Dirty Glory: Go Where Your Best Prayers Take You
by Pete Greig (Hodder & Stoughton, £9.99)
In a world that seems increasingly ambivalent to religion and God, Pete Greig’s ‘24-7 prayer revolution’ is nothing short of incredible. Started in 1999, the prayer movement began as a humble gathering of young people curious to learn what religion was all about in a shabby warehouse in England. This small group prayed together for 24 hours, and in that time they also explored the idea of God and faith, sowing the seeds for a movement that, almost 20 years later, is stronger than ever.
Pete Greig was one of the people who attended this event. Rather than praying together and parting, he and his fellow laypeople continued to explore the Christian faith together in their ramshackle prayer room, inviting any and all to join them and pray through words, music, and even graffiti.
One night, in a moment of desperation as he grappled with how to define his faith, Peter scrawled a poem called ‘The Vision’ on the wall of the warehouse that has since been recited by tens of thousands of people.
Including two books, 20 prayer communities, and countless registered prayer rooms, the 24-7 prayer revolution is now an international movement inspiring millions of people to engage in prayer, mission and justice.
Dirty Glory is the second book in a series, called Red Moon Chronicles, that details Pete’s 15-year journey as the founder of this massive community of laypeople.
Though a truly prolific figure, Pete tells the story of his 24-7 journey in the voice of an everyman. He is a figure the reader can relate to, especially those of us with our formative years in the nineties and early noughties. Reading this book is like listening to the stories of a particularly adventurous friend, making it easy to devour chapters at a time.
The book details many of the travels Pete has embarked on in both his professional and personal life, as well as recounting fascinating, inspiring, and at times heartbreaking tales of the people he has met in his line of work.
He talks of being in London the day of the 7/7 attacks, praying with his friend as the city erupted in chaos. He remembers his friend Kelly, who helped prostitutes and drug dealers in a forgotten Mexican town find God.
If narrative non-fiction and contemporary religion fascinate you, pick up this book. Even if that genre and topic hold no appeal, this book is worth a read. It’s an inspiring reminder that a few people really can make a difference. Nearly two decades on from his first prayer meeting, Pete and his followers have helped spread the Christian faith to hundreds of thousands of people and, in doing so, proved the accessibility of the Christian religion to followers and sceptics alike.