Prayer Tent Hits up the Halifax Night Life!

Bryan, from Halifax, just sent me an article he wrote on the Prayer Tent they’re doing in the heart of the night life- Amazing story, check it out!

Church amongst the People

Jesus got downright venomous with religious leaders who put obstacles between people and God. I believe that He would be cheering on loudest those who make a point of connecting people on the outside with Him.

“What are you doing out here?”

Late Saturday nights in Halifax, Nova Scotia now sits a corporate type tent in the middle of the city’s public square with a few beach chairs, some lights and a sign that says “How can we pray for you?” The time and place are strategic as the city is well known for abundant night life, with partiers starting at the bottom of the hill, on the harbour, working their way up the hill, from bar to bar, as the evening progresses. Parade Square sits in the middle of the progression, within earshot of one of the most notorious of the bars. It is nicknamed the Liquordome. No kidding.

My house shall be called a house of prayer

There at the tent are a team of volunteers. Not a big team, mind you,… … but a handful of volunteers ready and willing to pray for matters trivial and weighty. Each prayer made at the request of a passerby includes not only the matter at hand, but also a petition that God would reveal Himself to the person in their life and through the situation. Their act of requesting prayer taken and offered as an invitation for God to work in their life.

“Prayer tent? What the ____?!?”

Some of the response to the tent has been vocally negative. Not normally; even drunk Haligonians tend to be quite polite. But on occasion some interesting adjectives are muttered or bluntly stated by passers by. Even those who are not opposed to the idea come with some honestly puzzled questions. “What are you doing? No, but seriously. Why?”

It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick

But seriously, we are doing it is because it is what we believe we are supposed to do. God has made it clear to us that we are to make a difference where we are. And in downtown Halifax, that means making a difference amongst the bars. The sick among us are those who have made themselves sick, an acting out of a deeper lacking.

No Agenda, No Judgement

It is tough to be in a public space with a purpose but not an agenda. Interacting with lost and wandering people, souls searching in the places they are least likely to find answers without volunteering any. And yet a simple trial of their metaphorical shoes, or glittery pumps as it were, and it is clear that the time is for love and the work is supernatural. Anything presented other than a positive and reinforcing experience is likely to be seen as judgment and patched onto past negativity associated with the people of Christ. We are only there to serve them by praying and answering any questions that we can.

“We want to pray for Africa. Can we do that?”

The strangest part is that it works. Not always right away, but sometimes it does. Like the time when the couple asked for prayer for a cab and one pulled up as quickly as they could get to the street above. Or when a group took a break from their drinking and decided they wanted to pray together for Africa. Down on their knees making our mini-platform into a makeshift alter. This is church in the public arena.

So much work to do

This type of church work is more like a mountain climb than a walk in the park. With every interaction, the result can range from a life impacting work of God to a sneer. The environment makes for an adventure, there are many peaks, but is anything but easy or routine. And it all comes with a realization that as much as we may grow as a church and as many lives as God may be changing, our work is always far from done.

“Was that from a script?”

On a recent Saturday night we saw a smaller crowd of people downtown in anticipation of some impending bad weather. Our prayers to begin were for God to bring people to us a few people who were genuinely seeking and interested. Once set up for the night two guys in their early twenties walked up and asked to sit down. One of them mentioned, during the course of the casual conversation, that he admired and wished he had a sense of God like the people at the tent. He was an agnostic, only because he had no proof or convincing but wanted an enlightenment type experience to change him. He asked for prayer for God to show Himself.

Who’s in for next week?

So we go on with the prayer tent, lights, chairs, signs and all. Our prayer is always for more contacts, more people that we can connect with God. More people who the Holy Spirit might have an invitation to work in their life. It is not a complex or innovative idea, offering to pray for people who do not think they are on speaking terms with God. It is probably the simplest of activities a Christian can do. It is an idea that could work in any number of situations or environments, perhaps even your own.

Using prayer to connect the lost with the One searching for them. I can see why Jesus would cheer.

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