Summer Fun and a Testimony!!

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

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

TESTIMONY TIME!!

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

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

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

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

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

New Rapid Fire Prayer Topic

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

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

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

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

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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.

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.

Don’t Waste It!

“Ten thousand Americans turn 70 every day… Billions of dollars are spent every year trying to get us to waste the last chapter of our lives on leisure. I’m spending one afternoon to plead with the rising seventy-somethings: Don’t waste it.”

John Piper, “Hilary, Bernie, Donald, and Me”

I read this article recently when it came across my Facebook newsfeed as a post from the Desiring God page. John Piper, as he frequently does, was enthusing at length about the incredible opportunity the 65+ crowd has to serve the Kingdom of God with “maximum zeal” in their retirement years. His argument is simple, and it applies to believers of every age: Why should we waste God-given opportunities for passionate, radical, sacrificial living for the Kingdom and instead settle for the cheap comforts of this world?

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with vacations, days off, and the occasional Netflix binge. But if that becomes the primary way we spend our free time, we’re in trouble.

I’d like to introduce you to my Grandpa Rey. There’s a lot I could say about what he’s meant to my family over the years, but for the sake of this blog post I’d like to focus on something very recent. This was posted on Facebook by the youth pastor at his church.

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Grandpa Rey’s wife, my Grandma Jean, passed away this March. Grandpa Rey had been spending nearly all his time taking care of her, but when she went home to Jesus and he suddenly had more free time, he almost immediately began serving in the youth group at his church. During the evening youth services, he sits in the back of the room and prays for the students, and afterwards many of them come to him seeking wisdom, prayer, and hugs. My grandpa loves Jesus, loves the Word, fellowships with the Holy Spirit, believes in revival, and puts it all into action by praying for and loving the people in front of him– in fact, he seeks out people to pray for and love. God is using him at age 79 to powerfully touch young people, which wouldn’t be happening if he hadn’t chosen to sow his time into the Kingdom– time which many others in his position would have chosen to spend on themselves.

I talked on the phone with him last night, and he shared with me a story of a crisis that one of the students experienced, which resulted in dozens of church members gathered at the hospital praying and worshipping. Several people got healed and 15 people got saved!! What a testimony! I’m so excited that my grandpa got to be part of such a move of God!

It’s easy for me to brag on my grandpa, but that isn’t actually why I’m writing this. I wanted to share his story because I’m provoked by him, and by John Piper and dozens of others, to make good use of the days I’m given. I’m several decades away from potential retirement, but right now, I am kind of “retired” from college. I’m still working part-time and preparing for my transition to ministry in Dallas, but I have a lot more free time now than I did even six months ago. (Plus, I’m not married and I don’t have kids, so I have the 1 Corinthians 7:34 thing going for me!)

I’ve been entrusted with these hours, these days. How am I spending them?

I’m not saying we all need to jump and go sign up for ministries at church, but I am encouraging us to check our hearts and motivations. When God gives us the great stewardship of Time, do we rush to spend it on our own flesh without a second thought, or do we consider how our time can be sown into something of eternal value?

The stakes are high. Time is short. Let’s not waste it.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”
Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV

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!

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)

azusa now leaders

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!)

Azusa Now Becca FB

Testimony from my new friend Rebekah.

 

The Parable of the Girl and the King

Nearly four years ago, during my first few months at IHOPKC, God was taking me on a journey of looking at the story of my life through His eyes. I began to see how faithful and gentle He had been in bringing me to Himself, even though I grew up in the church. One Wednesday night in the prayer room, on August 12, 2012, I wrote a little parable of my story. I was reminded again of it tonight, and decided to share it with you.
castle

Once there was a young girl who lived in the kingdom of a great King. From her infancy she grew up knowing of the King and hearing his power and goodness praised. When she was only three years old she decided to become a citizen of his kingdom, for this was a great privilege available to anyone, young or old, from any way of life, who would choose to live under the rulership of the King. For the King had paid a great price for anyone to receive citizenship freely, and from a young age the girl accepted this gift gladly.

