Falling into Place – Two Weeks of 24/7 Prayer for Hamilton

It’s February.

Which means it’s been almost 6 months since I blogged.  Sorry everyone.  Had major writers block.  Hope this blog helps me to get back in gear…

It’s February.

Which also means it’s True City Conference time.  Gohop and True City have enjoyed working closely together for the last few years, learning how to pray together for the good of the city.  Check out this fantastic promo video to find out more about the conference!

 

Last year we launched a week of 24/7 prayer from the conference, but we had a BIG PROBLEM!  Too many people in the prayer room we set up at the Vine!  (shucks darn)  We had hundreds of people come, from over 41 churches, over the course of the week.  So this year we’ve decided to host 2 weeks of 24/7 prayer, which I guess, technically, is 24/14.

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Why pray in a prayer room instead of in the comfort of your own home?  Check out this video that was produced for last years conference to find out..

Looking forward to seeing you there!  You, your family, prayer group, bible study, intentional community, can sign up for an hour (or two or three) on our online calendar at http://www.24-7prayer.com/signup/fa1091

Also, if you look at the online calendar you will notice that we’ve got some slots marked “Heartwatch” and “Attentive Meeting” or “Contemplative Prayer”.  Those are times of corporate prayer where we are exploring some of the ancient paths of Christian meditation, contemplative prayer, Lectio Divina, and Taize worship, so if you want to try something new-to-you but also something ancient, come join as at those times!

Finally, we are having an all night worship – Fire in the Night – in the prayer room Friday night March 1.  Worship starts at 10 pm and goes straight through till 6 am!  Bring some coffee, and come keep the fire burning!

Dedication of the Vine – we are now open for business!

We sat in a circle.  Mostly.  Some leaned against the freshly painted walls.  Others sat on the floor.  Friends old and new.

It felt like a living room.  Warm, friendly.  You could feel the “good vibrations.”  Lots of love in the air.

Lori hovered over the food and coffee table, making sure that everything was in place, and that everything tasted yummy.

Peter led us in some songs.  Have ukelele, will worship!

We did a “prayer swap.”  Sue shared about how we work together caring for her congregation at Mission Services.  She prayed a prayer of blessing over our new space, and then we prayed for her work with those on the margins.

Dave shared about the ongoing friendship we have with True City www.truecity.ca and how it led to the acquisition of this prayer space – graciously long term loaned to us by Philpott Memorial Church.  He then anointed the doorposts with oil, reminiscing about how the GOHOP team anointed the True City office with so much oil that we had to wash the walls down again before we could paint!

It was a family affair.

A couple days after the Dedication service, we set up our “Prayer Installation” for the month of June.  It is an exploration of Global Missions and Local Expressions, with a focus on what we learned about mutuality in mission, hospitality, and micro enterprise while we were in Uganda.  We invite you to come and pray for Uganda and Hamilton with us!

The Vine is now open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 8 am – 4 pm for prayer.  Drop in any time and join us!  For corporate prayer times, check out our calendar at www.gohop.ca.

Where am I going to be on Kony Day? Kampala, Uganda

Last night I was at the Freeway Church at a Kony Public Conversation event, and listened with interest as Ugandans shared their perspectives on the media storm and it’s actual impact and effectiveness on the complex issues around the abuse of power and the use of child soldiers in Africa.  I’ve been fascinated with the online furor around Kony and the world attention it has brought to Uganda.

Mainly because I’m actually going to be in Kampala, Uganda in a month.  With a team of pastors and leaders from Hamilton, I will be going to explore mutuality and partnership with the Ugandan church.  I am excited about learning more about prayer, community and hospitality from those who practice it so well in the African context.  And I and trust that as we share the stories of how God is working among us in Hamilton, that it will strengthen the hearts and ministries of our Ugandan brothers and sisters.

Our departure date is coming quickly, and I’m in preparation mode.  Today I get all my immunizations (yuk).  Yellow fever.  Hepatitis A & B.  Get those Malaria pills!  I’ve gone to Value Village and picked up some skirts to wear.  Been to the library and gotten all kinds of Ugandan fiction to read, to help me get in the head space of those I’m going to be hanging out with.  And am in last minute preparations for our big fundraising event for our trip.

I’m actually going to be singing at the concert (gulp – as you all know, I’m very comfortable in a worship context – but concert!  Eeek!).  I really want to encourage you to come out next Friday, hear the bands, watch the Battle of the Brushes (live art competition), and hear more from our team about what we (and hopefully God) are up to in Uganda.

Later this week, Kirk and I are going to be releasing our first full length album in 10 years!  It’s called “We Wait”, and is a live recording of an experiment.  What would happen if we put a bunch of God lovin’ and musically brilliant musicians and singers together, waitied on the Lord for an hour or so, and rolled the tapes while we did it?  You’ll have to buy the CD to see…. It will be available in mp3 form later on this week.  The cost?  A donation towards my trip to Uganda.  You can donate online here, and we will send you a link where you can download the album.  We will also have hard copies available at the Hello Kampala event, for those who prefer an actual CD.

 

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.

But such as I have I give you…

My daughter’s friend Natalie, is sick with a mysterious auto immune disease whose main symptom is severe anaphylactic reactions.  Last year she went to emergency 30 times.  The doctors can’t figure it out, and are presently treating it with chemotherapy.

The problem is that the chemotherapy and the anti-nausea drugs required to help her keep even water down, aren’t covered by their Ontario Disability Drug Plan.  So this single parent family was facing completely unmanageable and crippling medical costs, on top of the stress of the illness itself.

I was rankled by the injustice of this, broken hearted for the family, and wanted to help.  I don’t have a lot of faith for healing yet (though I keep laying hands on people, just in case), and I had no financial resources.  “God, what can I do?”  I asked.

