For the fourth year in a row, during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Birmingham Churches Together organised 24 hours of prayer in and for the city, the region and the wider world. This year, St Martin in the Bullring, the oldest city-centre church and a place of prayer for 1000 years welcomed the event to take place within its "prayer-soaked walls". With each hour of prayer led by a different church, group of churches, chaplaincy, school or Christian charity, it was a celebration of the diversity of expressions of prayer which exist within the different Christian traditions.
There are many things to celebrate about #pray24brum and the opportunity it provides for churches to be united in prayer. For me personally, perhaps the principle one is the reminder of the central place of prayer in the life of the church.
I really believe the routine of daily prayer we lead at Carrs Lane sustains the life we live in Birmingham, but we rarely attract a crowd. Not only in wider society, but even within the life of the church with all those other things we need to 'get on with', it seems there is always a risk of prayer being squeezed to the sidelines and beginning to feel like a niche interest. But I value prayer, and thus I value #pray24brum for its reminder that the thirst for prayer, including for contemplative and silent prayer, is not some freak sideshow but, across different traditions and expressions, is core to the yearning of many in the church. And I, for one, value this moment of journeying together.