What happens after an encounter like Prayerfest?
By Ryan E. Faison
On Friday, July 27, 2018, thousands gathered live at our Christ Church campus in Rockaway, NJ and via our Livestream to experience Prayerfest. During the course of the all-day festival of prayer and worship, many in attendance confessed and repented of sin, forgave others, received an impartation of God’s Word, experienced healing, and were equipped to be kneeling warriors for Christ. One guest expressed their experience this way:
“Pastor, this was the best one yet. At one point, I was celebrating God’s goodness. At another point, I was confessing my sins. At another point, I was surveying how I need to grow in Christ. It was a total spiritual checkup!”
After hearing countless testimonies of life change, I raise this question: Now what? Throughout the course of human history, we have seen God manifest Himself in extraordinary ways through ordinary people. Yet, the encounter was never meant to simply be an asterisk in revival history. These encounters served to shape a generation! Whether you attended or viewed Prayerfest (the event) or have experienced God’s faithfulness to prayer, we each have a responsibility to respond to God’s response. To answer the now what question, here are some practical ways to respond:
(1) PRAY DILIGENTLY.
In The Message version, Colossians 4:2 reads:
“Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open with gratitude.”
When God responds to our prayers, the power is in His response. He chooses to answer our brokenness with His wholeness. The privilege of witnessing the benefits to pray ought to prompt us to pray even more! When we are diligent in our prayer life, it represents that we not only desire God’s answers, but we desire God Himself. We want to know Him more. As we stay alert in the natural and in the spirit, let’s stay in a posture of gratitude for who God is, what He has done, and what He’s doing!
(2) DECLARE GOD’S PROMISES!
To maintain Biblical integrity, we should always caution taking God’s Word out of context or practice eisegesis (the reader imposing his or her will on a given text). However, the promises of God outlined in Scripture are not meant to stay contained in the Holy Bible. These promises are meant to be proclaimed and declared. These are the promises that are not for only one person or group of persons—but for humanity. These promises do not have expiration dates. These unconditional promises are not based on your goodness, but God’s.
The Holy Scriptures tells us:
“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” – 2 Corinthians 1:20
To address the now what question, I encourage you to read and meditate on God’s Word every day. Pay close attention to God’s promises and begin to write them down in a journal or copy them on your mobile or smart device. Proceed to declare them over your life, the life of your family, your church, and anyone you’re connected to. Declare God’s promises over the United States and the nations of the earth. When we position ourselves to declare our Father’s promises over this generation, it unravels the schemes and plots of evil. It’s time to take our positions and declare God’s promises!
(3) ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO PRAY.
Oftentimes, prayer can be a very intimidating discipline for many. Based on their experience, prayer can seem daunting, coupled with nagging questions of “Am I praying this correctly?” or “Am I praying the right thing?” I’ve seen it in my many years of pastoring and producing an event such as Prayerfest. This third response to the now what question serves as an encouragement to anyone who has doubted themselves in prayer. God simply wants to hear from you. Prayer is communicating with God but also hearing from Him too. The more you pray and connect with God, the more you desire to know His heart and pray according to His will. Just begin to pray in Jesus’ name and express your heart to your Father. To even the most skilled intercessor, God has a way of filling in our gaps and correcting our errors.
If you are a kneeling warrior yourself, encourage others to pray! Swing wide the door of prayer to others who are self-doubting or afraid. Model before those who are searching the joy of seeking God and answered prayer. Your encouragement can go a long way in helping many connect with God. When we make it harder than it is, it produces the opposite—it causes discouragement, angst, and a temptation to walk away from it altogether. Your personal and relentless encouragement could prove to be a turning point in the lives of others. Encourage others to pray!
(4) STAY THANKFUL!
In my pursuit of God, I’ve learned the secret to satisfaction even when my circumstances are not the most ideal: gratitude. Gratitude says “While I’m not deserving of these blessings, I’m beyond grateful to receive!” Your thankful heart demonstrates to God that you aren’t simply thanking Him for what He can do for you. You’re thanking Him for being Him—for being God. Each year, as we approach the unique gathering of Prayerfest, I’m grateful to our team for the countless hours of prayer and time they spend in preparation. Moreover, I’m thankful to God for residing in each one—making a home in their hearts to share with others.
Practice gratitude by thanking God when you first awake, during the day, and before going to sleep. Admittedly, you may have had a challenging day, week, or even season, but a thankful heart gives us access to God. If I can put it this way—it’s as if gratitude is the key that unlocks the safe of God’s blessings! Thank those who support, encourage, and pray for you. They serve as God’s gifts to you. Staying thankful will distinguish you from the rest and draw others to the love of Christ.
When we pray diligently, declare God’s promises, encourage others to pray, and stay thankful, we have the blueprint of staying hungry for God long after the close of Prayerfest. My encouragement to you is to create your own festival of prayer in your home, your car, with your family, and in your private devotional times. You may not have the live musicians and vocalists but sing a new song to the Lord. You may not have the powerful preacher in your home, but encourage yourself in the Lord. You can do this! Let’s continue to shape a generation through prayer!
Ryan E. Faison, M.Div. is the Student Ministries Pastor at Christ Church in Montclair and Rockaway, NJ. Pastor Ryan serves as the producer of Prayerfest, Adjunct Professor at Pillar College, and Executive Director of Young Adults United. Connect with Ryan via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @RyanFaison. Website: www.RyanFaison.com