Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
In recent months we are more and more aware that God is on the move in New England. In New Hampshire, 5th Friday has become a fixed tradition of county prayer gatherings in each of our 10 counties! The third annual Solemn Assembly grew to 1700 participants in Plymouth—not to mention the national platform that resulted from its connection to the filming of “Monumental”, a documentary focusing on “the faith of our forefathers” as the foundation of America’s greatness. The fourth annual Boston Night of Worship also grew to a 5500 person multi-ethnic worship event. Recently Vision New England gathered over 30 NE leaders to reflect and recognize that prayer networks, pastors’ fellowships, and breakthrough evangelism is happening all over NE.
The NH Prayer Covenant of 2005: All of these things have reminded us that the Lord is faithful to His promise of revival as set forth in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people who are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways—then will I hear their prayer and heal their land.” Years ago, this promise and others from the Word of God inspired Jonathan Edwards to write “A Humble Attempt” to covenant with clergy around New England to meet quarterly for visible, united, and joyful prayer. This “Humble Attempt” is the same covenant vision that over 70 NH pastors, leaders, and intercessors signed in the spring of 2005. Yes, it is becoming clear that the Lord is on the move again in New England and isn’t it clear that we must all be very attentive to the Lord’s guidance?
History of the prayer and unity efforts in New Hampshire: The prayer covenant of 2005 did not come out of nowhere, but was preceded by 15 years of various efforts to foster prayer and build relationships. A “Power Team Evangelistic Crusade” in 1990 brought together 100 churches and is credited by many as the beginning of these efforts at unity. Relationships were beginning to form leading to the “Marches for Jesus” (1992-97), “NH for Jesus” (a monthly state-wide pastor’s meeting, 1997), and “Gather My People 2000” (1997-2002) which involved state-wide pastor prayer fellowships and monthly prayer gatherings held around NH. During this time the Lord was teaching us to build and value relationships. Our prayer and worship together allowed the Lord to take his rightful place among us as the head of the church. You can’t pour old wine into new wine skins—so we all had to come together as brothers and sisters so the Lord could do a new thing. We weren’t trying to “organize” denominations to be reconciled—that is impossible! But when we did form a fellowship of prayer; then we began to see the Lord guide us.
2 Chronicles 20: In the spring of 2003, we hosted “Days of Prayer” for New Hampshire leaders to get away together and listen to the Lord. This gathering was one of the first and most significant occasions of God’s extraordinary guidance to us corporately. After a time of prolonged “waiting on the Lord,” a group of eight leaders returned and found that two pastors had received 2 Chronicles 20 at the same time. 2 Chronicles 20 is the impossible story of Jehoshaphat and Judah overcoming 3 armies not by fighting, but by placing worship leaders at the head of the army. We recognized that when we are outmatched by our enemies, our only hope is to worship the Lord and place our trust in Him, not in our human abilities. At that time, NH had just become the first place in history to name a gay bishop. Similar trends around NE were a wake-up call that caused us to see that we were in the battle of our lives.
Worship and Warfare: God’s word regarding 2 Chronicles 20 grew in our hearts and by the time we renewed the prayer covenant in 2005 we felt guided by the Lord to host worship gatherings all over NH starting in the fall of 2005. That summer we were visited by Dutch Sheets and Chuck Pierce, two national prayer leaders. During our second session Dutch abandoned his notes and said the Lord was leading him “off the page.” For the next 15 minutes he talked about Jehoshaphat and how we ought to hold worship gatherings all over NH. He knew nothing of our previous guidance and so we were awestruck at recognizing we were in the middle of God’s unfolding plans. Since then we have found this same passage has been given independently and repeatedly to other leaders around New England.
5th Fridays Following our year of “Jehoshaphat” worship based on 2 Chronicles 20 we formally adopted Jonathan Edward’s quarterly prayer and worship gatherings which we began to hold in each county. For practical purposes we chose to hold this on “Fifth Fridays” and this regular pattern has become a fixed star in our NH efforts. Our prayer covenant includes quarterly state-wide days of prayer, local pastors’ fellowships, and annual retreats or renewal events for pastors and leaders. Since then we have seen the Lord continuing to increase unity among pastors’ fellowships. This continues to make a significant impact on raising the spiritual temperature of our state.
The New England Alliance During these last five years, we also have seen that the Lord was working in other locations around NE. Some of the efforts to support prayer and unity in the Body had been going on for 30 or even 50 years and were beginning to mature and yield breakthroughs. As more and more leaders were experiencing a call to pray together and walk together in unity, the NE Alliance was formed in 2007. Around this time we also became aware that the Awakening America Alliance and other national prayer movements had the same vision that we did for prayer, unity, and awakening. This group had planned a county-based prayer day of prayer on Sept. 11, 2008, and they expected New England to have the least participation in their national prayer effort. Amazingly, NE had the highest percentage of participating counties of any part of the country.
At this present moment we see that the NE Alliance is becoming a vehicle to spread the vision of revival across NE. In 2011, the NH Alliance plans to gather all the counties for a NH Night of Worship similar in vision to the Boston Night of Worship. We also hope that the Lord’s guidance to us may inspire others, and we pray in a special way that the Fifth Friday prayer and worship will be a key part of our vision to unite all of NE in more localized breakthrough. The Lord can do all things—even in New England. Let’s remain focused on worshiping Him to see his deliverance and revival realized again in our times. Amen.
Dick Kiernan is the Field Ministries Director of Alpha NE, and a founding member of the NH Alliance and NE Alliance. Dick is married to Stephanie and has 5 children.