Ok – I Admit it – I Wear Socks and Sandals….

In Winnipeg, where I grew up, I went to the artsy university.  Serious students who wanted to advance in the fields of engineering or medical sciences migrated to the south of the city, where they tramped from building to building (in -40 temperatures!) on the sprawling campus of the University of Manitoba.  Us hippie wannabees (Born a decade too late, to my chagrin) sluffed around the halls of the much smaller University of Winnipeg in our long skirts, socks and Birkenstock sandals (in Winnipeg winters,  you try wearing sandals without socks!).  We were the socially conscious, Earth Mother-y, community focused type.  The UofM’ers?  They were the science nerds or the corporate climbers.

Eventually my Birkenstocks fell to pieces and I graduated to pointy toed high heel shoes (thanks Stacey and Clinton!).  For eight years, the House of Prayer was graciously hosted by the Crossroads Centre (home of 100 Huntley St.)  Dress code in that facility was business casual, and I enjoyed “putting myself together”, shoes and all, every morning to blend in with the corporate culture.

The other day I went to the store and got myself a pair of Birkenstocks – my first since University days.  Our new prayer locations in downtown are walking distance from Kirk’s and my new house (yipee!).  Part of our decision to relocate everything to the urban core of the city is that we want to be community focused.  Up until now, I have spent entirely too much time in my car, zipping from city to city, cocooned in glass and steel.  We want to live near where we work, invest in and bless our local community.  I want to walk to work.  Stop in in the Portuguese grocery on the way home.  Pray for my neighborhoods and get to know my neighbors as I travel through.  And the half hour walk to work means that I can’t wear $6.99 castoffs from Value Village anymore – and certainly not pointy toed heels!

It feels a lot like going back my roots, the ideals I held in my University days.  Not wearing socks with my new sandals yet, but come the cold weather…

Dreaming of a Prayer Saturated City

In my oh so humble opinion, Richard Long’s daily blog www.togethercanada.wordpress.com is a must read for any serious practicioner in the prayer and city transformation movement.

Here is a recent post shares a brainstorming session from Mission Ottawa where they gather 75 ideas for saturating their city in prayer!

Dreams we have for a prayer-saturated city

A Prayer Leadership Team that would catalyze and support many other specific teams that would take on some of these projects.

An Ottawa House of Prayer (for the city)

A Missions Prayer Base

Prayer Walking of every street in Ottawa

Prayer Adoption of every street in Ottawa

Measurable results in areas like crime reduction.

A City Hall Prayer Team

Connectedness through a well-developed Communications System which would include every congregation in the City.

A Research group

A Creative Arts Community that prays

Situational Prayer using “Art Stations”

Prayer Booths at every celebratory event throughout the year.  Eg. Canada Day, Jazz Fest, Winterlude

Prayer Help phone line

Website offering prayer

Prophetic “Listening and Seeing” team

SWAT teams (Strategic Warfare for special sites)

Prayer Assemblies

Days of Prayer

Week of Prayer

Prayer Walls

24-7 weeks or weekends

The Burn in Ottawa

Global Day of Prayer with huge buy-in from the Church

Large Venue gatherings (like City-Wide)

Regional Gatherings

“Ushering In the Presence of the Lord” kind of prayer resulting in an anointing for HEALING throughout the city

Healing Rooms around the city

Greater and Greater Annual Civic Prayer Breakfasts

Prayer conferences with major speakers for training, and inspiring.

Prayer trainers sent out to other cities and nations.

“Bridal Intercession” that incorporates Worship. (taught to every prayer congregation through training teams)

Companies and Businesses with Intercessors

Special Ops (teams that do deep research on major issues and can lead prayer into these issues.)

Prayer for every school, college and university

Prayer for Social Agencies

Prayer for Families in Crisis

Special “clean up” teams for crime sites.

Prayer for every inner-city ministry

Prayer for every EMS, Police officer, Firefighter

Prayer team for every Police station.

RCMP chaplains

Prayer for our Prisons (awesome stuff is already happening)

Special prayer for our juvenile incarceration facility

City to City prayer missions

An understanding and embracing of Ottawa’s “Gateway” calling

Ottawa would be known as a “City of Prayer”.

Short term prayer missions to other nations

Fully supported long-term prayer missionaries in the nations.

A focus on raising up prayer in our Youth

Mobilization of our children to prayer

Evangelism and Prayer Synergy

Evangelistic Praying door-to-door

Neighbourhood “Lighthouses of Prayer”

More Incarnational Ministry like “Move-In”

Training Teams that move around the congregations.

