Revive Texas Is Underway!

We’re now officially on day 11 of Revive Texas since we launched witth an evening rally on Sunday, April 16. Monday through Saturday, people from 340+ churches, plus lots of Time to Revive’s own staff and missionaries, have been going out in teams of four to share the gospel across DFW.

The strategy is simple: LOVE, LISTEN, DISCERN, RESPOND. We approach someone, start a friendly conversation, and ask, “How can I pray for you today?” We pray for them briefly and respectfully, and then ask if we can give them a gift as a reminder of our meeting. We give them a wristband with five colours on it, each with a different verse reference. We then ask if we can share with them what the colours mean, and we pull out a Bible with matching coloured tabs. Verse by verse, we walk them through the foundational truths of the gospel, allowing plenty of time for them to express their reactions. We then ask if anything is holding them back from giving authority of their life completely over to Christ – and many decide to surrender right then and there! Within 24 hours, we get them connected to a disciple-maker who can commit to lead them through a Bible study and walk with them on their journey.

Check out THIS VIDEO on how we walk someone through the Gospel!

I never thought something so simple (and maybe kinda cheesy) chould be so effective. God is teaching me all over again the power of the simple gospel, and how it’s not about my wise and persuasive words, but about His power. (1 Cor 2:4). We’ve been plowing the ground in prayer for years, the church is coming together in humility and unity, and the harvest is RIPE.

So far, I’ve gone out with teams on three outreach sessions. I haven’t seen anyone saved yet, but I’ve gotten to pray with and bless a lot of people, many of them believers in need of a touch from God. I have shared the gospel a couple times, though, and I’m looking forward to the day soon when I see the fruit of salvation in front of my own eyes!

This week, we also have 26 IHOPU students here on a ministry trip. It’s been so much fun to see old friends and make new friends! They have been such a strength to us, both in the prayer room and on outreach. God is giving them amazing testimonies to take back to Kansas City!

One of the testimonies from the IHOPU team! The girl in the middle just got SAVED!

Some of my favourite testimonies so far:

  • A team was in a grocery store with a Bible in their back pocket. A Pakistani Muslim man approached them and asked, “Is that a Bible? Can you explain it to me?” He is now signed up to be discipled!
  • A team shared the gospel with a high school football team of 130 people. 110 of them said YES to Christ!
  • A prision inmate received a newsletter about Revive Texas. He decided to do his own “Revive Texas” inside the prison, and 50 other inmates committed to join him. They share the gospel out of their own Bibles in the prison rec yard every day!
  • A team shared the gospel with customers at a Sonic, and 10 of them got saved!

Credit: Revive Texas

In the first week alone, Revive Texas sent out 755 teams comprised of 2,990 individuals resulting in 310 people who want follow up and 134 souls added to the Kingdom. Additionally, teams that were invited to special assignments such as jails, juvenile detention centers, schools, and businesses saw 415 more people come to know the Lord! We even have a mobile baptismal truck that teams have been using to baptise people immediately after they get saved!

Crazy things are happening. There are SO many stories to share, I can’t possibly fit them all. I encourage you to take some to watch some videos on ReviveTX.org and the ReviveTX Facebook page. There’s nothing in the world like watching someone light up when they believe the Truth for the first time.

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.

Revive Texas: 50 Days of Prayer, Unity, Evangelism, and Discipleship

First, quick update: I’m currently in Wisconsin visiting my dear friends Abigail and Rondale, whom I know from IHOPU and whose wedding I was privileged to be in last July. It’s been a lovely few days hanging out, watching LOTS of Netflix, and tagging along with their normal life stuff. I’ll be in Texas on Wednesday, January 18, and then my new life as a full-time intercessory missionary with The Prayer Room Missions Base will officially begin!

However, this post is mostly not about me. This post is about something EPICLY HUGE that God is doing in the DFW region. The Prayer Room is participating wholeheartedly, but it’s so much bigger than us.

