when the Lion comes around, with his claw and his crown follow, follow His every move -Josh Garrels
It all started in a prayer room in the basement of Houghton College’s chapel.
In that space I encountered expressions of prayer and worship that were anything but dry or boring, staged, or insincere.
In that space I encountered a group of people who loved each other like family and who believed that prayer was real, effective and powerful.
Best of all, I encountered a God who heard and responded to his people’s prayers.
And I was hooked.
Finishing college, if I’m honest, I still didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life. But after that encounter with God and his family in that prayer space, I knew who I wanted to be.
I wanted to be someone who believed in the power of prayer, who let this unending, deep, good conversation with the living God define my identity. And deeply impact how I responded to the world around me.
So I chased it, this passion for prayer. I let it grow in my heart. And of course, Jesus was glad to help me do so.
Fast forward a few years, one missions internship later and into my first year of grad school, I read a book called Red Moon Rising. This crazy story of a group people who were radical in their obedience to God and who were bold in their prayers. And as I read this book, I felt in my heart that this combination of prayer, community and mission, this is what I wanted. I had dreamed about being part of such a movement.
Being the research geek that I am, I read all I could about the 24-7 movement. I discovered that various missional communities called “boiler rooms” had been planted around the world as a part of this movement. I decided if I was indeed going to chase this dream of growing in prayer, I needed to visit a boiler room.
Eventually, I contacted a guy named Tony at a boiler room in Michigan called the Stockbridge Boiler Room. The community there invited me to visit their boiler room. It wasn’t until I was on the plane, flying from NY to MI did I realize that I was doing a crazy thing. I was flying to a place I had never been, to place where I knew no one. I suppose you could call what I did a “wild goose chase,” a step of obedience in following the good dreams the Holy Spirit had been speaking to my heart.
I arrived at the Stockbridge Boiler Room and spent ten days in the community. Really, it was so much like being in that first prayer community I had encountered in college. I was surrounded by Christians who believed in the power of prayer, who acted like family and who actively welcomed others around them to be a part of God’s family. It was awesome. It was what my heart had been craving.
I came back to NY and finished grad school, all the while pondering what I had seen at the boiler room. Finally, I determined that I wanted to go back. After a few conversations with the boiler room family, I was invited to intern at the boiler room.
So, about a year ago, I moved to the boiler room and started this internship. And here in this community, the Lord has been faithful to do a good and deep work in my heart. He continues to help me grow in prayer, learn how to listen to him and then actually do what he says. He has shown me that he sees me. He has shown me who I am. He has surrounded me with a family that is bold in prayer and obedience to him. He has given me a heart for this neighborhood and faith to see him build his family here. I have been broken and healed. Stretched and assured of a deeper calling. I’ve been reassured of my place in my Father’s heart, chosen and adopted into His family.
I tell this story as a testimony of God’s faithfulness to me, his faithfulness in leading his children in the path of life. Following him is not always easy, it often involves some measure of risk. But it is always good. And he is faithful as we follow him to put us in the places where we can do some good heart work, along with growing in understanding how he has wired us in terms of vocation and ministry.
He is worthy to be trusted and followed. He sees you, knows your hearts and your dreams. Follow him. It’s worth it.