The Upper Room
“Now, all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more that we might ask or think.”
During my time in the “Upper Room,” as our prayer room came to be called due to its location overlooking our chapel, God did more than I could ever ask for, and exponentially more than I could ever imagine. I had the privilege of serving on the overnight crew for each night of the week. Because of various concerns, it was not practical to have traffic coming through the building late at night, and it was not safe to have people coming in during the overnight hours. However, God, in His provision, raised up four young women (Katie Burgmayer, Nikki Colon, Nancy Huston and myself) who, due to various circumstances had that week clear from school, home, and work responsibilities and were able to meet together from the hours of 11 PM through 5 AM. Although, as the week progressed, we tended to show up earlier and leave later. Also, throughout the week, God brought others alongside us to worship and pray during the night watches.
It is providential, I think, that God would choose four young women because the Pioneer Corps was started through the step of faith of one 16 year old young woman in 1879. If He chose just one girl to change the face of history through stepping out in faith, imagine what He can do with four of us!
Our times in the Upper Room were blessed times of prayer, worship and fellowship. On Friday night, as it was our first night, we felt our way through. With Saturday night came an increase in freedom, both in worship and prayer. However, for me, Sunday night was the tipping point. During the GeneratioNext Corps meeting, God began showing me a word from Psalm 46:1-4. Following the GeNext meeting and fellowship time, the Upper Room crew remained and we shared a time of fellowship among ourselves. We retreated (or, should I say, “advanced?”) to the Upper Room to begin that evening’s night watch. Sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, we entered a time of prayer, where God led us to intercede on behalf of a member of our corps family who has been facing a rather dark time in their life. Still in alignment with the Spirit, we moved into a time of prayer for each other. After some time, my friend, Nancy, felt compelled to pray for me. Specifically, the Holy Spirit was prompting her to pray that I would be filled with the Holy Spirit. Knowing my comfort level with things of that nature, she asked first if she could do so. Whether it was sleep deprivation or newfound openness to the Spirit is debatable, but I said, in effect, “Bring it!” In those moments, the Holy Spirit filled me and made His presence known. At one point during the night, God’s presence was so strong that we were driven to our knees and we could not stand up under it. During this time, as well, some were blessed with the sight to see an angel that was in the room with us. From that night on, we had many concrete experiences of God’s presence.
On Monday night, when I reported to the Upper Room for the night watch, my corps officer was waiting for me. Without any foreknowledge of what had happened the night before, she was being obedient to the Spirit’s prompting. When I exited the elevator and entered the prayer room, the first words she said were, “Mary, God told me to do something for you.” She asked me to kneel and proceeded to baptize me symbolically by pouring water over my head, as a confirmation of the Holy Spirit’s baptism the previous night.
It has been prophesied many times that our corps is a place of healing – specifically that a river of healing runs through our corps. Interestingly enough, our corps is built over a dry riverbed. This word has also been reinforced throughout the week in the Upper Room. Throughout the week, the Upper Room was a place of healing – both physical and emotional. I was among the many recipients of that healing. Later on Monday night, we shared another season of praying for each other. During this time, I began to experience severe back pain. God revealed to Katie that my back pain was not of physical origin, but was of a spiritual origin. It was representative of those attacks I had received over the years from unexpected sources, such as leaders and those who I thought I could trust. She shared with me Is. 58:8, “Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind. Then, when you call, the Lord will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.” and that I needed to release the hurts I had received over the years. As I began to do so, I started to cry. Nikki, Nancy and Katie all held me as I cried for over 20 minutes. There would be more tears in the days to come, as the Holy Spirit reminded me of past hurts so that I could release them, but in those moments, God began healing years of emotional scars that had built up through the years.
Since the 24-7 prayer week, God has been moving in amazing ways in all of our lives. In addition to the newfound freedom I am moving into in worship and prayer, God has provided opportunities for me to learn from my friends about the spiritual gifts God has blessed me with. Also, I’ve been given the opportunity to attend the Aggressive Christianity Conference in San Francisco from Oct. 27-30, 2006. I had just about forgotten about entering the contest on SAYTunes.com for the all-expenses paid trip to the ACC when I received an e-mail from Capt. Kyle Smith, Territorial Youth Secretary for the USA West Territory, informing me that I was selected as the winner. My entry was literally drawn from a box! Was I selected because of my time in the Upper Room? I don’t know, beyond the fact that, as my corps officer says it was the “direct, providential intervention” of God. But, I do know that, because of my time in the Upper Room, I am ready to receive all that God has for me when I get to the conference! Eph. 3:20 has truly becoming living and active in my life in a powerful way. I can’t wait to see what God does next!