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!

IHOPU Graduation: Looking Back on Four Years

(Keep scrolling and then keep scrolling some more, because I’ve got a lot of pictures for you today!)

I’ve finally graduated from college for the second time… but this time feels far more significant than when I got my bachelor’s from APU in 2010. At IHOPU, I have received invaluable teaching and discipleship in an environment saturated with prayer, worship, and the Word. I’ve caught a vision for what God is doing in raising up a global prayer and worship movement in our generation. I’ve gained a family passionately devoted to the fame of Jesus being spread throughout the earth. I’ve been equipped to teach, lead, prophesy, pray, sing, and serve. Most importantly, I’ve encountered a God who is stunningly incredible in every way, who is 100% committed to me and really likes me, and who actually does stuff when I talk to Him.

Last weekend, I walked across a stage with 82 other four-year graduates. My parents flew out from California to see me, and a few local friends came to the ceremony as well.

Graduating from IHOPU feels bittersweet. I did what I set out to do and I know that my season here is done, and I really feel like I got good fellowship and closure in the final days, but I will miss this place and these people greatly.

Receiving my diploma from Allen Hood, president of IHOPU

Receiving my diploma from Allen Hood, president of IHOPU

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My parents flew all the way from California to see me!

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Abigail, my roommate and dear friend

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After four years, I finally got to meet and chat with Mike Bickle.

In my small group during my last week, my leaders asked us each to summarise what God was teaching us during that past season. As I think back over the four years I’ve been in IHOPU, I can identify separate banners over each year.

Freshman year: VISION. During my freshman year, I started as an intern in the One Thing Internship. Not only did I grow in prayer and intimacy with Jesus, but the entire rhythm and focus of my life shifted. I blogged about this vision that was growing within me several times (HERE and HERE, for starters), and concluded that season with a conviction that God really is raising up a global movement of 24/7 prayer and worship in our generation, because the darkness is getting darker but the return of Jesus is right around the corner, and He WILL have a bride made ready.

Internship graduation

Internship graduation, freshman year

Sophomore year: GRACE. Now that I had a brand new idea of what my life was supposed to look like, I struggled to live up to it. I really wanted to pursue Jesus with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength with undistracted focus, but I was constantly in cycles of condemnation feeling like I was failing. I still don’t know if I’ve found a good balance, but I have a lot more peace now than I did then. I had to keep relearning grace every week.

Small group, sophomore year

Small group, sophomore year

Junior year: HEALING. After experiencing a heartbreak the week before school started, I had to walk through a LOT of healing that year. (Find my blogs reflecting on that season HERE and HERE.) It was a time of shattered emotions and many, many tears, but I encountered the tender heart of the Father who lets me just cry in His lap when I can’t even muster the energy to pray. I learned to love Him more as I fought to trust Him every day. It hurt like hell, but there was such a tender nearness during that time–and there did finally come a progressive breakthrough into freedom and joy. I am wiser, stronger, and more open-hearted because of the events of that year, I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything.

JPR worship team, junior year

JPR worship team, junior year

Senior year: LEADERSHIP. In between my Dallas externship and College Station ministry trip (read about those HERE and HERE), I feel like this year has been about taking ownership of what I’ve learned and stepping up to do something with it. God has grown a lot of confidence in me this year, and I’ve come to realise that even though I have so much more to discover and grow in, I actually have internalised a lot and I have something to offer in ministry. I really can preach and pray and prophesy and lead worship. I really can rally, envision, and organise a team. God called me into this thing, and He’s already given me enough tools to take a few steps and get going.

Dallas externship, senior year

In my final few weeks, I’ve thought a lot about the vision God planted in my during my first year. I really do believe it. I believe that God’s deepest desire is a restoration of perfect intimacy with us, and 24/7 prayer and worship that reflects the reality of heaven is a key part of how we’re going to get there. I believe that in this final era of history, God is raising up a new song of night and day worship and intercession for justice from the Church as His lovesick bride in every corner of the earth, and He will use this global worship movement to usher in the return of Jesus and the restoration of creation. It’s a big vision, but I’m fully bought in.

