Tag Archives: covenant

House of Prayer : Where do we go from here?

So where do we go from here? How do we move forward with this vision of a House of Prayer in the heart of Vanier?

As one of my friends and readers has pointed out to me, talk is cheap. It’s easy to have discussions in social media about concepts, We may even think we are engaging as we “like” someone’s blog or Facebook posts, or “follow” someone’s Twitter feeds. But this kind of engagement costs us almost nothing. Unless this talk translates into some form of concrete action, it means very little. While social media discussions may be useful in stimulating our thinking, the time spent on such discussions can also become a substitute for prayer and face-to-face encounter with God and with in-the-flesh brothers and sisters – the kind of encounter that actually changes us.

If you have been reading this blog, and are sensing that God may be nudging you about getting involved with an eventual House of Prayer in Vanier, here are some next steps that we might take together.

1 – Further exploration of vision – while building initial community
The first step has two parts. I would propose that we do both of them concurrently.

Part One- weekly meetings To begin building community among those who are drawn by the vision of a House of Prayer, I’d propose that we begin weekly prayer meetings in January 2013, with a monthly potluck meal. The meetings would certainly need to include prayer and worship, since this is at the core of what a House of Prayer is and does, but they would also need to include a component of discussion and sharing around vision, so that people have a chance to ask questions and give their input.

If you like this idea, and would like to participate, please let me know.

Part Two – ongoing dialogue To continue clarifying vision, I’d suggest that as well as using the weekly meetings as a platfom, we intentionally use social media (this blog, podcasts, an eventual Facebook page) to continue developing our shared understanding of what a House of Prayer in Vanier would look like. I very much want this to be a collaborative process. I recognize that the mantle of primary vision-carrier for a House of Prayer in Vanier rests with me, but I also recognize that within the broad parameters of vision that I have already laid out, many nuances are possible, and many of you will have contributions to make as we move forward to discern what it is that we are called to do together.

2 – Visits to other Houses of Prayer
As we are discerning vision, it will be very useful to visit other Houses of Prayer to see how they do things. Marion and I have made a list of Houses of Prayer that we would like to visit, and we intend to begin doing this on weekends in 2013 (making at most probably two such visits per month, probably more realistic to think in terms of one per month). Any of you who are interested in coming along on any of these visits would be more than welcome.

3 – Developing a team
As we go through the process of building community and clarifying vision, I am hoping that each of you who read this blog will be asking yourselves “What about me? Is this vision for me? Where do I fit in?”.

Our long-term goal is to develop a 24/7 House of Prayer. But that doesn’t mean that to be part of the team, you have to commit to praying 24/7!  Of course no-one can do that anyway. That’s why we need a team.

The launch point at which we can legitimately begin to call ourselves a House of Prayer is when we have at least one weekly prayer watch. This would also be a good litmus test for an “entry level” involvement in the House of Prayer. If you can commit to one weekly prayer watch, you can think of yourself as part of the House of Prayer team. Beyond that, different levels of involvement will be appropriate for different people.

So, if you find that God is grabbing your heart with the vision of a House of Prayer and you want to be part of it – your involvement is welcome. At this early stage, when things are very simple, small and fluid, all that’s required is an email or message letting me know that you’re on board. As we go down the road, we will probably come up with some sort of verbal covenant to which we will ask people to recommit on an annual basis. This will provide everyone with a checkpoint or gateway – it will function as both an “entry point” and an “exit point”.

We will probably aim to have an initial time of covenant making by September 2013. Up until then you can be involved without any long-term commitment. When we make our initial covenant, you will need to decide whether you are called to be a part of the House of Prayer. Of course, guests are always welcome, so if you’re not sure, it doesn’t mean you have to go away – but members of the family will have a voice and a share in the family’s decisions that guests do not yet have.

4 – Setting up governing structure
Eventually, a leadership and governing structure will need to be established. I hope to work towards an initial form of this in 2013.

Also, in a nation in which Christian groups still qualify as charities, and where tax incentives are available for those who give financial support to said charities, there are benefits to obtaining charitable status.  This is likewise a goal that I will pursue in 2013.

5 – Comments
As always, your comments and feedback are more than welcome. Please let me know what the Holy Spirit is speaking to you as you consider these things. If you leave your thoughts as a comment, others will be able to benefit as well.

Your brother,




Last week at the gym I was dressing after my shower when I overheard a young man talking to his buddy about his sex life.

Before I continue, let me say that I don’t make a habit of listening in on the details of other people’s private conversations. This dude, however, wasn’t exactly going to great lengths to keep his private life private. Eavesdropping may not really be the applicable term here. He was broadcasting his reflections quite openly, for everyone in the change room to hear.

