Big Dipper Blessings

Big Dipper Blessings

The Power of United Prayer

by Melody Echo | January 1, 2011

One beautiful crisp evening this past October, I was returning home to Oregon from helping lead a prayer event at a private Christian university in the Midwest. My flight was a little delayed, and I was exhausted, for I’d been traveling with our prayer team for several weeks. We had been burning the candle at both ends, hosting “all day prayer rooms” at churches and conferences, and I wasn’t sure if I could handle traveling any longer. But it was a good exhaustion, a peaceful exhaustion, and as our team separated, we praised God, in awe of what Heʼd been doing in our lives and hearts.

Let me share a little more about what Iʼve been experiencing in united prayer.

The ministry of an “all day prayer room” is really quite amazing. My team and I keep a prayer room open for 12 to 15 hours of continual prayer. Each hour during the day, we take people through a united four-part conversational prayer, which focuses on four themes: adoration/praise, confession, supplication and thanksgiving. We take turns praying, we claim promises, and we sing songs as the Spirit convicts.

Itʼs not a new format, and itʼs not successful because of us. But thankfully, God is working in spite of us. Over and over again, pastors and youth leaders, as well as church members and youth, tell us that theyʼve never experienced something so impacting. Many adults and young people tell us that theyʼve been raised as Christians or in the Church their entire lives, but have never felt like Christianity was real to them, that is, until they came into the prayer room, humbled their hearts as a group, and experienced the power of communion with our heavenly Father in united prayer.

Weʼve watched little children pray alongside their parents, the most sweet, beautiful, and innocent prayers. And weʼve all cried! Weʼve watched God break down years of bitterness and resentments between families as they began to pray together for the first time. Weʼve watched the Bible come alive for people after their time spent in united prayer. Weʼve even seen strained marital relationships healed. But most importantly, through it all, we keep seeing people fall in love with Christ, over and over again. And many prayers are being answered – some seemingly impossible.

Even teens are taking it back to their churches. One 14-year-old girl, who came into our prayer room, went from five-minutes-a-day prayers to praying for hours. She was so excited about her newfound love of prayer and relationship with God that she went home to start two prayer groups in her own church, groups which are still thriving today. According to her parents, she was struggling spiritually before, but now her life has been radically transformed by the power of Christ! Another teen who came into our prayer room was hungry and, as mealtime was approaching, he wasnʼt planning to stay and pray long. But as we began to pray, he began to cry, and he told us after, “Iʼm not hungry anymore for food! Iʼm hungry for more prayer!” He stayed the whole hour and kept coming back for more.

Yes, as the well-known saying goes, “God is good. All the time. All the time, God is good!” And so, after working with the “all day prayer room” for several weeks, though feeling physically exhausted, you can begin to understand why I was in complete awe as I got off my first plane in Chicago and waited to catch my next flight for home. As I spent time reflecting on what God had done and how He had been answering our prayers, I almost didnʼt have words to express the deep joy in my heart.

How did this begin?

The concept of the “all day prayer room,” (as weʼve been experiencing it) actually started about eight months ago as our ministry team was seeking to lead people into a deeper relationship with Christ through in-depth Bible study and a powerful prayer life. As we saw God work in answer to our united prayers, we were convicted that we needed to take more time to pray. Thus the “all day prayer room” was birthed, to work in conjunction with different Bible conferences and events.

We were in earnest and began to wrestle with God like Jacob did with the angel. “We will not let go except you bless us!” We wanted to press beyond the typical five-minute “weakly prayer meeting circle” (pun intended). And we didnʼt want people to get bored or go to sleep as other prayer warriors went on and on. So, as we came together in conversational style prayer, focusing on four themes we are instructed to pray in Scripture, and asking for the Holy Spirit to convict and guide us, the hours flew by as our team, and whomever God brought into the prayer room, joined together in persistent praise, persistent humbling, persistent knocking, persistent seeking, and persistent asking. We wrestled together, humbled our hearts together, and claimed big things together; and as we did, God has begun to answer. It was the start of an amazing journey that shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. As God has been purifying our hearts and taking us deeper, we have begun to catch a glimpse of what our God is longing to do in our lives.

