Building One Million Prayers Brick by Brick
"Thanks a million" says Elim member Michelle Heritage for new role finding answers to prayer.
Former teacher and Elim Coventry administrator Michelle Heritage recently set out on a very different career path to gather a remarkable one million answered prayers for a major UK Christian landmark set to open in Coleshill in the Midlands.
Michelle says the way God led her to take on the position as Head of Answered Prayer for the Eternal Wall was Holy Spirit led.
"I had been working as a teacher for many years and used to teach at Nexus, a Christian worship college. Having then worked in schools in Coventry, I sensed the Holy Spirit prompting me to get in touch with Dave Silber who used to be Principal at Nexus.
"It turned out that he had just started working at the Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer, and told me they were looking for somebody to take on a new position as Head of Answered Prayer.
"As he described the role, I thought this is why I was meant to meet him. This is the job that I’m supposed to be doing."
Michelle initially took on the role part-time while still working as an administrator for Elim Coventry. Then just before Christmas last year she started working full-time for the project, which she says is extremely rewarding.
"I’m responsible for collecting answered prayers from all around the world, and connecting with organisations that believe in the power of testimony. I’m also gathering answered prayers from the history of the UK.
"It shows that God has been active in the formation of the UK as a nation, and in answering prayers that have changed the course of history through people like William Wilberforce and Amy Carmichael."
There are also plans to build a 169-foot (51.5m) Christian landmark beside the motorway in Coleshill just outside Birmingham, that will eclipse the size of the Angel of the North, and is expected to attract 300,000 visitors each year, contributing £9.3 million to the local economy.
The iconic ‘eternal’ arch will be constructed using one million bricks, each representing individual prayers that have been answered for people across the country.
Once constructed, all profits raised from the ongoing operation of the Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer will fund a million bricks to be donated to social housing – a brick for each answered prayer.
Richard Gamble, CEO of Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer said: "It was my 11-year-old daughter who suggested that we should ensure that the Eternal wall had a significant social impact.
"The project is the practical out-working of what we stand for as a charity; we have been clear since the start that the project needed to sow back into the great work that charitable organisations are doing across the country."
It is anticipated that Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer will create 60 new jobs during its two-year construction phase starting this year, thereafter providing 20 full-time positions for employees to work for the charity in the visitor centre, café, bookshop, and the 24-hour onsite chaplaincy support service. It is also estimated that the project will generate an additional gross social value of £1.4 billion, including £430 million in charitable donations.
“Social housing is at a crisis point in the UK and it is our hope that we can play a small part in supporting those most in need,” said Gamble.
"Our hope would be that Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer creates an opportunity to support charities that are working to help those most in need. In the first generation of Eternal Wall’s lifetime, we expect to generate five times the value of the build for charities."
Michelle says she’s feels extremely honoured to be part of this remarkable project, that will have both a social and spiritual impact on the nation.
"It really is a great privilege to be doing what I’m doing. But the fact that my in-box is full of emails with people sharing answered prayers is so inspiring.
"Each morning I read about testimonies of people being healed, raised from the dead, receiving God’s provision, and great stories about how God is moving during Covid-19.
"The other thing that I absolutely love is that I get to connect with Christian organisations; with people who have active prayer lives and see really exciting things happen. They can be answers to prayer in everyday life, or outrageously big prayers that have seen God move in response."
So how does Michelle feel about the huge task ahead of her?
"One million prayers sounds like such a massive number, doesn’t it? But God has answered more than that in the UK in this past decade, let alone in all the centuries that have gone before; and in all the other countries around the world.
“On my first day I remember asking God how do I find a million answered prayers, and I felt the Lord say to me, ‘Do you think any number is harder than any other number for me?’ Obviously no, a million is not harder for God than ten.
"And it’s been pretty much like that ever since.
"It’s felt like an adventure, where the Holy Spirit is guiding us towards connections with people who have very similar visions, and are holding onto decades of testimonies that are so exciting to read.
"It’s been really encouraging to know that as we rely on God, he moves faster than we can."
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