School of Supernatural Ministry Coming Soon!!

Finally!!!

I serve as the admin of The Prayer Room’s Forerunner Equipping Center, which in theory includes all of our schools and training programs. So far, my admin role has been confined to our Immerse internship, because that has been the only program we’ve had the strength to offer. It’s been 5 years since The Prayer Room has been able to offer anything more (last year’s weekly School of the Prophetic notwithstanding).

Over the past few weeks, our director Brad has been bursting with ideas for a new School of Supernatural Ministry (SSM). It’s been a desire of ours for years to be able to offer a program that would give in-depth training on topics such as prophecy, healing, and deliverance. We finally feel the permission and anointing of the Lord to make plans for a January 20 of our SSM. At the same time, we plan to put launching another Immerse on hold until summer or fall while we take a close look at revamping that curriculum into a slightly different direction.

SSM will run January 20 through May 12 and emphasise five components:

  • Theology (biblical teaching)
  • Equipping (instructions on how)
  • Activation (practice what you learn)
  • Ministry (ministering to people)
  • Prayer (living a lifestyle of prayer)

The schedule will be similar to our current Immerse internship schedule, but will involve some unique components:

Saturday

  • 3pm-4pm — Classroom training
  • 4pm-5pm — Application exercise in the classroom
  • 7pm-9:30pm — Encounter service

Tuesday

  • 6pm-7pm — Ministry time (ministering to people outside the school)
  • 7pm-9pm — Prayer room time together (with prayer/study assignments)

Also, students will usher an additional prayer meeting and choose another additional prayer meeting in which they have no responsibility.

We’re all SO EXCITED and I’ve already had some potential students express interest. This is going to be an amazing way to equip our community in ministering with the Holy Spirit, and will hopefully bring many more into our community!

Check out our SSM on our website HERE!

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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.

Download: Guest appearance on the UnCommon Christianity show

benotcommon.com

benotcommon.com

Last Tuesday, I was given the opportunity to speak on the UnCommon Christianity internet radio show. This is a weekly two hour program hosted by some old friends of mine, and they’ve discussed all kinds of theological and cultural topics over the years. This week’s topic was spiritual warfare, and I was invited to discuss how prayer and worship relate to spiritual warfare. I’m not normally the go-to person for spiritual warfare, but I certainly have a thing or two to say about prayer!

I spent two hours on the air with them discussing prayer, worship, IHOPKC, the harp and bowl model, and “soaking” worship. We even spent a bit of time discussing some of the most common accusations against IHOPKC. I was really nervous, but Andy, Nathan, and Kim made me feel so at home on the air and I really enjoyed sharing my heart and my experiences with them.

The two-hour broadcast (my favourite part is in the first hour) is available for streaming or download on the show’s website at the link below.

listen UCC 2

Click here to listen or download!

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.

Pasadena Ministry Trip part 6: Santa Monica Beach Day

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

I promised there was more of the story to tell… we’re almost done!

On Thursday my team took a “fun day” at the beach in Santa Monica. First, we swarmed an In-N-Out and chowed down on one of California’s greatest treasures: double-doubles, animal style fries, and milkshakes.

We crammed around tables outside by the drive through.

We crammed around tables outside by the drive through.

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Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.

The rest of the day was spent frolicking in the sand and surf, soaking up the heat of the California sun… I’m not normally a true beach lover, but with the right group of people, the shoreline is to me a little slice of heaven.

Picnic dinner under the palms.

Picnic dinner under the palms.

Santa Monica Pier will always be special to me.

Santa Monica pier

I LOVE THIS TEAM with every fiber of my soul.

I LOVE THIS TEAM with every fiber of my soul.

My sister even drove out from Riverside to see me and hang out with my people for a while. It was absolutely delightful to see her, and we enjoyed much sisterly frolicking and girl-talking in the shallow waves. Later that evening, my cousin Carly and her boyfriend Mason came to see me as well, and I spent the last couple of hours exploring the shops and catching up with them.

Left to right: Elise, me, and Carly.

Left to right: Elise, me, and Carly.

Three silly faces and one mildly bemused Mason face.

Three silly faces and one mildly bemused Mason face.

Nothing like a beach sunset. God bless California.

Nothing like a beach sunset. God bless California.

While I was cruising around with Carly and Mason, a few others on my team had the incredible opportunity to baptise two people in the Pacific ocean! On the first night we were in Pasadena, the brother of one of my teammates came to visit her at the missions base. Our student leader Seb had a prophetic word for him, and hearing God’s voice speak so clearly and personally to him rocked him to the point that they ended up having a lengthy conversation about Jesus. He had known God but his life had kind of become a mess, and that night he clearly heard the Father’s invitation to come home. He surrendered his heart to Jesus, and asked what was next. “You need to be baptised!” Seb boldly explained. “Meet us Thursday at the beach and we’ll baptise you.”

So a few days later, he was baptised in the Pacific ocean. That would be incredible enough, but while they were doing that a random guy on the beach asked what they were doing and asked to be baptised also! Two for the price of one, haha!! 😉

My teammate Kenny captured the moment on video:

 

Just to cap off our beautiful day, my van decided to make a quick detour past Azusa Street in LA on our way back to PIHOP. Azusa Street was the site of a dramatic move of God in 1906 that continued until around 1915 and is credited with the birth of the pentacostal movement. It was incredibly precious to us to be able to stand on the site where God’s presence visited the earth in such a dramatic and tangible way and pray for another outpouring in our own generation.

Do it again, Lord.

Do it again, Lord.

Dancers Who Dance Upon Injustice

tumblr_l8xw33KDko1qdx47so1_500I’ve always wondered about the line “dancers who dance upon injustice” in the song “Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble?” by Delirious?. As a dancer for most of my life, I’ve often asked, what does it mean to dance upon injustice? I understand dancing to express something, but how can dance actually trample something down?

A few days ago at IHOPU, we held a 24 hour “prayer burn.” Live student worship teams rotated around the clock for a full day of continuous worship and intercession for the church in the middle east. During the second set of the burn, at 6:00 pm on Thursday, I was in the room doing homework when my friend Deni asked me to pray. I agreed and she put my name on the board to be third in line to lead intercession on the mic. I closed my textbook and opened my Bible to find a verse to pray. I was going to pray the good ol’ Ephesians 3:16 “might in the inner man,” but before it was my turn someone started playing the old favourite “Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble?”

I was already in the back of the room pacing with my Bible trying to get God’s heart for the church in the middle east, but for some reason I didn’t feel I was quite there yet. Then as the song progressed, something in the room started stirring. People started jumping. Eventually I set down my Bible, took off my boots and cardigan, and let loose in the back corner of the room.

About fifteen minutes later, while we were still dancing to the same song, I heard God speaking to me.

“This is what I want for My church in the middle east. Pray for joy out of Romans 15.”

Romans 15 is one of my favourite passages to pray for unity, but as I flipped to the page, I wondered, is Romans 15 even about joy? I couldn’t remember.

Found it.

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ… May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:5-6, 13 ESV)

When it was my turn to pray, I got on the mic, read this passage, then began asking God to give the church in the middle east a supernatural unity for His glory, and the joy and peace that comes from the hope of the gospel. Echoing the words of the song, I prayed, “Let their streets resound with singing, and let there be dancers who dance upon injustice, who prophetically proclaim victory over injustice!”

dance

That’s it.

Dance is more than self-expression. It’s also prophecy. When I dance in intercession, I am prophetically proclaiming what God wants to do in a region or situation. Sometimes my movements express something pouring out or springing forth. Sometimes nothing specific is discernible, but when coupled with a heart of prayer, dance prophetically proclaims our victory in Christ (both in the already and not yet) over every form of injustice and every scheme of the evil one.

That’s what I want to see in the middle east. In the midst of oppression, persecution, and injustice, I want the dancers to arise who will declare the hope, joy, and peace found in the confidence of our victory in Christ.

Maybe you need victory in a certain situation in your life. Maybe you feel crushed by injustice. In fact, any form of oppression, be it emotional, spiritual, circumstantial, etc, is injustice, because you were not made to be kept down.

You want a breakthrough? Dance. Proclaim your victory in faith. Seize joy. Celebrate your hope with confidence in who Christ is.

Dance upon injustice.