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Time to Revive is a ministry that tours the country mobilising dozens or hundreds of churches in a city to unite and strategically spread the gospel through their whole region. The focus is on awakening the church to pursue revival in their cities.

This spring, from April 16 through June 4, 2017, Time to Revive is launching a 50 day campaign in Dallas-Ft. Worth called Revive Texas. Revive Texas will unite the church (hundreds of churches across many denominations) in an unprecedented way to come together in prayer and go out together to share the gospel. I’m so excited for what this will do for church unity in the region and also for the incredible testimonies we’re about to hear!

Check out this video to find out more about the vision and strategy behind this movement:

The DFW region has been divided into ten smaller regions, each of which will have its own host churches and outreach teams. To my understanding, having ten regions is something Time to Revive has never done before in any other city. We’re basically getting ten revival campaigns for the price of one! I will be in the green area centred around the city of Arlington.

dallas-mapEvery day for 50 days, local believers will come together at host churches for fellowship, prayer, and training, and then will be sent out in small teams to pray for people and share the gospel using a very simple evangelistic model. People are welcome to participate in as much or as little of the schedule as they are able.

  • 7-8am: corporate prayer
  • 8-9am: community breakfast
  • 9-10am: training
  • 10am – 12pm: outreach (go out in teams to pray for local churches)
  • 12-1pm: testimony time (share what God did during the outreach)
  • 1-2pm: community lunch
  • 2-3pm: training
  • 3-5pm: outreach (go out to pray for people and share the Gospel)
  • 5:30pm: community dinner
  • 7-9pm: evening service (teaching, testimonies, worship)

Each of the ten regions will have a prayer hub covering the outreach in prayer with worship for several hours each day. These ten prayer hubs will be existing local houses of prayer that are smaller than The Prayer Room but already have the vision and structure in place to lead the charge in intercession.

On top of these ten smaller prayer hubs, The Prayer Room will serve as a central prayer hub with 24/7 prayer and worship for all 50 days. This is huge for us. We already are doing 18 hours a day, and even outside of Revive Texas we’re just a few steps away from being able to launch a night watch that will make us continually 24/7. Since we already have the vision and structure in place, the extra people and motivational oomph of Revive Texas will enable us to carry the torch 24/7 for these 50 days. Hopefully, some of the people who join us and the other local houses of prayer for this campaign will stick around after June 4, and the entire prayer movement in DFW will be strengthened long-term.

Check out the video below, and also THIS LINK about The Prayer Room’s involvement in Revive Texas:

If you live in the DFW region, you can find out how to get involved at ReviveTX.org.

I am so excited about all God is going to do during Revive Texas. I will keep you all updated as preparations unfold, and I will certainly share testimonies as the campaign gets underway.

In the meantime, here’s how you can pray:

  • Unity, vision, and hunger for revival in DFW churches
  • Wisdom and strength for the leaders
  • Necessary funding and logistics to land
  • Hearts to be prepared, both in believers and the unbelievers we will encounter

And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.
Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest
to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Luke 10:2

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Testimony Thursday: Praying for Muslims at Disneyland

Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney

Prayer buddies!

Prayer buddies!

(Posted a little bit belated on Friday because I had to get Taylor’s permission to publish this first.)

Last week, I made plans to meet up with a friend of mine at Disneyland. This was a very special meeting because Taylor and I had never met in person, but we had been good friends through Facebook for years, and he was going to be in town with his family as a last hoorah before he started college. I only live about 50 minutes away, so we planned to hang out at Downtown Disney for just a couple hours (since I don’t have an annual pass and I already had an evening commitment). We were both super excited.

That morning, he texted me to ask if I believe in praying for healing. Um, YES!! I assumed he was just doing some study or something on it, and texted back two long paragraphs of theology explaining why I believe this can and should be a normal practice for Christians.

Then he texted back– and nope, turns out he wanted to actually go DO it that day!

We agreed to both spend some time asking God who He had in store for us to meet that day, and we both wrote down several “clues” that we sensed that would hopefully lead us to certain people God was highlighting. One of Taylor’s was “white hat,” and one of mine was “little girl in a Minnie Mouse dress”. We also decided that anyone with evidence of injury was fair game too.

