By Steve Buss, One Hope Executive Director,
With bright sun and blue sky above, we walked into Grace Community Fellowship to prepare for the Community-Wide Worship/One Church – One Day dedication. The air conditioning welcomed our efforts as we placed ten prayer banners representing ten sectors of our local community on the walls. The worship event was set to draw Jesus’ people together from many churches, with a unique focus of dedicating ourselves, and asking God to enable us to pray together 24/7 every month. This was the commissioning of One Church – One Day, a strategic prayer initiative where more than 31 churches take one a day a month to pray for 24 hours, so that every day, every hour is filled with prayer.
Men moved stacks of chairs as the worship center seating spilled out into the lobby. The standing room started singing with little children and senior citizens raising their voices as we all praised Jesus. Our friend, Pastor Jason Hubbard, Skyped-in from Bellingham, Washington to share stories of how God is transforming their community through 24/7 prayer. Then local pastors aligned before the converged streams of saints. They read verses focused on Jesus and prayer. We dedicated ourselves to the Lord, and then we cried out to God, asking for His grace to empower us to pray together as a community of churches, every day, every month, to the glory of God.
Hundreds of people lingered in the lobby after our agreement for an unceasing season of prayer. Cups of coffee, cups of water, and homemade cookies fueled the fellowship as friends enjoyed the time together. And then we stepped outside. Clouds covered the sky while the wind blew briskly, causing us to shiver as we finished our conversations. To the south we saw the first flashes, distant yet beautiful. After enjoying a meal with friends, we drove home with a consistent lightning show surrounding us. The thunder grew louder as I read in my bed, while my wife started to doze off. The thunder rumbled again waking her up. Recalling an earlier conversation she hit my back and said, “Operation Rolling Thunder!”
Ten months previously we met with Tim Taylor, a friend who had created and implemented this community-wide prayer strategy in other communities. Tim told us several documented stories about how when this prayer initiative was presented to leaders in a community, the Lord would often confirm the effort with unique lightning and thunder. You see, the original name for 1Church1Day was Operation Rolling Thunder! The name came from Psalm 18 when God responded to David’s prayer: “The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot his arrows and scattered the enemies, great bolts of lightning and routed them,” vs. 13-14.
That night bright bursts and rolling thunder prevailed for hours. The pounding woke me again and again. I cannot recall a time when such a storm lasted so long in our community.
In the morning I called the National Weather Service asking them for the lightning strike stats for the night. In Lane County there had been 225 strikes. I asked if they kept consistent records, only to dis-cover that they did not. However they told me, "we don't see that normally, that's a very rare occurrence." The talk in coffee shops and offices the next day was about the thunder and lightning. The local newspaper featured a front page story, with the above photo, two days after the storm.
God’s people agreed to pray together, 24 hours a day, everyday. We cried out to the Lord asking for His grace to enable us in unceasing intercession. “The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded.” There was a shaking in the sky and also a shaking at sea. Beginning that same evening, from midnight to midday, there were five earthquakes 200 miles off the Oregon Coast. The fourth one, which happened at the start of our Monday staff meeting, was 4.4 on the Richter scale. Our organization, One Hope, is founded on Ephesians 4:4*. Our community is on the 44th parallel, and the earthquakes were centered around the 44.4 parallel.
Again, Psalm 18: “… I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. The earth trembled and quaked, … He shot his arrows and scattered the enemies, great bolts of lightning and routed them. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare,” vs. 6-7, 14-15.
We are only beginning to pray together as a community of Christ-following churches. We believe that the Lord is only beginning to answer. May our prayers bring Him pleasure. May His presence be the answer that transforms our lives and leads our neighbors to know the unfailing love of Jesus.
Lightning strikes and earthquake information provided by the National Weather Service and the U.S. Geological Survey website.
*There is one body and one Spirit - just as you were call to one hope when you were called.
By Steve Buss,
One Hope Executive Director
Articles for the Church sphere include contributions from apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers who are related to KLI or are serving on one of our Church Councils as part of the www.1Church1Day.org strategy.