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MARKETPLACE FORERUNNERS » Blog Archive » Awake! Arise!

Awake! Arise!

by Chauncey Hutter, Jr - December 8th, 2009. Filed under: Marketplace.

Awake! Arise!

How a single day’s retreat brought awakening and hope to the heart of the Bride in Charlottesville, Va.

We were dreaming big that night, October 12, the night of our 18th anniversary. We were dreaming big about God drawing near to His people in Charlottesville, Virginia; about the life of abiding in His presence, about what His heartbeat was for our little patch of the world. And then came the big idea. We have friends from IHOP right down the road in Richmond. Suddenly, it was a must. Benjamin and Nadia Atkinson must come for a visit. We would have them come stir up the hunger of our little, growing church, as well as some of the friends of the Business of Prayer, the ministry God has given us to encourage prayer in all arenas of life. It wasn’t an hour later that I was emailing to find the right date. We nailed it that night. We would host a prayer retreat, a day in the sanctuary, the weekend of November 21. God nudged us that evening; we said yes, and the weeks that followed would blow us away with how He would open His heart to us concerning the people of Charlottesville and the surrounding area.

When I brought this plan to our little prayer team, we decided to ask God what theme He wanted to bring, what teaching. We spent a week praying and fasting individually, and the Lord brought our hearts together. “Awake, oh sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14) And so, “Awake! Arise!” was born! More than anything, what we wanted to open to the people of God in our area, was the real and living hope God has for their lives through a life of walking more deeply with Him and encountering Him through prayer. We sent out an invite to a few folks, and they sent to a few more folks, and the list began to grow. When the day came, more than 100 friends and friends of friends walked through our doors. Our basement was filled with highest praises to the King of Kings while our kitchen smelled of the aroma of stew and coffee and savory treats. For two evenings and a full day, the Lord flooded our lives with His presence as we adored Him, cried out for awakening, grew through practical teachings on encountering God and prayed over the sick right there in our home. We marveled as God brought together hungry and thirsty college students, prayer leaders, pastors and faithful prayer circles from surrounding counties. People came from Washington, D.C., Roanoke, Fredericksburg, Richmond, Stuarts Draft, Staunton, Lynchburg, Fluvanna, and represented the gamut of denominations from our own city. What we had seen a month earlier as a quick spark from the Lord became a blaze of His glorious appearing. Many hearts were changed forever.

The notes of gratitude have been overwhelming. The letters of healed hearts and deepened prayer lives have watered our souls. One pastor took the teaching on hearing God straight to his congregation; one of his flock, who could not attend the retreat, called me the next day and said her life was changed because of what the pastor had received at the retreat. Another couple wrote that they had been hungry to grow in their prayer lives yet didn’t know the next steps to take; now they were on their way, they wrote. A single woman said she had never experienced such unity in the Spirit of God and that she felt deep encouragement in her walk as a Christian. Other people, whom we had only met that day, said they were overcome with the love they experienced. Hope was poured out in our home and our community and beyond that weekend. And we know we have only just begun; He is on a mission! Already, the Lord has my heart dreaming of the next retreat. The eager worship team, some of whom didn’t want to leave and so slept on the basement floor or in the backyard under the stars, are hungry to lead true worshipers into the Holy of Holies again. The hidden prayer groups are ready to undergird the next worship, prayer and teaching sessions with that great, invisible yet firm foundation of intercession. Many thirst for the next opportunity to pray with freedom, singing freely where the Spirit of the Lord is … casting off the burdens of the world and of sin, laying aside the traditions of man, and approaching the throne of grace with boldness, beholding the One in whose presence we are truly set free.

So we await the next assignment, Father. We are at Your service! Come, Lord Jesus! Come, Holy Spirit! Awaken the sleepers! Raise the dead! Heal the lame! Open the eyes of the blind! Open the deaf ears! Bring beauty from ashes. Pour out the anointing of joy and gladness. Let singing be heard in the valleys and along the mountain-tops; let the sound of praises and exaltations run swiftly through the piedmont region of this spot of the earth. Establish Your presence here; build up Your bride. Awaken her! Let her respond to the love of her Beloved! Our God reigns! There is no one like You! Let a new song arise from Charlottesville, Va. Let the song of hope and joy ring forth in the land, and let the peoples praise You, let all the peoples praise You. For You are worthy. You are holy. You are loving. And You are true.

Amen.

Joan Hutter

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