As forty churches gathered to pray in Coventry in the summer of 2010 for revival and transformation, responding to the move of the Holy Spirit across the nation, we felt God’s heartbeat for healing and restoring our city.
Built on ancient monastic foundations, Coventry is one of the UK’s oldest cities and thrived around her praying, missionary communities, swiftly becoming known as a place of pilgrimage at the heart of the nation. But Coventry’s heart was ripped out under King Henry VIII, who tore down the monasteries and dispersed the praying presence so intrinsic to her identity. Today such expressions as ‘Sent to Coventry’ speak of the nation’s indifference to the city; inside, high rates of crime, disorder and social issues seem to cloud God’s glorious destiny for our home.
Into these conditions God gave us a promise and called us to pray:
No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah [my delight is in her],
and your land Beulah [married];
for the LORD will take delight in you,
and your land will be married.”
(Isaiah 62.4, NIV)
God had gone before us: city authorities gave us three adjoining medieval cottages on some of the old monastic ground in the city centre, free of charge for a month. Our vision was to restore a unified praying presence in Coventry, interceding for breakthrough and unity.
Many people came to pray – long-standing intercessors, Celtic style prayer groups, Black Pentecostal churches, cell groups, young people, old people, students… The outpouring of creativity was incredible, with pictures, poems, prophecies, scriptures and all kinds of artwork and activities to partake of. There was a real sense of hope, unity and expectation as we met and prayed with others from all across the city, and an awareness that this was just the start of God’s plan.