H.O.P.E. - Houses of Prayer Everywhere
Thought I would share a brief testimony and the birthing of H.O.P.E. Houses of Prayer Everywhere. I was raised in a non-christian home, never went to church and had very little understanding of the gospel. For 3 years after meeting my future wife to be, Peggy, I tried to pull her away from Christianity and convince her that the Bible was myths and fables. However, God had other plans and by His grace turned me around, delivering me out of darkness into His wonderful light. A year later Peggy and I were married and shortly thereafter in 1986 received a call to missions. We both studied at a Baptist Bible school in preparation and later I continued through seminary training. During this time we served in local church planting and then later we were sent as missionaries to Colombia S.A.
In 1999 we returned from South America and then in 2000 were sent as faith missionaries to Scotland the place of my birth with our 6 children---- starting with a Family DTS YWAM. During this season our deliverance and inner healing ministry continued with a steady stream of Scots folk coming for ministry. For 7 years we stayed in Scotland and the Lord fulfilled His word to us that among other things it would be a great season of preparation. Near the end of our stay we experienced what could best be described as a “suddenly” in the Lord. It all began in Scotland when we began a Church in the home we were renting at the time. We thought we did everything right from what we understood through previous Church plants in which we had been involved, and through training we had received in Bible School and Seminary. During this time Peggy started receiving songs from the Lord and would have to go around with a dictaphone as she would get melody and words at the same time. In a few yrs. She had over 100 songs. During this season the older children began to sing and play music also receiving songs from the Lord. God amazingly provided for all the guitars and musical instruments. A door then opened for us to take over and run the Kingdom House (Retreat and conference Center) high in the Braes in Paisley Scotland overlooking 6 counties.
One day a missionary from Sweden arrived at the door of the Kingdom House wanting to chat with me. He shared about an acronym he had received from the Lord, ‘H.O.P.E’ Houses of Prayer Everywhere, suggesting we start a House of Prayer. Apparently a long respected intercessor in Scotland had received the same word H.O.P.E. And he was quite excited. Well, being a 'Baptist' missionary I was not quite familiar with this terminology, but we prayed about it----I thought it was interesting.
Then it happened; everything changed in our ministry rather quickly. Most of the people who were involved while in the house church below never came anymore and new people started arriving. Don’t want to go into the details, but within a few months church had changed as we used to know it and some folks were joining us from other cities in Scotland Here are some of the basic changes that took place; There was no longer such a distinction between the worship team and the congregation. Often folks in the pews were leading the worship team/musicians. Actually the pews/seats were moved and replaced by a few couches/seats in the perimeter for anyone who was tired or elderly. We found we needed the whole body to reach the place God wanted us to go in the Spirit and everyone was actively involved. We also found this dynamic taking place when we were invited to take our 'mobile house of prayer' (as we called it later) into other churches. In one church we visited, near the end the children were singing and playing prophetically to the singing of a man in the congregation. Peggy had moved right out of the scene as the leader----it was glorious. When I got up to preach I just couldn’t stop it was so beautiful!
Next, no two services were the same and there was always something new and exciting as we waited on God together. In addition, the sense of time was often lost. Meetings would begin in the morning and often would carry on into the afternoon and evening. Our preaching changed, I began getting messages downloaded into my spirit like never before and would just trust God to bring them forward however they came. Also, our deliverance and inner healing ministry went to a different level as God broke generational curses, healed deep seated pain and traumatic memories, dethroned the enemy and released folks from what we call “core true lies”. In this environment we found great break-through as we spoke/discerned the core lies and spoke into them greatly speeding up the healing process. We had “catchers” that held people up under the annointing of God as people would collapse often falling forward/backward or crouching---then after ministry the glory and filling of the Spirit would often come. Finally, we would be lead into intercession especially for Scotland. This prayer was often very intense with deep groanings, weeping etc. as we were moved by the Spirit. Other times God would download prayer strategies. Once at one of our meetings a Scots lady led us to pray for angels to be assigned to protect the doors of the Glasgow Airport. Some sensed an urgency to do this. What a shock when we heard in the news about the bomb threat a week later.to blow up the airport throught the main doors.....but what a thrill to hear that the suicide bomber stopped short and, his attempts were thwarted to break through the doors.
