I had the blessing of waking up on Prayer Mountain in Korea this morning.[i]The young Adults of the Southern Conference of the Methodist Church and the Young Adults of the Baltimore Washington Conference have been on a joint prayer retreat since Tuesday and we are concluding our time here on Prayer Mountain. We are inside this morning because of the rain but the experience of a prayer retreat in the midst of current world history is slightly overwhelming. The global recession is devastating to many countries, poverty and illiteracy are easily overlooked as we focus on our own experience of working to live rather than living to work. Girls in many nations are being kidnapped and forced into prostitution yet the church has been silent. Our building projects, fellowship dinners and multiple committee meetings seem to be preventing the church from engaging the serious issues of ministry and mission that are not just located in our local communities but should be the common enemy of all Christians. The opportunity to turn off the busyness of our everyday lives and concentrate for 24 + hours on the needs of others, to listen to the Voice of God through the Scriptures and in my spirit has a recalibrating effect on my life and my commitment to personal prayer, study, simplicity and silence in connecting with God daily.
One of the spiritual cultural differences that I have experienced here in Korea is getting up for “early morning prayer.” It is no longer a phenomenon but a daily part of my life after 7 days. The lesson is that we can take daily time for set aside prayer by reordering our priorities. There have been up to 1000 people at the 5:00am worship and many stayed for prayer afterwards. One observation is that it appeared that more than half of the congregation walked to church and left to catch public transportation to work. There were also prayer services all week at various times. Sansung Church is one of the two churches that I will be preaching at on Sunday. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers.
It has stopped raining and the sun is beginning to shine. There are also several other people waiting to use the computer.
[i] Prayer Mountain is a Christian retreat in South Korea, operated by the Yoido Full Gospel Church, Korea’s largest church. It is located in Jori-myeon, Paju, in northern Gyeonggi province near the Demilitarized Zone. It has facilities for 10,000 people.