cross Pacific Magazine


By Mark Ellis

COLWYN BAY, WALES (ANS) -- Steve Houghton almost gave up after he promoted a prayer walk at his church and only one other person showed up. Then God told him to watch what He could do with humble beginnings, and a tiny prayer movement expanded to the nations. (Pictured: Steve Houghton).

“I love to communicate with God,” says Steve Houghton, founder of Prayer Week (  Houghton had no church background when he was born-again in 1994. Five years later, he was asked to be the prayer coordinator at his church in North Wales because “no one else wanted to do it.”

“I wanted to see the prayer life in our church galvanized, so I organized a week of prayer,” Houghton says. He promoted a prayer walk of the town, set for a Tuesday night at 7:00. “I had it all planned in my mind,” he says. “But I stood on the steps of the church until 7:30 and no one else came.”

Houghton started to moan and complain to himself about the apathy of Christians. When he was about to give up and go home, one other woman showed up. Already discouraged, his first thought was: ‘I really don’t want to see you because now I don’t want to do this.’

The two started to walk and pray through the heart of the city. “I trailed behind while she prayed her heart out,” he recalls. “I was grumbling to myself as we walked.” Then he sensed God speaking to his heart. “He said, ‘Next year, if you stand with another church I’ll expand this.’” Houghton wondered to himself if he was imagining things.

The next year, Houghton approached another church in Colwyn Bay and they joined forces for a week of prayer in May 2000. “It was a fabulous week as we shared and prayed and worshipped together,” he says. “We came off that week on a real high.”

After that, Houghton started to get phone calls from other pastors in North Wales, wanting to link up with the effort in 2001. “I didn’t go seeking this, it’s just something that started to happen,” he says. One very traditional pastor called and told him: “We don’t pray the way you do, and we would like to join with you in Prayer Week, but we probably won’t come to your meetings.”

“I said, ‘That’s great.’” Houghton was encouraged by 13 churches standing together in North Wales in 2001.

Then Houghton began networking with other Christian leaders in South Wales, and they held a significant meeting in Cardiff, where several prayer ministries across Wales pledged their support for the next year. By May 2002, 300 churches were involved with Prayer Week throughout Wales.

Growing exponentially, by 2004 there were 1600 churches involved throughout the United Kingdom. “We also had people from 23 different nations contacting us through our website, telling us they would stand with us in prayer.”

Houghton says God told him to stop counting the number of churches involved with Prayer Week after the event in 2004. “He said, ‘I don’t want you to count how many churches are involved; I don’t want you to declare how many churches are involved; I don’t want you to know how many churches are involved.’”

One notable endorsement of the prayer movement came from South Korea. Dr. Yonggi Cho, senior pastor at the mega-sized Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, Korea wrote to them: “God is healing the land of Korea because believers are obedient to His Word, and they humble themselves and pray. He wants to do the same in other nations around the world… Every Christian should participate in Prayer Week and expect to see lives changed, families changed, and nations healed…when people really pray.”

Houghton’s vision is to see Christians throughout the world spending one week in prayer together, regardless of denominational backgrounds. He believes this will promote unity and encourage the body of Christ. “We want to join as ‘one accord’ for the purpose of seeing the lost reached, the gospel shared and a harvest of souls.”

There is a global push toward greater unity among believers which is being facilitated by prayer, Houghton believes. “It’s been coming for years, but it’s accelerated,” he says. “The Holy Spirit is moving the body of Christ back together in prayer. We need to be united.”

Citing John 17 Houghton adds, “My heart is to show the world that Christians can work together.” The theme of harvest, from Joel 3, has also become a prominent focus of Houghton’s prayers.

Houghton is intrigued by the timing of a number of prayer movements, which all started in 1999. The Global Day of Prayer in South Africa, as well as 24/7 prayer movements in Kansas City and England all trace their beginnings to the same period in 1999.

“God is moving his people to pray,” Houghton says. “This is about Christian standing with Christian, church standing with church, and nation standing with nation.”

Mark Ellis is a Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service. He is also an assistant pastor in Laguna Beach, CA. Contact Ellis at

ASSIST News Service (ANS) -- E-mail:

   Building Bridges ACROSS the Barriers      Because of a cross                       APA Ministries                     

Prayer Station

A - Across Pacific Magazine
S - Schools

God at Work
APM logo
Soul Hut