Shirin Aguiar-Holloway reports on the recent National Day of Prayer, which brought together Christians from across the UK to Wembley Stadium to pray in unison for the nation
“We experienced the Body of Christ coming together in the most famous stadium in theUKto declare the Name of Jesus” – the words of Noel Robinson, Director of Music and Worship at the National Day of Prayer, which saw believers from all backgrounds and churches from around theUK(and further afield) unite in worship on 29 September 2012. Thousands more joined in through live broadcasts and streams via GOD TV, Revelation TV, OHTV, Premier Radio and UCB.
The Lord’s Prayer was a key focus for the historic six-hour prayer gathering, and emblazoned across the main stage were the prayer’s opening words: ‘Our Father in Heaven, heal our land.’ Prayers were said for the Church, the nation and for individuals.
The Day’s theme was ‘transforming our communities’, and there were prayers for unity for churches to collaborate to transform communities. The event celebrated churches working together during the Queen’s Jubilee weekend and the London 2012 Games, and organisers gave details of a major mission in 2013 in London. Singers at this major initiative included Remanente, Graham Kendrick, Sonnie Badu, Tim Hughes, Matt Redman and Guvna B, backed by the All Souls Orchestra and a mass choir.
For Dr Jonathan Oloyede, who convened the huge event, it was a partial fulfilment of a series of dreams and visions he received in the 90s. One vision in particular was of thousands gathered in worship at a massive stadium. He told Keep the Faith: “NDOP Wembley was the partial fulfilment of an 18-year-old vision of seeing Wembley Stadium packed with Christians from different cultures, creeds and classes. The Lord smiled on us with His presence, fantastic atmosphere, wonderful weather, and the colourful unity of church in its diversity.”
Worship leader, Noel Robinson, said it was an honour to serve at the NDOP Wembley: “We certainly showed the world our unity as the Church. Christians came from all denominations, church groups, house groups, Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, Chinese, all with the purpose of touching God in prayer and worship. I believe that God was pleased with the gathering of His people.”
Guvna B spoke after performing his recently-released single Free: “It’s amazing to be here, especially representing young people. It’s good that we can be serious about our faith and come together with the adults and express praise, prayer and worship as well, so it means it’s gone well. GDOP is important because you can’t preach to a diverse nation if you haven’t got a diverse church. For so many people from different creeds, colours, backgrounds, to come together and be united for one common goal and common vision, it doesn’t really happen that much.”
Award-winning African gospel singer, Sonnie Badu, who representedAfricaat the event, shared: “It’s a great feeling. This feeling is priceless. It’s a true honour to be here today. RepresentingAfricameans a lot. I’m praying that God gives us strength to keep doing it every year.”
Bishop Errol Campbell, who leads Alpha and Omega Christian Fellowship in Kingsbury, North London, attended with his entire congregation. He said: “It’s one of the greatest events in our country for a long time, and it’s historical of course, because it’s a national day of prayer for our nation, and what does our nation need more than prayer right now? We need God to intervene in our country and in our nation, because only God can make the difference.”
Leyla, a student from Hertfordshire, said: “It’s surreal. The atmosphere here is absolutely amazing, the energy. Doing it at Wembley Stadium is going to draw a lot of attention, and when people see the effect that it’s had on people here, that’s definitely going to start affecting people more and more, and hopefully gradually grow and grow. Christians can start getting out there more, so more people can hear.”
Checko came with his church, Trinity Baptist in West Norwood, SouthLondon, to support Noel Robinson. He said: “Absolutely, absolutely marvellous. An event like this can definitely impact on society, especially the young ones. When you bring them, they get to understand more of these things, and fellowship with people together, worshipping together.”
Organisers are keen for the prayer momentum to continue. Dr Oloyede urged Christians across theUK: “Set your mobiles to 12noon daily, and pray the Lord’s Prayer in 5s, 50s, 500s or 5000s. Let us all make the effort to join in prayer everywhere with other Christians different from us.”