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A New Semester and the Harp and Bowl Model

My second semester at IHOPU began on Monday. This quarter I’m taking Foundations of Biblical Eschatology, New Testament Survey, and Forerunner Messenger Practicum. The Practicum is broken up into three rotations, one of which is Harp and Bowl (the model for combining prayer and worship that we use in the prayer room). For my other two rotations I chose Preaching and Teaching, and Writing, out of options including Social Media, Creative Media, and Drama. I know, I know, Drama would be right up my alley, but I already spent four years developing my personal philosophy of Christians in the arts. I would not be able to come into that class with an open mind. Besides, drama is already something I know I have. Preaching and teaching is almost completely new to me, and both that and writing are things I’m feeling called to step into more.

Also, as part of the practicum, I’ll be placed as a singer on a student harp and bowl team. I was on an intern worship team for about three weeks during my internship, but other than that (and one Sunday morning singing at The Refuge) I’ve never been on a worship team before. I am SO excited for this!

For those not familiar with the harp and bowl model, it’s drawn from Revelation 5:8.

And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
~Revelation 5:8

Anything that combines prayer and worship (specifically of the musical variety) can be considered “harp and bowl,” but the way we do harp and bowl is a whole structure that is designed to provide an atmosphere for maximum engagement in the room. Singing brings unity, and singing the Word and singing prayers from the Word–WOW!!

At IHOPKC, we mostly do two kinds of harp and bowl sets: worship with the Word, and intercession. Both are structured essentially the same, with times of corporate worship interspersed with times of spoken prayer developed by spontaneous singing. Here’s what your standard two-hour harp and bowl intercession set looks like:

Intercession set several years ago (old stage design). See that far right seat in the front row? That’s my seat. Every time.

  • The worship team consists of a worship leader on (usually) guitar or keys, at least three prophetic singers, musicians, and a prayer leader. At the start of the set, the worship leader will begin leading a familiar worship song as the rest of the team is transitioning onto the stage. We’ll have a time of corporate worship for 20-40 minutes, mostly consisting of worship songs that everyone already knows with maybe a bit of spontaneous singing sprinkled in as the Spirit leads.
  • When it’s time to transition into the prayer time, the worship leader will initiate several minutes of singing in the Spirit. (“What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.” 1 Corinthians 14:15) At this time, everyone will sing at the same time, either in tongues or with whatever words of praise are on their hearts.
  • Then, the prayer leader will start leading intercession from the podium just off stage right. The musicians will usually start playing something with a more driving beat, and many people in the room will stand up if they’re not already to help themselves engage more fully. The prayer leader will choose a verse, preferably an apostolic prayer, and pray from that for 2-3 minutes. It may go something like this:
    • “Praying for the ending of sex trafficking in Thailand from Ephesians 1:17-19. ‘That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.’ So God, I pray that You would break into Thailand with the spirit of wisdom and revelation. Open up their eyes to see You rightly. Let the traffickers see who You are and be transformed, and let those trafficked see You and be filled with hope…”
  • After the prayer leader finishes “in the name of Jesus,” the singers will one by one sing spontaneous phrases inspired by the verse and the prayer. The prayer leader may interject phrases of spoken prayers to help guide the singers. It may sound like this:
    • “Oh, God, bring wisdom and revelation to Thailand…”
      “Wisdom and revelation…”
      — “Open up their eyes!”
      “Open up their eyes and let them see You…”
      — “Bring deliverance!”
      “Great Deliverer, bring deliverance…”
  • After a minute or two, the chorus leader (the first singer) will launch a short, simple chorus that the whole room can jump in on, and then will end with a name of God. Maybe something like:
    • “You are the God of justice
      You are the God of deliverance
      Open up their eyes
      Open up their eyes
      [repeat]
      Open up their eyes, oh God”

      [Note: I just made up all of these prayers and choruses off the top of my head, so what you’d actually hear in the prayer room may be quite a bit better.]

  • After the chorus, the prayer leader will either pray again, or another person will come up to pray, and the process will repeat.
  • At some point during the intercession cycle, the prayer leader will invite a time of rapid fire prayer. At this time, anyone in the room can come line up behind the podium to pray a short 5-10 second prayer on the chosen topic. Every ten or so people, the chorus leader will interrupt with a chorus the whole room can sing together for a minute, then the prayer line will continue.
  • After the line ends, the worship team may continue with a chorus, someone may feel inspired to sing a solo prophetic oracle for a few minutes on the intercession topic, or the worship leader may take the room back into corporate worship.
  • After another 20 minutes or so of worship, another intercession cycle will commence.

