The Whatcom Story: how day and night prayer impacted a community

 

USA: The Whatcom Story: how day and night prayer
impacted a community.

Almost every significant move of God in history was preceded by
fervent, united prayer. This inspired Christians in Whatcom county
on the north-west coast of the United States to establish a ‘canopy of day and night prayer’ over their region. The results are astonishing.

“One night I was in church and I heard a prophecy that God would move by his Spirit over the native north-west tribes of the United States,”
recalls Viola Riebe of the Hoh River Nation. “It would be like a tsunami,
gaining in power, moving from the natives to other churches.”
For Riebe this was a hopeful prophecy, as back in 1700 a giant earthquake in the area generated a tsunami that almost devastated her native tribe.
She felt God wanted to turn the negative past into a positive future.

In 2008 a house of prayer was launched in Bellingham, the county’s seat, a community of 90,000 people. This Light of the World Prayer Center 
(LOWPC) included native American believers and Christians from other
churches. Together they established a day and night prayer watch,
similar to the Moravians in Herrnhut.

 

Native American prayer meeting

The Spirit of the Moravians

“What God has been doing in Whatcom county is linked to this town in
Germany,” says Jason Hubbard, director of the LOWPC. “God led me to
visit Herrnhut, home of Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians. I learned
their amazing story of awakening into prayer and missions. The passion of these Moravian believers was ‘to win for the Lamb who was slain the due reward of his suffering’.* Inspired by their example, we wanted to
be a modern-day expression of this powerful movement of united prayer and missions.”

* This quote has been attributed to missionaries Johann Leonhard Dober and David Nitschmann, two young Moravian Brethren from Herrnhut, Germany. When God called them in 1732 to minister to the African slaves on the islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix in the Danish West Indies, they were willing to sell themselves to a slave owner if that was the only way to reach the slaves. As their ship pulled away from the docks, it is said that they called out to their loved ones on shore, “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!”

The World Prayer Center

Reaching the Unreached 9-min 2019 version – Revival
Click to watch the inspiring video ‘The Spirit of the Moravians’

Pastors and churches team up in prayer

Whatcom county could certainly use a change in the spiritual
atmosphere. “Over the last several decades we have seen tragic church
splits among God’s people, an increase of witchcraft and sexual
immorality, pastors who have fallen,” says Hubbard. “However, since day and night prayer has been established in a simple way, senior pastors are gathering monthly to build spiritual friendships and seek God for the
county.”

“This is an unbelievable blessing,” says Grant Fishbook, pastor of Christ
the King. “Trust has been built over time as the message sunk in that
we’re not each other’s competition. Our competitor is the devil, but we
are family and on the same team. We love each other and want to live
that out. Now the pastors text and call each other for encouragement and drink coffee together, because there’s a genuine interest in what’s
happening with each part of the family. They ask: How are you doing,
how can I pray, how can I support you?”

“When we exalt Christ, it brings us together,” says Shawn Cunningham,
pastor of Hilcrest Chapel. “We have seen a growth and increasing unity
among churches in Whatcom county and that has come through the
power of prayer. Prayer by nature unifies God’s people.” 

Alvin Vandergriend, church prayer coordinator of the 3rd Christian
Reformed Church, agrees. “A canopy of prayer is a covering of God’s
providential blessing over a territory. Prayer is where we access God’s
resource and heart, where he empowers us to fulfil his mission. For all
the years I’ve been involved in ministry, I’ve never seen pastors come
together like now in Whatcom county – in the numbers they are coming
together, the prayer that happens there, and the encouragement they
give each other. It is quite amazing.”

 

Pastors’ Prayer Meeting

Ivan Montenegro testifies of revival

In Whatcom county 80 pastors out of a hundred are now praying
consistently together. This includes the native, Hispanic and Korean
churches, it’s a truly multi-cultural expression of the Body of Christ.
Pastors have also been sharing their pulpits and holding joint community services with thousands of people coming together.

Phenominal church growth: 10,000 salvations, 80 church plants

The unity also led to an explosion of church plants – 80 church plants in a decade – with 10,000 first-time salvations of people who were baptized in water. This is a phenominal church growth in what has historically been one of the least churched areas in the United States.

The 15,000 member strong Hispanic community experiences a real
revival. Ivan Montenegro, church planter with the Hispanic Church,
reports: “Every day we see people come to Christ. We started 11 new
churches and baptized at least 1,500 people, which is a 10% growth.
If you ask me: ‘How come?’ all I can say is: it’s the fire of God through
prayer. Every church in our area is growing.”

Churches also developed a county-wide men’s ministry. These men come from 40 different churches and see their lives transformed through the
gospel and prayer. Raul Chaves, Men’s pastor at Band of Brothers, says: “Healing is taking place in these men and their families. They become
the men God intended them to be. And it’s all about prayer. We pray
before, during and after everything we do.”

Source: Jason Hubbard, LOWPC, edited by Joel News.

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