Several months ago I had the idea to create a prayer room and set it aside for a week of 24/7 prayer for our church. I couldn't shake the idea, so I began praying about it. It may sound weird, but I felt that this was one of the 2 or 3 BIG things that I was going to give my year to. It then hit me that this would be a great opportunity to invite other local churches into it. I shared it with Mandy, then with our leadership team, then with a couple of pastor friends. Each conversation revealed more of an open door, and so we continued to walk.
After several more conversations this tiny spark of an idea has turned into the Midtown Prayer Collective. It's much bigger than Neighborhood Church (7 churches so far that I'm aware of), and it's turned into longer than a week. At 7:00 on Wednesday, October 10, at Lifelink Church (1015 S. Cooper), we're going to gather for a time of corporate prayer and worship. At 9:00 our first hour of prayer will begin. 838 hours later (on Wednesday, November 14) we'll celebrate all that God has done.
The idea is that each of those hour-long slots is filled with someone. And it's not limited to one person either. But we know that every hour of every day for a little over a month, the saints of God are praying. You may feel that praying for an hour is an impossible task, but when you step into this prayer room and observe the beauty and the promptings towards prayer, the time is going to go by quickly. Not quite buying that? Well then read this.
Jon Tyson, from Trinity Grace Church in NYC, was in Memphis last fall. He spent a few hours with some of us, and, though he said a ton of helpful stuff, one thing he said truly haunted me. He said that the American Church has tried everything but radical prayer. Jon is from Australia, so he can say something like that. He knows that the Church here has had more resources than any period of church history before. This has led to great creativity and at times decent fruit, but have we lost a sense of desperate dependence for God to do what only He can do? Do we still dream about what things could look like if God had His way in our lives, our churches, and our cities?
I am so ready to be surprised by God. I am so ready to look at what is going on and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no way that would have happened without God stepping in. I'm growing dissatisfied for the status quo of church, and I thank God for that. My prayer is that a passion for Jesus and a faith to believe for the seemingly impossible would be stirred up in our city. We need this more than we realize.
I'll leave you with a quote by Peter Greig, who wrote Red Moon Rising and The 24/7 Prayer Manual.
When we pray, we cannot guarantee how the glory of God will come, and when He does arrive it is often in a disguise that confounds our religious expectations of such an eagerly anticipated heavenly invasion. But we should never doubt that God comes to those who humble themselves in faithful prayer.