A worship with the Word set is essentially the same, except that instead of a prayer leader leading intercession, there will be a prayer leader guiding the team through meditation on a short passage of the Bible. Phrase by phrase, the singers will develop the verse (paraphrase, interpret, and expand it). One person’s insight will spark another’s, and as a corporate body we will go somewhere in the Spirit we couldn’t go alone. Singing the Word, whether in intercession or meditation, is the best way I know of to make it a part of you. You may forget the verse you heard in a sermon, or even the verse you read in your own Bible, but you’ll find it difficult to forget the verse you sang. The centrality of the Word is of primary importance in every harp and bowl set.

This model is incredibly flexible and is easily adapted to any culture or context. It fosters unity and an atmosphere of enjoyable prayer–and enjoyable prayer is sustainable prayer.

“These I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples.”
~Isaiah 56:7

Weekend Ambush

Last weekend was absolutely splendidly NOT what I had planned. I was planning to go camping in Joshua Tree on Saturday with a few of my co-workers. From the start I wasn’t sure if I wanted to, because although I love these people and I could use a change of scenery, “roughing it” is rarely my cup of tea. I determined to go and enjoy it, though, so even when the plan fell through, I was proud of myself for at least refusing to be scared off.

Instead I spent my Saturday working the rock wall for the Christian camp. I’ve never properly worked ropes with the rec staff before, and I ended up loving it! By dinner time I was already thanking God that he had a better day planned for me than I had planned for myself, but he hadn’t even begun to surprise me. I let myself be talked into going to chapel in the evening when I heard that Tommy Green, the lead singer of Sleeping Giant who has a powerful ministry, would be speaking. I went with my roommate and sat through an hour of a student talent show. There was a definite amount of talent, and also a definite amount of… well. It was well worth it, though, because when Tommy came to the front, the first thing he did was pray for people in pain to be healed and the second thing he did was prophesy over some of the performers.

WHAT?!!! This might be pretty standard ministry in my usual circles, but at this camp? In the three years I’ve worked here, I have NEVER seen a single healing take place in that chapel, or a single prophecy be released (though granted I can’t claim to be there every time the doors are open). Not that God doesn’t move here or that the camp and its guests don’t believe in the gifts, we just don’t… tend to practice them very often.

I’ve spent so many hours over the past few years pacing the camp prayer chapel -and plenty of hours elsewhere too- praying for Holy Spirit to do crazy things in that chapel. I’ve tasted revival, and I am desperate for this camp, my home, to taste it too. Seeing what Tommy brought on Saturday was a beautiful down payment of the revival that I believe is coming.

But the night got better. Tommy’s message was about worship as warfare, and this generation releasing a new sound that literally shifts atmospheres, and the seven Hebrew words of praise, especially “tehila” spontaneous singing and “shabach” shouting, and how powerful dance is as an expression of worship… I could have closed my eyes and heard Jake Hamilton’s voice. (I actually just found out that Tommy has actually worked with Jake on the Voices conference Jake put on last year. So yeah.) I have never felt so completely in unity with what’s going on in that chapel as I did that night. Especially because after talking about free and powerful worship, the band came on stage and we DID IT for an hour and a half! My roommate and I ended up up pushing back the chairs in the back of the room and dancing and worshiping and crying until we were completely overwhelmed. I haven’t worshipped that freely since… well, since the week I left IHOP. The two of us helped clean up the chapel and watched as the campers settled into small groups, then went back home and prayed together until we fell asleep. My heart was full to bursting with the sheer excitement of loving God and watching him move.

Sunday was quite amazing as well. I went with a friend to her church for my second visit. The church is called Tithemi and is actually led by Eric Gregson, a close friend of Tommy who is (was?) also in Sleeping Giant! Bam. Small world. This little church is a beautiful, grungy, passionate band of young tattooed believers who worship with full hearts and pray with abandon. That Sunday night I kicked off my sandals and started dancing during the song Divine Romance, and by the time we’d sung the chorus about ten times the worship leader asked anyone who wanted to dance to come do it on stage. So I went. And we all danced for several more minutes before Eric invited us all to return to our seats.

