When the Holy Spirit moves the Father’s children make prayer a priority. I asked Ray & Dianne Vander Molen to share their thoughts on prayer encounters in South Africa.
Recently my wife Dianne and I were privileged to join four high school students from Zeeland, Michigan at a Kingdom Encounter at Oceans Retreat Center located in Fish Hoek, South Africa. During our time we had many opportunities for ministry and immersion into the culture including interacting with preschoolers from Oceanview Care Center in a nearby township.
We were certainly challenged by our visit and wanted to take a few moments to reflect upon an aspect that was an inspiration: the Prayer Meetings. One prayer time we attended was held at a local church; we soon discovered that this prayer hour was not like the “typical prayer time” we had attended where much prayer was directed towards those in need of healing from sickness or recovery from surgeries etc.
The Monday Night Prayer Meeting, held in the worship center, had white plastic chairs arranged around the edges in a large circle. We were amazed to see over 60 people in attendance!
Led by Pastor Ryan, our time began with worship through songs projected on a large screen. All were encouraged to join in singing or prayerfully reflect upon the words. This time brought us to an expectation of the Spirit’s presence and we truly felt as if we were meeting God in this place.
Following the singing a theme was introduced – for example one evening it was “Breaking Chains.” This was an invitation for all of us to pray into what chains might be binding us such as: control, drugs, alcohol, lack of faith, fear of the unknown or a myriad of other issues. People were invited to step into the center of the room for more prayer and were then prayed over by others.
One meeting a few people shared a passage of scripture they felt led to read or one time a person saw a vision of a glass heart that was shattered and a surgeon putting it back together as a heart of flesh.
Another prayer night we divided into groups of 6 to 8 for prayer. At one point a person was chosen at random and we all prayed for that individual. For many the meeting was a time of reflection, meditation or silent or audible prayer. We definitely felt the presence of the Lord and decided if we lived in Fish Hoek we would want to regularly be a part of this lively Spirit led prayer service.
During our stay my wife Dianne and I not only joined the Monday nights Prayer Meetings but also the 9 am Tuesday mornings Prayer Times which the Oceans Team started in 2020 when the lockdown began. These were intimate times were 10-15 of us gathered and the students had opportunity to pray if they desired. In this smaller group we were able to pray over Aimee, Eli, Evan and Natalie for their safe return and as they finished out their senior year in the states.
Both these times caused me to reflect on the many answered prayers I have experienced over the 80 years in my life. I was challenged to pray not only for others and their needs, but also for more of the presence of God, for His Spirit to guide and direct, and for revival-the only answer for poverty, the pandemic, politics, hopelessness, depression and I could go on.
I conclude with this powerful quote, perhaps you’ve read it before: