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church, God, leadership, prayer

Furnace Ministry Update- April 2011

“We must move from prayer “meeting” to a prayer CULTURE” These words were shared at a city-wide rally/prayer gathering early this month by visionary/revolutionary leader Lou Engle (see more at www.thecall.com).  He was explaining that to see true transformation in our state and society, and for the Gospel to prevail over all the competing influences, ideologies, and religions, we must truly LEAN in and DEPEND on God.  We can’t simply be people who add prayer to the list of things we do.  We have to make prayer (communicating with God) our very life-breath, pervading everything and ALL that we do.  This is who Jesus is, isn’t it? [“He who fills everything in every way, Ephesians 1:23] all].  We want His fullness to be manifest in EVERY way, in EVERY thing.  This is why the Furnace exists!  And, we are seeing the culture shift as a result of an emerging culture of prayer.  Lou will be bringing “The Call” (an event gathering the nation for prayer) to Detroit on November 11, 2011. 

A “House” of Prayer

This Fall, as I embarked onto the campus to do this ministry full-time, the Lord strengthened me by reminding me that the place He wants to be is where prayer is happening (“my house shall be a house of prayer for all nations”, Mark 11:17).  I’ve been sharing that message, knowing that it’s not about a building, but a culture and an IDENTITY among His people.  Slowly and steadily, a heart of prayer has been growing among individuals and groups on the campus.  We’ve seen such a UNIFIED expression among Christians as we’ve emphasized our common mission to lift up the Name of Jesus, and to PRAY as we minister to the campus.  I am STUNNED at what THE LORD has done.  And, it truly has been HIS DOING — as I had little to do with some of it – it has been a MOVEMENT emerging at MSU.    Let me line up this semester for you:

  • The Furnace currently hosts prayer every day Monday-Friday on campus, joining individuals and ministries in intercession for our campus
    .
  • February 24th we hosted a WHOLE DAY of prayer for the Collegiate Day of Prayer, ending with an all-campus prayer meeting that drew 150 students representing 14 different ministries and many different races and denominations.
  • March 20-25 was the campus-wide outreach “Pictures of Hope” where we helped oversee a 24-hour prayer tent that was running concurrently for all five days of the outreach [it was freezing cold that week, but you could find up to 25-30 students in the tent in the late watches of the night, praying together for hours, and enjoying it!  The prayer tent was a favorite event of the week, not to overshadow several who gave their lives to Jesus that week as well!!
  • April 10-17, University Christian Outreach helps sponsor a 24 hour prayer room for the week.
  • April 16- one of our Furnace prayer leaders (Shannon Obrien, more on her below) hosted a campus-wide PRAYER walk, covering all areas of campus (this actually happened the same days a huge prayer walk in the city of Detroit!).  It was a VERY cold, wet, rainy day, but faithful ones from several ministries still came out to walk and pray, exercising God’s dominion! 
  • -April 17-21, Red Cedar Christian Fellowship and Asian Christian Intervarsity are hosting (as I write!) a 24 hour prayer room (in the MSU Library!) for Holy Week!

It would seem that God Himself is orchestrating things in such a way that the fires of prayer are constantly burning, creating for Himself a “house of prayer” where He can dwell with us on campus!  THIS  IS EXCITING! 

Shannon (pictured at left) leads one of our weekly prayer times.  I asked her to share her story with you (and you can look forward to hearing other student stories in future newsletters.  In her own words, Shannon says:

Since coming to MSU, I have been pained to see the division in the Christian body on campus.  The different campus ministries seemed disconnected and far apart, even competitive for members at times.  The Furnace has truly been an answer to my prayer, and of many other students like myself.  It gives students the opportunity to come together and pray for campus without labels and obligations, providing a free environment for worship, prayer, and fellowship.  Leading a prayer meeting through the furnace empowered my intercession for campus, but it has resulted in the direct answer to prayers of unity on campus.  Prayer meetings are diverse in race, age, and denomination, and equally just as empowering to each student’s personal relationship with Christ.  The Collegiate Day of Prayer event was amazingly powerful, and was an eye opener to many as to the importance and power of unity on campus.  Several ministries were present in full numbers, allowing students to fellowship and make connections, as well as lift each others ministry up in prayer.

Personally, the Furnace has encouraged me to be more open and diverse in how I pray and communicate with God.  It has given me boldness in prayer that I had never experienced before. The Holy Spirit Seminars hosted by Jessie and the Furnace really helped me grow my relationship and spurred my desire to go deeper in God.  It opened my eyes to the unlimited possibilities of a deeper relationship.  In addition, leading a furnace prayer meeting has given me a new sense of purpose and vitality. I LOVE PRAYING! Before, I didn’t really have a good prayer outlet outside of my own personal prayer closet. But now I can get together with other students for prayer almost every day of the week!  It has also given me a way to share my personal testimony and minister to people that I otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to do.   Since joining with the Furnace, I have had so much joy, peace, kindness… ALL the fruits of the Spirit, and they just continue to grow as the Spirit flows more in my life through prayer.

One day when I was thinking about unity on MSU among the body of Christ, God showed me that the Furnace represents the cardiovascular system, with all the veins and arteries. It pumps blood, with nutrition and heat, throughout the whole body.  It connects the Body and brings LIFE to all of its members!!!! Prayer is at the heart of any relationship with God, and without prayer, the body of Christ has no heart!

Your support helps fuel the dreams and visions that God is planting into passionate young leaders like Shannon.  Shannon has a heart to minister in other nations.  After she graduates next month, she’ll be doing just that!                                     THANK YOU FOR BEING A PART OF IT ALL!!

All for Jesus,   -Jessie

If you’re interested in supporting this movement, visit the Join the Team page!  Thanks!


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About Jessie

Lover of God. Husband. Dad. Director of the Furnace at Michigan State University.

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