5 Core Values
5. To fervently pray for God’s favor and help as we serve
Him with pure hearts
and noble purpose
Houses of Prayer
By Christina Quick
When Pastor Tim Leathers arrived seven years ago at
Heartland Fellowship Church in Wilton, Iowa, the Assemblies of God congregation
was on the verge of collapse.
“The district had slated it to close,” Leathers says. “It
was running about 30 or 40 people. All the ministries other than the Sunday
morning service had been shut down. The only thing we knew to do was to pray.”
Leathers called for a Wednesday night prayer gathering, and
a small band of intercessors responded. As the group met weekly to seek God’s
intervention in the church and community, changes began to take place.
Attendance gradually rose, new converts responded, people were healed and
filled with the Holy Spirit, and volunteers stepped forward to lead ministries.
“There’s no other thing we can point to that has caused our
church to grow other than people praying,” Leathers says. “It’s the heartbeat
of our church.”
Today the church’s sanctuary, which seats about 140, is
bursting at the seams. With little space to build at its current location, the
congregation may soon meet at the local community center to accommodate the
Sunday morning crowd, Leathers says.
There is one construction project in the works, however. The
church is adding an upstairs prayer room that will be accessible to church
members at all times. When there is a special need in the church, a team of
intercessors will pray there in shifts around the clock.
“It’s going to be dedicated as a holy place of prayer,”
Leathers says. “We’re excited about it. As a church, we’ve learned the importance
of connecting with God.”
John Maempa, director of the Assemblies of God National
Prayer Center, says many churches around the country have made the same
“Commitment to prayer is a common denominator in every
dynamic, growing, discipleship-oriented church,” Maempa says. “Prayer
acknowledges our dependence on God. Prayer invites God’s presence. And through
the power of agreement, prayer moves God’s hand in peoples’ lives and
circumstances. Prayer connects us with one another as we bear one another’s
Casa del Rey, a large and predominantly Spanish-speaking
Assemblies of God congregation in Albuquerque, N.M., has a team of 60
intercessors that prays for every service, ministry and outreach connected with
“We have 58 ministries in the church, and every one of them
is tied into prayer directly or indirectly,” says Ruben Guajardo Jr., senior
pastor. “When our people go out and minister, some of the intercessors go with
them. They pray before, during and after every event.”
The church has an upstairs prayer tower with windows that
overlook the city. A women’s prayer group meets there every Tuesday, and a
men’s prayer event is held on Saturdays. Staff members spend about two hours
praying together twice a week.
“We wholeheartedly believe with Jesus that His Father’s
house should be a house of prayer,” Guajardo says.
In addition to its other prayer ministries, the church
operates a 24-hour prayer hotline that is open to the entire city.
“I’ve seen firsthand how the intercessory prayer and all the
elements of prayer have brought tremendous spiritual benefits,” Guajardo says.
Mount Hope Church in Lansing, Mich., also has a facility
designated for prayer ministry. With 160 trained intercessors praying around
the clock, it is a busy place.
“It’s so touching to see these people as they begin to get
God’s heartbeat,” says Mary Jo Williams, who oversees the prayer team. “Nobody
ever feels qualified, but I just encourage them that with God, we can do all
The church operates a prayer hotline and provides annual
training for intercessors.
Williams, wife of Senior Pastor Dave Williams, says
commitment to prayer has kept the large congregation dependent on God and
sensitive to His Spirit.
“Prayer and spiritual vitality, individually and
corporately, are inseparably linked,” Maempa says.
CHRISTINA QUICK is a freelance writer and former Pentecostal
Evangel staff writer. She lives in Springfield, Mo., and attends Central
Assembly of God.
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