He reminded me of the verse from Acts 3:6 “silver and gold have I do not have, but such as I have I give you” – at which point I reminded Him that my faith for healing was pretty puny.  He then highlighted to me the last section of the passage “such as I have, I give you.”

“What do you have?” He asked.  I thought about it for a bit.  I have the ability to network, to catalyze things, to gather teams together.  That’s what I have.  So I offered up my gifts to Him and listened.  Where to begin?  The phrase “Burlington Community Foundation” popped into my mind.  Was there such a thing?  I went on Google to find out, and there was!  I called them, and found myself talking to someone that I knew from another project in the city, and who intimately knew the family I was concerned about!  She got some balls rolling, we found some other team members.  A press release went out to the Burlington Post, and their story was featured on the front page of our local paper.  You can read it here.

People in the community started running fundraising events.  A local lawyer volunteered his time and a trust fund was established.  And now there is $11,000 in it to take care of their medical bills.  Yay God!

And I even gathered my little shreds of faith, and lay hands on Natalie whenever I can get hold of her (just in case).  She’s not out of the woods yet, and the family still needs tons of support.  If you want to help out, email me and I can help you do so.

Faced with overwhelming odds, Gideon is told by God to “go in the strength that you have.”  That is His word to us.  Do the “you sized things” – leverage your unique contribution, listen to Him for direction and obey, and trust that God will then do the “God sized things”.

Divine Synergy: The Art of Collaboration ~ Genetic Engineering

I can remember the first time I saw the “Harp & Bowl Model” of intercessory worship.  A team had come up from the International House of Prayer in Kansas City (IHOP) and was demonstrating this dynamic fusion of worship and prayer at Little Trinity Anglican Church in Toronto.  As the ancient beams of the church quivered with the decibel level, everything inside me started to resonate as I realized that I could sing my prayers!  I could sing the Scriptures!  Prayer, which had seemed inaccessible and arduous, could be enjoyable!  Imagine that!

We love the Spiritual DNA from IHOP (www.ihop.org).  It provided me, a worship leader, with on-ramps into enjoyable  prayer, which eventually led me to an on-ramp into full time prayer missions.  The Greater Ontario House of Prayer was founded ten years ago, and fashioned itself around IHOP structures, models of ministry, and corporate culture.

But, after a while,  like most Houses of Prayer in Canada we began to feel frustrated and discouraged.  We couldn’t cobble together more than a handful of musicians needed for Harp & Bowl, let alone the hundreds of staff required to fuel ongoing 24/7 worship and prayer.  While local intercessors were glad to gather for prayer events, it was extremely difficult to find those who would give themselves to the “fasted lifestyle” – a life radically re-ordered towards prayer, fasting and simplicity.  We loved gathering Charismatic Christians, who were naturally drawn to the IHOP model, but longed to see a fuller representation of the Body engaging in prayer for the city.  We wanted to see everyone praying more, and weren’t sure how to accomplish it.  Ministering to the Lord in the prayer room was exciting, but we found ourselves wanting to engage more in mission and justice, putting feet to our prayers.

Interestingly enough, IHOP Kansas City was not the only global 24/7 prayer movement to birth in the fall of 1999.  The same September, a group of young adults in Chichester, England, started a 24-7 prayer meeting that rapidly evolved into a global night and day prayer movement, based around the internet hub www.24-7prayer.com.   It carried it’s own unique DNA with a particular emphasis on prayer, learning and discipleship, hospitality, creativity and the arts, mission, mercy and justice (for a fuller understanding, check out the “Boiler Room Rule” here).

A few years ago we began to do some genetic engineering, fusing the two DNA’s.  Here is what it looks like this week (it is always changing and developing):

Last Sunday night we began a week of 24/7 prayer for the village of Waterdown, a small community north of Hamilton.  In a facility loaned to us by Youth Unlimited, we set up a House of Prayer – a sacred space in the middle of the village where we could all gather.  Local churches developed creative prayer stations to facilitate prayer for local families, including a prayer station for parents, for those dealing with addiction, and for those wrestling with identity/purpose issues.  There is canvas on the floor so that people can “draw” their prayers, and there are instruments set up in a corner for the musically inclined.

The first two hours of the week of 24/7, we gathered a group of folks from the Charismatic stream for a “Gathering of Eagles.”  For two hours they prayed and prophesied over the community of Waterdown.  We recorded the session, will pull out the main themes and present a report to all of the pastors in the community.  Just at the end of that two hour session, another participant, someone from the Contemplative stream,  entered in and led us all in a contemplative prayer exercise.  It turned into an exercise in hilarity as he inadvertently, every time he opened his mouth, brought confirmation to all the main themes we had discerned through our listening prayer time.

For the rest of the week, individuals in Waterdown can visit the location any time, night and day, and pray for the community.  We have several one hour time slots allocated for Contemplative prayer, facilitated by a Benedictine novice from Hamilton.  Several one hour slots are also allocated for “Harp & Bowl” worship and prayer, where those from the Charismatic stream will gather to sing the scriptures and sing their prayers.  Three hours each day have been set aside for prayer for families, where people from the community can walk in off the street and be prayed for by trained teams.  At the end of the week, we are having a Community Celebration, where the churches in Waterdown will gather together to worship and pray for the village.  This week will provide all kinds of on-ramps for those of various traditions to come and pray, and pray together.

In addition, this Thursday we are having a Community Dinner, where we are gathering some leaders from different churches together to build relationship and to study some 24-7prayer.com materials on Christ Centred Community.  The whole week is a lovely fusion of the spiritual DNA of both prayer movements.  With our “genetic engineering” we are finding ways and whys of doing things that are a better fit for us and for our community.