Summer Fun and a Testimony!!

July has been a fun month for me. I spent Independence Day at a pool party/BBQ with several families with young kids. On Saturday, July 8, several of us went on our annual TPR Community Trip. We took a day trip down to the Austin area to go tubing on the San Marcos River, swim in a natural water hole called Blue Hole, and get pizza and coffee in the city. The river was GORGEOUS with perfect 90 degree weather!

The next day, July 9, I spent my 27th birthday section leading (managing/overseeing) the prayer room from 5am-11am, then finished the day with church and teacher equipping group. Three Sundays out of the month, all of the teaching staff at The Prayer Room get together at Brad’s house to study and discuss certain topics so that we can get more clarity and grounding for future teachings. So even though my birthday itself wasn’t extravagantly commemorated, I loved spending it with close friends at the prayer room and at church, and felt very much loved and celebrated.

TESTIMONY TIME!!

Last week, Joshua, one of our interns/worship leaders/staff members, shared this incredible testimony (he’s from Yorkshire, so enjoy the British-isms!).

During my worship set tonight God gave me prophecy about a lad who came in. God began to break things off of him… He had once said a prayer, then lived a life contrary to his words… He felt a need to come to a house of prayer…

Afterwards we spoke and… he said he could feel presence of God. I had several words of knowledge about his life and God gave me the number of his birthday.

He repented and renounced several things and right there he gave his life to Jesus! Confessed about having cigarettes, which Holy Spirit had already showed me he had…

Went to his vehicle to get them and threw them in skip outside TPR. Asked him about following his commitment with baptism to which he adamantly wanted to do. Went to Lincoln Square fountain that we have used before for baptisms. He went under, joined with Jesus’ death and raised to new life speaking in new tongues! Praise You and thank You, Jesus!

New Rapid Fire Prayer Topic

At the end of every set, everyone in the room lines up at the mic to pray short “rapid fire” prayers on a certain topic, usually related to something happening within the ministry. The past few weeks, as I shared before, our topic was for finances for a new A/C for our upstairs preschool room. That process has progressed, and WE GOT THE MONEY WE NEEDED, PRAISE GOD! Now, our topic is:

Praying for the workers we are hiring to fix the upstairs A/C units to be able to make the needed repairs for a reasonable amount and to get them up and running quickly.

We need inexpensive, clever solutions and discounts on units that won’t fall apart. Please pray with us for wisdom and favor as we get these units installed!

God, thank you for Your provision! Please finish what You started, have Your hand on the workers, and give us favor in the repair/installation process!

Special Blog from Brad Stroup: The Path to Revival

Brad does not often post blogs, though as the director of The Prayer Room he does have a blog page on our website where you can find some old blog posts. But in the aftermath of Revive Texas, there were a few things on his heart he felt strongly enough about to post and ask urgently to be read and considered by the Church. I’ve felt similarly looking around at what’s happened in DFW the past few months, and I asked Brad’s permission to share his blog post here with you.

The Path to Revival

Brad Stroup

For those who are unaware of all of the details regarding to the recent 50 day initiative of reviveTX, this post is a thought-through assessment of what transpired, what could have been, and what I believe needs to happen now.  To begin with, there were some 350 congregations in the DFW area that committed to be part of reviveTX (representing well over 100,000 believers).  Outreaches then commenced 6 days a week for 50 days from locations all over the Metroplex.  Nearly 6000 teams went out to share the gospel (though the total number of individuals represented probably only included 1,000-2,000 locals).  I would estimate that over $2,000,000 was sown into our region for all the collective efforts and needs of reviveTX to see the work go forth.  I would estimate that the net result was that some figure over 3000 people gave their lives to Jesus for the first time.  The tireless efforts of the Time to Revive team (mostly from out of town) and a few hundred locals that really poured their heart and soul into pulling this off was inspiring.  I’m grateful for every miracle, every salvation, and every blessing that came forth during the wonderful days of reviveTX and I am thankful to call all of these fine people my friends and co-laborers now.

All of that sounds encouraging, but now that reviveTX has come and gone I think it’s time for some real talk and some self assessment, and for us as Church to take a long look at what really happened and what needs to.  Why did only about 1% get invovled and what would have happened if even 25% of the churches that said they were on board would have actually particatipated?  What if just 10% of the Church in DFW would have been engaged in what God was doing, in this gift He was giving our region?