So we experienced this suddenly a shift in the way we did church----it all seemed to happen within months. The icing on the cake came one day when I was in my office and I noticed a sheet hanging on the wall. It mentioned that the ‘Kingdom House’ had been built for the purpose of being a House of Prayer for revival for Glasgow, Scotland and the nations. Wow! My heart jumped a beat. What was going on.... within 2-3 months the Lord was moving in amazing ways and we were experiencing something in our midst which we were really unfamiliar with....it was so exciting to see what was happening!!!
During this period of time in the Kingdom House Scotland there were other developments taking place. Peggy and I beginning with the Brethren Assemblies and now Baptist missionaries still had quite conservative views in some areas of theology. We believed that the church was a democracy and in the congregational type church government. I was also “discipled” into the belief that the church was built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets and once the foundation was laid there was no need for apostles and prophets. However, after about 6 months in the Kingdom House I was studying the book of Acts and began realizing from my study of the Word that there was something not adding up with my understanding of church government. I began searching the Scriptures questioning what I had been taught and wondering if indeed God's church today still had a 5-fold ministry. It was around this time that the Pelsers with Harvest Ministries out of Cape Town South Africa arrived in Scotland and came to minister at the Kingdom House. What an eye opener to read Dr. Andre Pelser's book “God's Genius” Apostolic Reformational Theology. What a shock when Nola his wife and some of the ministry team laid hands on Peggy and I declaring us to be an apostolic couple.
In 2007 we left the Kingdom House and Shortly thereafter returned on furlough to Victoria V.I. Canada. Later we realized that what God had done at the “Kingdom House” in Scotland was birthed in our hearts forever and we could not shake it--- we carry the blue print for a house of prayer and a 5-fold ministry center which we are to establish here on Vancouver Island. We have also come to the realization that the reason we are led by the Spirit so often to break strongholds, cast out evil spirits, realease oppression and bind up broken hearts is that this is the apostolic mandate that God is restoring to the body of Christ essential for the transformational process of hearts and minds----that we might be trees of righteousness the planting of the Lord.
I want now to highlight in point form many of the truths God has been teaching us as we have been seeking His face over the years while in Scotland and now in Canada:
1. We believe in the City church and so believe we are a part of what God is doing in Victoria and Vancouver Island. We often find ourselves during our service and worship time praying for the body of Christ and a move of God here on the Island and across Canada. We love the body of Christ; every church and denomination.... from the ‘crusty Brethren to the Juicy charismatics’ to coin a phrase I heard once.
2. As we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us corporately we have found that worship ‘leaders’ are actually leader/facilitators who need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as He is the only worship leader. An example of this type of leadership occurred a few weeks ago when Peggy my wife all of a sudden encouraged another lady in the group to come to the microphone. This individual waited for about 2O min. then sang one of the most beautiful spiritual songs I have heard in a long time. Peggy just moved into back-up singer. It was so beautiful to see. No insecurity, no competition, just the Lord. We have seen this over and over again; that with this type of worship there can be a number of “leader/facilitators” who just sing and submit to the Spirit's leading. Maybe at some point I can unpack this more but we have seen that God is really wanting to play the heart strings of all the Davids, Davidinas in the meeting and so at any moment leadership can change. The mature leader/facilitator is sensitive to this and realizes that worship can be an amazing corporate phenomenon for we are all Kings and Priests to our God and Father.
3. Sometimes during worship some of the leader/facilitators will feel led by the Spirit to sing or speak out the Word of God encouraging folks to embrace the finished work of the cross and enter in past the outer courts, through the Holy Place into the very presence of the Lord. At times it is as though the Lord is encouraging, wooing His people (so to speak) to overcome their fear of man/shyness and fully express what is in their hearts. Other times the Lord will do this with no human agency.