So what’s next? I’ll be home in California for the rest of the year, preparing to launch into full-time ministry at The Prayer Room DFW in January 2017 (read more about that HERE). I plan to be there indefinitely, which doesn’t necessarily mean forever, but no matter what comes next, I know God is writing my story and more importantly, He’s writing me into His story.

Every time I look back and remember how God has led me, I melt in awe and gratitude. He’s been so, so good to me.

Catch me up in Your story
All my life for Your glory
–“All Is For Your Glory” by Lisa Gotshall

I love you, IHOPU!

I love you, IHOPU!

College Station Ministry Trip!

It’s three weeks after the trip, and I’m finally finding the time to blog about all that happened.

As I wrote last month, our IHOPU spring ministry trip to Houston became our IHOPU spring ministry trip to College Station, and although the planning was crazy, once we got there I wouldn’t have changed a thing. It was finally clear that God really had led us to partner with the College Station House of Prayer (CSHOP). We were there April 16-24.

The phrase He gave us for the week was “hope and healing,” and we certainly saw it happen! Our team was given a strong prophetic anointing and we regularly ministered to each other and to the people we met with the tender, fiery touch of the Spirit. His thoughts for us are more than the sand (Psalm 139:17-18) and this week He gave us a peek into His heart. Hearts were encouraged and restored, and at the end of the week CSHOP said they felt thoroughly blessed and refreshed (not common for a trip of this size!) and we were the best trip they had ever hosted.

I’m honestly so proud of my team. They served and loved so well this week. Here are a few highlights:

  • We spent the first night in Dallas with The Prayer Room DFW. I was sick that night and skipped ministry time to take a nap, but I loved getting to see them and see them welcome my team so warmly!
  • Sunday night we met CSHOP and helped lead their evening service. My co-leader Jesse and I both got to bring a word of encouragement. So many people told us that night touched them deeply – one girl even said she had heard the voice of God for the FIRST time!
  • We led prayer meetings with worship on the Texas A&M campus and at CSHOP (including a 12-hour prayer “burn” on campus!), evangelised with healing and prophecy on campus, and led a lot of prophetic ministry. We saw multiple healings and salvations on campus, and many people touched by the love of the Father!
  • Wednesday evening we split up and went to different small church groups. I took a small team to a college small group and where we led with a message, prayer, and ministry. We felt led to pray over the two guys that were there, that God would raise up strong men of faith for our generation!
  • That same night, one of our other teams prophesied over church members till pastmidnight, then went to Whataburger and prophesied over people in the restaurant! People were so hungry for a touch from God, and He delivered.
  • On Saturday night we hosted an event on campus called Ignite with worship, prayer, ministry, and powerful evangelistic preaching!

Even in the challenges of leadership and sickness (losing my voice while leading a worship-focused trip was frustrating), I was so touched by the love and support of my teammates. My co-leaders were phenomenal and a joy to serve with. It was an honour to be part of this trip, and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

My team!

My team!

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Road trip!

Preaching at College Station House of Prayer on an IHOPU ministry trip

Preaching at Encounter God service at CSHOP.

Our team leading worship at CSHOP

Our team leading worship at CSHOP.

Monday night worship in the campus chapel.

Monday night worship in the campus chapel.

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Evangelising on campus. (This is Taylor. She grew up in church but doesn’t know Jesus. Please pray for her.)

Prophesying in Whataburger!

Prophesying in Whataburger!

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Encouraging the AMP core team at their small group.

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Scavenger hunt on campus.

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Team hangout at CSHOP director Cynthia’s house!

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Our team sharing our testimonies with the entire congregation and webstream at IHOPKC. Click the picture to watch the archive of the service!

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.

Spring Break in Dallas!!

I’m currently writing this from The Prayer Room DFW, which is kind of my favourite prayer room in the world. My friend Lauren is leading worship right now.

I drove down on Saturday with my classmate Rachel, who did her externship about 3 hours south of Dallas at College Station House of Prayer and left her heart there just as I left mine in Dallas. She dropped me off in Dallas and continued down to spend the week in College Station, and she’ll pick me up on Sunday so we can drive back to Kansas City!

Lauren leading worship. "I am Yours, I am Yours, all my days, Jesus, I am Yours..."

