Brief History of 24-7 Prayer
A Brief History of the Prayer Movement

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Brief History of 24/7 Prayer

I. The Tabernacle of David:

King David was a man of “one thing” (Psalm 27:4). Around 1000 BC, as an outflow of his heart, he commanded that the Ark of the Covenant be brought up on the shoulders of the Levites amidst the sound of songs and musical instruments to his new capital, Jerusalem. There he had it placed in a tent and appointed two-hundred and eighty-eight prophetic singers and four thousand musicians to minister before the Lord, “to make petition, to give thanks and to praise the Lord” day and night (1 Chronicles 15-17). This was unlike anything that had been done in Israel’s history, but it was God’s plan for Israel.

II. The Davidic Order of Worship:

Although the Tabernacle was replaced by a Temple, the Davidic order of worship was embraced and reinstituted by seven subsequent leaders in the history of Israel and Judah. Each time this order of worship was reintroduced, spiritual breakthrough, deliverance and military victory followed.

A. Solomon instructed that worship in the Temple should be in accordance with the Davidic Order (2 Chronicles 8:14-15)

B. Jehoshaphat defeats Moab and Ammon by setting singers up in accordance with Davidic Order: singers at the front of the army singing the Great Hallel. Jehoshaphat reinstitutes Davidic Worship in the Temple (2 Chronicles 20:20-22 & 28)

C. Joash (2 Chronicles 23-24)

D. Hezekiah cleansed, re-consecrated and reinstituted the Davidic Order of worship in the Temple (2 Chronicles 29, 30:21)

E. Josiah reinstituted Davidic worship (2 Chronicles 35)

F. Ezra and Nehemiah, returning from Babylon, reinstituted Davidic Worship (Ezra 3:10, Nehemiah 12: 28-47)

G. Historians have also speculated that around the time of Jesus, in their search to find communion with God, the Essenes of the Judean wilderness reinstituted the Davidic order of worship as part of their life of prayer and fasting.

III. The Early Monastic Period:

For over one thousand years monasticism (the practice of taking vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to one’s spiritual superior) held a key role in the development of theology and practice in the Church. From the fourth and fifth century, monks and nuns were an accepted part of society. Monasticism was the cradle in which laus perennis, or perpetual prayer, was birthed in the church age. Some of the key figures from this tradition are: Chronicles 15-17). This was unlike anything that had been done in Israel’s history, but it was God’s plan for Israel. During this period they developed the divine office of the literal carrying out of Psalm 119:164, “Seven times a day I praise You, because of Your righteous judgments.” This became an integral part of the Benedictine rule of the seven hours of prayer—prime, tierce, sext, none, vespers, compline, matins and lauds.

IV. Comgall and Bangor:

The “Mappa Mundi,” the most celebrated of all medieval maps, contains reference to a place on the edge of the known world: Bangor, Ireland. Why was this small out of the way place, now a dormant coastal town fifteen miles from the Northern Irish capital of Belfast, so important in medieval times? In 433 AD, just as the Roman Empire was starting to crumble, St. Patrick returned to Ireland (after having been enslaved on the island previously) with a view to preach the Christian message to the Irish, he and his comrades beheld a vision of Heaven. Jocelin states, “they held the valley filled with heavenly light, and with a multitude of heaven, they heard, as chanted forth from the voice of angels, the psalmody of the celestial choir.” The place became known as the Vallis Angelorum or the Vale of Angels. The famed Bangor Monastery was begun here approximately one hundred years later as a named Comgall instituted a rigid monastic rule of incessant prayer and fasting which attracted thousands. This was the start of a monastic church planting movement which saw massive impact all across Europe.

V. Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians:

The next great champion of 24/7 prayer would not appear until the start of the eighteenth century—Count Nicholas Ludwig Von Zinzendorf born in 1700 to a well off aristocratic family. In 1722, Zinzendorf bought the Berthelsdorf estate from his grandmother and installed a Pietistic preacher in the local Lutheran church. That same year Zinzendorf came into contact with a Moravian preacher, Christian David, who persuaded the young Count of the sufferings of the persecuted Protestants in Moravia. These Moravians known as the Unitas Fratrum were the remains of John Huss’ followers in Bohemia. Since the 1600s, these saints had suffered under the hands of successive repressive Catholic monarchs. Zinzendorf offered them asylum on his lands. Christian David returned to Bohemia and brought many to settle on Zinzendorf’s estate, forming the community of Herrnhut, "The Watch of the Lord.” The community quickly grew to around three hundred. Yet due to divisions and tension in the infant community, Zinzendorf gave up his court position and became the leader of the brethren, instituting a new constitution for the community. This new community began to pray and soon formed a night and day prayer reality that lasted for over 100 years.

VI. 24/7 Prayer in the 20th Century:

A. Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, South Korea:

In 1973 David Yonggi Cho, Pastor of the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, South Korea, established a Prayer Mountain in night and day prayer. The Prayer Mountain was soon attracting over a million visitors per year, as people would spend retreats in the prayer cells provided on the mountain. Cho had a commitment to continuous prayer, to faith and to establishing small discipleship cells in his church. Perhaps as a result, Cho’s church rapidly expanded to become the largest church congregation on the globe, with membership now over 780,000.

B. International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri:

On September 19th, 1999, the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri, started a prayer and worship meeting that has continued for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week ever since. With a similar vision to Zinzendorf, that the fire on the altar should never go out, there has never been a time when worship and prayer has not ascended to Heaven since that date.

C. Pete Grieg’s 24/7 Europe Prayer Ministries:

Also in September of 1999 the Lord began a work that would spread across Europe and the World through Pete Grieg and his “24/7 Prayer” Ministries that have inspired thousands of youth groups and churches to begin night and day prayer rooms for both short and long term. Through the reaches of this ministry alone there are never less than 50 prayer houses continually keeping the fire on the altar all year round.

D. Prayer Rooms across the Unites States:

In the Unites States alone there are now over 1,000 prayer rooms and houses of prayer with vision for continual prayer and worship before the Lord. Each of these ministries has their own unique part to play and so the expression of what it looks like varies from place to place. All share this in common however; through long and loving service to God, these people are believing for Him to break in with revival and city-wide transformation.

E. Across the Globe:

At the same time in many other places around the world, God placed desires and plans for 24/7 prayer in the fabric of diverse ministries and in the hearts of leaders. From prisons to monasteries, from France to Indonesia 24/7 Houses of Prayer are being established in every continent of the Earth. At this time there are millions world wide joined together by the common thread of literal night and day prayer, this is a very different scene from that of just a decade ago.

Learn More about the Global Prayer Movement Today  |  Get Involved in The Prayer Room Missions Base

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