one church - one day launch story
By Steve Buss, One Hope Photo by Chris Anderson
With bright sun and blue sky above, we walked into Grace Community Fellowship to prepare for the Community-Wide Worship/One Church – One Day dedication. The air conditioning welcomed our efforts as we placed ten prayer banners representing ten sectors of our local community on the walls. The worship event was set to draw Jesus’ people together from many churches, with a unique focus of dedicating ourselves, and asking God to enable us to pray together 24/7 every month. This was the commissioning of One Church – One Day, a strategic prayer initiative where more than 31 churches take one a day a month to pray for 24 hours, so that every day, every hour is filled with prayer.
Men moved stacks of chairs as the worship center seating spilled out into the lobby. The standing room started singing with little children and senior citizens raising their voices as we all praised Jesus. Our friend, Pastor Jason Hubbard, Skyped-in from Bellingham, Washington to share stories of how God is transforming their community through 24/7 prayer. Then local pastors aligned before the converged streams of saints. They read verses focused on Jesus and prayer. We dedicated ourselves to the Lord, and then we cried out to God, asking for His grace to empower us to pray together as a community of churches, every day, every month, to the glory of God.
Hundreds of people lingered in the lobby after our agreement for an unceasing season of prayer. Cups of coffee, cups of water, and homemade cookies fueled the fellowship as friends enjoyed the time together. And then we stepped outside.
Clouds covered the sky while the wind blew briskly, causing us to shiver as we finished our conversations. To the south we saw the first flashes, distant yet beautiful. After enjoying a meal with friends, we drove home with a consistent lightning show surrounding us. The thunder grew louder as I read in my bed, while my wife started to doze off. The thunder rumbled again waking her up. Recalling an earlier conversation she hit my back and said, “Operation Rolling Thunder!”
Ten months previously we met with Tim Taylor, a friend who had created and implemented this community-wide prayer strategy in other communities. Tim told us several documented stories about how when this prayer initiative was presented to leaders in a community, the Lord would often confirm the effort with unique lightning and thunder. You see, the original name for One Church – One Day was Operation Rolling Thunder! The name came from Psalm 18 when God responded to David’s prayer: “The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot his arrows and scattered the enemies, great bolts of lightning and routed them,” vs. 13-14.
That night bright bursts and rolling thunder prevailed for hours. The pounding woke me again and again. I cannot recall a time when such a storm lasted so long in our community.
In the morning I called the National Weather Service asking them for the lightning strike stats for the night. In Lane County there had been 225 strikes. I asked if they kept consistent records, only to discover that they did not. However they told me, “we don’t see that normally, that’s a very rare occurrence.” The talk in coffee shops and offices the next day was about the thunder and lightning. The local newspaper featured a front page story, with the above photo, two days after the storm.
God’s people agreed to pray together, 24 hours a day, everyday. We cried out to the Lord asking for His grace to enable us in unceasing intercession. “The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded.”
We are only beginning to pray together as a community of Christ-following churches. We believe that the Lord is only beginning to answer. May our prayers bring Him pleasure. May His presence be the answer that transforms our lives and leads our neighbors to know the unfailing love of Jesus.
*Lightning strike information provided by the National Weather Service.
*There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called. Ephesians 4:4
A short version of this story can be found in the January '16 publication of an international magazine. Take a look here!