My view right now of my friend Lauren leading worship. “I am Yours, I am Yours, all my days, Jesus, I am Yours…”

I’m staying with four of my good friends, whose house I hung out at all the time when I lived here last year. They’re being wonderful about giving me rides, since I left Idris in Kansas City.

For me, this is a lovely break from IHOPU, because if I stayed in Kansas City there’s a high likelihood that I would do basically nothing except watch more Netflix than is good for me, and be more burned out at the end of the week than when I started. In Dallas, I’m having the chance to hang out with some of my favourite people in the beautiful Texas weather (we explored downtown yesterday and it was 86 degrees so I WORE SHORTS!!), plus I’m getting the chance to serve quite a bit! A lot of their people are sick or out of town right now, so I’ve had lots of opportunities to lead worship and usher in the prayer room.

We ate at Velvet Taco in Dallas yesterday. My taco had chicken, avocado sauce, cilantro, and potato salad on it. Yum!

We went to Velvet Taco in Dallas yesterday. My taco had chicken, avocado sauce, cilantro, and potato salad on it. Yum!

Leading devotional worship sets is always so sweet for me. This week I’ve been singing one of my original songs called Never Regret, which goes:

I’ll never regret the time I spend with You
I’ll treasure the time getting to know You, God
I’ll never be put to shame

You are worth our songs, You are worth it all
You are worth our time, You are worth it all

Wisdom will be justified when I see Your face
Wisdom will be justified, it was not in vain

I’ve been thinking about 1 Corinthians 3:12-15, which speaks of our works in this life being like either precious stones that will last forever, or wood and hay that will be burned away. God rewards choices that honour Him, and other choices result in a loss of potential rewards. I’m only given a handful decades at the most in this life. I want to spend every minute I can on something that’s worthwhile and will last for eternity.

Choosing to “waste” my time worshipping Jesus is the best decision I could make. When I look back over my life, I’ll never regret the choice to spend my spring break loving Him. It may look like foolishness to the world, but it’s actually wisdom.

I’m so grateful for this time of refreshing and fellowship with my Dallas family. Next week I’ll return to Kansas City to finish my last quarter as an IHOPU student!

 

The Prayer Room DFW’s 10th Anniversary!

In September, while I was an extern at The Prayer Room DFW (TPR), the ministry turned ten. In 2005, God gave a clear and dramatic word to TPR’s director, Brad Stroup, in his living room that said, “Start a daily prayer meeting tomorrow morning at 5am and don’t stop until I come back.” It was the kind of word that you do NOT question or disobey. So next morning at 5am, Brad and a few loyal friends held a prayer meeting in his living room. Eventually they added more daily prayer meetings throughout the day… and they moved out into another building… and another building… and another building… and today they are running 18 hours a day, 7 days a week of live prayer and worship in their OWN magnificent new missions base!

So technically, the anniversary was in September, and we dedicated a Saturday night Encounter service to it at that time, but since we expected to get into our new building any day at that time, we decided to hold off and celebrate the two milestones together in one properly epic event. It ended up taking a lot more time than expected to get into the building, so the combined event wasn’t held until Saturday, February 27.

I drove down to Dallas that weekend with my classmate Chris, who had also been an extern at TPR. On Saturday we enjoyed a lunch event in the prayer room that was mostly attended by core community members, featuring trivia, videos, stories, and much laughter. In the afternoon I was asked to step in as worship leader for the 3-5pm set–luckily I had my music notebook and lots of experience leading devotional sets on the fly!

That evening at 5:00 the Saturday night Encounter service was properly joyful, memorable, inspiring, and sacred. God has been so, so faithful to this community of worshipers and intercessors.

I’m so glad Chris and I got to drive down for this event. Even though many IHOPers were invited, we were the only ones from Kansas City who could make it! Being there in the new prayer room that I invested so much prayer (and paint!) into with my beloved TPR family felt like coming home.

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Brad with four generations of externs (and a photobomb)!

10th anniversary

Brad speaking at The Prayer Room’s 10th anniversary celebration IN OUR BEAUTIFUL BRAND NEW PRAYER ROOM!!!

Sunday devo

Leading a devotional worship set in the new prayer room on Sunday morning.

(...Did I mention we have a new prayer room?)

(…Did I mention we have a new prayer room?!)

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