If we learned anything from the 50 days of reviveTX, it’s that DFW isn’t ready to see a revival yet.  While we say that we want revival in our city, I think that these are yet vain words that do not reflect the true state of the Church in our region.  We are all entitled to our opinion, and mine, as an intercessor who’s been praying for revival in DFW for the past 10+ years, is that we were just given the single greatest opportunity for partnership in a genuine move of God that this city has ever seen, in which God was showing us unprecented favor and salvations were happening everywhere the gospel went, and we allowed it to pass us by.  We showed a complete lack of discernment; it seems that we were disinterested in what God wanted to do, we were unresponsive to the invitation, and the window of opportunity came and went and barely anyone noticed.

To me this says a lot about where the Church of DFW is really at spiritually right now; while it may not necessarily be indicative of extreme immaturity, it really did make our priorities clear and I believe reflects a real lack of understanding of how the Kingdom of God operates.  It showed that the Church in our region is made up of individuals that as a whole right now have not died to self yet.  Overall we are unperceptive about what God wants to do in our city through His Church and we are not able to discern even revival when it is right in front of us.  We lack significantly in the area of spiritual hunger and we are totally unwilling to pay any price to see things change because there is a complacent satisfaction with the way that things are.

These statements are tough, but they are not meant as a condemnation on us; rather I want to give an accurate assessment of where things are in the hopes that we might evolve.  I have great pain in my heart about these things; I feel that I am part of the problem and I am willing to take responsibility for my lethargy (severe lack of spiritual hunger) and prayerlessness (severe lack of corporate prayer gatherings) that I believe to be the real root of our problem.  I’m not angry with the Church in our region, just the opposite– I am jealous to see us shine in the fullness of what God has for us.  I am perhaps saddened by our current reality, but even more I am invigorated to find solutions so that things are no longer permitted to remain this way.

I think it is unrealistic to think that a Church that doesn’t hunger would respond to an invitation for more.  I think that the reason that DFW didn’t respond to the incredible invitation of reviveTX is that we really aren’t hungry for God.  Taking some additional ownership here, I think that the default spiritual climate is always going to be lethargy in Western Culture because of our affluence and abundance and that rarely would any Western city have a real driving spiritual hunger unless war had been declared on that lethargy from the place of corporate unified prayer.  We aren’t hungry because we aren’t praying.  It all actually makes a lot of sense to me; I don’t like where we are but I feel that I understand it and that there is a clear prescription for how to change things.

I see a clear lack of hunger, and, while that would not be universally true of every believer in DFW, I believe that it is a reflection of the vast majority; we are simply too comfortable and self focused to care about moving the Kingdom of God forward at the moment.  I think that it all starts back at prayer which holds an irreplaceable part in this equation and which I believe to be the first element that must be firmly in place in order to see things change.  If the Church will not pray, then the Church will not take the following steps in partnership with revival either.

I am proposing that we press in for renewal and awakening as at no time in the past, but to get there we will certainly have to respond differently than we have in the past.  I want to see revival in Dallas Fort Worth and it will not come unless the Church begins to pray in a way that we have never done before.

Here is my charge: I want to charge every person in DFW who has a relationship with Jesus to join or to start your own weekly prayer meeting crying out for revival in DFW.  And once you have started attending that weekly corporate prayer meeting, I want to ask you to not stop until we see revival come to our region no matter what else may come up in your personal life.

“Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you (Ho. 10:12).”

 

Until He Comes,

Brad Stroup

Director of The Prayer Room Missions Base

 

Reposted with permission from theprayerroomdfw.com

The Miracle Internship That Almost Didn’t Happen


Ever since the conclusion of our spring Immerse internship, we’ve been hard at work laying plans for our summer Immerse internship. At last, it’s time and WE HAVE AN INTERNSHIP! That in and of itself is such a miracle. The past few weeks have been a figurative roller coaster…

Up to about three weeks ago, we were seriously questioning whether Immerse would even happen. At that time, we only had two interns, and were asking the question of what our minimum would have to be. The senior staff settled on five — if we didn’t get five interns, we would cancel Immerse.

Over the next few days we did get two different people signed up! So we had four… and we still had four the day before orientation, which would be Sunday, May 28. We had some generous partners help make two full scholarships available, and we were still actively personally recruiting as hard as we could, but no luck was to be had.

I was praying hard, and I still felt like I was supposed to keep working on preparing. So even while the internship was probably going to be cancelled, I was editing curriculum and finalising the schedule and assignments.

On Saturday afternoon, senior staff put their heads together and eventually decided to go ahead and do the internship even with four. I was at the base that night till 2:30am after Encounter service printing orientation papers and assembling intern binders.

