As a campus, we couldn’t let this superlative go. It’s the second word of several powerful lines, and it drew us in.
“The greatest [emphasis mine] victories to the church of Christ or to the individual Christian are not those that are gained by talent or education, by wealth or the favor of men. They are those victories that are gained in the audience chamber with God, when earnest, agonizing faith lays hold upon the mighty arm of power.”*
It isn’t better preachers, teachers, administrators, or even donors that God needs to make our campus a lighthouse in Colorado; it is more earnest praying that will bring about the greatest success. These lines call us to the Campion Academy campus every Wednesday morning at the front of the church sanctuary for an hour of prayer together. Pastors, an elementary teacher, the academy principal, and elders bow together, bringing God’s promises back to Him and interceding for individual and campus needs. Laying hold of the mighty arm of power changes the ones on their knees and calls them back to making all their wants and wishes known. It’s galvanizing. Paul Bragaw, an elementary school teacher on campus, admits that the prayer time “inspires me to want to be in God’s presence more.”
The entire hour is spent in honest, open pleading with God for His Spirit and for His blessing and guidance. Often, tears are shed as promises are repeated and petitions pleaded for. A bit of tradition has emerged. In closing, we offer a song from our knees that praises or thanks God for who He is and what He has done.
One of the most unexpected answers came nearly two years ago when the church began the conversation about building a small addition to the current facility. The cost was calculated to be about $400,000. We took it to God in prayer and felt impressed not to ask for that amount but to ask for $2 million. Within the group is a short list of big requests—petitions for our campus enrollment, a number of baptisms, or financial needs—and these are numbers that are far beyond what is being done or is possible. We want to challenge God to do just that—the impossible. So we added the petition for $2 million, not understanding why or how.
A year after initiating that prayer request for $2 million, the church came together to discuss and finalize the conversation about what, exactly, we would need in an additional building space. All the considerations for space and ministry growth were outlined and then submitted to an architect to draw up preliminary plans and estimate cost. The report came back, and the cost was figured right at $2 million. Before we ever dreamed of the need, God had put the amount on our hearts to bring back to Him.
At many junctures of the planning and capital campaign, there have been opportunities for doubts. Will we really be able to raise this money while continuing the growth of the church and schools? But when the doubt is shared with God, He has always asked me the question: “Who came up with that number first?”
In the fall of 2018, Campion church will be breaking ground on an addition that will provide expanded opportunities to impact the campus and community with the hope and love of Jesus. Several of the big requests have been answered, but not all of them. We continue to claim God’s promises for several. But God has made it clear to this small circle that on their knees is where the greatest victories will be won.
When I walk out of the sanctuary on Wednesday morning and into my office to take on the ministry needs of the day, there is a cogent sense that the weightiest and most effective work of the day has already been done. It wasn’t easy, but it was sweet, and it has instilled in me the confidence that we have a God who still wants to give great victories to churches, schools, and individuals. Here in Campion, Colorado, we will pray on.
—Written by Micheal Goetz, DMin, lead pastor of the Campion Seventh-day Adventist Church, Loveland, Colorado, United States.
Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1958), 203