As I walked through the door Sabbath morning and read the title of my husband’s sermon, “Why We’re Not Yet Ready for Pentecost,” I thought, “Good. This will be a great sermon to rebuke all the lazy church members!” What I didn’t know was that this sermon was for me. As he took us through the steps that the disciples took to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, I was convicted of my wretched condition and stood for the appeal. The appeal was “Am I willing to meet for 10 consecutive days and plead for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit?” Not 10 days of preaching, but just praying and agonizing with God along with my church brothers and sisters.
I really didn’t know what to expect. I remember thinking, “Is anyone going to show up night after night to pray?” The first night our fellowship hall was full, with church members crying out to God and pleading for Him to take all known sin out of their lives. Each night the topic would change, but always dealing with revival and reformation. We prayed about true repentance, forgiveness, witnessing, and family issues, along with other things we all struggle with. Many who came out for the 10 days of prayer were not regular attendees of prayer meeting. They were expecting a long, drawn-out prayer service, but were pleasantly surprised that the one hour of praying together had energy that made the hour go by very quickly. We did something that is called short sentence prayer. Many times people don’t attend prayer meeting because of the long prayers that weary the saints. With short sentence prayer each person prays by using two to three short sentences each time they pray. That way everyone gets a chance to pray.
Many people really appreciated this style of praying and attended night after night. There were up to 70 people, when we normally had maybe 20 come out for our regular prayer meetings.
On the final night we had a communion service. People who had not spoken to each other for years, and would normally pass each other in the church hallways, were crying, hugging, and apologizing for anger and bitterness.
This experience provided much-needed healing for our church and led my husband to think about what would happen if all the churches in our area prayed together at the same time for the same thing for 10 days! Then he wondered about all the churches in the conference. Even better, what about all the SDA churches around the world? After receiving support from the local conference, Operation Global Rain (OGR) was born in 2007. The first worldwide 10 Days of Prayer movement had over 1,800 hundred churches in over 80 countries.
Testimonies started flooding into our inbox on how OGR revitalized prayer meetings, changed lives, and healed relationships. Our most recent OGR was held January 5-15, 2011. Again hundreds of churches participated around the world.
When I think of our great commission in Matthew 28:19, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the, Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” I wonder how we can accomplish this work when there are billions of people in the world and we are relatively small in number. The Lord showed me that only through humbled hearts, true repentance, and praying together as the apostles did will we receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit needed to spread the message around the world. At the conclusion of our first 10 Days of Prayer, the following Sabbath our church was packed. Some just walked in off the street and others felt impressed to come back to church after many years! We rejoiced and knew it was God answering our prayers.
Hundreds of churches praying is good, but we have thousands around the world. If all the Seventh-day Adventist churches humbled themselves and prayed for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for 10 consecutive days at the same time, we could have faith that God would hear those prayers and something supernatural would happen!