Punk Monk and Knitting a Sweater that Fits

Years ago GOHOP went on a journey of exploration.  We loved some of the spiritual DNA we had received from the International House of Prayer in Kansas City:  praying scriptures, a vocational call for some to a lifestyle extravagantly given to prayer, the fusion of prayer and worship, the centrality of Jesus in the prayer movement.

However, we found that the IHOP model wasn’t fitting us or our context the way we had hoped.  It was like we borrowed a friend’s sweater that we loved, but our body was shaped differently, so when it was on us, it didn’t fit or look the same.  We wanted our Presbyterian friends to be just as comfortable in the prayer room as our Pentecostal ones.  Although we loved Harp and Bowl, we were eager to explore what the Apostle Paul calls “all kinds of prayer.”  And we wanted to create an expression that was meaningful and accessible to the urban poor.

Enter 24-7 Prayer and Andy Freeman.

Andy was the founder of 24-7 International’s first Boiler Room (their name for Houses of Prayer) and co-authored a book Punk Monk with Pete Greig.  In his book, Andy painted a picture of communities built around prayer, mission and justice, and models of doing life and prayer together that seemed like they might fit us better.

So we began to knit our own sweater, keeping the wooly bits from IHOP that we still loved, and weaving in strands of spiritual DNA and models that Andy and 24-7 embodied.  The end result?  GOHOP in it’s present incarnation.  Community dinners and houses.  Prayer in UHauls in back alleys.  A joyful mash up of all kinds folks from diverse theological perspectives.

Today I’m picking Andy up at the airport, and he’s spending three days with us.  We’re gonna show him around Hamilton and immerse him in our rhythms.  In a sense, he is an important spiritual father to our little prayer community.  I’m hoping that as he prays, eats, and chats with us, that he will see how God has used him to create life in our midst and help us knit a sweater that fits – that he would see his life and vision enfleshed in our community and that he would be encouraged.

Andy will be joining us at our Annual General Party at 541 Eatery and Exchange on Wednesday night at 7:30.  Once a year we gather to eat, pray, and love…. and tell stories.  I bet Andy’s got a bunch of good ones.  Maybe you can join us!

GOHOP Annual General Party

Truck By Day, Fire By Night

“So we were thinking, if you’re already doing 17 hours of prayer a day in the truck, why not just add another 7 hours and pray through the night?”

I was chatting with Andrew and Kristen, team leaders of MoveIn Hamilton.  We’ve been buddies for a while, loving on and praying for and with one another.

“30 days is a long time.  If you think you can do it…” (ah, to be so young and energetic, I thought).

When Hammerhop (the other House of Prayer in town) heard that MoveIn wanted to do 30 Nights of Fire, they didn’t hesitate, and marshalled their resources as well.

MoveIn, Hammerhop, and GOHOP, working together.  One of the beautiful things about what God is doing in Hamilton, is building collaborations built on friendship, mutual respect, and shared vision.

So for the last month, with the exception of a Sabbath night every Saturday night/Sunday morning, there has been 24/7 worship and prayer for Hamilton.

30 Nights of Fire at the True City Office.

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The crowd at 6 am this morning...
The crowd at 6 am this morning…

And then, at 7 am, the baton was handed to the Prayer Truck

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Then at midnight, back to the night watch team again!

“I found it to be an amazing complement,” said Laurie, who frequented both Truck and 30 Nights of Fire.  Get filled up at night in His presence, just worshipping Him, and pouring it out in the Truck by day, bringing His presence to the neighbourhood.

I arrived at 6 am this morning, to catch the tail end of the last shift of the 30 Nights of Fire.  They were singing, dancing, praying and proclaiming over the city.  Praying through the night is difficult.  Praying through 30 nights in a row is miraculous! 

“Thank you all for your sacrificial service,” I had an opportunity to share with them, right at the end.   “In prayer rooms like these, behind closed doors, we build invisible things.  But there is a river that makes glad the city of God.  The Lord Most High is in the midst of her, and she will not fail.  God will be with her at the break of day!”

Tonight we finishing up the Prayer Truck with a Barbecue at 7, at the truck.  We will feast together, enjoy each other, and enjoy God’s goodness in our midst.  30 days of night and day prayer for the city.  Several salvations, many hearings.  Countless divine appointments.  Lives changed.  We have much to celebrate!

48 Hours of Worship and Prayer on Holy Week

Our friends at MoveIn are doing it again! 48 hours of continual worship and prayer. This time over Holy Week.

Here is their invite


Come and join us for 48 as we lift high the name of Jesus and appeal to our Saviour’s Name, character and work, in prayer for our city this Easter weekend! Jesus is worthy of all of our praise and adoration. He is glorious, lovely, merciful, just, holy and the Lord over all!

Feel free to extend this invitation to anyone who loves Jesus.

Thursday, April 17 at midnight to Saturday, April 19 at midnight

Suite 200 – 500 James St. N, Hamilton (The True City Office)

Daytime entrance (6am-10pm): Rear of building, last door on the right.
Nighttime entrance (10pm-6am):Front of building, middle door (look for sign). Follow buzzer instructions.

The worship and prayer focus will take us through the events leading up to the Resurrection. I can’t think of a better way to focus our affections on Him this weekend.

I’m leading worship 6 am on Saturday morning with my buddy Naomi. Come and join me!

Party On!

Yesterday we had a birthday dinner for my friend Denni. We have been buddies for a looooong time and have had many excellent adventures! We’ve been to both heaven and hell and back together, weathering many storms and dancing in the sunshine.

She was on the core team with GOHOP for something like 7-8 years, and then was promoted into national prayer leadership. I miss working with he every day, so really really really enjoy the opportunities we get to hang out. Denni’s birthday is on Boxing Day, and often sits in the shadow of Christmas. So this year I wanted to make sure she felt properly celebrated.

I made her presents. A felted piece of art. Denni oversees a prophetic ministry in the city, and is often seen as a mama eagle, nurturing the eaglets, so I made a nest, eggs, and the talon of the mama (I know my felting skills have not yet advanced to where I can pull off a whole eagle).

And I made cookies. Nest and egg cookies! They are super cute.

I just really wanted to bless her in a creative and personal way, and celebrate how God has shaped and is using her.

I spent the afternoon cooking, and served up super yummy shepherds pie and quinoa salad with goats cheese. An a totally kick butt decadent chocolate gluten and dairy free cake (so I could eat it with her).

We ended off dinner with prophesying over Denni and giving her a recording of our words.

Richard Foster, in Celebration of Discipline includes celebration as a key spiritual discipline. We celebrate the goodness of God as we celebrate one another.

Party on!