My House Shall be Called a House of Prayer
The signs all around us tell the bride, that the Bridegroom (Jesus) is soon to come. The church is well in need of revival. "When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim His own." COL pp.69. It is not only spreading the gospel to every kindred, tongue, and people, but we are also to have Christ's character in us before Jesus can come.
With this in mind, the Brooklawn Church embarked on a 30 Days of Prayer service. Following Jesus' example, we met in the sanctuary before the sun arose at 5:30 am each day, from February 21 to March 21st in the earlier part of this year. I thought we may have 10 people attend the prayer meeting, after--all it was 5:30 in the morning, but I was wrong. God was and is planting a need for revival in our hearts. On average, we would have twenty-five attend at the church. In addition, we had a phone conference line set up. With the phone participants, we had close to forty people meeting each morning to approach the throne of grace.
Interestingly, we started seeing some non-Adventists joining in the meetings each morning. They had burdens to share and we prayed together with them. Whether or not these new friends will one day become members of our church, I do not know. What I do know is that in our desire to have a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father, God saw fit to send "other sheep" to join with us to seek His face.
Prayer is how we communicate with God. We talk to Him and He responds to us. Far more than us rattling off a laundry list of the wants and needs, it is a time to talk as friend with friend. We share our joys, woes, and perplexities. When we consider all that He is, and all that He does for us, we are overcome with gratitude and praise for Him. All of this is part of our conversations with our Lord. But we do have to ask Him for things, and He delights in that. During our 30 Days of Prayer, we saw amazing answers to prayer. One sister had been praying for four months for an ailing family member to be granted a visa to the US for medical treatment. On her first day at the prayer service, her request was lifted up by herself and the brethren. Miraculously, only three minutes after the service was done for that morning, she received an email that the visa was granted. It was wonderful to see the group grow as the days progressed.
I watched as we started to really share the burdens on our heart for the souls of others, and the various difficulties in our lives, and the lives of our loved ones. We watched as the Holy Spirit moved amongst us and in our hearts to confess our faults publicly. As we listened to those speaking, we the listeners were convicted in our own hearts. We look on our brothers and sisters with new understanding and a deeper love. This love is not borne of us, but by the Spirit abiding in us. We pray because we realize that it is only God who can heal us, provide for us, guide us, and ultimately save us. We pray because we realize there is nowhere else that we can go. When we pray we grasp the hand of the Omnipotent.
In the area of praying for our families, two sisters who were estranged and hadn't spoken to each other have been reunited. A mother and son who were alienated for a year are now speaking to each other. A prayer for unity amongst siblings and the extended family was answered. This family speaks to each other now three times per week and most importantly they pray together and end with I love you.
In the area of livelihood, a person who had no job received one. A member who has been out of work since July was offered a job yesterday. Unfortunately, they asked that the person work on the Sabbath. Even though it was the first job offer since July, the member walked away from it, choosing to honor God's Sabbath. How is this an answer? This member was grateful that God has enabled her to be obedient to His commandment when she could have buckled and said rather, “I need to provide for my family.” Another brother prayed before starting a quote and it resulted in him obtaining the complete project. This was more than he expected. God provided a place for someone to live after losing all that he had in a fire.
In the area of physical healing, a friend was suffering with a severe headache that the doctor could not explain. The CAT scan did not show any issues. After being sick for several days, we prayed for him on a Wednesday and by Friday all problems went away. Throat cancer was healed. The sister who wanted us to pray for the gentleman felt impressed to send him a card saying that God had forgiven him of his sins, resulting in him feeling free and forgiven. A sister had bariatric surgery due to health discomfort. We prayed for her leading up to and during the procedure. Surgery went well and there were no complications. My own husband had hip replacement surgery during the 30 days of prayer. Not only did it go well, but the physical therapists are amazed at his mobility in such a short amount of time. A person was healed after having a stroke. A little boy, Gabby, who collapsed and was in the hospital, came out three days later. Why? We are confident it is because we prayed.
In the area of spiritual healing during the 30 days of prayer, the Holy Spirit revealed things in a person's life that they needed to bring to the Lord in prayer. She came to understand that those things were hindering her from being fruitful in the Spirit. I submit to you that all of us who participated in the 30 days of prayer have had the Spirit work on helping us to see the spiritual conditions that we are in and our need to reach out and cling to God as never before. One person said that the Lord lifted a burden that she had been carrying for 60 years. During this time a member is seeing his family return to prayer by noticing changes in his life through his intense prayer life and his baptism.
One of our phone participants said the Holy Spirit has worked on her heart to quiet her tongue during a time when she would’ve normally not have been quiet—but would’ve fought fire with fire. Because of her surrender, God turned the adversary into a supporter. Another sister shared that she had an issue with another member of the church. The Spirit led her not to share her dissatisfaction with that person or with others, but instead to vent her frustrations to Him only. Through this experience not only is that relationship totally restored, but this sister has purposed in her heart to make this her new plan of action.
Prayer works, God hears and is sure to answer when we call.
Christ Object Lessons, Ellen White, pp.69