By Nick Phoenix
This summer I had the amazing opportunity to join the wonderful work of 24/7 Prayer in San Antonio, Ibiza for two action packed weeks. Based in the heart of the vibrate nightlife of the West End, 24/7 seek to simply bless and serve this town. The main action kicks off at night-time, where we go out and walk the streets, providing practical help when someone gets into a muddle from too much drink, by walking them home or providing them with a lift in what is nicknamed “the vomit van” when taxis refuse to take them and chatting to people feeling isolated or alone and offering to pray. No night was ever the same!
We went out of our comfort zones to chat to people, asking them how their night was, if we could help them find where they were going, or if there was anything going on in their lives personally that we could pray for them about. The variety of people with different stories, life experiences and cultures that we met was amazing. From bar owners exhausted from a hectic summer season; teenagers enthusiastic about having a good night out; tourists trying to escape from pain and heart break of everyday life, to people under the influence of drugs or too much alcohol, we had just one simple task of loving them as we found them. Many times, there were situations beyond us, too big for us, too confusing and that was where prayer really came in.
As teams, we would alternate between an hour on the streets, and an hour in the prayer room, crying out to a God bigger than all we had seen and more compassionate than we could ever be. Sometimes it was messy. Sometimes a little awkward. Sometimes it was joyful. Sometimes just draining. Sometimes it meant practically walking somebody home. Sometimes it meant praying for comfort in the midst of grief and for peace that didn’t make sense. Sometimes it was just a smile or a conversation, reminding people of their true worth and value, that they’re so loved and that they have a purpose. Sometimes it was just simply listening. There wasn’t really any agenda or a set plan and that was the beauty of it – we were simply here to serve, show kindness and to get our hands dirty in showing love, whatever the cost. Our inspiration and motivation was Jesus, who we believe left all comfort and safety to die and give it all away to bring hope, healing, freedom and wholeness, so abundantly and undeservedly. And that was the joy and fulfillment in it all, that however dark it seemed, we could be a small part of bringing light. However hopeless it seemed, hope still broke in. In the messiness and brokenness, one thing we discovered was that every person was so uniquely loved and never abandoned. What a rewarding few weeks.
Supported by St John’s Student Opportunities Fund.