Each of us has our story of how the lockdown impacted us. My belief in the importance and power of prayer was tested when eight days into lockdown, my elderly mother’s health (I am her main carer) suddenly deteriorated, which meant she was rushed off to hospital.

As I called out to God and asked for prayer backup, I realised afresh how much I needed my Father’s help and how easy I had become used to trusting others rather than in God alone. Fortunately, I was able to pick her up later that day. The doctors reassured me that the new medication should work (it was not COVID-19 related) and she remains well today.

In the last 25 years there has been a remarkable mobilisation of prayer and worship by the Holy Spirit which involves thousands and thousands of Christians, from different denominations, organisations and houses of prayer, around the world. As the pandemic was declared, this worship and prayer army was joined by many more here in the UK (and in other nations) as churches, organisations and individuals started to pray and call out to God.

Churches found their Zoom prayer gatherings were better attended than ever. Some city prayer gatherings, which normally attracted a few hundred people, now had thousands connecting in. Calls to prayer for seasons of prayer, days of prayer, and prayer at set times of the day were made from denominations and organisations. 

The Tearfund survey showed around three million new people started praying; 24 – 7 Prayer saw a surge in demand for their resources and use of Lectio 365 app; Neighbourhood Prayer Network saw more than 52,000 prayer requests posted and prayed for in the first four weeks of lockdown; and our Virtual House of Prayer saw an upsurge in membership as prayer requests were posted. And this prayer momentum has continued through lockdown easing.

Lockdown was in fact an unlocking time’, enabling us to connect online and pray with others in our families as well as with other believers in our community, across our country and around the world. We at World Prayer Centre – a house of prayer with a heart for the nations – have been delighted to include guests from overseas nations into our online Prayershift and Watch + Pray prayer times. 

With up-to-date information this has enabled us to stand in the gap for our hurting nation and the nations with informed intercession. We are part of the International Prayer Connect and so through online platforms we have been able to publicise international prayer events, sometimes joining with thousands of others on one call, and unite together to pray for healing, justice, peace and spiritual awakening in this time of dislocation, pain, grief and shaking.

I believe we are beginning to see the stirrings of green shoots of spiritual awakening in our UK nations (and the same is happening in other nations as well), with the number of those buying Bibles, logging on to online services, starting to pray, and responding to the call of Jesus through evangelistic preaching and online groups such as Alpha (see page 26 of idea November/​December. And there is a growing sense that our prayers over many years are beginning to be answered. Will those shoots bring the desired harvest now?

We do not know, but we continue to call out for God’s mercy, grace and healing, asking that the church in its different expressions across the UK will continue to creatively share the good news of Jesus, enabling many to find the God they are searching for. Hope Together and 24 – 7 Prayer’s Hope Spaces is one such resource which was starting to be used effectively before the pandemic and is now available online.

Christians who have been long-time followers of Jesus are rediscovering that prayer isn’t an optional extra but is indeed a vital lifeline that we all need if we are to carry His presence and minister comfort, hope and healing in these challenging times. Without being able to meet face to face to pray, new ways of praying are evolving. Some of our old ways’ of worship, thanksgiving, confession, blessing, asking, intercession and lament are being refashioned and refitted for this new season. 

In order to gain more of God’s perspective and know how to stand in these days of battle, we need to be able to lift our eyes off the crisis and onto our ascended Jesus. I have found new ways of worship involving silence, declaring and reading God’s word, the appreciation of nature, art which are more suited to my situation, as well as using the music and lyrics of talented song writers nationally and globally.

John Mark Comer’s book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry has brought new insight into the disciplines of slowing, silence, solitude and Sabbath, and reminded us that waiting on God, with God and for God’s timing, is a necessary part of walking through any storm. The reality of our situation has seen a rediscovery of the prayer of lament, as we walk through the valley of pain, grief, dislocation and hardship as it emboldens us to ask God the big questions that erupt inside of us at this time. And as we continue to journey through this pandemic with all the unknowns ahead of us and all the other transitions happening across our UK nations and approach the season of Advent and Christmas, how can we encourage each other to keep on keeping on seeking God’s ways and wisdom?

Let’s…

  • continue to cultivate rhythms in our week’s activities/​work which enable us to spend time with God in reading, meditating and praying from God’s word so that we are living in His love and praying for His promises, His ways and His will to be done.
  • encourage each other to be accountable in how we pray (and care and share) for our neighbours, friends, work/​communities contacts so that many of them will be able to engage with Advent and Christmas events online or in person and find out more/​come to know Jesus.
  • be bold in reframing how we encourage and facilitate prayer to continue and deepen within our churches – household based and in corporate prayer – via Zoom or in person, in order to use different styles and ways to pray.
  • ask the Holy Spirit what are the prayer assignments that He wants us to engage with and what are the issues He wants us to contend for – locally, nationally and globally? The pandemic has exposed so many huge issues of justice that need to see God’s people praying into in order to see breakthrough.
  • ask our heavenly Father to fill us with the faith to pray big prayers in these days. In one of our recent WPC team prayer meetings on Zoom, we were led to the story in Joshua chapter 10, when Joshua prayed for the sun to stand still and the moon to stop. The sun stopped in mid-heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded a human voice, for the Lord fought for Israel.” As we reflected on this most amazing event we were stirred to cry out to God. Our God is sovereign. Our God is mighty. What are the prayers He is inviting us to pray today for our situation, location or nation that will release His power, His glory, His hope and His love?

For inspiration, connection and information, visit:

  • World Prayer Centre: www​.world​prayer​.org​.uk
  • Hope Spaces: www​.hopeto​geth​er​.org​.uk/​G​r​o​u​p​s​/​328363​/​H​O​P​E​_​S​p​a​c​e​s​.aspx
  • International Prayer Connect: www​.ipcprayer​.org/​i​p​c​-home
  • Virtual House of Prayer: www​.face​book​.com/​g​r​o​u​p​s​/​W​P​CVHOP

I believe we are beginning to see the stirrings of green shoots of spiritual awakening in our UK nations.