Every generation needs one. A person who sees a wrong in the world – whether it be social, political, spiritual – and decides to stand up and change things. Someone who is at the same time attacked, adored, hated and loved. Someone who is unaffected and simply follows what God is calling them to do.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was one. He dreamed of complete racial equality, justice and freedom for all men – and set out to do something about it. He sparked a movement that rallied masses and changed the world.
But the world is different now. Is it possible for a leader to emerge today and impact society the way King did almost 40 years ago? Our generation is unusual. We’re highly fragmented, yet highly connected. Instead of gathering at church on Sundays, we gather online. We make it a point to be individuals, yet you’d be hard pressed to find one of us without a cellular leash.
We are cynical. We’re educated and rational. Religion doesn’t do anything for us, so we’ve turned to filling the void in our lives with other things – materialism, music, careers. Nothing impresses us.
Whether we know it or not, we’re looking for something to capture our hearts and imaginations. Something bigger than ourselves and our worldviews. Our generation is deprived of God and in need a drastic change like those King helped spark in the mid-60s. We need something to awaken us and stir passion and zeal for a cause. Thankfully, something seems to be brewing.
Though we have no one leader like Martin Luther King, there is an army of no-name individuals beginning to rise to the surface, sparking an undercurrent of massive change in our generation. It’s not led by any one person, but by thousands. These people aren’t the old leaders toiling in the churches and completely unaware of what’s happening in the world around them. These leaders are out there – literally. Religious people hate them, but they’re out there where Jesus was: In the streets. With people. Touching lives. Changing things. Much like King did.
This week I had the awesome privilege of spending a couple days with Peter Greig from 24-7 Prayer. This unassuming, hip Brit is head of a worldwide network of prayer that is radically changing the face of our generation. They have 300+ prayer rooms in 35 countries praying around the clock, and they are doing it in ways the world has never seen before. They have mix tapes for the prayer rooms of intense electronica, rock and ambient music that uplift the spirit and guide prayer times. They pray and worship in various ways – through the arts, writing, dancing, spoken prayer. They take missions trips to hedonistic destinations like the Ibiza rave festival and are working and praying around the clock there.
They’re touching lives. Not in a conventional, evangelistic tract-passing way, but in an subversive, relational way. They have groups in make-shift prayer rooms praying for people to come to Christ at the same time other groups are in the bars and clubs meeting people and seeing it happen. They’re being light in the darkness – and Pete says they’re seeing miracles.
One night not long after all this first started in 1999, Pete found himself up at 3 in the morning wrestling with God. This round-the-clock prayer thing didn’t make any sense. Would it even work? Does prayer even work? Is God even listening? Is God even real?
Then it hit him. Pete started scrawling some words on a piece of paper. He began seeing this generation, what makes us different, and how God was going to use us to change the face of the world. He titled his thoughts "The Vision" and stuck them on the wall with some other papers (it’s customary in the prayer rooms to stick prayers on the walls) and went on his way.
Somehow, those words got out. Friends started emailing them to each other. Publications started printing them. No one knew where they came from, but the words resonated in a deep way. Much like Martin Luther King, Jr.’s "I have a dream" speech almost 40 years earlier, "The Vision" has become a rallying cry. A mission statement. A vision of what’s happening and what’s to come.
God is doing something huge around the world. The passion and purpose that is birthing RELEVANT magazine is the same thing that birthed 24-7 Prayer, Passion, The Call, and countless other pieces in this massive, worldwide puzzle. God is doing something big. We may never again march on Washington, but the way that day in 1963 forever altered the course of history is what’s happening now, too. God is birthing a vision. Read it for yourself and see if it doesn’t awaken something deep within you. I’m betting it will.
THE VISION[ Pete Greig, 24-7prayer.com]
So this guy comes up to me and says, "What’s the vision? What’s the big idea?" I open my mouth and words come out like this…
The vision is JESUS – obsessively, dangerously, undeniably Jesus.
The vision is an army of young people. You see bones? I see an army. And they are FREE from materialism.
They laugh at 9-5 little prisons.
They could eat caviar on Monday and crusts on Tuesday. They wouldn’t even notice.
They know the meaning of the Matrix, the way the West was won.
They are mobile like the wind, they belong to the nations. They need no passport. People write their addresses in pencil and wonder at their strange existence.
They are free, yet they are slaves of the hurting and dirty and dying.
What is the vision?
The vision is holiness that hurts the eyes. It makes children laugh and adults angry. It gave up the game of minimum integrity long ago to reach for the stars. It scorns the good and strains for the best. It is dangerously pure.
Light flickers from every secret motive, every private conversation.
It loves people away from their suicide leaps, their Satan games.
This is an army that will lay down its life for the cause.
A million times a day its soldiers choose to loose that they might one day win the great "Well done" of faithful sons and daughters.
Such heroes are as radical on Monday morning as Sunday night. They don’t need fame from names. Instead they grin quietly upwards and hear the crowds chanting again and again: "COME ON!"
And this is the sound of the underground
The whisper of history in the making
Revolutionaries dreaming once again
Mystery is scheming in whispers
Conspiracy is breathing…
This is the sound of the underground
And the army is discipl(in)ed.
Young people who beat their bodies into submission.
Every soldier would take a bullet for his comrade at arms.
The tattoo on their back boasts "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain."
Sacrifice fuels the fire of victory in their upward eyes. Winners. Martyrs. Who can stop them ?
Can hormones hold them back?
Can failure succeed? Can fear scare them or death kill them?
And the generation prays like a dying man with groans beyond talking,
with warrior cries, sulphuric tears and with great barrow loads of laughter!
Waiting. Watching: 24 – 7 – 365.
Whatever it takes they will give: Breaking the rules. Shaking mediocrity from its cosy little hide. Laying down their rights and their precious little wrongs, laughing at labels, fasting essentials. The advertisers cannot mold them. Hollywood cannot hold them. Peer-pressure is powerless to shake their resolve at late night parties before the cockerel cries.
They are incredibly cool, dangerously attractive inside.
On the outside? They hardly care. They wear clothes like costumes to communicate and celebrate, but never to hide.
Would they surrender their image or their popularity?
They would lay down their very lives – swap seats with the man on death row – guilty as hell. A throne for an electric chair.
With blood and sweat and many tears, with sleepless nights and fruitless days, they pray as if it all depends on God and live as if it all depends on them.
Their DNA chooses JESUS. (He breathes out, they breathe in.)
Their subconscious sings. They had a blood transfusion with Jesus.
Their words make demons scream in shopping centres.
Don’t you hear them coming?
Herald the weirdos! Summon the losers and the freaks. Here come the frightened and forgotten with fire in their eyes. They walk tall and trees applaud, skyscrapers bow, mountains are dwarfed by these children of another dimension. Their prayers summon the hounds of heaven and invoke the ancient dream of Eden.
And this vision will be. It will come to pass; it will come easily; it will come soon.
How do I know? Because this is the longing of creation itself, the groaning of the Spirit, the very dream of God. My tomorrow is his today. My distant hope is his 3D. And my feeble, whispered, faithless prayer invokes a thunderous, resounding, bone-shaking great "Amen!" from countless angels, from hero’s of the faith, from Christ himself. And he is the original dreamer, the ultimate winner.
Guaranteed.[We at RELEVANT urge you to check out 24-7prayer.com and get involved. A revolution is happening. It will change the world.]