Report from 10 DAYS - Amherst, Massachusetts

Check out this report from 10 Days-Amherst coordinator, Jaime Dicke:

My heart is full from experiencing the 10 Days. From Sept. 24 - Oct 4, many of us joined together on a journey from church to church to seek after Jesus as a body in the Valley. Here are some stories from the 10 Days... with more to come! God is at work in our Valley.

Overflow of 10 DAYS:

Over the 10 Days we prayed 3x a day. It was a catalyst for me to hear the Lord, to get back into the rhythm of seeking Him and hearing from Him. A few days after the 10 Days, I was driving with a friend to Connecticut, we decided to chant Psalm 119 on the way there. We had learned chanting from an orthodox group that led one of the nights of 10 Days/ Encounter. This lead us into an awesome prayer time filled with God’s presence and then into a time of intercession for each other. My friend said, “this is better than 10 Days.” I answered, “No, this is the fruit of 10 Days!” It was the fruit of realigning our hearts to make Christ the center of our lives and friendships. It was the birthing of hunger in our hearts to long for Jesus, that drew us into this Encounter.

A few nights ago, again that aching hunger for God was there. A roommate asked, "can I read the word to you?" His word was alive and I felt like I was a starving person feeding upon every word. Again this ended in a time of confession and prayer.

This week a prayer group at my church met to talk about how we can call the church to prayer, and how we can be serious and intentional about making prayer a priority in our lives. It was so encouraging! We are tired and weak people, but His Spirit is spurring us on into deeper encounter. If we come out of 10 Days with more hunger for God, more need for Him, more dependent upon Him, I’d say that is a success in God’s book.

This morning I was at a prayer meeting for ministry leaders and pastors. Over the past few months the group has grown and we have moved to our 3rd meeting place to make room for everyone! Its exciting to see God breathing on this meeting. People are wanting to work together and to gather their pastor’s groups from their cities to all meet together. There is a desire to call networks of pastors throughout the Valley to come together at the end of 2014, to pray for the 2015 and see how God would unite us further in Him. There is also a growing understanding for our need for revival in our churches.

Sometimes Prayer is Horizontal; God speaks through Babes.

Prayer is a two way street, we talk to God, He talks back. He answers prayer. Sometimes those answers to prayer come through His body. On Saturday evening, I was having a rough day for whatever reason I can’t remember. I was driving to Maple Ridge Church and I remember praying, “God, I really need you to meet me tonight. I really just need your love.” As I walked into the church foyer, I was greeted by hugs and the affectionate screams of a friend’s children. I was able to help watch the kids that night and I think their snuggles ministered to me more than a prayer meeting could have.

That same day, in our time of morning prayer, the leader directed us in praying for families and children. One of the things we were praying about is how kids can be Christians who have the holy spirit and can be used by God in service, encouragement, and compassion. And here I was experiencing it! Being loved by some kiddos. Our small group didn’t get much prayer in that night. One girl even admitted she didn’t want to even come to the meeting that night. She didn’t feel like praying, but God met us, in His own way. Through his playful kiddos, through our fellowship.

In another small group across the room, God was meeting a young boy. He remarked that this was “one of his most powerful nights" of 10 Days. People in the group were blow away by this 8-year-olds heartfelt, mature, and fervent prayers. An adult in the group had to make sure that the adults could pray too, because this boy was praying so much! Pray changes things. How did God answer this boys prayers? Is God breaking in at his elementary school, in his friendships with unbelievers, in his relationship with God?

Getting to Know the Hidden Gems in His Body

Sometimes unity is as simple as getting to know someone a bit, praying for them, and seeing and appreciating who are they are God. It’s as simple as growing in love for one another.

Meeting saints is one of the highlights of 10 Days. At college church, my friend Rachel and I prayed with Alice. Who is Alice? Alice is one of those unassuming people that I believe will be rewarded in heaven. Just a few minutes with her and I could see that there was a well of years of intimacy with Jesus in her. She knows the Lord. She hears the Lord. She loves the Lord. She is a women of wisdom. Where did she come from? How is she praying the very things in detail that I am going through and longing for, and yet I’ve told her nothing about me or my life!?

It was a blessing to meditate on the word with her as we were guided through the lectio divina- a special way to receive and hear God through His Word. His presence was sweet. His voice was clear. And I got to meet someone Jesus loves; Alice.