We knew our number one goal was simply to create an opportunity for God to touch people with His love. We weren’t there to pressure anyone; we just wanted to pray, bless, love, and invite God to move.

I was so proud of Taylor. He stepped out with so much boldness and gentleness, and we prayed for a lot of people with canes, etc. We didn’t see anyone get dramatically healed, but everyone we prayed for seemed genuinely grateful, and we believe that God is still moving in their lives and bodies!

Sure enough, Taylor found his white hat! It was worn by a woman coming out of a shop with her husband and kids. We asked if we could pray for her, and she was enthusiastically receptive and her husband even laid his hand on her along with us and agreed out loud with our prayer as I gave her a word I was feeling for her out of John 12:24.

We also met a man who was a deacon at his church and was about to have surgery. We both prayed for healing and he was really touched. Seeing his faith and joy really blessed us too!

I spent most of the afternoon looking for my Minnie Mouse dress. I even went in and out of several kids’ stores. I saw several teenage girls with Minnie ears or t-shirts, but I knew I was looking for a very small girl with short dark hair and a full Minnie Mouse dress.

Finally, I saw her, almost exactly as I had pictured her that morning. She was with a woman wearing a long dress and a hijab, walking toward the security checkpoint.

To be honest, the prospect of approaching a Muslim and asking if I could pray for her in the name of Jesus kind of freaked me out. I’ve only ever done something like that once before. I didn’t know if there would be a language barrier or if she would be receptive.

“She’s going in the gate. I don’t have a pass,” I told Taylor, with some mixture of disappointment and relief.

“She’s only going through security right now. You can go there without a pass,” Taylor pointed out.

Crap, he’s right.

I probably wouldn’t have done it if I wasn’t with Taylor, but with his encouragement I followed her and the mini Minnie through the security line, pausing to chat with and pray for the cast member.

Dangit/good, they’re still in range.

By this time, the woman had joined a larger family, all very definitely Muslim.

I started marching after them, muttering something like “Frick, really, Jesus? Of all the…. Taylor, I have no plan, I HAVE NO PLAN okay come on Jesus…”

I knew I could claim their attention for only a brief minute before they entered the gates of the Happiest Place on Earth, so I got the attention of the woman I had first seen and tried to explain that I had been praying that morning and God had shown me her little girl and I’d been looking for her all day. I showed them the list of clues I had written on my phone earlier and asked to pray for them.

“Yes, of course, we pray all the time, you can pray anytime!” the woman responded.

“Yes! May I pray for you right now?” I asked.

“Uh, how will you pray?” she asked. By this time I had the entire family’s attention.

“I’m a Christian, and I will pray in the name of Jesus,” I responded with more strength in my voice than I felt.

They paused a moment, but agreed to let me pray. I asked if they had any specific needs, and they requested prayers for good health for the family.

So I prayed for health, and blessing, and revelation of Jesus, and for the love of God to touch their hearts. They walked away with smiles and gratitude. I walked away feeling glad I had obeyed and done what God had laid before me, but wondering if our prayers had made a difference at all to them.

My mom later told me a story of a Muslim who reported that after years of living in the US, she’d never experienced an American’s hospitality, and conflating America and Christianity, before being saved she had never imagined Jesus reaching out to her. I was encouraged that maybe my short, weak, awkward prayer stirred up a little bit of curiosity about the Jesus who would show an American girl a Minnie Mouse dress and send her to pray blessings over a Muslim family.

Overall, I call this day a success. Taylor and I didn’t see the miracles we imagined, but we did get to bless and pray for many people and plant seeds of grace in their lives. We got to encourage each other and stir up our faith. We got to practice a lifetyle that we both want to walk in more– not just the healing, but of seeing the people around us through God’s eyes, and saying “yes” when He asks us to move.

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!