As she grew, though, daily surrounded by reminders of the King’s rule, the girl’s heart began to grow distant. She was still young and glad of her citizenship, but she began to resent the constant symbols of the kingdom. She began to wish she could taste life in the exotic lands outside the kingdom. For all the world she still looked and acted like a citizen, but she knew that her heart did not rejoice in it. She continued on, though, because she knew it was right, and besides, it was the only way she knew.

Still, she always knew that the King was good, and as she watched others celebrating him and their citizenship in his kingdom, she wished for that same joy. She didn’t know how to get it, so she occasionally petitioned the King for such understanding and joy in her most secret moments, but continued to live as though she wished she could escape. The girl was very confused, frustrated, and lonely.

The King heard her petition, and because of his goodness, began to answer it, as though he had only been waiting to be asked. He assigned her to a local community that knew and loved him well, and with them as her guides, she began to know him better too. Bit by bit, the King slowly began to show her what being a citizen meant. The girl discovered that the King heard every petition and always gave an answer. She discovered that the King wanted her not only to be a citizen who would obey his laws and enjoy his blessings, but to be his friend.

So, very slowly, the girl who had always known and respected the King grew to know and love him as a friend. She would occasionally drop by his palace and have talks with him—often with her friends, but also sometimes alone. They were awkward conversations at first, but they gradually grew more natural and trusting. The King decided to show the girl what kind of friend he could be, so he invited her on trips to distant cities. The girl loved these trips, and they would spend entire weeks constantly in each other’s company. The girl learned how the King ruled his kingdom, and he let her help him bring justice and mercy to those who needed him. The girl was delighted to have a friend as good and powerful as this King.

But after every trip, the closeness they had built would eventually fade away. The girl was at first very excited to visit the King every day to talk, but then she came every other day, and then only once a week. She still loved and missed him, but she didn’t know how to maintain a friendship without the excitement of the trips. The King missed the girl as well, and he decided it was time to show her something new.

So over many days, the King began to tell the girl a story. It began as an epic story in three parts, but he was always adding new bits to it, and every other story he told always ended up being part of the same story. The story told of a mighty warrior in a coloured forest who was tenderly pursuing a maiden who didn’t want him. He fiercely wooed her and lavished love on her, even to the point of laying down his life to rescue her, until she finally yielded to him and he claimed her as his bride for all eternity.

The girl was moved to tears by the story, and even more so when the King knelt before her and confessed that the story was about him. He told her that he didn’t only want her as a citizen, or a friend, or even a daughter. He wanted her to be his bride.

The girl couldn’t believe it. This great King, so powerful and kind and beautiful, wanted her to be his bride? She who had pushed him away for so long and still barely knew how to love him?

But it was true, and the girl watched through tears as the kneeling King slipped a gold ring on her finger and tenderly kissed her hand. In that moment, the girl’s love began to blossom in earnest, and she realised that nothing she had ever wanted compared to this King, this man, who held such power in every flash of his eyes and every passion of his heart. He had chosen her and she had chosen him, and she vowed to live the rest of her life letting him love her and learning to love him as he deserved.

Their engagement was very long, because the King could not marry until his rule over the land was made complete. So through the long days of waiting the King continued wooing her heart and she fell more in love with the man she realised she barely knew. He took her on many more adventures, and each one revealed more of who he was and who he had chosen her to be. And with every revelation the girl loved him more.

Staff Retreat– and $40,000!!!

Every year, the staff of The Prayer Room goes on a weekend retreat together somewhere out in the country. Many call it the highlight of the year, and after being privileged to participate this year, I can see why. All 30(ish) of the staff (full-time, part-time, and volunteer) spent the entire weekend together eating, sharing stories, playing games (I got to introduce some of them to Pit!), shooting guns, making s’mores, praying, teasing, laughing… it was a wonderful time of refreshing and reenvisioning for all of us. The tight-knit friendships in this group are amazing, and I am so honoured to get to spend this season calling these people my family.

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Yes, I did.

staff retreat

Staff hang time!

While we were gone, IHOPU sent one of its best student worship teams down to Texas from Kansas City to keep the prayer and worship going in our prayer room while 90% of the people who sustain daily operations were out of town. They were amazing! They were so willing to serve and really blessed by the opportunity. Several of them said afterwards that those little sets in an empty room were the best worship experiences they’d ever had. We were all so grateful for these guys.