The next morning, I got two texts about new interns who wanted to come to orientation! I quickly assembled binders for them, and at orientation, we had six Immerse interns!

The roller coaster wasn’t over, however. Since then, we’ve lost one, gained one, and gained-and-lost one. We had seven for a hot minute, but our total seems settled at six now.

We’re already in our second week of classes, and I will be teaching session two of Intro to the End Times tomorrow. Most of our classes are taught by a small band of staff on rotation, but the End Times class on Saturday is all mine to teach every week. I’m excited! Our interns are really great, and I’d so excited to get to know them better and watch them grow over the next 12 weeks.

New Rapid Fire Prayer Topic

At the end of every set, everyone in the room lines up at the mic to pray short “rapid fire” prayers on a certain topic, usually related to something happening within the ministry. Right now, our topic is:

For 100 new people to sign up for a weekly prayer meeting here at the base (we call this our Sacred Trust) in order to help us continue to contend for revival in DFW.

This is how we build and grow, by inviting people to commit to come pray with us at the same time each week for a two-hour prayer meeting. The name Sacred Trust reflects how seriously we take this time as priests before God. We’re especially asking for people who can serve in specific roles as worship leaders, prayer leaders, ushers and section leaders. Also, in order to properly grow, we REALLY need some more full- and part-time missionaries!

God, set watchmen on the walls here at The Prayer Room. Build Your house of prayer — bring us a hundred new people to join Sacred Trust!

Revive Texas Soft Launch & Other Updates

I’m a little late with getting this post out, but things have been super busy and exciting around here the past few weeks!

As I’ve shared beforeRevive Texas is an unprecedented movement of unity within the Church in DFW to put on 50 days of evangelism, with daily gatherings for prayer, worship, testimonies, fellowship, etc. The Prayer Room is serving as a central 24/7 prayer hub for these 50 days, and our director Brad Stroup has been working closely with Time to Revive‘s director Kyle Martin. This means that The Prayer Room is getting a HUGE spike in exposure as Brad has had numerous opportunities, in partnership with Time to Revive, to speak to congregations and leaders about our involvement with Revive Texas and what we do as a house of prayer. (Years ago, God gave TPR a clear prophetic word that we would one day be “launched to the region” and our influence would suddenly increase dramatically, and we’re starting to see how Revive Texas might be a big part of that word’s fulfillment!)

Since we’ve been praying for more church involvement, over 300 local churches are now on board with Revive Texas, including ALL of the host locations we needed! Praise the Lord!

Last Saturday, Time to Revive did a soft launch of what the 50 days of outreaches will look like. All ten of our regional host churches opened their doors early in the morning for a time of worship, encouragement, prayer, and training before 500+ believers hit the streets to share the gospel. This is the biggest movement of unity in the church of DFW for the sake of the gospel that has EVER happened. Words like “historic” and “unprecedented” are not exaggeration. And this was only the trial run! Once the 50 days starts, 500 is going to seem like a very small number. We’ll soon be gathering and going out by the thousands.

The Prayer Room had a very unique part to play on Saturday. Time to Revive asked Brad to lead the time of worship, encouragement, and prayer from our prayer room via live internet video streaming to all ten churches. This is a HUGE honour and responsibility. A few weeks ago, they donated thousands of dollars worth of cameras, lights, computers, and software to make streaming possible in our little prayer room. On Saturday’s live stream at 8am, a few worship leaders led a few familiar songs, Brad preached with 150% of his usual energy for about 15 minutes to the camera in an empty room, and then he talked the viewers through a few prayer topics and gave them time to gather in small groups to pray. The entire live stream took 45 minutes, and then at all ten of the locations people received a bit of further training and gathered in groups of 4 to hit the streets to share the gospel. This is going to be happening several days a week for the entire 50 days of Revive Texas.

You can watch the entire video at the link below. The first 30 minutes are set-up, so start around the 31 minute mark after the countdown.

Saturday morning devo/prayer for Revive Texas


Later that morning, while all 141 outreach teams were sharing the gospel all over DFW, some of the TPR staff gathered in the prayer room to pray through LIVE updates from the outreach as we received them. We were praying by name for people on the streets who were receiving prayer and hearing the gospel. Several of us felt that it was the most powerful and exciting prayer meeting we had ever been in! I had the privilege of leading worship for some of it while Luke and Lisa took turns praying through the live updates.

