London, England, Aug 26, 2023 / 07:00 am (CNA).
The building of a major Christian monument in the heart of the United Kingdom is expected to be completed by 2026.
The Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer will be an interactive monument made up of 1 million bricks, each representing an individual’s answered prayer, and will be situated between the M6 and the M42 motorways near Birmingham, England.
Using a bespoke app (custom-made software), visitors will be able to hold their phone up to a brick and discover the specific answered prayer it represents with either audio, video, or text.
The founder of this ambitious project, Richard Gamble, a Christian, told CNA that the inspiration for the prayer monument first began during Easter 19 years ago when he heard God’s voice telling him to carry a cross around his U.K. hometown of Leicester.
“At the time I was considering being a pastor of a church,” he said in an online interview in July. “And I just sort of prayed and said ‘God, what do you want to do now? What do you want me to do next?’ And it’s difficult to describe, but it was sort of like a flash image through my head and this idea of building a national landmark wall made of a million bricks where every brick represents a story of answered prayer.”
“So, I just sort of went home and my wife recognized the little twinkle in my eye and was like ‘ohh, what’s going on here?’ And I said, ‘I think we’re going to build a national landmark.’ So that was 19 years ago, in 2004, and I had 10 years of praying not knowing what to do because I’m not an architect, I’m not an engineer, I can’t even put up a set of shelves in the house. But nine years ago, I just felt, ‘OK, this is time to get it started.’ And you know, it’s been an amazing roller coaster journey.”
The founder of the Eternal Wall interactive monument, Richard Gamble, said the inspiration began 19 years ago when he heard God’s voice telling him to carry a cross around his U.K. hometown of Leicester. Photo courtesy of Eternal Wall
Gamble’s vision began to bear fruit after a successful crowdfunding appeal to buy a piece of land. Then the project began to gain momentum.
“I needed somebody who understood building, so I prayed,” he said. “That day I met somebody who understood how to build it and he said, ‘I know how to build it. I’ll help you.’
“Then another day [I’m at] at church and I’m praying that somebody will be there to help me with planning permission, and it just happens that one of the leading barristers in the country on planning applications for faith projects is in the room! Some people might put this down as coincidence but I think a wise man once said ‘the more I pray, the more coincidences happen.’”
Gamble and his team are hoping to have 200,000 prayer testimonies by the time the project opens and had already received 36,726 at the time of the interview with CNA.
He said among the testimonies was the story of a single mother who had run out of food and prayed the Our Father for “daily bread” when her doorbell rang and it was a supermarket delivery man offering her a free delivery of food.
Gamble also stressed that the Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer was not simply about sharing testimonies where God has answered prayers with a “yes.”
“When we pray, God listens and he answers, but sometimes the answer is no, and so we’ve got some stories where people have prayed and the answer’s been no but that the outcome is really powerful,” he said.
Gamble also received a powerful story from a young couple who lost a child at an early age.
“They look back on it years later and say actually the experience, and God walking with them through that grief and suffering, has enabled them to find comfort and contentment in life, whatever their circumstance. I think that’s a really powerful story.”
The Eternal Wall project has been supported by a variety of different Christian denominations, including Catholics.
Monsignor Timothy Menezes, dean of St. Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham and pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Aston, was invited to support the project as a Catholic representative during the summer of 2016 and has been involved ever since.
In an email exchange with CNA on Aug. 14, Menezes said the wall will be “a Christian symbol in an increasingly secular society.”
Menezes’ main hope and prayer for the wall is that it will give Christians “a sense of pride that our faith is still as relevant as ever in the modern world; that those who do not know prayer in their life will be able to ask their questions; that people can come to see that faith, in general, is a power for good, when people of faith unite.”
Menezes also explained that he had arranged for a tree to be planted on the same site as the Wall of Prayer, sponsored by the Catholics of Birmingham, as part of a larger organizational effort for a number of trees to be planted, with each one representing a hero of faith.
“The faith hero we identified is St. Maximilian Kolbe,“ Menezes told CNA. “Bringing together the Death Wall of Auschwitz and the Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer seems to me to be a transformation of evil to good, from despair to hope, from misused human power to the honoring of the only true power — the power of God.”