A Mixed Up Minister?
What insights does the book of Jonah have for ministers today?
Led by The Revd Tom Stuckey, a former President of the Methodist Church.
‘Look To The Heavens’
A group of about seventy Christian leaders from ten nations gathered for this strategic prayer conference in the spa town of Piestany in Slovakia. We had four days together to worship, pray and enjoy a time set apart to be with God.
We know that there is a growing prayer movement worldwide. Within the Methodist movement, international prayer conferences in Singapore and England over the last three years have stirred intercession for a fresh outpouring of the Spirit. This conference drew people together who had a similar heart to pray for the continent and to be renewed in the Spirit.
An international team from USA, Singapore and England provided the teaching programme and the times of worship were shared in both English and Slovakian. The local organising group were a small team from the Methodist churches in the area. Everyone pulled together as we arrived to serve and create a place where we could encounter the Lord’s presence.
From the outset there was a natural flow of worship, teaching and times of prayer which drew people to Jesus, and the anointing of the Spirit, in the times of meeting, increased throughout the four days. There was a united heart of everyone there to worship God together, asking for Holy Spirit revival in this continent, for churches to grow and spread the gospel and for thousands to find faith in Christ. The teaching was around the theme of ‘looking to the heavens’, and focused on getting a clearer vision of God, seeing our privileged place in prayer, being challenged about becoming agents of kingdom transformation, and looking to the future Second Coming of the Lord.
There were many opportunities for personal prayer ministry and many of us were renewed in faith and filled afresh with the life of the Spirit. There were testimonies of healing, new vision for ministry, the confirmation of specific prophetic words and experience of the power of the Spirit. We know, from what was shared and from people’s faces, how much God did in many individual lives.
The times of strategic intercession also felt ‘weighty’ and very significant. We prayed specifically for the ‘new’ European nations represented, that God might bring greater spiritual breakthrough in their churches and countries. It was a privilege to lead a team which had such a united, God-seeking and humble heart, preferring each other above ourselves.
Below is just a sample of people’s testimonies:
For me, this conference was a time of encouraging. God lifted me up, and made me to feel myself worthy for His work. He opened my eyes to see how He uses me in his work in a wonderful way, and that revival is coming in our country. I feel myself renewed, strengthened and prepared to continue in His work with a new strength.
I have appreciated the workshops on ‘prayer’ very much. At this conference I have discovered many ways churches are praying – many ideas I hadn’t even thought of or heard of. So I am excited as I have many ‘new ideas’ to suggest to my new ecumenical prayer group.
Throughout the conference God has been reminding me that the single most important thing in my life is my relationship with Him. The ‘call to intimacy’ spoke to me deeply and God said to me so clearly that the only qualification for my ministry was to be able to answer with Peter ‘Lord, you know that I love you’. God is calling me back to that place of intimacy with Him – everything else will take care of itself!
I came to the conference with serious questions about my future as a minister. I have received prayer and ministry and revelation that has now answered all the questions. But God has spoken powerfully into my heart, making clear what my priorities should be and how I should see what is happening. God’s call to intimacy is foremost and I know that he holds me in the palm of His hand.
It has been wonderful to be part of this event. I have been blessed mightily, God has confirmed that I am on the right path in prayer. I felt as though my heart was being ripped out as I felt the pain of the people in my own town on Wednesday evening. In order to intercede for my community I am being called to lie prostrate in the churches and plead for God for them in words and tears. It has been a privilege to be here and humbling to meet people.
During my time at the conference I have experienced many things from God – physical healing, affirmation, encouragement, renewed vision and purpose and increased hope and expectation. Alongside that a wonderful closeness to God and a desire to readjust my priorities to ensure I press in to the intimate places of God. I have a greater heart for the needs of Europe and a desire for His Spirit to move in mighty power and I have made contacts that I believe God will grow and use for the future. I am yet to fully appreciate the impact of this conference and the ways in which it will have positive consequences for the kingdom once I return home.
Having come with a bad back, it took several sessions to reveal and recognise a problem that has been ongoing for several years. It is gone! In the process two evenings of being ‘in the Spirit’ a sense of ‘running’ and ‘flying’ was a liberating and exhilarating experience. There was such laughter and fun and at the same time respecting the deeply spiritual side of the conference experiences.
I just came to sing, but from the first service I was touched and encouraged by God’s word. When we prayed, one brother from the States was praying for me personally and he had God’s Word for me. Then on Thursday one sister encouraged me with God’s word. It was very powerful for me because I felt like a broken dish. God was renewing me.
We Slovaks, received a lot. Some ideas were for us new, some strengthened our beliefs. We felt great with you. You accepted us as you would have known us for 100 years. Thank you for encouragements, prayers, and your willingness to come to Slovakia. We love you! Come again!
We wait over these next few months to see the outworking of the prophetic words and fresh calling on people’s lives, as well as to see what further ripples/ future possibilities emerge from the conference.