The Call: Azusa Now

azusa now

(Credit: Luke18)

Earlier this month, I boarded a bus in Kansas City with 100 other IHOPU students (well, we had two buses) and drove 32 hours straight to Los Angeles, CA to participate in The Call: Azusa Now on April 9, and then re-boarded the bus again the next morning to drive 32 hours straight back to Kansas City. Talk about a whirlwind weekend!

Azusa Now is a massive prayer gathering organised by Lou Engle to rally this generation to cry out for revival like the Azusa Street revival of 1906. This was my first experience at one of The Call events, and I was blown away by the power and presence of God.

  • Racial reconciliation and church unity was a huge theme. Leaders from Native American, Hispanic, African American, Messianic, and Catholic communities were onstage publicly honouring each other and repenting for lack of unity.
  • Bethel, IHOPKC, Circuit Riders, and many others led worship.
  • So many leaders in the church and missions were on stage with Lou Engle – Heidi Baker, Bill Johnson, Loren Cunningham, Daniel Kolenda, Todd White, and many more, including my very own home pastor Danny Carroll from Water of Life!!
  • Gloria Engle and Andy Byrd both gave powerful calls to say “yes” to the call for missions.
  • People stood up from wheelchairs, hearing loss was restored, brain cancer was healed, and much more!
  • Shawn Bolz called out accurate prophetic words of knowledge from the stage to specific people in the stadium. Watch the video HERE.

We were all so stirred up on the way home. Tired as we were, we still evangelised at every gas station and held impromptu Bible studies, worship sessions, and prophetic ministry to each other in our vans. We touched God’s desire to sweep this nation with revival, and we actually started to believe it was possible.

Beyond the public move of God that we all experienced that day, the event touched me very personally. Some of these leaders and ministry styles were ones I first connected with years before I came to Kansas City, in my early days of learning to move with the Holy Spirit. I even got to see some of the California friends and leaders in my life who used to run with me in those days. In that stadium, I found myself stirred again to embrace a lifestyle of prayer for revival along with boldness in healing, prophecy, and evangelism. That passion is a precious gift that I cannot afford to let fade.

The first 12 hours of the 15 hour event are available to watch on Youtube if you missed the live stream:

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We got special passes down onto the field. (Credit: Luke18)

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Mike Bickle on stage with Lou Engle and Bill Johnson. (Credit: Luke18)

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IHOPU students crying out in the rain. (Credit: John DeBeeld)

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IHOPU students ministering to an attendee. (Credit: John DeBeeld)

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Todd White releasing faith and fire! (Credit: John DeBeeld)

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Native American believers prophetically playing traditional drums. (Credit: John DeBeeld)

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National and global ministry leaders uniting around the cross. (Credit: AzusaNow2016)

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My home pastor Danny Carroll (white shirt) praying on stage with Jack Hayford and Lou Engle. (Credit: Me!)

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Testimony from my new friend Rebekah.

 

College Station Ministry Trip Update

“College Station? Weren’t you going to Houston?”

Well, yes, Houston was the original plan two months ago. However, so many changes have occurred in the planning process that it’s almost an entirely different trip.

When I came on leadership for the trip, a certain church in Houston was planning on hosting us. Unfortunately, the pastor is fighting cancer, and he and his wife were no longer able to work with us. We spent nearly two months getting in contact with other churches and houses of prayer in the city with whom we have relationship and who would ordinarily be thrilled to host us. However, one location after another wasn’t able to host due to various extenuating circumstances.

As things have now (finally!) landed, we’re taking our ministry trip to College Station, Texas! We’ve sent ministry trips to there in the past to work with College Station House of Prayer (CSHOP), and the staff there is wonderful. Most of their ministry is centred around Texas A&M University, and they host 8am prayer meetings every weekday on campus.

CSHOP

Our vision for the trip is still centred around “hope and healing” for the local body of Christ, with a special emphasis on youth groups. We’re planning to visit and minister at several small churches in College Station, as well as an urban youth ministry called Save Our Streets. We’ll also spend lots of time connecting with CSHOP and their prayer room, as well as their prayer and outreach activities on the A&M campus.

