Feasting with Jesus at the Community TableShira Gamey - 20 May 2019
Once a year, GOHOP (Greater Ontario House of Prayer), in Ontario, Canada partners with a network of churches seeking to bless and serve the city in unity to run 2 weeks of 24-7 Prayer. However, this year’s prayer room was slightly different to previous years, as Shira shares:
We sensed a new invitation/challenge by the Lord. If we were calling these 2 weeks of prayer a city-wide prayer room, could we invite different churches to “adopt a day” of hosting the space?
Our team set out to find new creative ways to engage the community in prayer, and share the responsibility more intentionally. I had no idea that this would become one of my favorite prayer rooms since I started running them 5 years ago!
Instead of GOHOP filling all the hours, churches/ministries adopted different days and were responsible for inviting and catalyzing their own congregations to host the space and fill it with prayer.
In the two weeks we had 63 confirmed churches/ministries represented, and over 500 individuals come through the space.
Yet these numbers do not tell the whole story.
Our heart was not simply to fill the space with people, but for it to be a place of welcome; for our prayer room to carry a spirit of hospitality.
The Holy Spirit did not disappoint us - God exceeded our expectations. The prayer room became a place not just to consume, but to partake, and to participate in the prayers being lifted up.
It became a place where people were welcomed into the family. Everyone who came through our doors belonged.
"'Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young - a place near your altar...'"
The centerpiece of our prayer room was a family dining room table, the very first thing you saw when you walked in. People expressed that they could feel the welcome and a sense of being at home every time they walked into the space.
Those saying this were not from the same walks of life, but covered diverse backgrounds. There were young children and the elderly enjoying the space. Charismatic and contemplatives, churched and unchurched, homeless and those who had a secure place to rest their head. Mothers and fathers, pastors, and lay people, those new to prayer, and those who have been to too many prayer meetings to count.
One person reported:
“I really appreciated that the space accommodated people of all ages, particularly children. I saw the room as an opportunity to teach children that praying doesn't have to be limited to a couple of ways.”
We saw our job as inviting people to come to the table of the Lord and feast with him, and God’s presence was so tangible. It was such a beautiful picture of the unity of the church coming from all walks of life and praying to God for the good of the city.
Interested in running your own prayer room with your community or in your town?
Check out our prayer rooms hub for more info.
Photo Credit: Nina Drenth, GOHOP