Friday, July 27, 2012

Weather Report

Opening night at the House of Prayer: the house had scheduled 24/7 to coincide with our time here: prayer was to run continually throughout the time, with the 30+ people on our team, along with the local church.  And so it began…and so did the rain.

Our host Ben stood to greet us all and kick off the two-week 24/7 prayer.  While the goal of 24/7 is not reality yet, the way forward is to build these pockets of 24/7 prayer throughout the calendar year.  Teams, couples and individuals, visitors as well as local saints, take portions of the calendar gaps in the meantime.  And our OM Prayer Director, also looking for a House of Prayer for the Mediterranean, when he discovered Ben's project and heart, committed to help.  This is the third year of OM's involvement in sending prayer teams.   

Ben began by talking about the rain.  His core team of pray-ers, stirred to pray for rain as a visible sign of God's presence with them in their desire for a 24/7 house of prayer for the Mediterranean, had begun praying for rain.

Did you know that it doesn’t rain in Malta between May and September? 

Three times in the past two years, he recounted, it has rained when a significant moment has begun surrounding the establishment of this house of prayer.  We arrived on the third one.  An older Maltese couple—60 something—assured us that in their 60 years, they have not known rain in Malta in the summer.  

"In Malta there are two kinds of rain, no rain at all or very strong rain."

Two years ago, when Ben (and others) had been stirred to pray for the rain of God’s presence, he had a dream: he was outdoors in the rain.  He woke to clouds, which was not unusual.  They dissipated, burned off by the heat, as usual. And then, unusually, they came back. 

During the day, Ben had met with a local pastor; that meeting proved to be the beginning of a deeply significant relationship between the two men--unusual in the fractured church scene of Malta.  Ben prayed again for a confirming rain, and watched from the door of his home as the first rain in memory fell.  It seemed that God was blessing Ben with confirmation in his desire to establish a house of prayer on Malta.

In spite of that, a year passed with no fruit, no developments, and plenty of discouragement.  Ben was discouraged personally, but more grieved by the lack of interest in people to worship and pray.  He no longer had the heart to pray for rain to confirm anything.

Then a couple from Sweden happened through…they blessed Ben and his family in many ways, including financially, but especially as they prayed God would establish Ben and the house of prayer, and to confirm it with rain.  No, they knew nothing of this prayer of Ben's heart, and yep, it rained. 

Ben closed with a psalm, and a simple affirmation: "The Lord sends rain." The worship team--a young couple from Australia--began a session of jazz worship that lasted well into the night.  I snuck out early, on the first car back to the house, jet lag overtaking me physically, but all ears open spiritually.    

“When you went out before your people, O God, when you marched through the wasteland, the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel.

"You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance.  Your people settled in it; and from your bounty, O God, you provided for the poor.”--Ps. 68:7-9

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