who are hurting.
The Salvation Army has been part of the community of the village of Pill, South West England, for 125 years. Locals attended one of the Army's meetings in the neighbouring town of Bristol with the intention of disrupting what was happening there, but ended up getting saved. They returned to the village and decided to start the work - the Army's been there ever since.
Located on the River Avon, the village was traditionally the residence of pilots, once home to 21 public houses and known as a rough place. Today, however, the Corps is standing in the gap in prayer, not only on behalf of the village, but with a strong sense to pray beyond the boundaries of the community. These words from Isaiah 54:2 were given to Pill Corps in 2007:
Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities
Since then the Corps has committed to pray for the needs of the Salvation Army in the territory on a regular basis through the Pray for a Day initiative. Corps Officers Majors Alan and Carol Young explain that the hall is open for 12 hours for people to drop in to spend time in personal prayer and to pray zealously for the requests received through email. 'This ministry continues to grow each time with petitions being sent in from other countries. Following the Pray for a Day, the topics are distributed to the Sunday morning congregation so that the prayers can continue after the event.'
In the building there are two designated areas for prayer. The upstairs Prayer Room is usually themed and there is a quiet area set aside in the corner of the downstairs hall which is particularly useful for those who are unable to access the Prayer Room. These are available for use any time the hall is open and on request.
A prayer list is issued quarterly and identifies a different group of people connected to the Corps to pray for each day. There are also two weekly early Morning Prayer meetings and prayer walks around the village at various times.
Pill Prayer Beacon Corps seek to re-focus all the elements of their corps life through the lens of prayer. In other words they are working out how to 'do' Salvation Army from a place of total immersion in prayer. As such they light the way for other corps to go further and deeper in prayer.
If you would like to connect through Pray for a Day, email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org.