First Day of the Prayer Truck

Prayer Truck started yesterday at 7 am!

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We chose the theme “Beautiful Things” after a Michael Gungor song that we’ve been singing over the city for several years. One line in particular really strikes us…

all around, life is springing up from this old ground, out of chaos life is being found in You“. We are seeing this in Hamilton, and want to continue to pray it into being!

Before I had been there an hour, people were coming by to pray.

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Maddi, one of the Rock youth, and one of the creators of the Prayer Truck this year, thought the truck was very relaxing…

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Several have already written their prayers on the walls..

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At one point, a woman in a minivan full of children, drove by and yelled out of her window, “I need prayer! I need prayer!”

Don’t we all?

Later on, after my shift, I saw evidence on Facebook that things were going strong at the truck.

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At 10 pm I popped over to the truck to drop something off. It was jammed full of young people, and my husband Kirk was ministering to someone on the sidewalk.

A full and fruitful first day! Looking forward to the rest of the month! You can just pop by and pray, or sign up for an hour in the truck at http://www.24-7prayer.com/signup/0521a0

Are You a Tree or Are You a Bird? Conversations with David Janzen

Last night I was at Grandview Calvary Baptist Church meeting with David Janzen and various intentional community practitioners from downtown Vancouver. We had representatives from Servants, 614 Community, Catholic Workers, Grandview, and L’Arche.

” David,” I said, shaking his hand. “I met you in Toronto. Likely I will just follow you all over North America.” I grinned. He grinned back.

Our conversation skipped along the surface of intentional community issues, like a rock skipping across the water. It was fascinating and encouraging to see how common many of our experiences (and struggles) were.

One topic that came up was stability.

“An analogy that helps us understand stability, community, and the kingdom, is the analogy of the mustard seed. It’s small, the size of a conversation, a longing. But you put it in the ground and it grows, and the birds can land and nest. It’s like that with our communities. Trees, branches, birds, all in one community. The tree has taken a vow of stability.  The birds haven’t.  Sometimes the birds eat the leaves and complain there is no shade.” Again he grins, and we laugh.

“Birds take the seeds elsewhere.  They poop on and fertilize the ground. The birds bless the tree, the tree blesses the birds.”

“Wherever I share this, people know right away, whether they are a tree or a bird.”

Kirk and I are trees. We know we have been called to put down roots in the community for the long haul. City transformation is measured in decades, not in mere years, and we want to be around long term to see God’s story for Hamilton unfold.

What are you? A tree or a bird? Both bless each other. Both have a role to play in the cultivation of God’s purposes.

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24-7 Prayer for Waterdown

I took the early morning watch, so I could get the car back to my housemate (thanks Mary!). Up highway 6 and into the lovely village of Waterdown.

My friends at Grindstone church are hosting a week of 24-7 prayer for Waterdown, at their church office. It’s amazing how much cool prayer stuff you can squeeze into a small space!

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Look for the 24-7 Prayer Waterdown on Facebook or sign up for an hour here

2 Days of 24 Hour Prayer at Hamilton Vietnamese Gospel Church

The night and day prayer bug is contageous!

Here’s a letter from Calvin Lam, who is on staff at the Hamilton Vietnamese Gospel Church www.gochurch.ca

This was our first time setting up a 24hr prayer space. The vision for a 24hr prayer room simply started with a thought of wanted to provide a space for people from my church to pray collectively. Then it evolved to: who else can we bless by creating this space? As preparations were under way, I honestly did not know what to expect, how many people would actually show up, or how God would work. 
It quickly became very apparent as we started the 24 hours that God was going to do some amazing things. People of all ages and various cultures started flooding in and crying out to God in that space and through the different stations. I felt this deep sense of community–that we were all in this together–even though I didn’t know everyone who walked in nor spoke the language that some of them spoke. None of that mattered–we were all united by the fact that we were broken and desperately needed God’s grace. Tears were flowing, people were sharing openly with one another, and those gathered were praying with each other. It was so encouraging and inspiring!
As various people shared about their experience during the 24hr prayer, it was absolutely clear that God had moved powerfully and beyond what anyone would have imagined or anticipated! The crazy thing is that we’re still seeing a ripple effect of what God did during those 24 hours.
I’m sure that this will happen again. Thanks for all your help and your prayers!