4. In this environment there is no need to try and get everybody to shout to the Lord although this is Biblical if Spirit led. Often this will break-out as people just can’t contain the joy that is in them any longer. I will never forget the day in Scotland when Hannah my eldest was worshiping the Lord with us and all of a sudden she spontaneously yelled at the top of her lungs “Jesus I love You”. Some were weeping and remarked that the hair was standing up on there arms. I believe God is looking for worship like this that comes from a pure heart.
5. Like David the prophetic Psalmist who played over Saul and he was delivered from the evil spirit-- often we see folks delivered and healed in the HOPE environment. I remember once in Scotland my son sang one of the songs he wrote and later a woman testified that she sensed she was healed from a serious sickness she had had since her youth. She never testified until a few weeks had passed, to check it out and make sure it was really true. Many times we found people being set free, delivered and healed emotionally.
6. The interesting thing about this environment of worship is that we often got to the “place” in the Lord where we were trained to take people in Bible School ---but by a different route—let me explain. Remember what I mentioned earlier. We would start with outer court/thanksgiving then move into inner/court worship then more intimate songs like “Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty ....“ to help folks move into a more intimate time with the Lord. However, I question whether this “method” produced the desired result. Our experience was that no matter how anointed the song or worship leader it would not “cut the mustard” week after week— and at times the worship would become nauseating. During these nauseating moments I could switch off from the corporate goings on and sing my own little song in my heart as one of my favorite things to do was sing this song in my spirit:
There must be more than this o breathe of God come breathe within....there must be more than this o breathe of God come breathe within... Consuming fire fan into flame a passion for your name, Spirit of God fall in this place Lord have your way, Lord have your way with us... stir it up in our hearts Lord, stir it up in our hearts Lord, stir it up in our hearts Lord a passion for your name....come like a rushing wind clothe us with power from on high come set the captives free’
I love this song and believe my HOPE experience fulfills this prayer for me. As we have sought the Lord over the past few years we see over and over again that only the Spirit of God can take you as a group past the outer courts, through the Holy Place into the Holy of Holies by the blood of the lamb. God wants His people more and more to experience what they have been singing about. As we waited on the Lord (as I am trying to explain) there would be times where we were so filled with the Spirit all crying out Holy Holy Holy, Worthy Worthy Worthy, Glory to your name, worthy is the Iamb. It was just beautiful and there was no power-point or human worship leader. This worship sounds a little “heavenly,” like something out of Revelation around the throne and so it should as we are seated with Him in heavenly places and His throne is established upon the praises of His people who worship in spirit and truth.
7. David was a revivalist, a man after God’s own heart, who worshiped God with his whole being, with total zeal and no fear of man. He valued this so much that he employed 4000 men full-time to praise the Lord; wholehearted, unreserved, unashamed extravagant worship opens the gateways into His presence and glorifies God. (1 Ch. 23:5.) David wasn’t just a worship leader but a worship facilitator whose brand of worship was so contagious that it raised up true worshipers; ‘and David . . . .and all Israel played before the Lord with all their might” (1 Ch. 13:8). However, the key to his success as a facilitator was not just his passion but the zeal of the Spirit of God and his prophetic anointing. God is releasing and raising up worship leader/facilitators in the Davidic anointing who will not only worship with all their might but play skillfully, prophetically. They will realize that their primary function is to spark/facilitate worship, not control it, for only the Spirit of God should do this. These leaders under the unction of the Spirit will not fear man and sing with such zeal and absolute abandonment that the warrior bride will be awakened to do likewise. However, they will have the humility of Christ and be just as quick to move out of the way and be silent as the Spirit plays the harp strings of another heart. They will understand that the true ‘worship team’ is the whole congregation, the heavenly choir is within and there can be only one conductor. Their wholehearted zeal and prophetic anointing will stir up and release the body of Christ to worship in spirit and truth, for every saint by the blood of Jesus is a King and Priest to God and a true Davidic worshiper. It is not enough to have the anointing.
