At the Thursday night prayer gathering of nearly 800 people, one pastor said, “I have been a pastor in this city for over 30 years and this is the best thing I have seen happen here!” It wasn’t the first step and it won’t be the last step, but it was a significant step. Seven – Seven Days of Fasting and Prayer for Our City, rallied an estimated 11,000 people to 25 prayer gatherings throughout Greater Portland, OR between September 29 and October 5.
Begun in the heart of Pastor John Mark Comer a few years ago as a simple call to his congregation, the idea has caught on. In 2012 twenty five pastors throughout Portland participated. This year it included over 60 congregations in four regions. Prayer meetings were held each night, Sunday through Friday, in different congregations throughout each of the four regions. The week was capped off on Saturday morning at Portland’s Waterfront Park.
In Clark County, an average of over 600 people each night (Sunday – Friday) gathered in 6 different congregations and were led by pastors from 16 different congregations..
No one pastor wanted or received the spotlight. Pastors from larger congregations made their worship teams and buildings available and invited two or three other pastors to help host each time of prayer. In Vancouver, WA (one of the regions) the pastor of the host church simply participated as one of the group while other pastors facilitated the prayer.
They prayed for one another, they prayed for their neighbors, they prayed for specific items received from city and community leaders. They prayed for God’s kingdom to manifest itself more fully in their communities and cities. They gathered in small groups and prayed. They repeated prayers from an up-front leader. They said “Amen” to prayers they heard. They were pointed to prayer from various Scriptures.
Of course the main value is that God has heard and will answer these prayers. But there are other benefits. The Body of Christ in each of these four regions has moved closer to being the answer to Jesus’ John 17 prayer for unity. People who knew each other from different congregations enjoyed worshipping and praying together with friends. Others (even pastors) who did not know each other now do.
Many of the pastors who participated were asking themselves two questions. “Why has it taken us so long to do this?”
And “What’s next?” The answers to these questions will vary from pastor to pastor. But certainly one common thought was “The prayer during these seven days has wonderful possibility of seeing more of His kingdom come more fully to our area.”