Methodist Year of Prayer ahead of expectations at halfway stage

· Cornwall district leads the way with over 1,000 hours ofprayer
· London North-East, Bristol and South Wales also report highnumbers

At its halfway point, The Methodist year of Pray Without Ceasing isfar exceeding expectations, with over 8,000 hours of prayer up tothe end of 2005. Pray Without Ceasing was launched at the MethodistConference on 1 July 2005, and by 30 December Methodists had spentan estimated 8,000 hours praying in churches, homes, schools andprisons. In comparison, only 4,368 hours elapsed in the sameperiod.

So far 13 of the 33 Methodist Districts have taken part, eachdrawing up a rota so that between them so that at every time of dayor night a Methodist building was open for prayer. In the LondonSouth East district Methodist prison chaplains joined the rota andreported 30 hours of prayer from prisons, young offender institutesand the Dover Immigration Removal Centre.

The idea for the year of prayer came from the Methodist YouthConference. Youth Conference representatives introduced a motion atthe 2004 Methodist Conference in Loughborough calling on the Churchto celebrate prayer, affirm prayer that is already taking place andprovide ideas and inspiration for new ways of prayer.

Pray Without Ceasing was launched at the 2005 Methodist Conference,which was held in Torquay. About 50 Conference members gathered onTorquay beach early one morning for prayers and celebration,followed by breakfast. Since then the Pray Without Ceasing bannerhas made its way around Great Britain. Its journey started in theLondon North East District on 1 July and will finish in North Waleson August 31, 2006.

The Revd Michaela Youngson coordinates the campaign. She says, 'weaimed for continuous prayer, but we have exceeded that. Moreimportantly, people report that this has reinvigorated theirpersonal and church prayer lives. Obviously prayer has always beena crucial part of Christian life, and always will be. But this yearof Pray Without Ceasing shows we can regain the excitement andpower of prayer by focussing on it.'

Local Pray Without Ceasing Co-ordinators have written in to say howpowerful the experience has been. 'We report the good news of anamazing time of blessing beyond anyone's expectations,' wroteLesley and Mike Sergeant from the Newcastle circuit inStaffordshire. From the Bristol District, Derrick Norton said, 'theseven streams of prayer and worship caused a real buzz ofexcitement, and people want to repeat the experience.'

More information, including the prayer calendar for Districts, isavailable at www.praywithoutceasing.org.uk/index.htm.