Was just reminiscing and realized that one year ago TODAY, my good friend Kim and I were sitting in a congregation in Grant's Pass Oregon. This is significant because of a conversation that we had that day. But first off, let me share a little background.
We had driven down for some meetings by Pastor Stephen Bohr. It was a beautiful day and the messages were inspiring. However, thinking we were strangers in the church, I was surprised when, during the intermission, someone came up to me excitedly. "Melody! It's so good to see you!" I didn't know the girl and had no clue how she knew me, but I tried to act happy and surprised to see her as well. She then went on to tell me how much she and her family loved their time at ARME Bible Camp, and she wanted to know when we were having our next camp in the Northwest. She went on to share how much united prayer had impacted their lives. It was encouraging and inspiring to hear. After she left, my friend Kim and I talked for a few minutes. "You know…" I told Kim, "Wouldn't it be amazing if we could take the concept of united prayer to the whole world-wide church? If the church could see and experience what we are seeing happen at our camps, what an impact it could make! This would be amazing."
Soon the meetings began again and I ceased my dreaming…but I had no idea how soon my wish would soon come true!
Two days later I received a call from Janet Page, the new Prayer Director at the General Conference World Headquarters for the SDA church. "Melody, we are having Annual Council next week where all the leaders of the SDA church from around the world come together and we really need someone to staff our prayer room. Would your team come? I know this is last minute, but this is urgent!" How could I resist such a plea?
Within 24 hours I found myself on a plane bound for Silver Springs, Maryland…and within days a team had formed, not only to staff a prayer room, but to lead united prayer for the Annual Council meetings each day. Not only that, during church on Sabbath, right before Ted Wilson gave his first presidential address to the Annual Council delegates (the Division Presidents, Union Presidents, and executive committee members that shepherd and guide the 17 million SDA members), Mark Finley interviewed me about what God was doing in united prayer. I was too naive at the time to realize who I was standing before, so it wasn't scary at all. I was just excited to share what God was doing in our lives, and excited to inspire others to be a part.
It was only after I had sat down from sharing my testimony that I remembered the dream I had expressed to Kim only one Sabbath before. I realized that in one week, God had flung wide open the doors for the message of the power of united prayer to go to the whole church. But then I realized it had been "His Dream" all along, not just mine. I was just being inspired by Him. It was almost overwhelming…
Now here I sit reminiscing about it all a year later. Since last year's Annual Council, more doors have opened throughout the world for our united prayer teams to travel and teach united prayer. Doors not only in the North American Division, but in the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division, in the Southern Asia-Pacific Division, in the Southern Asia Division, East Central Africa Division, and in the Euro-Africa Division. (Some of those stories you've already read, as I've blogged about them this past year!) We've seen church presidents impacted and change the way they do business. We've seen Pastor's catch the vision for united prayer, we've seen entire schools experiencing revival and reformation, and we've seen thousands of lives impacted. There are stories more numerous than I can retell in a few brief minutes…and stories that we are still struggling to find time to upload to our united prayer testimonies page…
All I can say is, it is amazing what God can do in one year! At least amazing in our day and age…and yet I realize that this work is so much bigger than me or us, or even a few hundred dedicated individuals. What we've seen and experienced is only a drop in God's bucket. It's hardly a dent in a world full of need….
A few thousand years ago, it only took ten days. One upper room and ten days of prayer, and those disciples were able to go out and reach the entire world…not just with the power of united prayer, but with the power of the entire Gospel. They reached the entire world at that time for Christ. It's mind boggling! Yet I've often wondered, if our entire church, or even a handful, were truly willing to dedicate themselves to the same calling…to prayer….couldn't the whole world be turned upside down again?? Wouldn't the Holy Spirit fall on us as well, so that Jesus could truly come back?
I write this post as I'm preparing to return to the General Conference Annual Council for the second time. We've been invited back, and this time, we're praying that God will take the conviction of the need of united prayer even deeper with our leaders and officials. The work is happening, God's Spirit is being poured out…but we know He longs to do so much more….
So I ask you to pray for me and our team…(Martin, Liana, Erik, Susy) as we spend these next couple weeks at the General Conference praying with the church leaders and praying for the meetings that will continue to shape the course of our church, and the world wide Christian movement preparing for Jesus return. He is coming back soon, but we will not be ready unless we learn to fall on our faces and pray…unless we are covered by His Spirit and clothed in His righteousness. So let us pray!!!