As I was sitting down, he started talking about how powerful worship is, and how powerful dance is, and how that first person to dance serves the community by providing a “covering” for everyone else’s awkwardness… in other words, that person sets the tone for how free the group is allowed to be. It was a huge blessing and confirmation for me, because I knew that I was the first person to start dancing that night, and because I have so often been told about how my dancing creates an atmosphere of freedom and worship for others.

Even when I know something, I love it so much when God remembers and tells me again. He sees me, he knows me, he enjoys me. And he’s using me through my simply enjoying him. I’m just being who I was created to be, and he’s encountering me and using it to bless people.

Also, I’m so grateful for the community I’m surrounded by. From the people I worked rec with, to the people I was in chapel with, to the people at Tithemi, I am so deeply blessed to get to be around like-minded people who love me and are going after the same things. I love them all, and I love my Father for giving them to me.

Oh… one more thing. On Wednesday at camp, I went into the prayer chapel to spend my break. The first thing I did was unwrap a Dove dark chocolate square. And what did my wrapper say?

Be the first to hit the dance floor.

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Prophetic Dove wrapper (torn and taped)

[Belated] Testimony Thursday: Cheesecake Factory

For the record, I really did write this on Thursday night, but haven’t been able to actually get online to post it till today. So the “today” referenced below really is Thursday. 😉

 

Tomorrow is the birthday of one of the girls in my core group. Since today is our day off, her roommates planned a full celebratory day for her, starting with lunch at the Cheesecake Factory and ending with a piñata and a party at her apartment. The whole internship was invited to go to lunch and then to hang out at the mall afterwards.

I found myself in a quandary. (I ought to get into quandaries more often…it’s such a fun word to say!) I’ve been praying a lot about evangelism and stepping out in faith more to prophesy and pray for healing, etc. I really wanted to take the opportunity to go evangelising on Thursday afternoon as I normally do, especially since I have so little time left to do it in this kind of environment. (Seriously. A MONTH AND A HALF LEFT.) But I also really wanted to celebrate my friend’s birthday with her and build a memory with a bunch of awesome people. So I finally decided to go to Cheesecake Factory, and I’m very glad I did. She was (mostly) surprised and we had a really fun time.

While we were waiting for our table to be ready, some of us decided to go evangelise in the area. I got super excited and was thanking God that I don’t have to be on a scheduled outreach to bring the Kingdom! We grouped up and spread out, but about ten minutes later the birthday girl showed up and we all went inside. My partner and I didn’t really have any opportunities, but two of the other guys prayed for two people in that ten minutes. (Can I just take a moment to say that my OTI guys are AWESOME. Most of them are like my little brothers. They constantly provoke me to love Jesus more.)

Even though it was a birthday party and not a planned outreach, when a bunch of on-fire young people get together in public eager to be used by God, he can’t resist the opportunity! We decided to prophesy over our server. She was so bubbly and friendly and helpful, we really wanted to bless her. A few of us got words for her, and she was really touched. She started sharing a few things that were going on in her boyfriend’s family that have really been difficult for her. And God met her in the middle of her workday with the truth that he loves her and his eye is on her. It was a very special and fun thing to be used by God in. (And we all left generous tips, don’t worry.) I want to keep praying that God keeps encountering her and wooing her heart!

Today was special for me because it reminded me that I really can be a conduit of the Kingdom anywhere I go. I don’t have to choose between outreach and birthday party—literally anywhere is prime ground for the Kingdom to break out! This is just a tiny taste of what it’s supposed to be like.

God, give me eyes to see what you’re doing, ears to hear what you’re saying, and the faith and boldness to follow up and step out. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Testimony Saturday: Art Museum and the Edge of Hell

Sorry this is a bit late to be a proper Testimony Thursday, but I decided I wanted to wait and put the testimonies from Thursday and Friday up together.

On Thursday I went on outreach for the first time in three weeks. (Two weeks ago we all had to be at a conference, and one week ago we were all on midterm break.) We decided to visit the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art to evangelise. It wasn’t exactly the ideal spot, but we did have a few awesome divine appointments. I wandered around with two other interns. We ended up spending forty minutes talking to an 80-year-old Catholic security guard. We gave him a few prophetic words and he was very encouraged and amazed that we could actually hear God speak to us! In his theology only the saints could do that. We talked to him for about 45 minutes and he was so blessed and encouraged. He is a gem, so faithful to God in his workplace and in his family.

