Over the last few months we've spent quite a lot of time reflecting on what we're building here at MHOP. One thing we keep coming back to, and has become the plumb line by which we assess all that we do, is the centrality of the prayer room. The Lord has called us to establish a place of prayer, a sanctuary, and as such that must be our main focus. But in light of the Great Commission, why would the Lord be calling us to establish a sanctuary of worship and prayer?
The answer is threefold; to minister to God, encounter His heart and release His power.
- We minister to God by declaring His worth in priestly ministry in an unceasing way on earth as He is ministered to continually in Heaven (Mt. 6:10, Rev. 4-5).
- As we minister to His heart, we encounter His heart and we are equipped to intercession. It is through encountering God that we receive the grace to love and obey with all our hearts.
- We labour in intercession to release God’s power to win the lost, revive the church, and transform society as we do works of justice and compassion.
MHOP does not sit outside of the Great Commission but rather functions as a vital part. God is calling His church to pray, in fact He calls His church His "house of prayer" (Isa. 56:7; Mt. 21:13; Mk. 11:17; Lk. 19:46). Jesus even told us that our first role in global missions is prayer.
This is because intercession is the primary way that God runs His kingdom (Ps.2:7-8, Rom. 8:27, 34, Heb. 7:25). Right now, Jesus is sat at the right hand of the Father making intercession on our behalf; this is the same Jesus whom all authority has been given. Jesus is ruling right now through intercession and will do for eternity. He is the eternal intercessor, who asks of God, who declares the Father's will.
What we do in the prayer room is God's PRIMARY way for establishing His Kingdom on the earth. It is CENTRAL to the great commission. This is why establishing and keeping the sanctuary must be our primary objective.
With this in mind we've been considering everything that we do as MHOP in the context of keeping the sanctuary. Does what we are doing help us build the prayer room or does it pull our energy away from that? This brings us to some exciting changes to our schedule.
For the time being we are putting the marketplace prayerwatch and purify on hold. Not that either of them were bad, in fact I believe we have laid down a great foundation, particularly with purify, but they have sat outside of our main prayer room hours rather than functioning within the prayer room. As things grow we believe we will see both be reestablished but within the context of our weekly prayer room hours.
The life prayerwatch will be unaffected as we believe it is a vital frontline prayer issue and the connection with Image has been important and we want to protect that relationship.
Secondly, we are launching a new 6 hour prayer room block. It will be Wednesdays, from 9am-3pm, still at Wythenshawe Community Church. To begin with it will be 3 devotionals. This will see our weekly hours increase to 12. You can find out more about our schedule here.
Finally, we have some changes to Intro. One thing we have come to realise is that Intro and the prayer room have become two separate things. In our efforts to make Intro more accessible (by reducing the hours and introducing prayerwatches within the context of the course) we made it an addition to what we do rather than an extension.
Also, one of the main reasons for Intro is as an on-ramp to staff. By running one course every 12 months it means we have one intake of new staff every year which limits the growth of MHOP.
We will be reducing intro to a 3 month course and having two intakes per year, September and now also March. Intro will centre around our 2 prayer room slots, so Monday will be 2-10pm, with 2 hours teaching before the 4-10. And Wednesday will be 9-4 with 4 hours in the prayer room and two hours teaching (with a lunch break).
We are excited to see what the Lord is going to do over the coming months and we hope you can join us!