It is easy to feel spiritually isolated. Kent certainly did. For many years Kent has worked in the city of Philadelphia with various immigrant population groups and has always has a heart for the less fortunate and those needing help. He has worked with different church groups and denominations and never quite found his fit. What he did know is that he has a passion for prayer, for God to move in Philadelphia and for the church to work together. Until this weekend, he had not seen this take place – at least not all three in the same place. He had recently heard about a new event happening at the CLC campus in Fort Washington, PA called the College of Prayer and he decided to attend.
At one point during the weekend, there was an opportunity for testimony and this is what he said, “I came here and did not know anyone in this room and yet we all share the same burden.” He could not believe it and realized that he had been suffering from the Elijah Syndrome. Even more amazing was that Kent had been a drug addict, was radically saved and had come to same location 44 years ago to find a Christian bookshop that could provide spiritual nourishment for his hunger. At that time CLC operated a store on the campus in Fort Washington. Now several decades later, he stumbled into our store in nearby Wyncote, found out about the event and decided to attend. The same organization that God has used in his youth would now be used again to connect Kent to the wider body of believers in Philly with the same heart passion.
I too can suffer from the Elijah Syndrome thinking that I am the only one that God has burdened about a particular issue or called to focus on a particular concern. For a number of years now, I have desired to see our campus used in a more public way for God to unite the churches in Philadelphia and to be a catalyst for Kingdom expansion. We have an auditorium that had become a large storage closet and dining room that got used about once a month. Surely, God wanted us to use this facility more frequently for His glory. With parking on our property at a premium for those living on the campus and no obvious momentum pushing us to do anything, this had become a silent burden and a back burner issue.
Several months ago I was asked to be a part of the planning team for the College of Prayer. Little did I know that we would host the launch event in our facilities. As the five of us on the planning team worked together I discovered fellow brothers in Christ that were deeply passionate about the power of prayer to revive the church in our region. Not only that, they were excited about the prospect of utilizing the CLC and WEC campus to bring like-minded people together. I had truly found my “band of brothers”.
The event this weekend drew over 80 people from more than 30 different churches to our campus. They came with a spirit of expectation and God met us in a powerful way. Most of us had never met before and yet it almost felt a “spiritual” family reunion. The teaching centered on using the Lord’s Prayer to re-orient us to pray in a more Biblical and effective way. Jim Rudd, our planning team leader and the Pastor of True Vine Community Church used an orange as a powerful illustration of our need to peel away the bitterness that often gets in the way of true forgiveness. Fred Hartley, CLC author and Senior Pastor of Lilburn Alliance Church in Atlanta was our keynote speaker.
Looking forward, I am grateful to be a part of the planning team that will be hosting this event twice a year for the next two and half years. The College of Prayer consists of six modules which are done over two days twice a year for three years. I know that this weekend has deeply impacted me and will impact this region as all of us who attended find more and more people with a similar heart passion. God is on the move in our region of the World and prayer is the key to His moving to revive the church.