What a name for a men’s gathering!! One of the most exciting events of the year is the opportunity to attend the Men’s Prayer Advance in Goshen, VA. As stated on the Christ Life Ministry website, “The Men’s Prayer Advance was started over 20 years ago by a burden to see God do a fresh work in hearts. The emphasis of the Prayer Advance is hot, revival preaching and heart-searching prayer times.” The fulfillment of this goal is has left a real impact upon my life. Every year we are reminded that this is an advance, not a retreat!
Just picture 600 or more men singing with all their hearts, hands raised in praise, shouts of joy ringing out as we sing, “In Christ Alone,” or “Come, Thou Fount,” or “And Can It Be,” or “It Is Well With My Soul,” or “Victory in Jesus”!! Seriously, I believe it is a foretaste of Heaven. Add in the Friday night men’s choir singing a song such as, “I’m Amazed that You Love Me” or one of the men singing “I Am So Blessed.” That’s shoutin’ ground!!! What preparation the music makes for the preaching of God’s Word that penetrates the heart and convicts us in such a way that we are moved to decisions for Christ! The altar is full with men being transparent with the Lord and each other.
Another highlight of the Advance is the many, many opportunities to pray! If the meetings are held in the large cafeteria, we are seated in folding chairs. That’s important. During the service after a time of singing, we may be asked to get into a circle and go to prayer. The chairs are moved, men go their knees, and there is a unified chorus of intercession that takes place that I believe is an illustration of the praise around the Throne of God! At any given time, we may have this opportunity as the leader of service calls us to prayer. After the service, we are then able to go back to our bunkhouses, and there, we have another prayer meeting. My, the honesty, the transparency, the crying out of broken hearts for lost souls and wayward children, the tears, the joy, the praise! It is a bit of Heaven on earth!
The Advance begins Thursday afternoon and concludes Saturday at noon. All we do during those days is sing, listen to Spirit-empowered preaching and enjoy excellent meals around a table of fellowship. When we pack up to leave and head on down the highway, we can always say, “I have seen the Lord!”
I must admit, I long for this to be the norm at Boones Creek Bible Church. Why are we so timid when it comes to praising our God? Why are we so shy about One-to-One Bible reading with another individual in the congregation? Why are we so slow to rise out of our seat when we are called to come to the front and pray for the salvation of lost souls? And when we are gathered like that, why are we so quiet in prayer? Why are we so timid about sharing a personal testimony of the goodness of God? Why do we have to drive a distance to be in a prayer meeting, a singing gathering, a preaching service that you know God has touched down and is doing a mighty work in the hearts of His people?
Would you honestly consider the questions above in light of the following passages today: Psalm 55:16-17; 95:1-3; 150:1-6; Acts 4:23-31; 12:5; Revelation 5:11-13. If you are not a part of the Boones Creek Bible Church, reflect upon how you worship, pray, sing, testify, read, and listen in your local church, or for that matter, in the place you meet with the Lord in your home every day. Are you advancing or retreating?
Believers, we need revival! I will continue these thoughts tomorrow, but for now, will you join me in advancing and not retreating?
Reminder: Our goal for these 40 days of prayer and fasting is that God would so revive and change us that we would both pray and act as the people of God for the glory of God!