In short, my life has totally been turned upside down these past eight months because of what I have experienced in united prayer. Iʼve always considered myself a person of “prayer.” I love prayer. I believe in prayer. And Iʼve experienced many answered prayers. But over this summer and the last few months, Iʼve come to realize that most of my prayer life has been spent in what some might term, “childʼs play.” Itʼs okay to be children and itʼs okay to play – for awhile. But as Eric Ludy often says, we must not stay children. Eventually we must grow up. And I think God hopes it will be sooner rather than later. The motto of our prayer team is, “Forward on our knees.” For when we are on our knees we cannot fall.

Iʼve also come to realize that Iʼve spent much of my prayer life alone. And prayer time alone with God is vitally important! Donʼt take me wrong. Nothing done publicly can ever take the place of that private time alone. But there is a reason God tells us to join together in groups of two or three to pray. There is power in unity, and there is power when Godʼs people come together in one accord.

How Great is Our God

As I boarded my flight for home, wondering where God would take me next, and feeling a little overwhelmed and uncertain if I could continue moving forward with such a powerful ministry when I felt so small, I continued to pray and reflect on the promises of God. The sun had set and the stars were just beginning to shine. As we left the lights of Chicago behind, I looked out the window into the dark night sky. I gasped in amazement for, as if sitting on the airplane wing, there was the Big Dipper constellation taking up the entire night sky that was in my view. As I pressed my face up against the airplane window in childlike wonder, a shooting star came out of the sky and went straight into the middle of the big dipper. It was breathtaking. It was so close it seemed like I could have reached out the window and felt it pass. It was so beautiful; I could scarcely pull my eyes away from the window.

As I continued to gaze in rapt awe, all tiredness left me. And it was as if I could hear Godʼs voice gently speaking, “Melody, if you will keep trusting Me, if you will keep walking with Me, and if you and your teammates will continue to follow Me where I lead you – on your knees – I have heavenʼs blessings that I will pour upon you. You see how much space this Big Dipper holds? It only can hold a small portion of the blessings I long to give you.”

Standing on Godʼs Promises

“...If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 18:19 KJV).

Letʼs ask ourselves some questions: Is there anything in our heart that seems to be coming between the Lord and us? Is there anything in our lives that seems so bad that we think He couldnʼt possible extend forgiveness? (I know Iʼve felt this way before!) Is there any person in our lives that our heart breaks over, that we long to see saved and healed, but we think itʼs hopeless? Is there anything that we long for more than to be ready to meet our Lord, but we feel so far away?

The answer to all these questions is so simple.

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14 KJV).

Is there any mountain in our lives that seems impossible to climb? Is there anything He is asking from us that we feel we cannot do? Is there any thing we just canʼt seem to let go of; some “issue” that we cannot trust to His care?

"Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee” (Jer. 32:17 KJV).

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us” (1 John 5:14 KJV).

"...prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it" (Mal. 3:10 KJV).

Yes, Iʼve been learning that our God is a big God – and He has a “Big Dipper” of blessings that He is just waiting to pour upon us. And yes, He does care about our little childish ways.

He tells us that even the hair on our head is numbered, and He even sees the sparrows fall. Yet are we not of more value than many sparrows (see Matt. 10:29-31)?

God is serious when He tells us to cast all our cares upon Him (see 1 Peter 5:7). Yet we must get away from our childish, selfish, and manipulative prayers. We must stop advising God, stop correcting God, stop counseling God, stop complaining against God, and stop suggesting things to God. (As if we know a better way!) We must realize who our God is, and that He is fully capable. He is fully who He says He is! We must learn to take Him at His Word. We must learn to obey Him implicitly knowing that He knows what is for our highest good. And we must keep moving forward in faith – even when we cannot see – forward on our knees.

I can almost hear God sadly sighing, “If only my people would pray...”

The night God taught me about His “Big Dipper blessings” will forever be etched in my memory. It was one of the most amazing experiences Iʼve ever had. And I continue to be in awe of Him as I press forward on my knees.

“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He gathered the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him” (Psalm 33:6-8 KJV).

Please listen to Ericʼs sermon that he preached on August 29, 2010 called Praying Through. Itʼs one of the most powerful sermons on prayer Iʼve ever heard and very impacting. Itʼs a must hear if you havenʼt heard it! (Go to www.ellerslie.com to find Eric’s sermon archives.)*

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