Day 10: A Recap of the Final Day
Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be sharing stories from 10 Days around the nation. As an intro, here’s a first person account of the final 24 hours of 10 Days.
Take The Call!
It was after 11pm on Tuesday and I was exhausted after 9 days of night and day prayer. I was hesitant to take a call so late, but my friend Pastor Luis Burgos texted that it was important. I joke with Luis that he’s the kind of guy I never want to say “no” to, so I picked up.
“10 Days has transformed my city.” he said.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard those words before, but I knew I’d been waiting 12 years to hear them. You see, when I first saw the vision for 10 Days, I knew in my heart that cities that said “yes” to this invitation would be transformed—that a city wouldn’t be the same.
Bridgeport, CT had said “yes” to 10 Days in a special way.
Pastor Luis had invited me down twice to speak to over 100 pastors in the city. They had responded to the call to “stop everything” to seek God, with some people taking time off from work to pray, even ministries stopping their in house schedules to pray together. Through a separate and amazing provision of God, they had taken the bold step of putting up a tent and mobilizing 24/7 prayer at a city-wide level. They even got a billboard! Luis shared about the way that old suspicions have given way to love and a new level of unity among the pastors, how his personal prayer life had grown through the 24/7 prayer in the tent, the nightly meetings where 500 and more gathered to seek God each night, the hunger that had filled his heart for more of God, the repentance, the changed lives, the salvations, the outdoor baptisms, and on and on.
It was a night and day difference. I told Luis how grateful I was for him, for the way the he had taken the call to “stop everything and pray for 10 Days as a city” seriously. It was clear that Bridgeport was seeing God move in ways we hadn’t seen before in a city-wide context. I fell asleep grateful to God for allowing me to see a new level of fulfillment of this vision.
The next morning, I was up early and feeling a surprising surge of energy, I headed to the Northfield Campus. The campus, founded by DL Moody and famous for its conferences, its girl’s school, and as the birthplace of the Student Volunteer Movement, has been mostly empty since 2005. The current ownership, the National Christian Foundation, had opened the doors and allowed us to “pitch a tent” for 5 days of 24/7 worship and prayer and then to use the Auditorium on October 12 to host a culminating gathering.
As I arrived, strains of sweet worship greeted me. The Jesus Tent, brought with a large team led by Michael Thornton from North Carolina, had been humming round the clock for four days at that point. The four days had been power-packed—the spiritual atmosphere had been prepared. We were getting ready for about 1,000 people from around New England to join us. First things first: We cleaned the bathrooms! Thankfully, several good friends had come early to “help with whatever was needed.”
Provision and Generosity
As Roberto Miranda and I discussed the flow of the day, we marveled at how God had provided for everything we needed without us having to ask. We had been asking God to make it clear to us if we should take an offering on that day—since everything we needed had been paid for to within $10 of our need, we decided that was our sign and we didn’t take an offering.
So many of God’s people had given so much without seeking anything in return. When I thanked them, they all told me the same thing, “it is an honor to serve.” People were acting like Jesus, laying down their lives, serving at their own expense because “Jesus is worthy”. If you’ve never been in an environment like that before, I can tell you, it’s not something you want to miss. This is the way to live life and these are the people you want surrounding you.
That morning, people began to arrive from all over New England and even New York. Workshops, campus tours, and the worship tent were all well-attended. Chef Bob Rynning was feeding hundreds of people for free at what felt like a New England church family reunion. I bounced around to the different areas of the event, from parking, to the Auditorium set-up, to the food line. Everywhere I turned, were the smiling faces of old friends, often people that I hadn’t seen in years. Even a couple that had come by earlier in the week to complain about the noise had arrived to say….”thank you.” The day was delightful and sunny with the finest colors of a New England fall on full display. God was smiling on us in every way!
My good friend Christ (rhymes with “wrist”) Otto had built a full-scale model of the Ark of the Covenant that we had set-up under the tent. As a prophetic act, they marched the Ark from the tent and into the Moody Auditorium, stopping every six steps to declare “Holy, Holy, Holy”. As the Ark entered, the auditorium became a sanctuary and a holy hush fell on the place for several minutes.
About 800 gathered in the Auditorium as Zenzo Matoga led us in spirited worship. We heard reports on God’s activity in each New England state, reminding ourselves that in a region thought by many to be spiritually “hard”, there’s actually an incredible amount of spiritual life happening. Roberto Miranda gave a message of hope in God even as politics and culture seem in many ways to be headed towards a “nervous breakdown”. We concluded by taking communion together, and then by a corporate blessing with all the pastors and other ministers on the stage together!
As we concluded and said our goodbyes, a young man, who looked like a teenager, came up to me and boldly offered what he sensed from the Lord during the event. To paraphrase: “Something was opened today, something started today, but I saw that it’s not going to end or be interrupted. It’s going to keep going. This is just the beginning of God’s presence moving on this campus.” I appreciated the boldness of the young man, and the word. Amen, let it be Lord!