By Ann Marie Foley - 13 March, 2014
The Big Ask – A time to pray big prayers to our God for our city and our nation, is being launched in Dublin next week.
Organised by 24/7 Prayer Ireland and supported by Alpha it involves five prayer gatherings in Dublin in the coming months and more around the country after that.
The first event takes place next Tuesday 18 March.
“It gives you the sense of God working in people around the land afresh,” Alain Emerson, Emmanuel Church Lurgan and 24–7 Prayer Ireland member told CatholicIreland.net.
The 24/7 Prayer Ireland initiative will pray for key areas of influence in society. These include business, the public square (politics), media and entertainment, education and family, and the Church throughout 2014.
“On Tuesday, we will emphasise the Church in Ireland and encourage people to do ‘the big prayers’ for the Church,” Alain Emerson explained.
“It (the title – the Big Ask) is based on the passage in the Book of Esther where she requested a ‘big thing’ of God: to grant her people freedom. She asked and she was granted it, and we are coming to a God who wants us to come and ask big things of him.”
Alpha Ireland is promoting the event as a sister organisation of 24-7 Prayer, an international, interdenominational movement of prayer, mission and justice that began with a single, student-led prayer vigil in Chichester in Britain in 1999 and has spread by word-of-mouth into over 100 countries.
On 31 December 2012, HTB’s (a church in central London) first permanent 24-7 Prayer Room opened a site in central London.
Since then the prayer rooms have moved out of the churches and have been set up in primary and secondary schools in the UK and beyond.
Meetings between 24-7 and Alpha Ireland are underway to ensure that the initiative comes to Irish schools in September 2014. It has been particularly popular in Catholic Schools in the UK.
Hundreds of prayer spaces have been created in schools, where more than 100,000 children and young people have experienced simple, creative prayer and many have prayed personal prayers for the first time in their lives.
The idea is to use a classroom or another available space for a series of prayer activities with different themes such as ‘be sorry’, ‘be yourself’, ‘be thankful’, ‘be still’, ‘forgiveness’, ‘messages from God’.
Schools can also have a timetabled week of classes during lesson time in the prayer space, or open it during break and lunchtimes.
Some prayer spaces are temporary and others remain as permanent fixtures in the schools.
The launch 24/7 session is on 18 March at St Catherine’s Church, Dublin at 8pm.
For more information: www.24-7prayerireland.com and www.facebook.com/thebigaskdublin