Event Sparks Prayer
Prayer took center stage at a November event in Byron Center, Michigan.
“Fanning the Flame: Rekindling Our Heritage of Prayer” was a joint effort of the Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America.
“We could tell from the very beginning that the Lord was preparing this area, and that the Spirit was going to be at work in a huge and mighty way,” says Allison VanderMeer, a member of the planning team. “Everything just started falling into place, as if it was 110 percent meant to be. I had never experienced anything like that before.”
The prayer summit was held on a weekend in November, with nearly 400 people gathered at Corinth Reformed. Friday night focused on rekindling the heritage of personal prayer. On Saturday, the focus moved into rekindling the heritage of prayer in the church, “how you can move forward from developing personal prayer to praying in small groups, or through prayerlines, and really firing up those around you in your church community,” VanderMeer says.
Using a CRC denominational prayer summit as a model, Fanning the Flame included worship, large group sessions, breakout sessions, and, of course, time for prayer.
“We wanted it to be appealing to newbies and people who have been in prayer ministry for years,” VanderMeer says. “We wanted it to be appealing to all levels—individuals, prayer groups, churches as a whole—and ignite a new kind of wind into our regional area.
“The Holy Spirit continues to amaze me at how many different lives he worked in, how many different new ideas he worked into different people.
“I keep hearing how this prayer conference affected people and pushed them outside of their comfort zone, or gave them a new way of thinking about prayer.
“It was very humbling to witness what the Spirit does and how he or she works.”
Many people prayed for the event, both beforehand and while it was taking place. VanderMeer describes them as a huge web of individuals and prayer teams supporting the event in prayer.
Breakout sessions covered many aspects of prayer, including praying with Scripture, healing prayer, prayer walking, praying together in small groups, and praying with regard to spiritual warfare. Other sessions covered evangelism, starting a prayer ministry, how to do 24 hours of prayer, and more.
“We ended up having all the rooms bursting at the seams,” VanderMeer says.
Speakers included author William Brownson and Moses Chung, director of Home Missions for the CRC. Local RCA church leaders led break-out sessions along with local CRC leaders.
More than 50 high school and college students attended the event through scholarships from an anonymous donor. “We really wanted to find a way to engage the student population, both high school and college,” VanderMeer says. “We started praying about ways to draw them in to a conference like this, and we had someone volunteer to sponsor all the students who attended. The Lord provides!”