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90,000 U.S. testimonies of answered prayer sought for England monument

An artist's rendering of the Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer

EDITOR’S NOTE: The fundraising information originally included in this story has been updated by the group building the Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer.

BIRMINGHAM, England (BP) – Richard Gamble admits he “was not massively into prayer” nearly 20 years ago when he received inspiration to build a public monument to a million answered prayers.

His first experience with prayer had been decades earlier when he was 9 years old. He overheard his parents – both of them to this day non-believers – discussing the possibility of his mother Margaret having cancer.

“I didn’t know how to pray, but I put my hands together and said, ‘God will you look after my mum?’ And I just sensed that God was there and it was going to be OK, and it was. And so from that point I always believed, but it was another nine years until someone shared the Gospel with me,” Gamble told Baptist Press. “She’s fine. She’s 82 now. She’s alive and well.”

Gamble’s brainchild is the Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer, an interactive, 160-foot monument of 1 million white bricks built into an infinity loop on a plot of high-profile land in Birmingham, England. Linked to an app, the monument will allow visitors – whether online or in person – to digitally access true stories of answered prayer.

“Our job, I believe, is just to use this monument as a way to tell the whole planet, millions and millions of times, that individuals, young and old, of all types and shapes and sizes, to call on Jesus and He’s answered,” Gamble said. “Our hope is that many people will be inspired to pray and inspired to find the God Who answers. I believe the clear vision for this, and you see it in Psalms 145, is to proclaim the deeds of the Lord.”

Gamble was in the U.S. to discuss the project at the National Religious Broadcasters convention held May 22-25 in Orlando, Fla.

“The attitude towards sharing testimonies is very different in the United States than it is in the United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom everyone is very shy. They don’t want to offend anybody so they don’t want to say anything,” he told Baptist Press. “And I’m encouraged to come to the United States and hear people so willing to tell stories of what God has done in their life. It’s very encouraging.”

The monument is not a testament to a “name-it-and-claim-it” “supermarket” God, Gamble said, but rather a landmark to the journey of seeking God.

“The reality is God often answers not in the way that we expect, and definitely answers not in the timing we expect. And sometimes the answer is no, and the journey is how He helps us through that no,” Gamble said. “And we want to communicate the journey and having a relationship with Jesus. That is the most important thing.”

Gamble first received inspiration for the monument around 2004 and embarked on a 19-year journey of prayer and preparation. It was only 2014 when God put steam in Gamble’s work. Already, he’s raised through crowd-source funding and private donations nearly 90 percent of the money needed to complete the project’s first phase, anticipated to cost about $3.2 million.

The land was donated by a private citizen, the access road has been built, and construction will begin in 2024 on the infinity loop designed by Paul Bulkeley of Snug Architects in Winchester, Gamble said. Opening is projected for 2026. Nearly 800,000 people are expected to pass the monument daily at its location near the Birmingham airport, a major railway now under construction, and the intersection of two major highway arteries.

Individuals visiting the site will be able to download an app, point their phone toward any brick on the monument as far as 150 yards away and read a testimony of answered prayer. The app will be interactive, with prayers accessible by subject matter and the geographical location of the submitter. Those not at the physical location will be able to access prayers online.

Want to know how God has helped those suffering depression? Type depression into the app. Has God answered prayers from your state? Type the name of your state into the app and testimonies appear. The monument will not be limited in its number of prayers. While each brick will initially represent one answered prayer, the digital platform will allow Gamble to add additional prayers to each brick as submissions increase.

Gamble’s team is planting 163 trees around the monument to represent the prayer lives of heroes of the faith. Billy Graham, W.A. Criswell and Salvation Army founder William Booth will be among those featured, as well as lesser-known stalwarts spanning 500 A.D. to the present.

In the meantime, Gamble is seeking stories of answered prayers. He hopes to receive 90,000 such stories from the U.S. alone. To date, he’s received 36,000 stories from 28 countries. He invites Americans to submit prayers at eternalwall.us, with submissions allowed in writing, video or audio format. There’s no charge to submit answered prayers, and there’s no limit to the number of prayers each person may submit.

“It’s been a 19-year journey, and I never realized the hardest thing would be collecting the testimonies. It wasn’t easy to get the money, but it’s easier than getting the testimonies,” Gamble said. “Now that the project is definitely going to be built, it’s started to accelerate in the last few months. We’re currently on 36,000. We want to be on 200,000 on the day that we open.

“Because the idea is we don’t want it to be a dead memorial. We want it to be living. We will light it up at night, just to the extent that we’ve got the stories of answered prayer. So in that way, every day it will grow and change. And then when it’s full, we’ll change the color and light it up a different color. Because we want to communicate to people that Jesus is still alive and He’s still answering.”

Gamble sold his software business six years ago to help fund the project, and resigned as the CEO of Sports Chaplaincy U.K., a nonprofit sports chaplaincy support ministry birthed through the Baptist Union of Great Britain. The prayer monument is now Gamble’s fulltime job.

Gamble has learned to depend on prayer through his work on the project.

“I just cannot imagine a world without (prayer) in my life, and I just feel for people who don’t have that,” Gamble said. “There are times in our life where there are situations that are out of control. The whole world has just gone through a situation where it’s out of control, and you know what, I have no concerns whatsoever.”

Prayer is his constant.

“I’ve put myself in a position where I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t have the results to do what I’m doing. Nobody’s done it before,” Gamble said. “Over the 19 years we have regularly come across situations that are impossible. And so prayer is the only answer. It’s the only thing I can do. And I’ve just learned the great privilege for me is the intensity of the journey has just drawn me really, even closer to Jesus. And I do believe that God is more interested in the journey to the answered prayers than the answered prayers themselves.”