In March of 1999, at the age of 29, I began the first week as pastor of then St. Simons Community Church (now http://www.wearecommunity.church) by calling our people to pray. If I remember correctly we had a prayer meeting each evening at 7 pm Monday – Thursday. It was very meaningful and sweet for me. It was a statement for how I wanted to begin and build in ministry.
I had a chance at a new beginning this week as I have begun my new role as the pastor of Church on the Hill in Dalton, GA. I am much older, grey/white haired, a lot slower but a little wiser, and more hungry for Jesus than I have ever been before. With this new opportunity, I have a strong call to be a part of a move of God. So I called the people of COTH to a week of prayer once again – but this time it was a little more ambitious. Over the course of a week, there were 18 opportunities for prayer from Sunday morning, June 27th through Sunday, July 4th. A few opportunities were online via Zoom or Facebook, and many of the meetings were live in our worship space – and one was a prayer walk in downtown Dalton.
My friend Mike Shoates probably summed it up best. It is one thing to talk about revival and want revival, but it is another thing to pursue revival. I felt this week we were pursuing revival. We were seeking God wholeheartedly and for all that He wants to do and release in our midst. We did not pray quiet, soft prayers (though nothing is wrong with that), but we prayed fervent prayers filled with faith, boldness, and passion. We worshipped and prayed. We prayed and worshipped. We met with Jesus, and Jesus met with us.
I will write more about it this week. As I do, I want to be careful to not to share in any form of pride or boasting. I write to encourage and stir you and continue to stir our faithful little church to keep going hard after God. We were stirred powerfully this week in prayer. We prayed Sunday morning at 9:30 before worship on June 27th, and it was powerful. There was a real weightiness that slipped into the room – God’s presence and glory. That morning of celebration and transition were powerful as we ended with a baptism and closed with the song “The Blessing.” I felt the roof would come off the place as the Spirit of God was moving. I had a sense we were in for something special.
On Monday morning, we initiated the first of the week with our longest session stretching from 8 am until 12:30 pm. I am so thankful for my times at IHOP (International House of Prayer) where they incorporate the harp and bowl model with worship and prayer. While we did not emulate the IHOP style completely, but we did worship all the way through our prayer sets with song and cries to God for Him to move. Time and again, we sensed His presence. Each meeting was unique and yet added to the overall symphony of prayer. I come away with quite a few take-aways. I will share just one now, and save the rest for later.
I believe we were sowing into the future of COTH’s calling as a place to manifest the presence of God. So many times, we began our sessions welcoming the Lord into our midst, to allow us to become a place of His Presence. There is nothing of higher value than the presence of God and His glory. His Presence always brings his glory where people are drawn to Him, humbled by Him, changed by Him, and moved in ways that we cannot imagine. When the Presence of Jesus comes, all that He is comes with Him. How good is that? It’s really good for ALL THAT JESUS IS is more than enough. When Jesus walks into the room, everything changes. Jesus is the Forgiver, the Healer, the Comforter, the Savior, the Deliverer, the Warrior, the Dream giver, and so much more. When He comes, all that He is comes with Him. He can meet everyone in the room in a way that meets them where they are and at the point of their need.
I long for COTH to be a House of His Glory and Presence. We can’t just wish that and hope that however, but we must pursue it. I want to see revival and renewal in my day. I do not just want to read about it, but I want to experience a whole-sale move of God. I know everyday in the Kingdom is not always supernatural, but I think the American church has settled for far too little. I want more. God wants to give us more. All that He has to give is absolutely free, but it is not cheap. We must adjust our lives to seek Him with all of our heart. We cannot say He is priority without living like, and praying like it. This past week, we set aside time as if nothing else was more important. We prayed morning, noon, and night – and we were changed. We were humbled. We were healed. We were satisfied, and yet we want more. So we will seek God’s will on what our prayer life is to look like now on the other side of this week.
Lord, pour out your Spirit. Revive us. Renew us. Move O God. Please do it again! Amen.