Today was incredibly awesome. Just...awesome. My thoughts are still dancing.
Today a speaker from the International House of Prayer in Kansas City (IHOP) came to speak in Tokyo. She is Portuguese. I think I mentioned in another blog entry that a Portuguese pastor working in Tokyo is one of the people with a vision for a prayer house. What I didn't realize is that part of the reason the speaker came was because her daughter had moved to Tokyo. Her daughter is one of the many worship leaders for IHOP...she is a young Portuguese American woman with a five year old daughter...and she is awesome on the piano.
I honestly think I have found my heart. Prayer on its own isn't my heart. But this. Oh my. I called one of my friends tonight to explain it to her and spent the first five minutes or so just babbling absolute nonsense. Something along the lines of, "It was so...oh, it was amazing! I mean...It was...it was the best thing ever...it was just...it was like...you use some instruments, and...man, it was great!" Somehow, she wasn't getting the picture from that stunning description. ;-)
But what this is, is the prayer and worship style used at IHOP called "Harp and Bowl". The Harp is worship and the Bowl is intercession, and it is a loose structure that puts the two things together. I found myself on the worship side of it and just. blown. away.
It works like this...a worship leader begins with a song based in pretty simple chord progressions. Everyone sings it together, and then a lead intercessor takes up the prayer. They pray a Biblical passage, and emphasize a specific phrase they want the worshipers to focus on. For example, we worked out of Ephesians where it says, "I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you". The emphasis would be on hope. And so one of the worship leaders sings ad lib about hope...using another Bible verse that comes to mind or repeating the same verse as the intercessor. Out of that, a simple melody is taken and built on. The intercessor grabs things out of that and goes back to crying out to God, and then it returns to the worshipers who praise God based on the prayer.
I don't know if that sounds overly complicated...it's actually pretty simple. The feel of it is a simple melody everyone can just weave their own worship into. So...I came up to try leading it with one other woman and the "pro" worship leader and it was basically three people who had never sung together before making absolutely beautiful three part harmony on the spot.
And I realized that my favorite part of praying with people really isn't being the one who "leads out"...that one takes courage for me every time. But this. It is my favorite part. Listening to the person who leads out and agreeing along with them. Adding my little tidbits to what they are praying. Praising the awesome God who is hearing every word. I never considered that that part of corporate prayer could be done with music, but my heart has been won forever. I am reasonably certain I could do this for my entire life and never get tired of it.
Things are crazy insane in Tokyo right now in the best possible way. As of yesterday, I have spoken to or heard about four separate people not connected to each other who have all decided it is time to start a house of prayer here. I listen to the Portuguese pastor talk and nearly explode from the way he is able to put the vision I thought I had been carrying all my myself into words. He stood in front of us to close us tonight and said, "I have this vision for a house of prayer in the center of Tokyo...God is doing something here, and I don't think it's a church, but a ministry that we will all need to come together and contribute to." And it takes all my strength to keep myself in my chair. Though these people are the sorts who might not be so put off by a young missionary getting up to dance in the middle of their meeting. ;-)
I keep looking at all of this and thinking...this is crazy. God pulled me into this vision only 10-11 months ago, and already it is exploding everywhere. I look at others who have had to wait for so long. And the suffering I have endured waiting for things to get to this point feels like absolutely nothing. Haha...may I remember that the next time it seems like God is doing nothing for an eternity and that I feel I will die because of it. He always returns. And in the silences, His great plans are born.