Prayer Curriculum for every class and cell

A Prayer Point person in every congregation to facilitate communication and mobilization

A city that prays for the world

Pastor to pastor prayer everywhere

Weekly Pastors’ prayer meetings in every sector of the city

Pastors Prayer Days, and Retreats

Prayer for every pastor

A prayer team backing every church planter

Twinning of established congregations to pray for new church plants

Breakthrough anointing on our prayers for the tough situations

Breakthrough prayer for the Muslim community

Special Prayer for First Nations

Special Prayer for Francophones

Special Prayer for Chinese,

Special Prayer for the Lebanese and other Arabic communities

Prayer that releases and procures property for church planting and other kingdom purposes

Special Prayer effort targeting New Immigrant neighbourhoods

Prayer Pilgrimages

Prayer Retreats in the Contemplative tradition

Resources available on website

An online centre for connection and identity and promotion of events and initiatives.

A Newsletter that tells the stories and challenges congregations

Salaried staff who can support all these initiatives.

And we have just started dreaming God’s dreams for our city!

A Day in the Life of an Urban Monastic

5 am – Wake at the crack of dawn.  Grumble at my inexorable body clock.  Stumble downstairs for coffee and my morning paper.  Gather prayer fuel for the day over the Hamilton Spec ~ this morning it’s the shortage of supportive housing for women facing domestic violence.  Love the Spectator and am pleasantly surprised at it’s positive perspective on Christian initiatives in the city.  Watch my squirrels as they hang upside down trying to wrest bird food from the feeder, wishing I was a strong, lithe and determined.

6 am – Prayer – God what is on your heart today?  Sitting back in His presence, just hanging out… “Do not be afraid, little flock, it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom”.

9 am – Arrive at Living Rock http://www.livingrock.ca and park myself in their prayer room.  Living Rock is a fantastic ministry in Hamilton that’s been serving the needs of at risk youth in the city for 25 years.  We’ve been in formal partnership with them for a year.  Today our core team is here from GOHOP and we join in the Rock’s regular morning prayer meeting.  Listen to an Audio Adrenaline song ” Make me, take me, break me, I am pierced” and get choked up…

9:30 am – Individual staff filter into the prayer room and one by one, we pray for them.  The Rock workers are a hard working bunch and carry such a burden as they love and serve these young people.  We pray.  They weep.  A couple of the youth come in, limping with physical and psychic wounds.  More prayer.  More tears.   Note to self – bring more kleenex.

11:30 am – Set up for the Wednesday Gathering/Chapel hosted by the Living Rock.  Worship at noon – me, Kirk on the most dilapidated drum set I’ve ever seen, and our buddy Kev (he’s so cool we call him K-Dogg) pounding out the base.  Everlasting God followed by All Who are Thirsty.  We linger on “Come, Lord Jesus Come”  The need here is so great –  we’re pulling on the resources of Heaven.  Tim teaches on persevering prayer.  “How long can you hang on the monkey bars at the park?  Do you think you could persevere longer if you were hanging over a huge cliff and your life depended on it?”  He invites people forward after the service and many come up for ministry.  Another reprise of “Come, Lord Jesus Come“, and then Kev and I settle into a groove, singing scriptures over the hearts in the room.  People linger.  We pray for some more.

2 pm – Sitting down in the office with Al and Karen Craig, the Directors of Living Rock.  Collaboration.  Planning a week of 24/7 prayer this summer.  A UHaul truck has been made available to us, so we’re going to make a prayer room on wheels and park it outside the Rock for a week, and teach all these kids to pray creatively through art.  Part of the Rock’s Arts in August initiative.  Al and Karen introduce me to one of their staff who is really into the James St. North Art Crawl, and we strategize how we can use the truck/mobile prayer room to do art outreach “we can call it Artreach!”  Love the synergy, making new friends and dreaming together.

3:30 pm – Finally tear Kirk away from tuning the dilapidated drums at the Rock.  Drive over to our new prayer space on James St. (at the new True City offices).  Stop for a juice on the way.  Kirk chats with a man sitting on the sidewalk, introduces him to Jesus, prays for healing.  My husband is getting so bold!  I watch and grin and offer the guy a juice.

4 pm – Kirk and I drive aimlessly around Jamesville looking for houses for rent.  “Stop!  Drive slower!  Check out the gardens on this one!” (my man knows the way to my heart – just give me some green space)

5 pm – Roll home and shift into wife and mother mode, making a huge batch of cabbage rolls for our Community Dinner tomorrow night, driving Hannah hither and yon, and settling down to finally watch the latest Narnia movie.  Happy.  It’s been a good good day.