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12 Marks of a New Monasticism

The other day I was asked to come share at Redeemer University about what the face of New Monasticism looks like in Hamilton. It’s can be tricky trying to describe what GOHOP is and does. Prayer is at the heart, of course, but there is so much more going on than what happens in the prayer room.

A few years ago, Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson Hartgrove and a bunch of other New Monastics gathered and produced a document that outlined common themes and practices that they saw emerging in the House of Prayer/New Monastic movement. They called this the 12 Marks of a New Monasticism, and they expanded on it in the book entitled School(s) for Conversion: the 12 Marks of Mew Monasticism

Here’s what they are:

1) Relocation to the abandoned places of Empire.

2) Sharing economic resources with fellow community members and the needy among us.

3) Hospitality to the stranger

4) Lament for racial divisions within the church and our communities combined with the active pursuit of a just reconciliation.

5) Humble submission to Christ’s body, the church.

6) Intentional formation in the way of Christ and the rule of the community along the lines of the old novitiate.

7) Nurturing common life among members of intentional community.

8) Support for celibate singles alongside monogamous married couples and their children.

9) Geographical proximity to community members who share a common rule of life.

10) Care for the plot of God’s earth given to us along with support of our local economies.

11) Peacemaking in the midst of violence and conflict resolution within communities along the lines of Matthew 18.

12) Commitment to a disciplined contemplative life.

I used these 12 Marks to map out the life and ethos of GOHOP. We don’t practice all 12, for many of the marks, our practice is in it’s infancy, is very experimental and undeveloped. But I’ve found that it is a framework that is helpful to broaden people’s understanding of our House of Prayer.

Over the next month I will expand on each of the marks that we are presently practicing, and paint a picture for you of our life together.

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A Culture of Prayer in Hamilton

We sat in a circle in what used to be a Christian bookstore.

Joe played the guitar. Sasha the djembe.

We sang hymns.

But full on.

And heartfelt.

As the worship drew to a close, there was a reverent hush, quietness, rest, waiting, listening, loving.

And a tangible sense of His Presence.

I spent the evening last night with what is soon to be a church plant out of Grindstone Church, coming right into my neighborhood.

“It started a year and a half ago,” explained Matt, their team leader, “with us gathering just for a couple of nights, to pray for the city.”

“Yeah, you have to be careful,” I responded, “prayer is dangerous!”

I also just found out that Grindstone is hosting another week of 24-7 prayer up in Waterdown. And that Redeemer University, which normally does one week of 24-7 prayer a year, is adding a second week this spring.

And of course, you all know we just finished an amazing two weeks of 24-7 prayer at the Vine.

And MoveIn is planning another 48 hours of continual worship and prayer over Holy Week.

I think I can honestly say that we are beginning to see the a culture of prayer growing in the city.

Different expressions.

Different communities.

Different locations.

But as Michael Gungor would say “all around, life is springing up from this old ground.”

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As one of many people and organizations who for years has been scattering seeds of prayer here in the city, I find this deeply encouraging.

May it be said of Hamilton,
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, I will seek. ~Psalm 27:8

From Every Place let Incense Rise – Tweet Your Prayers!

Hamilton now has another waterfall.

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Well, sort of.

Hope you can come and take time in the Prayer Room @ the Vine these next two weeks!

But if you can’t come as often as you like, never fear! Twitter is here!

We’ve created a hashtag #PrayHamOnt so you can tweet your prayers for the city wherever you are! And we set up Hootsuite on a screen in the Vine cafe, so we can agree with you in prayer.

Let’s pray together, gathered and scattered, for this city we love. And from every place in the Hammer, let incense arise.