Making Friends in the Family

You’ve heard the saying, we can’t chose our families, but we can choose our friends. That’s how it is sometimes in the body of Christ. We are one family in Christ with God as our Father. But sometimes we tolerate each other more than really love each other. One thing God uses 10 Days for is to make friends within the family of God. Sometimes 10 Days is like a family reunion were you are reconnected with family you haven’t seen in a while. Other times God connects you with new ministry partners or friends.

This morning, a friend shared how he had dinner with a family he met at First Baptist Church during the 10 Days.  The fellowship after prayer was sweet at First Baptist. Two pastor couples from different churches, Melanie and Robert, and Greg and Carolyn  spent their Friday night praying with us. So special! Many churches and ministries came to pray and share including the Korean and Chinese pastors. Some friends from a church in South Hadley came and friendships were strengthened and made. God was connecting His body in love for one another. In some ways, the fellowship was better than the prayer, but probably was an overflow of God’s spirit giving us unity.

Hearing Our Pastor’s Pray

One of my favorite things about the prayer night at Vita Nova Church was that their pastor, Joe, was passionately leading the prayer time. It wasn’t a prayer group or lay person, but the pastor. How often do we get to see into our pastor’s prayer lives? What a gift it is when we see them crying out to God in humility and need for Him. How precious it is to learn from them how to pray.

It was a blessing to be at Vita Nova Church in South Amherst. I hadn’t been to the church since 10 Days last year and a lot had changed since then. Their former pastor had renounced the faith and stepped down as pastor. Needless to say, it has been a tough year for the church.

That night there was a time for leaders in the body of Christ to pray about the Return of Christ. Two fatherly saints, David and Rob, who have lived in the Valley for over 30 years got up to share and pray together. They shared how they have been believing God for great things in this Valley for many years. Their faithfulness in prayer was an encouragement! Also they shed perspective on Vita and other “newer” church plants. These churches were not here 30 years ago. They may be small, but God is moving in them and these small beginnings are not to be despised.

Another night at Maple Ridge Church, Pastor Sanjoy shared a powerful testimony about how God had begun a work in him in the 10 Days last year that continued throughout the year bringing transformation to his life. Last year God came with a spirit of repentance and people began to get convicted about sin in their lives and confess to each other. Sanjoy was touched by this conviction and began to cry. God was highlighting changes he wanted Sanjoy to make in his marriage. He came back with a testimony this year about how God began a work in him that night that strengthened his marriage. Praise God for humble and prayerful pastor’s who lead by example and allow God to mold their hearts.

Affirmed in my Calling

I enjoyed praying at First Baptist Church, where I attended during college. God unexpectedly ministered to me a lot that night. I attended there for 5 years before moving to Atlanta, GA. When I was in Atlanta and to this day, the church carried me as their missionary, sending me cards, constantly praying for me and encouraging me. I hadn’t realized till that moment that God had given them a special love for me. Like proud parents, they had seen me grow up in the Lord and come into my calling. I was embarrassed as the night went and on and I kept coming up in conversation and prayer. I thought, why is this prayer meeting focused on me? Over the years, I’ve felt misunderstood because my calling is unique. At times, I’ve even been criticized for the path I had chosen. That night, I felt God through His body validating my call to prayer and unity in the body.

After the meeting, Pastor Greg came up to me and was sharing how the church is going through a sermon series on the book of Luke. He said that when he was preaching on Luke 2 and the story of Anna, he thought of me! Anna was a prophetic intercessor who fasted, worshiped, and prayed in the temple for about 60 years awaiting Jesus’ first coming. What a compliment! To hear a respected pastor and friend affirm the heart of Anna that God has so graciously given me and called me to was inexpressibly meaningful.

Taste of Heaven

There is something about worshiping with believers from another nation in their language that is just heavenly! Praying with Pastor David Wang and believers at the Amherst Chinese Christian Church was one of my favorite nights.

God brought perspective about how he is spreading the gospel in our generation. He is bringing the gospel to the nations and the nations to our doorstep at the same time. It brought praise to our lips to reflect on a few centuries back when the first missionaries from America were sent to China and now to see Chinese believers coming to evangelize America! It is neat to see this church reaching out to the international students coming to this valley.

There was a humility about these Chinese believers; a distinct gratefulness I could hear coming out of their prayers. Many of them grew up in a place were they did not have much access to the gospel, should they not be offended at God? But instead how thankful they were, how filled with joy about their salvation.

Do you have a story from 10 DAYS?

I would love to hear what God did in your life, heart, city or church through the 10 Days. Share your story with the body! (Email testimonies