The stories we started hearing were incredible. One couple a team met in a parking lot said they were believers but got so excited hearing the gospel shared so clearly, and they were spontaneously convicted by the Holy Spirit of immorality and decided on the spot to get married. That’s revival. Teams shared the gospel with a father and son fishing, an entire Buddhist sports team, single moms out grocery shopping, and hundreds more. The night before the outreach, the Spanish translator at a church for the pre-launch rally got saved while translating!!

Here are some of the numbers Revive Texas reported in their recent email:

  • 549 people went out on Saturday morning throughout the 10 regions.
  • 141 teams went out to share the love of Jesus.
  • 37 people requested discipleship.
  • 12 people said YES to JESUS! 

Revive Texas made a video of the outreach that day. The video is 8 minutes long, but it’s SO worth it. Watching Kyle share the gospel in such a simple, biblical, relational way and watching people say YES to Jesus for the first time… that’s my favourite kind of thrill. Click HERE or on the picture below to see it on Revive Texas’ website.

We’re only at the beginning of hearing these testimonies. God is doing something huge in DFW, and I encourage you to pray with us for people to get involved and lives to be transformed.

One more thing: On Sunday night, Brad had the opportunity to be on an hour-long radio program for The Word 100.7 FM along with Kyle Martin talking about Revive Texas. I recorded the whole thing and you can click HERE to download and listen.

My First Week on Staff

It’s been eight days since I arrived in Arlington, TX, to join staff at The Prayer Room Missions Base. Since then, I’ve done a lot of moving in (I bought a desk, dresser, bookcase, and nightstand for $200 using the Offer Up app!) and have been getting settled into my new role at The Prayer Room.

I’m the Internship Coordinator for our Immerse internship, and that role will expand to cover our other internships and schools as the Forerunner Equipping Center (the school branch of The Prayer Room) grows. Immerse is a part-time 14-week internship for young adults (we have interns age 17 through mid 30s) designed to help them grow in a life of prayer, go deep in study of the Word, and get connected in like-minded community. I serve by keeping track of attendance, assignments, tuition, teaching schedules, etc, and I’m the point person for any questions or situations that arise. I’m also teaching several class sessions – TPR Base Distinctives, Night & Day Prayer as a Vocation, Cultivating a Life of Prayer, and Intro to the Book of Revelation.

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Immerse day 1!

Immerse day one on January 9!

My weeks are pretty full, mostly with the prayer room. I have 30 hours a week in the prayer room divided into 2 hour sets; 5 of those sets (10 hours) are spent leading devotional worship sets on keys. Many of those sets are also spent ushering and/or section leading – welcoming visitors and making sure all the worship transitions happen smoothly, etc. I’m at The Prayer Room six days a week; I have Mondays off.

I also have 15 hours a week devoted to my admin responsibilities and serving around the base in various ways. Those hours are pretty flexible. This week, my service hours have consisted of serving the internship both in classes and in admin, leading extra worship sets, ushering extra sets, and meetings.

I’m also attending Forerunner Fellowship, a local church where many people from The Prayer Room attend and serve. Last week our Sunday service became a 50 minute prayer meeting for God to pour out His Spirit on our congregation. It’s an honour to be running with such hungry compatriots!

It’s so wonderful to be back with friends that I’ve grown to love so much over the past year and a half! Last night my house hosted a cereal themed game night in honour of my moving in; everyone brought their favourite cereal to share, then I killed everyone at Pit (which NEVER happens!) and my fellow new full-time missionary Chris killed the rest of us at Farkle, by approximately a bajillion points (except for Josh, who was right on his tail). The night before I took the interns out for milkshakes, then met up with a whole crew of TPR ladies at Cheesecake Factory to celebrate the one and only Mykah’s birthday. I know most of you don’t know any of these people, but I want you to know that I know them, and love them dearly, and we have a lot of fun together.

So many exciting things are happening and about to happen at The Prayer Room. It finally feels like a season of mostly good news, which is quite a change around here! Good stories are coming; stay tuned!

TPR Staff Retreat 2016

Guess what – I spent last week in Texas! I flew out to be part of The Prayer Room’s annual staff retreat, and it was a very welcome time of refreshing and reenvisioning.

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On Tuesday, I spent most of the day in the prayer room helping with fill-ins. I love that I always end up worship leading whenever I visit.

