29 February 2024

Encounter Prayer Gathering 2024: Embers fan into flame

Lieut-Colonel Jayne Roberts

People praying at the Encounter Prayer Gathering

Lieut-Colonel Jayne Roberts reports on a weekend of prayer, worship, teaching and fellowship at Encounter Prayer Gathering 2024.

Ignition! was the theme as people travelled from all parts of the territory for Encounter Prayer Gathering 2024. Major Gary Lacey, territorial prayer co-ordinator, and prayer consultant Lyndall Bywater welcomed 130 people to launch the UKI Boiler Room, a prayer initiative to enable the UK and Ireland Territory to pray for the mission of The Salvation Army.

An inspiring opening session brought an image of a hearth swept clean and prepared, and the weekend’s five main sessions further enabled Gary and Lyndall to share their vision of an Army ablaze, with the clear reminder that God sends the fire. 

Colonels Peter and Julie Forrest, chief secretary and territorial secretary for leader development respectively, introduced themselves and shared personal stories of wonderful answers to prayer. It was good to hear our leaders express their support for prayer as the fuel of mission.

Seven seminars gave delegates a varied Saturday programme and an opportunity to learn how to pray into mission. Options included:

  • Desperate for Prayer in Your Context?
  • Prophetic Justice: How Prayer and Action Can Change the World
  • Prayer and Mission: Entering Into the Ways of God
  • Connecting the ‘Connected Generation’ with Prayer and Praying for Young People
  • Core Recovery: The Foundation and Heartbeat of the Model
  • Having Faith in the Family
  • We Are Not for Sale

Seminar leaders were all people with territorial responsibilities in these specialist facets of mission and they were a gift to the gathering, sharing in prayer and conversation throughout the weekend.

Remarkable things happen when God’s people come together in prayerful unity, and the speakers were sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Worship was led by Jo and Joel Thomas (Cheltenham Citadel) and enabled delegates to experience the presence of God as we sang in praise of Jesus: ‘Your name is power./ Your name is healing./ Your name is life.’

A visual journal of the Encounter Prayer Gathering
A visual journal of the weekend by Major Lynden Gibbs

Based on Revelation 3:1–6, Gary’s powerful Sunday morning Bible message referenced the church at Sardis, reminding us that we can no longer rely on merely looking alive.

The gathering was left in no doubt that power and fire come from God, yet we can each engage in the work of prayer. Prayer furnaces – prayer group meetings in local settings – can be a vital part of engaging in the new and exciting venture of the UKI Boiler Room. 

In our personal lives, a holy habit of prayer and a daily rhythm enable us to intercede for the mission of The Salvation Army. In the final session, the new prayer rhythm was enacted by walking in small groups to brief prayer times on each of the daily themes of prayer that are highlighted on the Prayer Matters page.

This year at Encounter Prayer Gathering, the spacious conference room became holy ground, a place of deep encounter with God, a place where the breath of God came to blow upon the embers and fan into flame the hearts and lives of his people. 

Ignition of the UKI Boiler Room came gently as God’s people claimed his transforming Spirit and committed themselves to praying relentlessly.

Written by

Jayne Roberts

Lieut-Colonel Jayne Roberts

Spiritual Life Development Secretary

Major Gary Lacey explains the inspiration behind the UKI Boiler Room.

A weekend to gather together, listen to each other's stories and discover what God wants to empower us to do next.

Daily prayers to inform, encourage and immerse the territory in prayer.

Encouraging prayer in every aspect of Salvation Army life and ministry.