In 2005, something unforgettable happened in our journey with Jesus. We were given a life-commissioning encounter with the Lord through a powerful dream. God essentially tattooed our hearts with a heavenly vision. It was as Scripture says, ‘written on our hearts with the spirit.’ (2 Corinthians 3:3) What you are about to read is the truth according to how it actually happened. This story is a pearl in our hearts that we now invite you to share with us in wisdom, humility, love, and excitement.
At the first of the year in 2005, I (Andrew) was given a dream. In the dream, I saw breath-taking, wide spread revival in the Bloomington-Normal Region. I saw thousands who had never known The Lord crying out to God in worship. I saw the church in our region come alive and re-awaken with revival and passion for Jesus. It seemed that our way of life was suddenly interrupted by Heaven as multitudes in Bloomington-Normal seemed to push pause on their hustle of daily routine, and were captivated in worship before God.
Next in the dream, I saw that this revival was a result of a ‘house of prayer’ that was raised up in the city as well as small prayer gatherings taking place all across the region of central IL. In the dream this house of prayer was called a “Jericho March.” In the last part of the dream, I saw my mom huddled together with three white-haired elderly women. Suddenly my mom and these women in the dream (whom I did not recognize), pointed to me and repeatedly prophesied the phrase “24 Hour House of Prayer”. Suddenly, I woke up from the dream with eyes wide open, and immediately heard the Audible voice of God! His voice thundered, and echoed this phrase: “THIS IS NOT A HARD JOB WHEN IT IS Tattooed ON YOUR HEART!” (If this takes you outside of your box, it took me out of mine too!). It was an encounter that I will never forget! Jesus must have been serious when he said his sheep HEAR his voice! (John 10:27)
A couple days after the dream, I spoke with my mom. I related the dream with her, and was especially curious about the 3 white-haired elderly women who together with my mom were prophesying a House of Prayer over me. I was shocked when my mom said the dream must be God, because she had just started a weekly prayer meeting with 3 white-haired elderly women 2 weeks prior to the dream, and I had no knowledge of this. This was fascinating confirmation that the dream encounter was sent from God! I knew it was God’s commissioning on our lives to raise up prayer that would help usher in revival. I met and prayed with these white-haired elderly women, and they continued to meet almost weekly for the next 5 years.
I knew God was inviting us to partner with him and his heart. The heavenly vision revealed God’s heart for broken and lost souls and the power of prayer to reach them with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The exact phrase God used in this dream was “house of prayer”. The Lord is particular about names, because within the name is its calling! “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” (Isaiah 56:7) God named HIS house by its identifying function, which is prayer. By virtue of God’s own word, we are called to be a people who pray, and who’s prayers open access for the nations to be reconciled to God through the Gospel of Jesus Christ! ( house of prayer for all nations).
The interesting thing about the heavenly vision God “tattooed”on our hearts, was that it also revealed His strategy and call for this house of prayer. In the vision we were commissioned to raise up a house of prayer in our city, and…. “IT WAS CALLED A JERICHO MARCH.” From that statement, we understood God was revealing a powerful correlation. The house of prayer God desires to establish in our region, will have the same assignment as Joshua’s Jericho March. Israel was faced with ominous walls that stood in the way of their promised land. Jericho was the most fortified stronghold in the land of promise. Israel’s victory through God’s supernatural power at Jericho was key for entering into their inheritance.
The house of prayer, through prayer, fasting, strategic intercession, worship, and acts of justice & mercy, will function as a Jericho March to demolish strongholds that stand in the way of Gospel promise and impact (2 Corinthians 10:4). There are unseen strongholds that exist in our city that keep lives from the truth of Jesus (Ephesians 6:12) These Jericho-type strongholds are essentially the gates of hell that Jesus said would not prevail against his church! (Matt. 16:18). These gates veil people from the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. (2 Cor. 4:4)
These strongholds dull the resolve of the church to contend for the Kingdom of God. They cause the church to live for worldly pleasure and security without sight of eternal reality. These Jericho-type strongholds in our city, breed darkness that manifests in human trafficking, drug trafficking, prostitution, adultery, gangs, materialism, violence, witchcraft, rebellion, broken homes, anti-Christ-humanistic education, and so much more. It’s our firm belief, through God’s word, that walls were meant to fall! We also believe a contending house/people of prayer through the victory of Christ is enabled to bring these walls down!