8. Another phenomenon we have experienced is times of prolonged silence/peace. All of a sudden as we worshiped it was as if we were all hushed up... a Holy hush...beautiful, sometimes for a long time. As we waited....then another wave of worship intercession. I have only experienced this once but on this particular occasion the worship was so prophetic and passionate that heaven stopped and it was as if they were listening in. Other times you can almost feel the weight, even physically, of the Lords peaceful presence.
9. Stirring up the prophetic gift in others/activation. I remember one evening while we waited on the Lord a woman who had been a christian for some time came out to one of our meetings. After a while she started writing something down on a piece of paper. We asked her what she was doing as the worship carried on. She said she had received a song from the Lord for the first time. We asked if she would like to sing but she wasn’t too keen as she felt shy. Again we encouraged her in the Lord. Finally, she agreed to sing and when she did I tell you the presence of God came down. I could not stop dancing around. I have seen this on a number of occasions where folks are activated in prophetic song and in other ways while in the glory. Their voices may not be “professional” but the Lord loves a joyful noise. In this environment sometimes supposedly quiet people who “think” they do not have much to offer and are not called to more public upfront/speaking ministry are drawn out in a safe environment and set free. I remember in Scotland one time a woman came into our meeting and seemed to be a very quiet reserved shy sort of person---she was quiet as a church mouse. A few weeks later she returned to the meeting and I didn’t even know who she was. I said to Peggy “who is this lady?” She ended up boldly prophesying over us and speaking to us.
10. At times we have the extremes of glorious joy, intoxication, to cries of repentance.
11. All types of dancing. This is Biblical & great fun. Angelic activity is common.
12. Beautiful sounds and noises that come out of peoples hearts at times as people express their love for God.
13. Falling asleep. I remember once a lady rebuking a fellow because he was falling asleep in the presence of the Lord. I had to stop her because I knew he was really stressed out and the best thing for him was to relax and sleep if need be. Sometimes it is really good for God’s people to sleep during the service.
14. 5-fold gifts to the body ministering as the Spirit moves, when the Spirit leads for as long as the Spirit wants. One thing that happened to me over this period of time is that I have totally changed my preaching style. Now I just read/meditate/pray over the word the Holy Spirit gives me for an occasion and release it however it comes out.... had to scrap much of what I learned in school. Sometimes the word is short 5-10 min. Sometimes it goes on for a long time.
15. Times where the Father just loves on us and all we do is receive from Him. Sometimes the Lord would use someone in the group to speak to us and we would respond back in song.
16 All types of music is sung. At times it would be the good old hymns (which I love) that we would sing. There needs to be such an honor and respect amongst the generations. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing the Spirit bring together 3 or 4 generations in heavenly worship for He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
17. As believe I mentioned, time is lost and meetings can go on for a long time. Sometimes from morning to evening. With freedom for folks to come and go. Often people would bring food and eat together as the worship/intercession carried on.
18. Children were often present. One thing I have noticed is that children of all ages quite enjoy this environment.
19. Training up other worship leader/facilitators. It is amazing how folks can move into this experience when they get the opportunity. I was at a meeting lately where we were led by an anointed worship leader. He was a beautiful singer and led us in some songs. However when he was quiet for a minute I started letting out of my heart some sounds and songs that were coming to me. It seemed to encourage others in the group and they were singing along. However, I noticed this young fellow all of a sudden cut me off starting into another one of His songs. That was okay, so we began singing his songs again. When he finished for a while I let the mobile heavenly choir in my heart start up again singing out some words. I then turned to him and asked him if he was able to play to what we were singing as others joined in. We did this for a little while then a brother came up with a Psalm he got from the Holy Spirit and asked the young fellow if he could sing this Psalm with his guitar. This he did and it was really beautiful and glorified the Lord.
20. This type of worship environment raises up true worshipers who take it into the home transforming their families.
21. Psalms 149:1-9 “Praise ye the Lord, sing unto the Lord a new song, and His praise in the congregation of saints. Let Israel rejoice in Him that made him. Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise His name in dance, let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people. He will beautify the meek with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory. Let them sing sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth and a two-edged sword in their hands, to execute vengeance upon the heathen and punishments upon the people, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute upon them the judgment written. This honour hath all the saints. Praise Ye the Lord!
