A Prayer Meeting on Mars Hill
A word of encouragement for Christian homeschooling parents.
Some of what you are about to read may challenge your theology. That's O.K. God is bigger than your theology, and He is bigger than my theology. Please read this to the end. This is a word of encouragement for Christian home schooling parents.
This is a story about a story. The story begins in 1986 when I was a part of a Youth With a Mission outreach in Salt Lake City, Utah. The teacher at the outreach was Paul Hawkins from the YWAM base in Kona, Hawaii. In 1987 Denise and I were married. In 1990 Denise and I visited friends at the Great Commission School in Bandon, Oregon. While we were there, we found, sitting on a bookshelf, a third generation video of Paul Hawkins teaching much of the same material he did during the Salt Lake City outreach in 1986. We got permission to copy the tape so we could add it to our library.
Fast forward to 2001. Denise and I are now the home schooling parents of 5 children ranging in age from 2 to 10. I decided to show the Paul Hawkins video to our two oldest daughters. We gathered the family together and turned on the video. About 10 minutes into the video, Paul Hawkins began to tell a story.
Paul's story took place in 1981. The prior summer he had traveled across the United States and Canada with a YWAM outreach called King's Kids. In 1981 the King's Kids outreach was to travel throughout Europe. The director of the King's Kids asked Paul if he was going with them that summer.
"No," was his answer. "I don't have any guidance, time or money."
The King's Kids' choreographer told Paul that she had a dream in which she saw Paul with the King's Kids in Spain.
"That's interesting," said Paul. "But I don't have the guidance, the time or the money."
The King's Kids left for Europe without Paul. Because Paul's oldest son was part of the King's Kids outreach, Paul was one of the parents that had committed to pray for the King's Kids three mornings a week. One Friday morning Paul woke up at ten to six. He was tired and decided to skip the 6:00 prayer meeting for the King's Kids that morning. Then he was reminded of the commitment that he had made. In 10 minutes he was in the dining hall with two women who were there for the prayer meeting.
"Only three of us," thought Paul. "This isn't going to be very eventful."
They began to pray for the King's Kids, who were in Spain, and for the YWAM mercy ship ministry in Athens, Greece. Then God spoke to Paul.
"Paul, I want you to go. I want you to go."
"This is kinda sudden, isn't it? But I trust you. If this is really you, will you tell that woman over there?"
Right away, that woman spoke out, "Paul, you're supposed to go!"
"I know. I just asked God to confirm it through you so I'd know for sure. Can we ask God for one more confirmation, because this is kinda sudden."
They did, and a kitchen worker began to read out loud a chapter of Ezekiel that God has used many times to show Paul that he was about to go somewhere.
All day that Friday Paul prayed for God to show him details about this trip. When was he supposed to leave? Where was the money for the trip coming from? Paul knew he would be leaving soon, because of the choreographer's dream in which he was seen in Spain with the King's Kids. The King's Kids were only going to be in Spain for one week.
On Saturday he continued to pray. God told him to pack Saturday night. He still didn't know when he was leaving or how he was going to pay for the trip. On Sunday Paul spoke with the leadership at the Kona YWAM base. He asked them to pray for confirmation that Paul was going to Spain, and to pray about the money for the trip.
"How much will it cost?" they asked.
"I'm not sure, but I think I need about $1500."
That night they had a public meeting. At the end of the meeting, one of the leaders addressed the people.
"Paul has come to us with guidance that he is to join the kids in Spain. We believe it is right. He needs $1500. If God is telling you to help Paul with the finances for this trip, we will close the meeting by having Paul stand and hold out his hand."
When Paul left the meeting, in his hand was $1500 and a round trip ticket to Los Angeles.
At 10:30 that night God told Paul to make reservations to fly to Los Angeles at 6:00 the next morning. He needed a ride to the airport, so he asked the man who had given him the ticket to Los Angeles. Paul figured that there might be a problem getting the ticket re-written. It might help to have with him the person to whom the ticket had been issued.
When they got to the airport, the airline wouldn't re-write the ticket. Paul tried to put the airfare on his Visa card, but he didn't have enough left on his credit limit. There stood Paul at the ticket counter wondering what he was supposed to do.
The man who had brought Paul to the airport pulled $400 from his wallet and paid for a new ticket. "That's alright. When you turn in the ticket for a refund, you can pay me back."
It is very unusual for YWAMers to have much money, let alone have $400 in their wallets.
Paul flew to Los Angeles and stayed with his parents. He was praying about when to fly on to London. God told him to go on Wednesday. He went to church with his parents on Tuesday night. There was a visiting minister who called Paul out from the congregation to pray for him. He prayed specifically about the trip that Paul was on. This minister had never seen Paul before. He didn't even know that Paul was involved in ministry. This was further confirmation to Paul that what he was doing was very important.
Paul flew to London, then to Spain. He stayed with the King's kids for a couple of days. On Saturday he went to meet with the YWAM mercy ship in Athens, Greece. He asked two of his friends, who were part of the ministry team on the ship, to pray with him about why he was there. God had told Paul to meet with the King's Kids in Spain, then go to Athens. God was doing all kinds of miracles to get him there, but Paul still didn't know why.
When they began to pray, God spoke to Paul.
"When you study the history of education, where do you always start?"
"With the Greeks."
"That's right. But the Greeks aren't the foundation of education. I am. Tomorrow morning go to Mars Hill, and in the shadow of the main altar of Greek antiquity, the Acropolis, tear it down in the spirit, because I am the foundation of education, not the Greeks."
They prayed about who was supposed to go. God gave them Acts 13:1--five prophets and teachers. So five of them got together in the morning and went to the Acropolis for a prayer meeting. While they were there, Paul says in his story, they turned to the east and the north and the west and the south and prayed for the release of Biblical Christian education around the world. Then they turned to the east and the north and the west and the south and prayed for the release of teachers into Christian education all over the world.
At this point in the video, God spoke to me very clearly. I turned to Denise and said, "I just had a thought."
Denise said, "I just had a thought too."
Both of us had the same thought. There is no doubt in my mind that it was God speaking the same thing to both of us at the same time so we would know that it came from Him.
That prayer meeting on Mars Hill in which five prophets and teachers prayed for the release of teachers into Christian education all over the world took place just before the Christian home schooling movement took off in the United States. If you are a Christian home schooler, you are part of the answer to that prayer.
Denise called the Home School Legal Defense Association to make sure we had our facts straight. They point to April of 1982, when Dr. James Dobson had Dr. Raymond Moore on his Focus on the Family radio program, as the time when the Christian home schooling movement began to grow rapidly. This was less than a year after the prayer meeting on Mars Hill.
While Paul was flying back to Kona, God spoke to him and told him that the two-hour prayer meeting on Mars Hill was the only reason He had sent Paul to Athens.
"Was it really that important?" Paul asked.
Yes, it was really that important. If you are a Christian home schooler, let me encourage you with this: in the summer of 1981 God sent a teacher with Youth With a Mission half way around the world to pray to release you to provide your children with a Christian education. What you are doing is that important to Him.