From high school students to retirees, church members to pastors, over 400 people from West Michigan and beyond gathered at Calvary Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Mich., to attend the Great Lakes Prayer Summit on November 7-8.
The day-and-a-half-long event, “Fanning the Flame: Praying Together for God’s Mission,” was hosted jointly by the Christian Reformed Home Missions Great Lakes Team and the Reformed Church of America’s Regional Synod of the Great Lakes.
Sarah Kluitenberg, who attends Madison at Ford, a Christian Reformed church plant, made the drive from nearby Grand Rapids to “learn more about prayer in my own life and how I can use that in community,” she said. She came with a group of friends including Noah Tullay of Sierra Leone, who currently attends Bethany CRC in Muskegon, Mich. He and his wife came, he said, because “we like praying together for our country, meeting new people, and worshiping.”
Keynote speakers included Tony Campbell, RCA Director of Missional Engagement and Global Mission, William Brownson, retired RCA pastor, and Dave Huizenga, lead pastor of Bridgewood Christian Reformed Church in Savage, Minn.
Small-group sessions covered an array of topics, including prioritizing daily morning prayer, prayer and the sovereignty of God, healing prayer, and praying in small groups.
The goal of the summit was to serve as a catalyst for organized prayer movements in individual churches, according to Jeff and Sarah Hoos, who helped coordinate the event. Last year the couple, who serve as prayer coordinators at Calvary CRC, participated in the first Fanning the Flame event in nearby Byron Center, Mich., and were so enthusiastic that they wanted to bring it to Holland this year. “We want to create space for people to encounter God,” said Jeff.
“When prayer becomes a duty-driven, burdensome responsibility, we’re already on the wrong track,” Sarah said. Instead, “Prayer is a wonderful way to be in God’s presence. It changes everything.”