I only heard a few sentences before the two of them were out the door, still talking about their sex lives — but to me, those few sentences spoke volumes.  At first I didn’t want to believe that what I had just heard meant what I thought it meant — but the message was unmistakable and heartbreaking. I’ve been thinking about it on and off ever since.

The guy was telling his buddy a story, not about some great sexual conquest, but about what it was like to have sex with a girlfriend whom he already knew he was going to dump because “it” was over. The girl, he said, seemed to want sex all the more — as if  she could tell something wasn’t right and she wanted to make everything good between them. As he reflected on what it was like to have to pretend for his girlfriend, he sounded genuinely surprised to discover that at such times he no longer had an interest in sex. It didn’t seem to occur to him that perhaps they could do something to improve their relationship and prevent a breakup, or maybe he just didn’t want to pay the price. What bothered him, seemingly, was not the fact that he and his girlfriend were about to break up, not even the fact that he was being deceptive towards her, but the fact that he was no longer enjoying sex.

What was perhaps most troubling to me was the inference that he had already had several such relationships, and would likely have several more. He spoke about this experience as if moving from one sexual relationship to another were an accepted way of life among him and his friends. It seemed that to these two guys, serial monogamy is a “given” — just the way things are, not only normal but inevitable. Like the fact that the sun rises every day, that’s just the way the world works. In this view of life, faithfulness no longer means a life-long covenant with one husband or wife; it means only having one sexual partner at a time. You can have as many as you want – just not all at once. Although you know that breakups are painful and somewhat messy, you deal with this unpleasant possibility by not thinking about it, hoping that it might be different this time. You enjoy the relationship while it is easy, and move on when it has turned sour or grown old – after all, “it would be dishonest to stay together when the love is gone”. When you and your latest partner have grown tired of each other, you find some other cute guy or girl who seems attracted to you, and without thinking twice you initiate another sexual relationship, hardly knowing each other except as bedroom partners. When you find out what an imperfect person you are shacked up with, you move out and chase another illusion which is really the same illusion in a different form, and jump into the sack once again as soon as you think you’ve “really found it this time” — only to be disappointed by reality once again. On and on it goes, each cycle bringing more misery, more mistrust, more shallowness and dishonesty, more broken dreams.

Judging by his recitation, the young man in the locker room had probably already been through several iterations of this cycle.  He was troubled by his own feelings and the behaviour of his girlfriend, and was coming to see that he had a problem. All was not happy in happy-free-sex-land. Perhaps it was beginning to dawn on him that sex is more than just a mechanical function that feels good. My young locker-room raconteur was perhaps beginning to sense that casual sex — which is essentially what serial monogamy becomes — does not satisfy. Tragically, though, he seemed to have no idea what the real problem was, and even less of an idea how to solve it. What he almost certainly didn’t understand is that a sexual relationship can only be truly satisfying in the context of lifelong commitment to a covenant marriage. Finding a different girlfriend would change nothing, because he himself was the one who needed to change.

Contrast this with another young man of my acquaintance, who has decided to wait until marriage before having sexual relations with his bride-to-be. This alone, of course, will not make the marriage a happy one. Like all young couples who commit to life-long faithfuless, Mick and Sue (not their real names) will have many challenges to face as they work out what it means to live in genuine emotional, physical, mental and spiritual intimacy. Living in a fallen world, and growing up with a imperfect parents and a built-in inclination towards selfishness, none of us can expect an easy road to the Kingdom of happily-ever-after. As a young couple, Marion and I found that our own marriage only began to work after we gave up trying to control each other and surrendered our wills to the only One who could repair our wounded hearts. A satisfying marriage takes life-long sacrifice, and a willingness to humble ourselves, giving and receiving forgiveness over and over again as we let our hearts be restored until we reflect the servant heart of Jesus. But as I sat with Mick recently and listened to him tell me of their decision to wait, I said to him “I’ve never heard of anyone who regretted having waited for marriage before having sex, but I’ve heard of lots of people who bitterly regretted not having waited”. Mick and Sue have chosen the hard but rewarding road of faithfulness. My prayer for them is that they will walk that road in dependence on the Faithful One – the covenant-making and covenant-keeping God, who thinks so highly of marriage that he uses it as an analogy of his own passionate, redeeming love for those who have received Jesus as Lord and surrendered their lives to Him.

My locker-room encounter has motivated me to pray for the young couples in my life. It has also rekindled my desire to do more than just pray. Marion and I want to be encouragers to young couples who are seeking to walk the path of faithfulness and intimacy in a world that does little to encourage them. Couples who have learned to walk in faithfulness not only bless each other and their children, they are a great resource to the Body of Christ by providing a safe place for those – married and single alike – who need to experience the covenant love of a faithful God.