The number of roadblocks we’ve encountered in this process is unprecedented for this type of trip. We’re all convinced that God is planning something BIG for this week of ministry.

The trip is April 16-24 — only two weeks away! We’ve been frantically trying to land the logistics and budget the past few weeks, but I think I can say now that everything is falling into place. I am so excited for the opportunity to go serve what God is doing in College Station!

YWAM Week of Prayer

YWAM prayer week 2

IHOPU students praying in the YWAM Kansas City chapel!

During our monthly Global Bridegroom Fast (GBF) week February 1-5, IHOPU continued a tradition we started last semester: the YWAM week of prayer, in which IHOPU partnered with the local YWAM base to keep a prayer room running with live worship and intercession all day long for five days. All of our JPR (the student-led Justice Prayer Room) activities were moved to YWAM Kansas City, and being in that prayer room counted for our regular prayer room hours. Classes were cancelled for GBF, so I got to spend hours every day at the YWAM base. On Tuesday I ended up being there for 8 hours straight, and Wednesday night I ended up leading a devotional worship set 11pm-midnight with only one other person in the room. It felt like I was back in my little prayer room in Dallas!

This was a really special and refreshing time for me. Especially on Tuesday when I left my phone at home, I was completely locked into the worship and intercession with no distractions. I really, really love smaller prayer rooms, especially when I know almost everyone in the room. During the times I was there, most of the people in the room were IHOPU students while the YWAM students had other activities scheduled, and almost all of them were actively engaged nearly the whole time. It felt very much like praying with family. This is why I love our JPR sets, and getting to do this in partnership with YWAM was incredibly precious.

We spent the week praying for YWAM’s mission team being sent to the island of St. Vincent. As part of a 7+ year plan to reevangelise and disciple the nations of the Caribbean, they are aiming at preaching the gospel to 50,000 people (half the island’s population) during the month of February with 21 evangelistic event nights. It was such a privilege to join with YWAM and see yet another beautiful collision of the missions movement and the prayer movement.

This is what Jesus said is supposed to happen. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38) The praying and the sending were never supposed to be separated.

The team going into St. Vincent is called Impact World Tour. Check out their promo video for this tour!

Testimony Thursday: Healing at Victoria Gardens

Victoria Gardens

On earth At Victoria Gardens as it is in heaven.

Today isn’t Thursday, I know. But this story happened last Thursday, July 30, at Victoria Gardens outdoor mall, at the parking structure just east of the library.

I’d like to tell this story with as much detail as possible because when I used to hear stories like this, it sounded so mysterious. It took me a while to figure out that it’s not about me being awesome, it’s about GOD being awesome, and me just taking simple steps to live out what I know is true. This is not a perfect model of how to witness. There are a few things I could have done differently, and I was definitely outside my comfort zone, but I just acted like myself and took the opportunity in front of me. The results aren’t up to me.

Last Thursday, I was coming down the stairs of the parking structure on my way to meet someone, when I heard some kind of accident below me, like someone had just sprained an ankle. I peered over to see one teenage boy helping another up off the ground. By the time I made it to the ground, they were limping away together.

“Hey! Are you guys okay?” I called after them.

They turned around. “Yeah, yeah, we’re fine, thanks,” they said.

“Could I ask you guys something really quick?” I asked.

“Sure,” they said, and came back towards me.

“What happened?” I asked.

“My ankle got twisted,” one guy said.

“Oh wow, I’m sorry,” I said. “Hey, um, I’m a Christian, and I believe in Jesus, and I believe that Jesus heals people… so, would you mind if I prayed for it really quickly?”

“Sure, yeah, of course,” he said eagerly. I asked his name – he was Aaron and his friend was Brian – and I knelt down and he gave me permission to touch his ankle lightly.