On Friday we drove out to a huge retreat house on a farm. We spent the weekend playing games (Farkle, Pit, and Silent Football are always huge hits!), eating food, and generally enjoying each other’s company as a family. We also did some teambuilding games (which may or may not have drawn out the spirit of competition moreso than cooperation!), toasted marshmallows around a bonfire while retelling funny stories from the early days of the ministry that have become community classics, and met in the living room every morning and evening for prayer, discussion, vision casting, and individual encouragement.

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Teambuilding. We were connected in a long line with our ankles tied together.

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Twinning with my dear friend and fellow IHOPU grad Rhoda!

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The dice game Farkle was a favourite pastime. I’m in the plaid on the right behind Brad. In my first game I didn’t get ANY points, and in my second game I got over 8000.

The cavalry is here!

While we were gone, IHOPU sent one of its best student worship teams to run our prayer room and our Saturday night service. God bless these guys for keeping the fire on the altar and serving with such joy and faithfulness!

I am so, so blessed to be a part of this family. I love that God has allowed me to visit five times since I finished my externship there last year. Next time I’m back in January, it will be to STAY!! God has entrusted The Prayer Room with a powerful mandate to build night and day prayer and worship until His return, and I’m so excited and honoured that He has invited me to join them.

This is a crew of people who passionately and sacrificially follow the call of God and pour out everything for His glory. They honour Him and each other so well, even in the midst of deep struggles that would tear many other ministries apart. The humility and zeal for truth I’ve seen in this community provokes me frquently to step up my game and lean on Jesus more and let Him transform me into His likeness. I’m eternally grateful that in calling me to leave all I have known in California, my Father has given me these people as family.

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My beloved TPR staff family!

Announcement: I’M MOVING BACK TO DALLAS!

Silly family send off at the end of my externship

Silly TPR staff send off at the end of my externship.

You heard right, and this is NOT a drill — by this time next year I expect to be on full-time missionary staff with The Prayer Room DFW!!

I’ve been sitting on this announcement for months, wanting to make sure that it was really God’s calling. At this point I’m 99.3% sure that it’s happening… who am I kidding, I can’t imagine myself anywhere else.

As you probably know, I spent all of last semester serving as an extern at The Prayer Room DFW (TPR) in Arlington, TX, which is right in between Dallas and Ft. Worth. While I was there I fell so in love with that house of prayer. Their heart and their vision for 24/7 prayer until Jesus’ return is exactly in line with the passions God has placed in my heart, and their beautiful community has made me feel like a lifelong family member since day one.

I didn’t plan to go back after my externship, but once I got the idea in my head sometime in September, I couldn’t get it out. My heart has been knit to that community, and I want to labour alongside them to build 24/7 prayer and to equip the Body of Christ to be with Jesus where He is. I’ll be doing some of the same things I did there before – worship leading, administrative tasks (possibly as Community Life assistant again), and I’m sure a lot more as well.

There are really four specific things that stand out to me about TPR:

  1. The prayer room itself. I’ve never known another house of prayer that takes its prayer room more seriously. There’s a stubborn refusal to let the fire go out no matter what! I’ve heard so many stories of two people rotating hour by hour through snowstorms when no one else could get to the building, beginning piano students thrown into worship leading when no one else could get there, even playing guitar in a closet when the police showed up! They take their mandate of 24/7 prayer very seriously.
  2. The community. TPR is a family. Most of the community has lived in someone else’s house or opened up their house at one point or another. They really do walk with each other through every kind of joy and sorrow. They hang out constantly and laugh a lot. Night and day prayer is FUN when you do it with your best friends.
  3. The end times. When God called me into the prayer movement, He got me in with the vision of how He is raising up 24/7 prayer in this generation to prepare the church and the world for the events surrounding Jesus’ return. I can’t imagine doing this without that understanding as foundational. TPR has a strong emphasis on understanding the end times and its relationship to the prayer movement. Not every house of prayer has that emphasis (and God may not be calling them to emphasise it!) but for me, this was very important.
  4. Teaching. I believe I have some level of a teaching gift on my life, and part of TPR’s vision is to raise up and equip teachers of the Word. They once had a Bible school and hopefully will again soon, and they want to be a regional training centre with as much influence and reach as God will give them. This would the perfect place for me to learn and grow and spread my wings as a teacher.

I will graduate from IHOPU in May, and then I’ll go home to California for a while to focus on raising financial partnership. Depending on how that goes, I may move to Dallas as late as January 2017 – which would allow me to spend the holidays with my family!

I’ve moved around a lot the past few years, but this will be the first time I’ve moved away from home indefinitely. It’s a huge transition, but I know in my gut I belong there.

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Worship leading in my prayer room.