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29 September 2012

Our top 10 of NDOP Wembley

Our top 10 of NDOP Wembley

Alliance editor Chine Mbubaegbu gives her top 10 highlights of the National Day of Prayer at Wembley...

1. That Mexican wave

Beware. If Christians are given permission to do a Mexican wave during a church service – albeit a church service at Wembley - they may never stop. The crowd got a little bit over-excited and refused to bring their collective waving to an end. Mexican waves: never not fun.

2. No more secular-sacred divide

One thing that NDOP Wembley showed was that the Church really needs to get out more. Thousands of Christians getting together, escaping the Christian ghetto, and meeting together in one of the nation's most iconic venues really demonstrated that there's no such thing as a secular-sacred divide. For example: spotted at Wembley - a team of Wembley stewards having a theological debate, musing over the existence and the nature of God. Also spotted: a Wembley security guard having a secret dance to LZ7.

3. NDOP Weather

It seems that God's favour was upon those attending NDOP Wembley who were spared the rain and winds on what really was a perfect autumn day.

4. Gideon Army

Half of all churches have no provision for children and young people at all. Many young people only know 'Jesus' as a swear word. Young people in the UK have faced a hammering from the media, they are facing tough job prospects, many of them are living in destructive homes and are written off. But the sight of 300 young people – the Gideon Army - surrounding the pitch at Wembley and committing themselves to unity and transformation, gave a different picture of young people. One of a hopeful and courageous generation stirred up to change our nation.Read more about that here.

5. The children's choir

Over 80 per cent of people become Christians before the age of 14, but only a small proportion of the Church's mission is aimed at children. An adorable children's choir, representing those from the nations of the world, sang: "I am not forgotten. God knows my name," and urged the 40,000 gathered at Wembley to remember them. A selection of children with nerves of steel prayed for the world's two billion children in their own languages, symbolising the global flavour of the event.

6. Guvna B

Seeing the young and the not-so-young bopping up and down to some serious beats put down by Guvna B, who got the crowd jumping – sporting a West Ham shirt.

7. Shine Jesus Shine

Yes, we had Matt Redman, Tim Hughes, Guvna B and LZ7. But this absolute classic Shine Jesus Shine, the staple crowd pleaser for most evangelical churches in the 1980s and early 1990s, was brought out of retirement by the one and only Graham Kendrick, who brought everyone to their feet at Wembley. You could spot the old-timers by whether or not they knew the 'clap-clap-clap-clap' bit. You know the one.

8. The sound of heaven touching earth

There's nothing like 40,000 people worshipping God on the hallowed turf that is Wembley Stadium. This iconic venue is more used to seeing football fans chanting their own rousing songs, but today, the Church brought a new sound. As Tim Hughes sang his well-known Spirit Break Out, with its stirring words: "break our walls down… you're the name we're lifting high… revival, we want to see your kingdom here", it really summed up what this event was all about.

9. Global flavour

Yes, it was called the National Day of Prayer, but this event at Wembley focussed not just on the UK, but on the Church around the world, the millions of children across the globe and our brothers and sisters living in what Matthew Frost of Tearfund described as "stupid" levels of poverty.

10. Let's hear it for unity

Let no one be fooled into thinking that the UK Church is one-dimensional. NDOP Wembley truly reflected the Church in all its diverse glory: all ages, all colours, all accents, all classes, all tastes of music, and all denominations really did come together in a display of unity that you just don't see every day. 

Image by Clive Mear, Tearfund