â€œI urge you then, to pray for all people, to plead for Godâ€™s mercy upon them, and to give thanks. This is good and it pleases God our Saviorâ€¦ For he wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth that there is only one God and one Mediator over all, who can reconcile God and all people: he is the man, Jesus Christ. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message that God gave to the world.â€? 1 Timothy 2:1-6
How did these Houses of Prayer concept get introduced to COS?
Basically, the idea to begin Houses of Prayer was an offshoot/transitional form of More to Life, the Saturday Evening weekly Outreach Service which Church of the Servant had during 2005. When the trial period of More To Life was coming to an end, the participants felt that while we were not meeting our goal of bringing in newcomers consistently or long-term, there was a great desire to still work together to reach out to our neighbors with the More To Life that is the Gospel of Grace and Hope in Jesus Christ. So after searching and praying for an alternative, Houses of Prayer became the new wave of evangelistic outreach to our neighborhood.
A little more History:
God began this movement called Houses of Prayer long before it came to COS. It was actually a missional strategy used first in the villages of India, where small groups of Christian townspeople would pray for their Muslim and Hindu neighbors, praying in Jesus name, and experiencing miraculous answers. The result was wave after wave of Revival and growth for the church. Through the efforts of Mission India this strategy was multiplied all over the country, and is still in use today. Only in the last 10-15 years, known as Houses Of Prayer Everywhere (HOPE), has it been brought to North America by CRC Home Missions, where it has born fruit in many years and many cities, including some areas of Grand Rapids.
How did it arrive at COS?
Those of you who have been part of our congregation for awhile will remember our dear brother, Neal VanGoor. Neal was a committed member of the More to Life team, and a good friend of John DeVries, founder of Mission India. Through these connections the Houses of Prayer ministry was introduced to our church as an exciting possibility in late Fall of 2005. Only days before Neal’s death the More to Life group made the final decision to carry out his plan of planting Houses of Prayer everywhere in our immediate neighborhood.