In 2004, during Easter, I carried a cross around Leicestershire as a piece of performance art. Along the way, God gave me a vision to build a permanent monument by a motorway to provoke people to think about Jesus.
That idea has become a 16-year journey to build a national landmark about Jesus, composed of a million bricks, with each brick linked to an answered prayer. A place where visitors can hold their phones up to a brick and read the answered prayer linked to it, and where they can contemplate whether prayer, and the hope it carries, has a place in their life.
We are now in a position where we have been given land worth £1.7 million, thousands of people have been involved, and only a few weeks ago the highest authority in the land granted us planning permission. Undertaking the project has been a rollercoaster, but I believe God has been more interested in my journey of faith than its completion. Similarly, I believe he is more interested in what we learn on our journey towards answered prayer, rather than the answer itself.
As I’ve travelled around UK churches, and in my personal study, I’ve discovered that we have largely forgotten the importance of remembering. Our culture of instant gratification has devalued the importance of history and distracted us from dwelling on all God has done for us.
During the pandemic, my WhatsApp was filled with groups encouraging me to pray for Boris Johnson when he was sick; not one of these groups encouraged me to celebrate the answer when he recovered. In my experience, many people pray, hoping for God to answer. Few thank him when he does, and even fewer choose to remember it.
But this was never God’s plan. Remembering is referenced in 50 of the 66 books of the Bible. There are over 1,000 scriptures that directly address the subject. In fact, the building of monuments as a tool of remembrance appears multiple times.
Jacob memorialised his vision by erecting a memorial stone (Genesis 28). Samuel laid an Ebenezer stone after God thwarted the Philistine attack (1 Samuel 7). In Joshua 4, God led the Israelites into the Promised Land through the Jordan River, which he miraculously stopped from flowing. Joshua instructed the twelve tribes to remove stones from the riverbed and lay them in Gilgal, because “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground’”(Joshua 4:21-22).
Eternal Wall is a 21st century response to this example from the book of Joshua. Our purpose is to share stories of hope with millions of people in a way that has never been done before; a monument of remembrance, much like the stones of Gilgal (but just a bit bigger!).
Deuteronomy 4:9 urges us to “only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”
Our stories are not just secret treasures to be hoarded in a dusty attic. If we consider that each answered prayer is a gift, then should we not consider how we use that gift to serve and encourage others?
Let’s be people who remember what God has done and use this gift to tell others about the God who answers.
Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer will tell one million stories of hope. The monument will be a Möbius strip, one of the only infinite shapes, which will tower 50 metres into the skyline - 2.5 times the height of the Angel of the North, and 500,000 journeys will travel past it weekly. The spiritual impact this could have on our nation is almost inconceivable.
What began 16 years ago as an idea is now on the cusp of becoming a permanent memorial to the glory of Jesus, standing for hundreds of years to remind generations that Jesus is alive, he hears us when we pray, and he answers.
Be a part of history. Share your answered prayer. Together let’s make hope visible.
Richard Gamble is CEO of Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer. Construction on the project is expected to begin in 2021 with completion in Autumn 2022. Eternal Wall is looking to gather one million answered prayers, with every city and region in the UK represented. Share your story now at www.eternalwall.org.uk/testimony