And we’re trying to sort it out ourselves. GOHOP is morphing and in motion. We’re not sure what the destination is going to look like but hey, the journey is the thing, right?
Here’s a map of our Prayer Spaces what life at the UM looks like this week. Zoom it out to see all our Prayer Spaces:
Monday: The most exciting and exhilarating part of our job!
Administration. Working at our new office graciously donated to us by Hughson St. Baptist Church and True City. We share a collaborative office space with True City, Micah House, and others. In the afternoon, we put the finishing touches on the quiet prayer space we’ve created in the office, papering the walls so we can write our prayers. “Let’s just start with the cross and resurrection, and see what grows from there.”
Monday night:Family night at the Community house – the residents and guests of the house eat together and laugh a lot. Bert our parrot laughs more than everyone, chuckling his way through the meal. After dinner we worship and pray together, then everyone does their chores in the house. I wanted to call doing our jobs “house blessing”, but the boys thought that was cheezy, so chores it is.
Tuesday: Phyllis manning the prayer watch in our Waterdown Prayer Space in the morning. Jill prayerwalking in the community. In the afternoon, at the 500 James St. Prayer Space, we gather for worship and meditation on the psalms, prayer for pastors and leaders in the city. At three, a young businessman shows up for his prayer appointment and we pray for him for an hour. The Lord is kind, and helps us pray into his heart with love and accuracy.
Tuesday night: Spaghetti Tuesday – Community Dinner at the Community House. Friends and strangers gather around the table. Conversation is fun and fiesty. Kirk cooks up a splendid spaghetti sauce. Sometimes we bake together after dinner for friends.
Wednesday: Staff meeting in the morning. Checking in, dreaming, planning, praying. Then off to Living Rock where we minister to the youth there after their Gathering, and then spend the afternoon worshiping and interceding for the next Generation in the city at the Living Rock Prayer Space.
Wednesday night:Moving Mountains Prayer Group – this week we are dedicating and praying through the Perkins Centre, and celebrating Abraham’s birthday with the community of young men and women that he has gathered and trained in prayer over the years. Let them eat cake!
Thursday: Phyllis on the wall in Waterdown again. Jill out and about prayerwalking and at various pastors and leaders groups. Abraham doing hospital visitation or developing young leaders. Building relationships in the city and exploring how GOHOP can help increase prayer capacities in churches and in the city.
Thursday night:Practicing the Way Group – meeting with a group of young leaders in the city and exploring together a new approach to Spiritual Formation (actually a really old approach, but needing to be refeshed in our lives). We eat together, enjoy our children together, and set our hearts to following the Master.
Friday: Team dispersed in various places – prayer for healing, meeting with friends we have made in the city through the Prayer Truck, prayerwalking. In the afternoon we gather at the Community House, worship and mediate on the Psalms again, and pray for the ministry
Sunday: Ministering in various churches – preaching, leading worship. At 4 pm we join with the Mission Services Chapel, and are looking at ways we can grow in our friendships with those on the margins in our city. Community Dinner at Mission Services, then back to the Community House for our Book Study on Hospitality.
It’s a lovely season for us right now – feasting on the abundance of the Lord’s house and feeling very rich in our relationships. Building relationships and people, rather then building structures and trying to populate them. Desiring to be the loving presence of a people of prayer in the city. We’re always looking to expand our circle of friends and to grow our staff of prayer missionaries, so email email@example.com if you want to join the fun!
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.
I love grapes. A lot. Probably too much. Little mouthwatering explosions of juicy goodness (drooling yet?). I’ve often commented to my friends that I’m convinced that there are going to be grapes at the Wedding Feast at the end of the age. They’re just too tasty to not be in heaven.
It’s the day after our week of 24/7 Prayer in Hamilton, and I’m lolling on the couch, soporific as a python digesting an elephant. What a feast it has been! It was a week long smorgasbord where devotees from across the city came together and served up their unique expressions of prayer and worship.
“Taize? How do you spell that? And what on earth is Lectio Divina?”
“You mean we can sing our prayers and sing the Scriptures? Cool!”
“I love to dance my prayers, even though it still freaks me out a bit when I do it”.
There was a lovely spirit of mutual respect and collaboration as we each brought forward what we were carrying in our own hearts, feasting together on the Lord’s goodness. It reminded me of the exclamation of the Psalmist “They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.” ~ Psalm 36:8
I can’t wait until the next week of 24/7 prayer – coming up in Waterdown March 27 – April 3! The evenings are allocated to specific churches, but if you want to sign up for a daytime slot, or the nightwatch if you’re a guy or if there are a couple of you (no girls alone), or the weekends, sign up here and join us!