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The Difference a Chest Can Make

If there is one article which can sum up my sabbatical, it would be this one.  It is still just part of my testimony of what the Lord has been doing in my life and the life of our church.Here's the second part of my testimony about the some of answers to prayer.  It focuses on the prayer chest used at the Cali House of Prayer Church of the Nazarene in Colombia.
 

Cali Prayer Chest

 

Over the past several years, my intent was to build a small prayer box about the size of two shoe boxes which would hang on the wall at the back of our sanctuary.  I just never got around to it.  Because of my prayer journey at the Cali Church and through Extreme Colombia, I received a very distinct, divine, directive that we needed to move in a direction of a prayer box.  This is how it all came about.

I landed late on Wednesday, May 23, 2012.  By Friday, Vincent Cork, the Extreme missionary, took me to the 12-hours of prayer up in the prayer room.  I think that we maybe stayed a couple of hours, but it wasn't long.  When we entered the room, the prayer chest was there.  At some point, a group of men had surrounded it and were praying for the requests in it.  The Holy Spirit reminded me about building a prayer chest and focusing the ministries of our church around it.

I thought that it was regularly taken to the prayer room.  It was not, but I felt that the Lord was giving me direction with a prayer chest and a new/different prayer ministry for the Madison Heights Church of the Nazarene.  There were two things that I was cautious about:  1) To make sure that the ideas I had were from the Lord and not of my own creation and 2) to not duplicate another church's program thinking that it will work for the church I pastor.  My experience dictated my caution.

The more I prayed; the more direction I seemed to receive from the Lord.  The only people that I had discussed the prayer chest and prayer ministry was Vince and his wife, Alyson.  However the Lord was working on a larger scale to help confirm that this direction was from Him.  He was working not only working out this in my heart in Cali, but He was working in Madison Heights at the same time.

Here's a simple timeline that will explain how His hand was in the whole thing:

Friday, May 25 - (Cali) Prayer chest in prayer room; renewed interest in building chest

Monday, May 28 - (Cali) Beginning of intense prayer about chest and prayer ministry


May 28-June 2 - (Madison Heights) someone drops off a wood chair and wood chest by the church doors; we have things dropped off at the church periodically

Sunday, June 3 - (Madison Heights) the chair and chest were brought into the church and placed under one of the coat racks; a person from the church was interested in the chest; waiting until someone had the time to take the items to Salvation Army


Thursday, June 7 - (Cali) headed over to House of Prayer to help wash church chairs after my prayer time; saw prayer chest in sanctuary; took about 15 pictures of the chest so I could make one when I returned home

(Cali) Continued to pray and seek God's direction for prayer chest and new/different prayer ministry; spoke with Vince, Alyson, Pastor, and Pastora about the use of the chest and the petitions placed in there.


(Madison Heights) Wood chest remains in the entry way

Wednesday, June 20 - Returned home late

Thursday, June 21 (around 10:00 a.m.) - Arrived at the church to discover the wood chair and chest in the foyer under a coat rack

 

Image
 

Not only did the Lord provide a prayer chest, He confirmed in my heart that He birthed this new prayer ministry.  It was so clear.  As soon as I saw the chest, I praised the Lord.  When I found out that it wasn't a VBA prop and was anonymously donated, I felted like the Holy Spirit consumed the entire room with His presence.

It is a constant concern of mine that my ideas often get in the way of God's.  My ideas are meant for the betterment of the church and the salvation of others, but I want to make sure that they come from God.  This is really hard to explain.  There is a fine line between Holy Spirit-inspired and acting on our own strength.  I'm convinced that the only way to have the Lord birth and give the ideas and direction for our lives and the church is to spend hours upon hours in intimate communion with Him.  Ineffective prayer begets ineffective ministry; effective prayer begets effective ministry.


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