"Team R&R" rocked the house for us all weekend!

“Team R&R” rocked the house for us all weekend!

Also, here’s another $$ testimony…

As you may remember from my previous post, we’re in the process of remodeling a new building to house the ministry and are getting hit with one roadblock after another. God has given us two $50,000 anonymous cash donations on two separate occasions, but every time we turn around there’s another thing that needs fixing and another exorbitant city requirement and another reason to delay the process. Most recently, the city slapped us with some heretofore unmentioned fire code requirements that will cost us at least $30,000. This put us at a standstill yet again, and we redoubled our prayers for God to break in – to change the requirement, give us the money, or preferably both.

Last week, our director Brad and his wife discovered a package on their doorstep containing $40,000. In cash. Anonymously.

40,000

Merry Christmas, TPR.

HALLELUJAH.

This is exactly what we need to move forward on the remodel project and get into our new home as quickly as possible!!

The waiting sucks, but God always breaks in, and He always does so spectacularly.

People have said to me, “It’s too bad you weren’t here to see the base back before everything was so hard!” But you know what? I wouldn’t trade this season for the world. In times of hardship is when you get to see what a people is truly made of. I have seen this community cling to faith and joy, keep the fire on the altar no matter what, and intercede relentlessly for breakthrough. They have kept loving and serving and blessing and welcoming others, even when their strength feels almost gone. They have kept loving and trusting Jesus, even when the circumstances look impossible.

This is a family I am deeply honoured and delighted to journey with. And I’m super excited to help finish remodelling the building and eventually celebrate the move-in with them!

Updates and Testimonies and $50,000… what?!

It’s been quite an exciting few weeks in Dallas on my externship with The Prayer Room! Here are a few highlights:

TPR collage w captions

(Oops… that little princess’ name is spelled Madilynn!)

1528707_597173963695449_443930012_nI do want to especially highlight that last happening. Jake Hamilton, a worship leader from my hometown whose music and ministry have been impacting me since high school, came to Dallas to play at a coffee shop as a benefit for Unlikely Heroes, a nonprofit for the restoration of human trafficking victims. It was a joy to catch up with him briefly, and it was an honour to support their efforts to house and restore these girls. I’d encourage you to check out Unlikely Heroes at unlikelyheroes.com and help however you can!

Okay, MAJOR testimony and prayer request…

Something very exciting has been happening in the life of The Prayer Room as a whole. A few months ago, God started talking to the community about moving to a new building, and He had a particular place in mind. He did a miracle to get them the building, but then the real struggle began. Remodelling has been a little bit like the Cary Grant movie “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” – nothing has gone to plan and everything is expensive.

Original artist's rendering of the new building

Artist’s original rendering of the new building

God has broken in in major ways for us already. A few months ago, this happened: (Seriously, no excuses, you need to watch the video.)

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God gave us $50,000 in cash as a surprise, anonymous donation!! Our director, Brad, found a basket of cash in the prayer room one morning. That allowed us to get the remodel project off the ground.

Soon enough, we hit another series of roadblocks that made it impossible for us to continue paying our contractors. Work was at a virtual standstill, until…

God gave us $50,000 in cash as a surprise, anonymous donation!!

Yep, you read that right; there’s not a glitch in the Matrix. Brad and his wife found a gift bag of cash on the back porch of their home just a couple of weeks ago. God did it again and now we have enough money to get a certificate of occupancy and be in the building by early October!!

However… we still need another $50,000 to pay off our debt and get the basic furnishings we need to make the new building fully functional. As a community, we’re all daily pressing in in prayer for God to break in again. We’re also asking Him to bring us more monthly partners so we can be financially stable on a monthly basis.

Please pray with us for continued financial breakthrough. God has spoken and done so much to make it so clear that He really, really wants to place us in this building. Only He can do it!

For more details and updates on the remodel project, visit The Prayer Room’s building update page.

This will be the lobby of the new building.

This will be the lobby of the new building.

This will be the prayer room of the new building. The stage will be in that right corner.

This will be the prayer room of the new building. The stage will be in that right corner.

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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