I don’t remember what exactly I prayed. On the one hand, I wanted to keep it simple and brief, and on the other hand, I wanted to provide a little bit of a theological foundation for what I was doing. I prayed for about thirty seconds, thanked Jesus for His love and praised Him for who He is, and asked Him to touch Aaron’s ankle and bring total healing.

I asked Aaron how the pain was, and he said it was a lot better! I asked if I could pray again, and the second time I got a bit more bold. I declared that I have the Holy Spirit inside of me and God has given me authority, and I commanded the ankle to be healed in Jesus’ name.

This time, Aaron said it felt a LOT better, and he was standing and walking without a problem, grinning ear to ear.

“So, do you believe in Jesus? What’s your background with God?” I asked.

“I’m actually a Mormon,” Aaron said. “I haven’t been active in the church for a while, but yeah, I believe in Jesus.”

“Awesome! I actually have a lot of Mormon friends, and one thing they’ve told me is that they read the Book of Mormon a lot, but sometimes not the Bible as much. Is that true for you?”

“No, we definitely read the Bible as much as the Book of Mormon. It’s another testament of Jesus Christ…” He briefly explained to me a couple of the tenets of Mormon theology, and I nodded along, but I really didn’t want to get into a historical discussion of Joseph Smith, etc. I knew I had only a few minutes with these boys, and I wanted to focus the conversation on the heart of the matter.

“We could have a whole discussion about all kinds of things here, but as I understand it the biggest difference is that Mormons believe that Jesus is the son of God, but not fully God Himself, is that right?” I asked.

Aaron agreed that was correct and elaborated a little bit, but it felt to me like he was lacking conviction a bit. I didn’t want to let the opportunity go without at least briefly letting them hear the gospel.

“Well, without getting into a whole big thing here or getting all preachy at you, I do just want to tell you that the Jesus who just healed your ankle actually is fully God Himself, and He really wants to have a close personal, intimate relationship with you, and that can only happen when you fully believe and trust in who He really is and fully trust in His grace. It’s not about grace plus ‘all you can do;’ it’s by grace through faith, not works, so that no one can boast. That’s Ephesians 2:8-9. And I’d just encourage you to really seek out who Jesus is in the Bible, and see what God’s saying to you.”

Aaron said okay, and we all said “have a good day,” and went on our ways. He wasn’t limping at all anymore.

I don’t know if Aaron’s been thinking about our meeting since then. I don’t know what God’s up to in his life, or Brian’s. I do know that his ankle probably wouldn’t have gotten healed and he probably wouldn’t have heard the Gospel that day if I hadn’t stopped to talk to him, even though my heart was pounding.

I hope this story can be an encouragement that letting God use you to touch strangers with the power and truth of the Gospel doesn’t have to be mysterious or complicated. It’s not about how awesome we are, but how awesome God is.

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
I Corinthians 2:1-5

Pasadena Ministry Trip part 7: Onething Regional

The finale to the saga of my IHOPU ministry trip to Pasadena, April 10-20.

The climax of our trip was putting on a Onething regional conference with PIHOP. What is a Onething regional conference? It’s basically a mini version of the big year-end conference that IHOPKC puts on in Kansas City every year. The purpose of these conferences is to call this generation to passionate love for Jesus. This year, some 300 IHOPU students, joined by key speakers and worship leaders from IHOPKC, headed out in teams to seven cities across the country to partner with local ministries to put on seven simultaneous regional conferences.

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Laura Hackett Park leading us in worship.

Dave Sliker leading a ministry time.

Dave Sliker leading a ministry time – yes, that’s Lou Engle standing front and centre of the crowd, on the floor in the corner of the stage.

The conference was held Friday and Saturday, April 17-18. As students, we were assigned to various service teams to help run the event. I served several shifts as an usher as well as a shift on a prophecy team. I loved ushering. To me, ushering is being the “doorkeeper in the house of my God” that Psalm 84:10 speaks of. I get to help keep the room organised and free of distractions so that guests can encounter God–and I also get to be roaming prayer support! Often while I’m ushering, God will put a specific person on my heart, and I will stare at the back of their head and pray that God would do the work in their heart that needs to be done. Sometimes as I’m praying I’ll watch teens go from squirrely to locked in to weeping under the touch of God.