22. Every time I receive from the Lord and edify my brothers and sisters prophetically through the word/song everyone in the body is encouraged, and God receives the glory through wholehearted abandonment and praise. This is what “teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns” is.... As someone shared with me lately the purpose of the word received is to glorify the word giver.
23. You have to “be” before you can “become”...this is the key to experiencing the dynamic of a House of Prayer. The blue print to engineer the HOPE experience is given to folks by the Spirit.
24. The next truth is that in Cols. the word of God says “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly..... singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” I believe we have lost something here and need to get back to the meditation/memorization of the Psalms and other Scriptures so the worship experience will be even more rich as a body. I am not talking primarily about ‘using’ the word to try and worship God but move/disciple the people of God to the place where like David we have “Hidden his word in our hearts” so that the Holy Spirit can draw it out and play the harp strings of such a heart. I was once at a conference where a young man sang songs to the Lord and as he did the power/point was created. The song he sang was so rich in doctrine and Scriptural truth sung spontaneously.
25. Evan Roberts and the Welsh Revival 1904-1906...One of the greatest Revivals of all time was the Welsh revival – a revival of True worship. Under the prophetic anointing the church is restored as the congregation becomes released into freedom of worship in the Spirit; some singing, some praying, some just expressing their hearts in repentance, joy, shouts etc. Totally out of control; man''s control. Final quote from an eye witness of the welsh revival to show the power of true Davidic worship: At every service the evangelist emphasized the .. .sentence, “Obey the Holy Spirit.” It was his special word to the Church of God. Congregations were urged to sing, pray, or testify, just as they were moved. Prudence suggested that the meetings would assuredly end in riotous confusion. But human reasoning went far astray in its predictions. They did nothing of the kind. No human agency controlled the services; it had been customary for one person to control the worship of the sanctuary. Here was something entirely new. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” This was bewilderingly strange to those who had been nurtured under orthodox methods. Nothing like it had ever happened before—at least, not in Wales.... It was not so with this movement. “Obey the Holy Spirit Be filled with the Holy Spirit. . . Do not grieve the Holy Spirit by disobedience”— Evan Roberts reiterated those words tirelessly. Men, women, and even children, came under the spell of the message. Incredible things happened as a result. In the homes, on the highways, down in the coal mine, in business houses, and even in the schools, hymns were sung.
The sober, sedate Calvinistic congregation that gathered in Mount Seion that morning received a shock. They looked askance when they saw their minister’s place occupied by a young man, accompanied by such youthful maidens. Instead of announcing the customary hymn for the commencement of the service, one of the young women burst forth in a spiritual song expressing her new experience, tears streaming down her cheeks. The whole congregation gasped! Before the solo concluded, her partner joined her. What did this mean? was the question on every lip. Like the people in the Gospel of Mark, they felt like exclaiming, “We never saw it on this fashion before.” That prim congregation breathed heavily and deeply. But the young minister in the pulpit—for such they all considered him, remained absolutely silent. They observed, however, that his body shook perceptibly as tears coursed down his pale cheeks. Then, we were told, a strange stillness fell upon the people, like the quiet presaging an electric storm. It soon broke when one of the proudest members of that assembly fell on her knees in agonizing prayer and unrestrainedly confessed her sins, creating consternation among other proud, self-satisfied, respectable members. Others followed rapidly and with such spontaneity as to cause bewilderment. How the elders gasped! All over the chapel, men and women, young and old, kneeling in the pews and aisles, claimed “the blessing.” Mount Seion, for once, became a veritable Valley of Baca. The great church organ remained silent. Immediately upon the cessation of those burning confessions, extempore hymns were sung. How the people sang! That service, commenced so inauspiciously, continued without a break all day! There was no dinner hour nor Sunday school. All the worshipers apparently were oblivious to every physical discomfort as Mr. Roberts reiterated the cry, “Obey! Obey! Obey the Holy Spirit!“
blessings In Jesus