The early church understood the power of prayer and the prayer empowered Gospel! Scripture is clear that the known world was turned upside down as a result! (Acts 17:6). Though we affirm our world will never be rid of sin or evil until Christ returns to reign, we do however believe that individuals, families, cities and nations, can be turned upside-down as a result of the prayer empowered gospel of Jesus Christ! Unfortunately the great blunder of the church has been the surrender of our responsibility and privilege to pray. We have yielded this great appropriation of Christ’s victory to the enemies of unbelief and comfort. We believe that God has more! We want to restore fire on the altar, and may it never go out! (Lev. 6:12)
A TIME TO BUILD
For almost 10 years we have carried this vision of night and day prayer in our hearts, praying, studying, and waiting for God’s timing. During these past 10 years, We have maintained a full time job, with additional part time jobs along the way. We have also remained active in ministry as time allowed depending on our season of life. We’ve done ministry in our home, at Illinois State University, with the Prayer & Justice Center and Journey Ministries.
Along the way, we have had multiple ‘burning bush’ confirmations of God’s calling on us to raise up a contending ‘House of Prayer’, that will help release the transforming power of God in our city. In January of 2013, God spoke unmistakably clear to me in prayer with Him. In my heart he said it would not be long before I was to leave my job, and we would begin to establish the House of Prayer. I kept this to myself for a few days to ponder on it. Then one night at a prayer meeting a man with no knowledge of what God had recently spoken to me said, “God spoke to me as clear as I have ever heard him, and you won’t be at your job much longer and you will begin to establish the House of Prayer.”
Another ‘burning bush’ came on a Sunday in the spring of 2013. At church I was having an internal conversation with The Lord about Haggai chapter 1. In my heart The Lord told me that Haggai 1 was my next assignment. I couldn’t shake the words in Haggai chapter 1.
After church, a Christian man from another town came to my home. This man had no idea what the Lord told me about Haggai chapter 1. He said he needed to pray over me without offering any further explanation. He prayed for me & suddenly shouted out the following phrase: “Haggai chapter 1, Haggai chapter 1, this is the assignment of The Lord for you.”
Haggai chapter 1 is a prophetic call to recognize that God’s people are resting content in their comfortable homes and lives, while the house of prayer (the Lord’s temple) is still in ruin. We believe now is the time to recognize the urgency of this late hour. God wants us to see the state of his ‘temple’ and come out of our comfortable dwelling places to rebuild the house of prayer. The altar of prayer needs to be rebuilt again and lit with undying fire! God is inviting us to cry out for His heart & for His name to be exalted in our region.
When we look at our city, we may quickly make judgements by mere appearances. At surface level our city appears family friendly, prosperous, and spiritually alive-based on the number of church buildings and church activities. However, if we lean into the heart of God, I believe we see a different viewpoint. Outward success, affluence, and church activities are not revealing deeper truth. Our city, though blessed in many ways, is filled with thousands of broken lives, hurting families, dead religion, a growing underground crime culture including human trafficking (and YES this is presently operating in our city), and massive educational systems that increasingly indoctrinate young minds into an anti-Christ, anti-biblical worldview, and so much more. There are multitudes in the valley of darkness who need to see His light. Truly the fields are ripe for harvest. This is why Haggai 1 has become an assignment for us. NOW is the time! We are burdened with God’s call to raise up a lamp stand in our city by helping rebuild the altar of prayer!