While serving on a prophecy team, I prophesied over a few dozen people who came in turn to sit on chairs in front of me and my two teammates. We would greet them, explain that we prophesy in the spirit of 1 Corinthians 14:3 “edification and exhortation and comfort,” then spend a few moments in prayer asking God what He would have to say. When we’re ready, we speak into a recording device if the person has one, sharing the words or pictures or verses that God has given us to encourage them. It’s intense and scary the first few times, but the fact is that God loves to speak to and encourage His bride. He knows each of us so individually, and He loves to blow our minds with specific words made just for us. We all had many accurate and encouraging words that God used to build up the people in front of us. Some I saw again months later, and they told me they still had my voice on their phones and those words were still a source of encouragement!

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Serving on a prophecy team- yes, my “listening to God” face looks super intense!

Our speakers included Cheryl Allen, the director of PIHOP, and Dave Sliker, one of the senior leaders at IHOPKC and one of my favourite IHOPU teachers. They both spoke about God’s heart for California and the call to pursue Him wholeheartedly. Several of my teammates were invited to share personal testimonies of how God has transformed their lives, and God moved powerfully during every session.

One of the most profound occurrences of the conference came Saturday evening. Seb, our student leader, had been feeling a burden to pray for the pure and simple gospel to be preached from the platform, since most of the messages had been directed toward believers. I remember feeling the same thing. On Saturday evening, Dave Sliker spontaneously invited Seb up to pray for the message. Seb came up to pray, but in the middle of his prayer he stopped and began preaching the gospel, calling for the prodigals who had wandered away from God to return home to the Father. You could have heard a pin drop. No one had that moment planned, but God’s heart was yearning for His children, and His voice broke through as Seb spoke. After Seb said, “Amen,” Dave Sliker said, “I want us to respond to that call right now. If you feel like that was for you, go to the back right now and meet Seb — Seb, go to the back — and he’s going to pray for you.”

Several people came to the back of the room for salvation as Dave went forward with preaching his message. Seb later described it as “less of an altar call and more of an ‘awkward call,'” but he prayed with them and, as he had with the guy who got saved and baptised earlier that week, started figuring out a way to make a baptism happen. Mott Auditorium where we were meeting has no baptismal or pool of any kind, but with a bit of frantic creativity they got hose and some sort of trough set up and at the end of the night over THIRTY PEOPLE received baptism!

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Seb praying/preaching, while another teammate stands ready to share a dream God gave her.

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Spontaneous baptisms after the conference!

That was the climax of our trip. I feel like I saw the Gospel in action that week. We came back with so many testimonies of outrageous salvations– and let me tell you, that’s not necessarily normal, even for an IHOPU ministry trip. What was different? I don’t know, but we certainly had a large handful of fiery bold evangelists on our team who constantly provoked the rest of us to step out and share the gospel. Our team developed a habit of seizing every opportunity to invite Jesus to break in and set captives free.

Also, we had a very strong team of intercessors praying for us in the prayer room back home in Kansas City. All of the seven teams reported later that they felt unusually covered in prayer, and that prayer covering seemed to produce a unique grace for ministry. We were so grateful for those who chose to stay and pray for us as we went out. Missions does not happen without prayer. We need the goers and the senders– and the senders must do more than open their pocketbooks, but open their mouths in intercession that “the Lord of the harvest [would] send out laborers into His harvest” and that “the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified.” (Luke 10:2, 2 Thessalonians 3:1)

We left for our drive home to Kansas City late Saturday night after the conference ended. It was a hard drive through the night, but in the morning we arrived at the Grand Canyon and got to bask in the glory of creation while singing worship together. It was such a holy, beautiful, and intimate way to wrap up our week-long ministry adventure together as a family.

Family worship at the Grand Canyon.

Family worship at the Grand Canyon.

I could not love these people more.

I could not love these people more.

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