Last night we were at the EGS service at FCF before our outreach to the Edge of Hell haunted house district in Kansas City. I have to start with what happened at FCF because it was freaking incredible. During worship, one of the leaders got a prophetic word that God wanted to break the spirit of oppression off of people. People started speaking out to get free from stuff, because the power of life and death is in the tongue, and spiritual warfare isn’t done quietly in “receiving” mode. I prayed for the girl next to me and prophesied over her (which is something I don’t often do during services, but I was getting all fired up for outreach later and I decided I might as well jump into partnership with Holy Spirit a little early!). Then we all started singing in tongues for a good 30 minutes or so. Praying in the Spirit is powerful, guys. Heaven was coming into that auditorium.

I believe God ambushed that service just for the 60 or so of us who were going to Edge of Hell. He empowered us and prepared us in a very unique way, and the other thousand or so in the room got to reap the side benefits of God having his eye on us. We all got SO stirred up and filled and ready to rock when we had to leave towards the end of worship to jump on our bus. And then we proceeded to loudly pray and sing all the way there.

IHOP has been going for several years to this area to do outreach, and for several weeks this year alone. Last night was a bit more complicated than usual because there was a mix-up with where our bus was supposed to take us, so instead of assembling at the missions base to brief and then going to Edge of Hell inconspicuously, we showed up in the parking lot downtown in our big school bus. The police of course noticed us immediately and told us we had to stay outside the blocked off areas where the actual haunted houses were. This cramped our style a bit, but God wasn’t the least bit shocked or intimidated, so we spread out and started talking to people.

I was with one of the IHOP evangelism staff, Josh MacDonald (www.joshmacdonald.org) and a couple of other interns. We considered breaking the rules and going beyond the barrier anyway, but eventually decided that wasn’t our direction, so we started walking along the street and ran into a free hot chocolate station a local church had set up! We talked to them for maybe ten minutes, prayed for them, and healed a guy’s ankle. His foot had been cut OFF in an accident some time ago and reattached at the hospital, then divinely healed so there was no pain, but the pain had been creeping back in. Josh prayed and commanded that thing to be healed, and ten seconds later, the guy was jumping up and down with a big smile on his face. Hallelujah. That same guy actually prophesied over me before we left. He had the name “Caitlyn” in his head before I even introduced myself, and the words he gave me were totally dead on and really encouraging.

A while later, we went into a vintage shop several of us really felt drawn to. It was an cool little place, very artsy and unique, but also quite covered in intense Halloween freakiness and we definitely sensed some very dark spirits. We wandered around checking out the antiques and praying for a couple people, but still not sure what God had for us. One of the interns suddenly remembered that God had given him a dream of this very shop two years ago. Eventually we met a woman who worked there and it soon became clear that she was why we were there. She was a Christian and she had been hit by a car a number of years ago, and the entire lower half of her body was still out of whack. We prayed a couple times and the pain wasn’t leaving, then Josh got a word of knowledge that one of her legs was shorter than the other. She readily acknowledged this to be true, so we sat her down and commanded the right leg to grow. It did–too far! (This is a fairly common occurrence when legs grow out, by the way. God likes to play.) So we then commanded the left leg to grow to match it. (I have to say that even though I’ve seen legs grow out a good dozen times or so, I can’t always actually clearly see the difference. This time was CLEAR.)

The woman was very encouraged and we prayed for her again. My roommate and I prophesied over her, and the woman started crying and sharing her story. She’s been through so much, but she’s not bitter and she’s a powerful light in dark places. She amazes me. It was past closing time when we left and we were the only ones in the store, but before letting us out she sang us a beautiful song about loving sacrificially like Jesus. Heaven touched earth, I tell you. Here in this dark shop where hell had a stronghold, light was shining brightly.

Our group wasn’t the only one that saw God move. There were a lot of healings and several people really considering giving their life to Jesus. [EDIT: Actually, from what I later heard, at least 7 people actually DID get saved that weekend!!] This is a Facebook status from an intern:

Went to the Edge of Hell Haunted Houses tonight and met a woman who had a headache and stomach pain and both were completely healed. Then she looked up at me and told me she was 100% blind and after I prayed she was seeing light and movement for the first time ever and she said the pressure and pain behind her eyes was completely gone! Come on!!!!! Hallelujah!

Amen. God is good! He uses ordinary people to touch a desperate world with power and love.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
John 1:5

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