Chicago is Praying

Hi, all! I meant to get this blog up much earlier this week, but I came home to a book to finish reading and an accompanying 500 words to write on it, an outline of Acts to write, discussion posts online to complete, shifts to work, classes to attend, my country’s 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it.* I was swamped.

So here is the long-awaited report on my Chicago ministry trip with IHOPU!

I’ve done mission trips before, but they’ve always been very service oriented. Never before have I been on a trip specifically focussed on prayer and strengthening the church. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I loved discovering the power of simply coming to encourage. Even when I felt like I had nothing to give, just being in the room praying with my Chicago brothers and sisters was powerful, and they were touched and strengthened to keep doing what they are called to.

We left KC around 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, April 6, and arrived in Chicago in time to join some students of Moody Bible Institute for their Sunday night prayer meeting. Though we were exhausted, it was an honour to join with them to cry out for revival on their campus and in their city. I met two girls named Jessica and Jung who were my prayer partners throughout the rest of the week, and we’re still in touch and praying for each other.

The Arch and courtyard at Moody

The Arch and courtyard at Moody

On Monday we spent our morning as we did every day, spending “family time” together in the mansion that hosted us most of the time. (Half our team stayed there, and the rest of us were spread out over a few other host homes, also very large and hospitable.) And when I say “mansion,” that’s no exaggeration, y’all. It’s in Hinsdale, a very affluent suburb of Chicago, and is owned by a former NFL legend. The Von Trapp mansion came to mind more than once. I lost count of the number of rooms and staircases in this place. The family wasn’t there, but the people who took care of us were exceptionally hospitable. (And in Chicago, hospitality apparently equals FOOD. We ate so much on this trip…)

That night we went to Northwestern University to pray and worship with them at the Rock, a campus landmark that according to tradition students may guard for 24 hours for the privilege of painting it to promote any cause or event they choose. These students were guarding it in order to paint it for the Veritas Forum, at which a Christian, a Jew, and an atheist discussed the role of faith on a secular campus. (Read Northwestern’s report of the event HERE.)

On Tuesday morning during our family time we had a very special opportunity to minister to some leaders of Young Life. Some of the main leaders of the campus youth ministry organisation allowed us to pray and prophesy over them, and the Holy Spirit really moved and touched them.

That night most of us went to lead a prayer and worship night at a church, but I and three others went to a prayer meeting held by some Loyola students in a small living room downtown. It was casual, intimate, honest, and passionate. These students had a deep desire to see the Holy Spirit move in their community, and they prayed for many by name to be saved.

Wednesday was our day to see the city. We walked from Moody to the Bean in downtown Chicago, and from there we scattered to explore and sightsee. We finished up the night with ice cream and games to one of our host homes. I love my team. I don’t know when I last laughed that hard.

Downtown with my new friend Jung (with others from our team posing in the background!)

Thursday evening after stuffing our bellies with real deep dish Chicago pizza from Giordano’s, we hosted an intercollegiate prayer meeting at a church. I had the privilege of singing with the worship team as we led worship and prayer for two hours with the harp and bowl model.

Intercollegiate prayer meeting

Intercollegiate prayer meeting

Friday and Saturday were our 24 hour prayer “burn” from 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.. This was an event called Illuminate Chicago put on by the Chicago Prayer Network, a coalition of local churches dedicated to prayer and unity, and we were only there to support them. I was on the night watch for the burn, so I was at the church from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. (plus our set up time). I slept till about 1:00 p.m., and came back for the closing of the burn from 4:00 to 8:00.

This was such a beautiful event to watch because it wasn’t about IHOP coming in and taking over and leading. It was the local churches — the Body of Christ in that city — that were taking the tools we had given them in years past, making them their own, and running with them. Around 20 churches came together for this, and many churches provided worship teams and prayer leaders to carry the torch two hours at a time, just like we do in the prayer room in Kansas City. IHOPU only led three sets out of the whole 24 hours.

Over and over, I kept looking at the room, breaking out in a huge grin, and whispering to Jesus, “CHICAGO IS PRAYING!” 

IHOPU team leading a set

IHOPU team leading the final set

It was such a privilege to be in the room keeping the fire on the altar (Leviticus 6:13) with and for Chicago for those 10 hours overnight. I was praying for strength simply to stay awake, and God more than came through. At first I was praying and singing and pacing almost the entire time, and I was recruited to sing on the 4:00 a.m. worship set, which the leader decided to make a worship with the word set instead of an intercession set like most of the other teams were doing. I spent 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. singing through Psalm 84.

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God… For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.
Psalm 84:1-2, 10a

As I was leaving this trip and coming home, my heart was overwhelmed with the goodness of God and the vastness of His purposes. My heart has been knit to the city of Chicago, and I know I will be praying for Moody, Northwestern, Loyola, and the churches of the Chicago Prayer Network for a long time. So often it’s easy for me to get into my little Kansas City bubble and miss what God’s doing all in different cities all over the world. He is stirring up His people to pray. He is putting a burning desire for revival in them. Jesus is building His church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)

*These last four items may or may not be facetious. Just in case anyone was confused.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michelle Morrison
    Apr 18, 2014 @ 21:09:34

    That is awesome…Thanks for posting about your time in Chicago.

    Reply

  2. Trackback: IHOPU Ministry Trip: Pasadena 2015 | Fragrance Arise

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