In light of the call to raise up a contending house of prayer in our city, as a family, we have primarily focused on making sure our foundations of personal, home, and family life is in Godly order. In January of 2014, as our focus was simply on our foundational order, I had a very random, but clear dream. In the dream we moved with our kids to Pasadena California for a season of training and impartation. Upon waking from this dream, I checked my email. I was shocked as I had an email from Lou Engle’s ministry, the “Call” in Pasadena, California. The email invited us to participate in a conference they were holding. Before leaving to go to this conference, i had another dream. In the dream I was standing in Lou Engle’s living room right in front of a big brick fireplace. Lou tells me in the dream that I have come under his covering i.e. mantle, influence, blessing. The dream ends.
We went to the conference in February 2014, and had unusual favor with Lou Engle and his wife Therese. We were invited over to their house that we had never seen before. Lou walks me into his living room, and there sits the large brick fireplace from my dream. Lou said to us that he believes God has called us to receive his influence as a spiritual father. (1 Cor. 4:15). They invited us to come out with them for a short season. As we prayed and sought council, we felt confident that God was calling us to go with them for a season of training as the dream had revealed.
Through God’s direction, we have decided to leave the position at the Pantagraph, and move the family out to Pasadena California for 3 months to connect and receive training with Lou Engle and his well respected ministry The Call. While in Pasadena we will be doing an internship & will be involved in the ministry of prayer, biblical study, outreach, and occasional travel with Lou Engle. Of course we may make it a point to enjoy some beach time with the family as well:) We intend to stay from July 1st to early October, culminating with the Call Berkley – a one day event of prayer and fasting for revival in our nation. (For more info about Pasadena, see http://www.thecall.com)
Upon our return, as an extension of Journey Ministries and under their leadership, we will become full time local missionaries as the Directors of The Prayer & Justice Center (3903 Ireland Grove Rd, Bloomington, IL). We have been serving as directors of the Prayer and Justice Center part-time, but know that now is the time to give our ‘full time’ labors to the Gospel. We are blessed to have Journey Ministries as an ‘apostolic’ covering, where spiritual, directional, and financial accountability are in place for us.
We want to bless and support the various fellowships, ministries, and every Christ centered vision of the local church community, by praying for them and offering any support we can give! The purpose and vision of the Prayer & Justice Center is to be a missions and training center for the local church, to raise a committed prayer effort with corresponding works of justice to see awakening, revival, and transformation, in our city and region. Our goals are to progressively establish a committed prayer and worship effort that eventually contends night and day for breakthrough in our region. In addition we will provide opportunities for other believers in the community to participate in works of justice and compassion. It is our heart to develop a foundation of prayer and worship that all ministry flows from. Prayer releases breakthrough. The Works of justice puts feet to our prayers.
Through preaching, and encouraging the body of Christ, street evangelism, ministry to the poor, widows, orphans, deliverance, and healing, God’s heart for justice & mercy are being done. (Isaiah 58) Our heart is to develop healthy relationship among other ministries involved in Gospel justice & mercy and come along side to help in that vision. We want to eventually provide opportunities for the local body of Christ to serve in local justice missions such as, care for widows, orphans, and the poor that live in our community, as well as missions of evangelism and prayer for the sick. We also desire to see God connect the body of Christ multi-generationally according to Malachi 4:6. This is our prayer for the whole region! We pray the Prayer & Justice Center will create an environment of the presence of God, and give parents and children a place to connect with God together.
God has given us just a glimpse of His heart for our city. We have a picture of what God is wanting to do, but know God will bring more clarity and strategy Through our time in Pasadena and as we continue to seek Him in the days ahead. Our eyes are being opened to the wonderful possibilities in God for our families and communities. God is doing ‘new’ things and connecting His people for the common goal of exalting and glorifying Jesus. Please Dream with Us!
OUR FINANCIAL NEEDS
We are praying that God will raise up a “marching band” of men and women who will partner with us to see awakening, revival, and transformation in our city through prayer and acts of justice. Thankfuly we have received enough money for our trip to California. When we return to Bloomington, In addition to the amount Journey Ministries can provide, our living expenses we are needing the Lord to provide through generous donations is $1,950 / month, which comes to $22,800 for the year. Would you prayerfully consider sowing into this vision financially? -thank you! and Jesus Bless you!!!