A few months ago, during my sabbatical, I felt like I was at a crossroads. For the previous year or so of my ten years with the House of Prayer, I had become increasingly involved in women’s advocacy in the areas of eating disorders, domestic violence, and mental health. The work had been increasingly fruitful and enjoyable. So much so, that I began to question my call to the prayer movement. Was I supposed to be “out there” working in the community, or was I supposed to be “in here” praying for the community?
Personal reflection and prayer has led me to the conclusion that it’s not a situation of “either-or”, but “and-both”. History has taught us that night and day prayer has always translated into missions and community transformation. The 100 year prayer meeting of the Moravian movement birthed global missions. More recently, IHOP Kansas City has changed its mission statement to “24/7 worship and prayer and 24/7 works of justice”.
Last spring, Floyd McClung, a key leader of YWAM, a global missions movement, and Mike Bickle, founder of IHOP, began to declare the convergence of the prayer movement and the missions movement. To hear Mike teach on this, click here.
King David understood these same realities. He knew how to “come in” – seeking the Lord, gazing on His beauty, dwelling in His house. He also knew how to “go out” – subduing the nations and establishing his kingdom. The reality is that we are the House of Prayer, the tabernacles of His presence, and by our “going out”, we will see the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord cover our communities, and the whole earth.
This week I visited The Upper Room, a bi-weekly gathering of intercessors in Cambridge. They meet together in the room above the city food bank, worship together, and pray. They are being systematic and strategic, seeking for ways to pray into all aspects of the life of their community. This time they invited a local health care professional, a former surgeon of the local hospital, to come and share about how to pray for the medical community and healthcare system:
Pray that medical professionals would be at peace with themselves and confident in their relationships with their family. Pray they would have the emotional energy to be fully present with their families while not on duty.
Pray that they would maintain a sense of idealism instead of falling prey to materialism. Pray that decisions would be based on the real needs of the people involved and not political motivations or personal gain. Pray also that there would be respect for every individual regardless of status.
Pray that doctors would be able to process well inside themselves and with others when things go wrong with patients and procedures.
Pray for hospital administrations and boards: for wisdom to make good decisions, and the ability to function peacefully as a board. Pray that finances would not be diverted away from patient care to deal with conflicts or litigation. Pray for a release for more funding for patient care throughout the system.
While it’s hard to break into the medical community and mobilize individuals therein for prayer, most hospitals have a chapel/prayer room onsite that is open to the public. People can gather there and pray for the medical community and healthcare issues.
Hospital Board meetings are generally open to the public, so it is possible to attend the meetings as an observer and pray quietly throughout.
Here’s a portion of a fantastic article by my buddy Peter that you all need to read!
Leaning into a biting wind, I pressed through the dark towards the hermitage I’d been nesting in for a few days. Relying on the map of each turn and ascent that my memory had charted in daylight, I navigated the 17-minute walk away from the forced air heat of the retreat center, relishing the delight of my return to solitude and the companion warmth of the woodstove in my waiting nest.
Back inside, the brisk walk with its crescendo of anticipation was already solidifying into a gift I’ve grown to treasure, and for which I gave immediate thanks: not only was I safely sheltered from the bleak cold and snowy ghosts outside the hermitage windows; in that moment I knew myself in a fresh manna way as just who I was, a child loved and held by warm silence. It was an early, wintry beginning to Lent that year, and it just felt so good to be in!
This gift has grown to be more than metaphor. Time and again I’m reminded of how impossible it is to resist the consistent, impulsive distractions prompting me to go out — unless I counter with an equally consistent and calm determination to stay in. Nowhere has this been more evident than in my efforts to keep up a daily meditation practice, when staying put becomes a navigational necessity when aiming towards the stillness needed for knowing that God is God, and we’re not. Whether it’s the Jesus prayer, or the Benedictine Maranatha, or Brennan Manning’s “Abba, I belong to you,” or Mary’s “Let it be to me,” staying with your mantra traveling companion begins to quietly reinforce the value of staying in, of remaining present to your deepest self.