Thirteen

Thirteen friends filled our living room last night. That may not seem like a huge number, but we have a small living room. They spilled over into the hallway and the dining room.

Since the start of the year, Marion and I have set aside Thursday evenings to worship Jesus and pray for our neighbourhood and city,

There have been a couple of occasions when Father, Son, Holy Spirit and the angels were our only companions. God has used those times to test and shape our hearts by reminding us Who we are doing this for. One of Jesus’ complaints about the Pharisees (religious leaders of his day whom he considered to be hypocrites) was that everything they did was done for people to see. They wanted to be noticed. They craved recognition, approval, attention. The times when no-one else is present have trained the eyes of my heart to focus on Jesus, and seek to bring Him pleasure simply because He is worthy.

That’s a process that is not yet complete. But Father in his kindness and mercy also gives us times with friends to encourage us. Last night was one of those times. Our house was full of friends new and old.

Some were from our wonderful church family at All Nations Ottawa. Some were from The Village, a little church in our neighbourhood of Vanier where Marion and I served for several months last year. Some were from Love Ottawa. Some were brothers and sisters from other parts of Ottawa with a vision to see local houses of prayer birthed across our city.

They came to worship and pray with us. They also came to hear from Jill and Kirk Weber of Greater Ontario House of Prayer in Hamilton, who brought much encouragement by sharing stories and insights from their journey as pioneers in the contemporary Canadian prayer movement. The presence of the Lord was sweet and our hearts were refreshed.

I don’t know where all this is going. I am learning to simply take one step at a time as Marion and I seek to obey Jesus. For now, we will simply keep doing what we are doing, until He shows us new steps of faith. But two truths were lodged in my heart last night.

One of these truths is that, in the Psalmist’s words, for me, it is good to be near God. I don’t know any other way to live anymore. Loving Jesus has become my identity, and being a man of prayer isn’t just something I do, it’s who I am and who I am becoming.

The second of these truths is that seeking the Lord is not meant to be a solitary occupation. Although we need to keep our eyes on Jesus when no-one is around, and although both Marion and I place high value on times of solitude when we can be alone with the One who knows us better than anyone else, we have also learned that truly God sets the lonely in families. We were made to give and receive love. We were made to share life with others.

Living in community is part of the heart and soul of a genuine life with Jesus. Learning to love others strips away our fear, our pride, our self-preoccupation. It teaches us to cultivate genuine humility and gratitude. While we do need the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, we also need the encouragement of fellow travellers who are seeking to walk the same road of faith, hope and loving obedience.

Last night I received a fresh dose of both kinds of encouragement. For that, I am grateful.

 

 

Stirring Up Desire

We had a wonderful time together last night, worshipping the Lord and crying out to Him to increase our desire for Him. We also prayed for the people of God, for the Bride to have her love and desire for the Bridegroom greatly increased. And we prayed for those not yet saved and for those caught in various forms of sin and bondage. that they would have eyes opened to see the glory and goodness of God and they would find desire for Him rising up in their hearts.

Over the past few weeks we have settled into a simple pattern of Harp and Bowl worship and prayer that works for us. On a typical Thursday evening we will have one devotional and two intercessory cycles, organized loosely around a common theme. We begin our first Harp and Bowl cycle shortly after 7 pm by reading a few verses of Scripture to focus our thoughts, and we usually have a time of conversational sharing after concluding our third prayer cycle. Our aim is to wrap up by 9 pm, although last night we spilled over a little bit.

Numbers have varied greatly. Last night our living room was full. Some nights there have been as few as three of us (Marion and I being two of those three).  The Lord has settled it in our hearts that we are doing this for Him, not for the acclaim of people, so we are going to worship and pray on Thursday evenings no matter who shows up, as long as the Lord gives us strength and grace.

Anyone with a desire to grow in love for Jesus and to present the needs of others before His throne is welcome to join us as we pray for the people of God, for the city where we live, and for the world that Jesus died for.

Before His Eyes (God as Bridegroom, Judge and King – 2)

Scriptures from the January 23, 2014 meeting can be viewed here.

