I’m builder, a do-er, a go to-er. I like to get things done. Goals set, accomplished, to do lists ticked off. I can see the big picture, and know the steps that will get me where I want to go.
And it’s been the biggest hindrance to my effectiveness in the prayer movement.
We wrestled with this early on in the life of the House of Prayer. In the place of prayer, we would catch God’s heart for a purpose, for a specific task. And we would want to put our shoulder to the burden, labour alongside God in the job. But this left us feeling scattered – pulled in many directions, and worn out. We thought God would tell us what was on His heart because He wanted us to DO something, to build something. It took us a couple of years of learning the hard way to figure out that what He really wanted us to do was to birth something.
Take for example, the prayer movement in our city of Burlington. For years various efforts to cobble together some citywide unity met with passivity and disinterest.
Option one – build – network, meet with pastors, try to influence the leaders in the city
Option two – birth through prayer in the secret place.
We decided to try option two, and a small team of us met weekly to pray for unity in our city and for our local leaders. And after two and a half years, all by themselves, the pastors in the city decided it was time to start meeting and praying together! That was three years ago, and we now have a thriving citywide prayer movement where pastors meet monthly and have transitioned from being colleagues to being true friends. We have twice yearly citywide prayer and worship events, a wonderfully successful Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, and flourishing missional partnerships amongst churches.
Consider the Apostle Paul as he communicates to the church in Galatia. He is not present with them, unable, to build in their midst, to put his hand to the plow. However, through prayer he is able to birth, and birth he does, “My little children, for whom I labor in birth (the New King James uses the word travail) again until Christ is formed in you..” ~Galatians 4:19
Our House of Prayer is small, not much to look at – it’s just a little room that we pray in. We call it “the womb”, and joke about it being “a womb with a view”. It’s a place where we lay down the tools of building, and like Elijah, we bend to the ground, put our face between our knees and pray for rain.