“I think we should call it the “Golden Horseshoe House of Prayer,” commented one pastor.
“But what about us?” another minister from Guelph stood up. “We want to be involved too, but we’re not in the Golden Horseshoe.”
“How about the Greater Ontario House of Prayer? GOHOP for short. That should include all of us.”
Heads nodded. A decision was made.
A ministry was named.
Nearly ten years later, we are in the process of reconsidering. Since 2001, many Houses of Prayer have sprung up all over Ontario. Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto, Oshawa, to name a few. As the prayer movement in each city has grown and consolidated, the need for a regional House of Prayer has diminished. Over the last few years, we have found ourselves focusing more on Burlington and Hamilton, and the name GOHOP began to feel awkward and cumbersome to us.
My current thinking about our role as a House of prayer has fed my dissatisfaction with our present title. I learned early on, mostly through my mistakes, that when GOHOP began to interface with a city our role was not to build the prayer movement in the city, but rather to discern it. Where were the faithful already praying? What initiatives were already underway? Where could we lend our strength and support? How can we help the small and faithful pockets of spiritual resistance find one another? We needed to resist the temptation to “broker” the prayer movement in a community and curb our desires to be the “go-to guys”. I won’t say that we do this well yet, but we are moving in better directions than we did in our youthful zeal as a ministry.
So if we are focusing on Hamilton, should we call ourselves the Hamilton House of Prayer, for example? I don’t think we will, because the Hamilton House of Prayer already exists. It is expressed through the Nehemiah Prayer Network, and the Hamilton City Wide Worship and Prayer events. The Love Hamilton Pastors prayer meeting and student prayer groups on several of our campuses. In True City’s week of 24/7 prayer. It is expressed in Sunday services all over the city, and on weekday congregational prayer meetings. Jesus declared that His house would be a house of prayer for all nations, and the prophet shouts in Malachi 1 that from every place, incense shall rise!
So what do we call ourselves? Not sure yet, but we’ll let you know when we figure it out!