Thursday, March 13, 2008

10 Days of Praying for the Latter Rain

5:00 a.m. prayer cycle at Fort Lauderdale Spanish Adventist Church begins Thursday, May 6

Raw impressions:

Day one Thursday: dark 4:30 a.m. rising, but full of mystical prayer. Pastor announces, without spelling it out, that we'd be praying for our (gay) neighbors that surround the church and who wish we were not in their upscale neighborhood. If only to pray that God will bless them and that they know that we mean them well and not harm, it will be worth praying for ten days, the pastor announces. At work I fight sleepiness by downing a rare two cups of coffee to not fall asleep at the manager's meeting and when dealing with clients. I'm more talkative and engaging than my usual reserve. I feel mild guilt that I have to resort to stimulants to compensate for the unfamiliar 4:30 a.m. rising. At night I witness to Peter, a non-believer, about my 5:00 a.m. prayer meeting and he seems glad for me in spite of his lack of faith.

Day two: too groggy to get up. I don't want to pray now and have to drink coffee later to ward off sleepiness at work. My day goes better than the day before as I get seven hours of sleep.

Day three Sabbath: Ancient sanctuary service as model for our approach to God in prayer. Incense as symbol of rising prayers. Mild emotion as sign of the Holy Spirit. Unconfessed sins an obstacle to revival. Alone in front of church at 5:00 a.m. No one called me to tell me they were meeting at 7:00 am, instead.

Day four Sunday: more familiar songs and requests for healing and blessing

Day five Monday: meditation announced. Breakfast with brethren each day after prayer service. Oatmeal, bread and fruit. Reminds me of early Christians meeting to break bread and pray.

Day six Tuesday: Hilda's emotional imagining of the Passion. Similar in style to some Pentecostal services I had attended as a young boy. Pastor had warned the day before that some would be upset by style of her vivid verbal re-experiencing of the Passion. I was spooked when I heard shuffling feet as everyone prayed and listened to the vivid account of the passion. I almost thought something supernatural might be happening, that Christ himself had appeared among us and was walking unseen as we prayed. I was too concerned to look behind me to see who might be shuffling across the floor as we all prayed and listened so intensely. At night I witness to my support group of mostly secular folk and am courteously received except for one man who seems upset that I chose to speak of telling my problems to God instead of a real-live person.

Day seven Wednesday: concerned about my health due to lack of sleep so I sleep in (evening prayer meeting about reform and revival supplements missed 5:00 a.m. prayer meeting). Elderly sister asked me if I thought we'd receive the latter rain soon. I respond that I believe Christ will return in my lifetime. Young mother hands me $50 dollar bill saying God impressed her to give it to me to help out my nephew in need of $350.

Day eight Thursday: Abraham and Isaac as models of true faith. Sister in front of me turns to me after opening song and tells me that I have a lovely singing voice. I thank her for her kind words. I feel yet again that I should perhaps try to sing special music some Sabbath morning or join the church choir as others have often told me to do. One cup of coffee just in case lack of sleep overcomes me again. Don't feel major guilt from the use of coffee.

Day nine Friday: Anointing & healing and prayer & bible readings by others. Testimonies were heard. I shared how my prayer request had been answered the day before regarding my uncooperative employees who were now on my side because we had a common enemy: anti-technology administrators. Several people went to the anointing corner next to the church piano were two female elders and the pastor prayed and anointed with oil those in need of prayer or healing. As I waited my turn, the reading of Psalms by the congregation seemed like chanting. My prayer was that God would prepare me for what for me would be my first anointing. All three prayed for me and then it was my chance to pray. My voice cracked as I uttered my last sentence: Oh that God would use me to win many souls for him.

Day ten Sabbath's end: The prayer cycle would not end. It would continue every Sabbath morning at 7:00 am. The Latter Rain is falling. We never imagined it would be like this.

I'll amplify as memories come back to be about elements of each day.

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