Thursday evening prayer

For a few months now, we haven’t been publicizing our weekly prayer meetings. That’s because the Lord made it clear to us a while back that His priority for us was not to focus on attracting people to come to our Thursday evening gatherings, but simply to focus on praying.

This past week, however, someone showed up at our door and said she wasn’t sure if we were meeting because she couldn’t find anything about our meeting on the Web. We were really happy that Dayna found us that evening, and she brought a wonderful freshness and vitality to our time of prayer. Although we don’t want to focus on promoting a meeting, we do want to communicate with our friends. So this is just a note to say that you will find us worshipping and praying at 283 Ste Cecile in Vanier every Thursday evening at 7 pm. Anyone who loves Jesus and wants to come and pray with us is welcome. If that changes, we’ll try to notify you.

Much love in Christ

Peter and Marion

What does ISIS have to do with us?

Many Westerners probably think of the current war in Iraq as an unfortunate but far away conflict that has nothing to do with us, and no effect on our lives apart from higher oil and gas prices.

The reality is that ISIS, the group behind the conflict, is far more than just a band of terrorists. This is a highly-religious Islamic jihadist army whose goal is to establish an Islamic Caliphate (empire) in the Middle East, in the conviction that this is a key step in preparing the way for the return of the Mahdi, the Islamic saviour.

In response to a recent ISIS recruitment video, now apparently no longer available, Joel Richardson writes in his blog

What modern Christian movement or expression matches the zeal and commitment of this Satanic movement? Its going to take a prayer and missions movement unlike anything we have seen to date. Its going to take a return to the early Church theology of the cross and martyrdom. Its going to take a genuine Global Jesus Revolution.

In the West, most Christians are dulled and lulled by the comforts and cares of every day life. I understand this very well – I battle with it myself on a daily basis. We have grown used to a domesticated, Westernized, comfortable, compromised Christianity – a far cry from the gospel of Jesus. Our hearts cry out for intimacy with Jesus, but we can only have genuine intimacy with Him if we understand who He really is, and the true nature of His Kingdom and the battle in which we are engaged. The only way to fight is to keep our eyes on Him. When we speak of seeing the Lord’s House of Prayer established, we are not just crying out for personal intimacy with Jesus (though that is undoubtedly very important). We are crying out for His return as openly-acknowledged King.

Building the Lord’s House of Prayer in Ottawa

From the time that Marion and I began opening our home for weekly worship and prayer, I knew that God was after something more than just a weekly prayer meeting in our living room. Jesus loves home meetings, but his vision is much bigger than that. He is building 24/7 Houses of Prayer across the earth as His Bride begins to awaken to the seriousness of the hour and make herself ready for His return.

During worship at our local church last Sunday, I received a prophetic picture that I am still processing. I believe that it contains some keys for laying foundations of the Lord’s House of Prayer in Ottawa. This will involve several conversations with potential partners – conversations that will take place in the Lord’s timing as He opens doors. As the Lord’s leading is confirmed and clarified, I believe it could lead to something that looks quite different from what we have been doing thus far, although it will be a natural progression from the foundation that has been laid in the Spirit.

Marion and I believe that we are to suspend our Thursday evening open meetings until further notice, so that we can give ourselves fully to understanding and obeying what the Lord is showing us,  We plan to continue seeking the Lord individually and as a couple, and also with other potential partners, until the vision becomes more clear.

Sabbatical in May

As Marion and I have been seeking the Lord regarding His plan for Vanier House of Prayer, we have both been sensing a need to spend more time in the presence of the Lord without any agenda except what He shows us. We are going to take the month of May as a sabbatical time, and will be suspending open (public) meetings until June. We will be in Kansas City for part of this time.  Whether on the road or at home, we will still be worshipping and praying, but not hosting meetings.

We expect to resume hosting weekly prayer meetings in June. Details to follow in a subsequent message.

Until He comes.

Adjustments along the way

It has been almost four months now since Marion and I started holding weekly meetings for worship and prayer in our home. We have learned a lot, and we have already made some minor adjustments along the way. Now it’s time to make a few more.

Up until now we have been basing our gatherings around a simplified form of the Harp and Bowl model of worship and prayer that was pioneered in the prayer room of International House of Prayer and has helped millions of Christians to pray with fluency from a place of intimacy with God. Moving forward, the core of our meetings most Thursdays will still be Harp and Bowl worship and prayer, but for the next few weeks we are going to experiment with a couple of minor adjustments in the overall shape and flow of the evening.

The first adjustment, in the interest of building community, is that we will try starting the evening with a half hour of recorded worship music, to make it less awkward for those who can’t get here right at 7:00 pm. That way, Marion and I can greet people as they arrive, and we can aim to begin our time of Harp and Bowl worship and prayer at 7:30, by which time most people will have arrived.

Frankly, this adjustment will only be a success if you think of the gathering time as part of the meeting, and make an effort to arrive as close to 7:00 as possible. If you think that as a result of this change, the meeting really only begins at 7:30 and you have an extra half hour to arrive, the net result will be that our meetings will start later and later, and we will have less and less time for actual worship and prayer. If that begins to happen, we will be forced to go back to our original pattern of starting with worship and prayer at 7:00 pm no matter who is here.  So, if you want to help us build community, aim to be here as close to 7:00 as possible, so that you can spend time greeting others and resting in the presence of God until we begin worship and prayer at 7:30.

The second adjustment, again in an effort to build community, is that we will aim to leave some open time at the end of the evening for sharing and prayer about any pressing personal concerns. We don’t want this to take over the whole evening. Our primary purpose is still to come together to worship God and pray for our city and neighbourhood. However, we realize that the pure Harp and Bowl model of the IHOP prayer room is practiced in the context of an existing community of people who live and work and serve together, whereas we need to build community each week as we come together from our various places and callings. One way of doing that is to allow some time for pressing personal concerns.

A third adjustment is that I have been sensing for a while now that the Lord wants me to stop promoting the meetings with weekly event notifications, and trust Him to simply bring people that He is drawing to be part of this developing community of prayer. Our worship and prayer gatherings are not “events” that we are trying to promote, they are gatherings of praying people drawn together by the Holy Spirit for a common purpose. Those of you who are regular participants already know about the meetings, and don’t need to be reminded. Further, you are each free to invite other individuals who might be interested. As for those who are not regular participants, I have had feedback from a few people indicating that they would prefer not to receive the weekly event notifications.  As I reflect on this, I am reminded of the testimony of Hudson Taylor, a 19th century missionary to China, who did not even make his financial needs known, but simply presented them to the Lord in prayer and trusted God to answer. In a similar way, I believe that our strategy for growth should be based on prayer, with personal invitation playing a secondary role. By all means feel free to invite people, but let’s allow the Holy Spirit to be the one who draws them.

I will send out notifications (by means of this blog, Facebook and email) if we have a special guest coming, or if we have to cancel the meeting for some reason. Otherwise, you can assume that our weekly gatherings will be taking place at 7 pm every Thursday at 283 Ste Cecile in Vanier.

Holy Week prayer

Last night in our living room, in remembrance of the night when Jesus was betrayed, seven people worshipped, prayed, read the Passion narrative and shared the bread and cup of the covenant. We recalled the words of Paul that whenever we eat this bread and drink this cup we proclaim His death until He comes. We prayed for persecuted believers and for all those who are undergoing tests and trials, that they would be strengthened by the living hope that we have in Jesus. We also prayed for the salvation and protection of the people of Israel, believing and declaring that the day will come when the leaders of Israel will cry out “Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord”.