A few days ago I was on a prayer call with several of the prayer leaders in one of our conferences, and as is often the case, the president was on the call with us. It was an intense time of intercession, but when the president began to pray it caused an instant lump in all of our throats. With a passion I don’t think I’d ever heard from him, he cried out, “Oh, God, please show us how to make every church in our field a house of prayer!”
That’s an inspired idea, you know. According to Jesus’ words (Matt. 21:12) it is His will that this should be our name, our identity. As important as preaching is, He never called His church a house of preaching. As essential as music is, He never called His church a house of music. But Jesus Himself said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer.”
The president’s words hung in the air as we prayed. We could sense a rise in the intensity of our prayer time. We perceived that God wanted to say something of importance, that a dream was birthing, a vision was coming to light… Every Church a House of Prayer! What if…?
What if our friends would begin to say, “Well, I don’t know much about your doctrines – yet – but I know you folks are people who really pray.”
What if, as people drove by our church building on a Wednesday evening, they had the distinct sense that something of eternal significance was happening inside?
What if, when a neighbor was facing a crisis, one of us knocked on their door and asked if we could come in and pray?
What if, when a new school term was beginning, we invited parents from our community – and their teachers – to a special Sabbath (or Sunday?) morning time of prayer for our public schools?
What if, when the church board met they decided they would spend as much time praying as they did in discussion of the business agenda?
What if the mid-week service became prayer meeting again and there was such a strong awareness of God’s presence you had trouble finding a place to sit?
Let me ask it this way: Don and I were speaking at a prayer conference recently in the Carolinas and at the rear of the little chapel we found a simple plaque that said, “If you came here today for something you haven’t found yet, please ask someone to pray with you.” What if that simple idea was expressed in the church bulletin of every Seventh-day Adventist church every Sabbath?
What if, each week, in teams of two or three, our members consistently prayer walked the streets of our towns, around government buildings, past adult book stores, in our neighborhoods, asking God to take back our cities?
What if there were victories and healings and marriages repaired and kids reclaimed and sinners turned heavenward…
We believe God would be honored. That’s why as we move toward the new year you will begin to see the appeal, HOPE heals. HOPE is an acronym for Houses Of Prayer Everywhere. We urge you to begin to ask God to show you what that would look like where you live.
Late one night we were flying from Indianapolis to Chicago. Although the weather was overcast it wasn’t bad for flying. As we climbed out over the darkened countryside I was surprised to see a distinct glow of light in the distance, northwest of us. Although it was 180 miles away I could already see Chicago. I thought, we couldn’t see an individual porch light from here, or even a car with its lights on, but I learned that when a group of people come together and pool their collective energy it can cast a light for miles.
Beginning in the next couple of weeks you will see the website: www.HOPE-heals.org posted everywhere. It’s a brand new, high energy website that is filled with helpful resources, both personal and corporate. As you sense God leading you in transforming your church into a House of Prayer tell us your story – or send us a video - and we’ll include it so it can bless others.
As you plan for the new year, remember that the first Sabbath is always the NAD Day of Prayer. In 2016, it will be on January 2. Why not plan a prayer event weekend that is truly transformational for your family, group or congregation? Sermons on prayer by Pastor Pavel Goia are available if you wish to use or listen to them.
Resources will be available on the web at www.NADPrayerMinistries.org