Because this theme is so important for our life of prayer, we will be considering it again at our next meeting on Thursday February 6.

There will be no meeting on Thursday January 30. Instead, we will join with All Nations Ottawa at 7:30 pm to receive a message of encouragement from evangelist Arne Skagen of Norway (Ecole Francojeunesse, 119 Osgoode Street at Nelson).

Foundations of the House of Prayer

David’s Tabernacle

John 2:14-17

  • Jesus’ zeal for His Father’s House
  • What is zeal? Burning, fervent emotion
  • Jesus’ zeal for holiness of God and presence of the Lord

Isaiah 56:6-7

  • House of Prayer for Nations
  • Joy in place of prayer

Luke 2:36-38

  • Anna’s zeal
  • She had been waiting for the Messiah
  • Intercessor, prophet, evangelist

Luke 18:1-8

  • One of the signs of faith is persevering prayer
  • Jesus is looking for this

Revelation 22:17

  • He wants to come back for a bride who is in love with Him

Ephesians 2:19-22

  • We are the dwelling place of God
  • Prayer movement is spreading throughout the earth

Fresh vision for the House of Prayer

Marion and I would like to thank all those who have been praying for us over the past few weeks. God has been at work in our lives in many ways .

Sometimes to really hear clearly from the Lord, we need to take some time to step back from our commitments and just be quiet with Him. As Marion and I took time to do this, we realized that the Lord was telling us to lay some things down because they were getting in the way of our primary calling.

Our first calling is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. That is the heartbeat of the House of Prayer that Jesus is so passionate about.

As Marion and I have repented of letting secondary things take too big a place in our lives, and laid down other commitments in order to refocus on loving God first, we have received fresh vision for the House of Prayer that He wants us to birth here in Vanier. The Holy Spirit has been showing us a very simple, flexible model that is suited to our capacities and our situation.

Starting in January, we will host weekly meetings for worship and prayer in our home. We will spend a good chunk of our time simply loving God with our songs of worship, drawing near to Jesus and sitting at His feet. The worship style will be simple, acoustic and meditative. We will also pray for our community, using faith-filled Scriptural prayers, following a simple pattern in which we pray week by week through a cycle of four overall themes. We believe that as we lift up Jesus in our worship and our prayers, the Light of the World will become more and more visible and evident in this neighbourhood that we call home and that Jesus died to save.

In addition to the weekly prayer and worship gatherings, we will conduct prayer walks on an occasional basis (probably monthly) once spring comes and the weather improves.

As we considered what would happen when there are too many people to fit into our living room, we sensed the Lord saying that this would be the sign to launch another prayer cell. So, for us, the House of Prayer that we are called to birth will not be housed in a particular building, but in the hearts and lives of the people of God scattered throughout the city. Though it may start in Vanier, it need not be limited to Vanier. New prayer cells can be birthed anywhere that there are people with a vision to do so. Our hope and desire is that these prayer cells would stay linked to each other in a flexible network that would come together for larger gatherings as the Lord grants space and grace.

Although this prayer network is obviously an expression of the Body of Christ, it is not a substitute for the local church. We do not see ourselves as starting a new church in the usual sense of that word. Rather, we want to serve, partner with and bless the existing churches in the community. One of our main prayer themes will be to pray for God’s blessing on the churches and pastors in our community.

If this vision finds an echo in your heart, consider this post your invitation to come and join us in worship and prayer. If you can’t come every week, come when you can. We’ll be here as long as the Lord grants us health, strength and grace to worship and seek Him.

Re-Launch Details
Date      Thursday January 9, 2014
Time      7:00 pm
Place     283 Ste Cecile, Vanier, Ontario

Prayer request

Good morning friends of the Vanier House of Prayer

Although it has been only two weeks since my last post, much has changed. As Marion and I have waited on the Lord, many things are becoming more clear. This has not been an easy time, as transitions are often demanding, but we are seeing our way more clearly than before, and fresh vision and energy for the House of Prayer are beginning to emerge.

Please pray for clear prophetic insight, wisdom and faith as we consider the steps that the Lord wants us to take when we resume meetings for the House of Prayer in January.

Much love in Christ

Peter.