But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am sure that He is able to guard until
that Day what has been entrusted to me. (II Timothy 1:12)
After forty-three years of pastoral ministry, the Lord called me to a new direction in ministry. It happened in August of 1993, while preaching a camp meeting in West Virginia. I was awakened from a sound sleep at 2:00 one morning in my hotel room and commanded of the Lord to take the message of revival to wherever He would open doors. Despite my joy in the pastorates, and my delight in my assignment at that time as the pastor of the First Church of the Nazarene in Bozeman, Montana, I finished the camp meeting and went home to resign, knowing that I was being obedient to God’s call. My last day as pastor was the final Sunday of 1993, and I began my revival work in January of 1994.
These fifteen years have been filled with great joy as I have held many Schools of Prayer, emphasizing the need of Spirit-anointed praying, conducted many revival meetings, spelling out God’s terms for bringing His people back to New Testament life and power for worship, witnessing and winning people to Jesus Christ. Both in the Schools of Prayer and in the revival meetings I have sought to be faithful to sound the call to prevailing prayer and to emphasize the need for believers to cry out to God for the Spirit’s sanctifying fullness in order to walk in holiness and in His anointing for prayer, worship and winning the lost to Jesus.
In August of 1998, the Lord called me to give attention to organizing and developing THE BIG SKY HOUSE OF PRAYER “in or near Bozeman, Montana.” Immediately I realized how fierce and relentless Satan’s opposition to prayer was to be. I’ve learned that Satan hates and dreads prayer more than any other action of the people of God. This is because prayer is the one weapon God calls His people to use against the kingdom of darkness for which the enemy has no defense, except to try and prevent it.
The beginning of the Big Sky House of Ministry was slow and small. I am grateful to Kyle and Vanessa McMurray for their investments of time and money to begin by renting a theater in Three Forks, Montana. Vanessa, having been trained in contemplative prayer by the leaders of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, began teaching an approach to prayer that included a background of worshipful music, songs and reading from the Scriptures. As the months passed, the McMurrays were led to invest in a small property in Belgrade, Montana. Gale and Betty Fremont, who were vitally interested in the vision from the beginning, helped to put the small property in a condition for worship and prayer. Beth Johnson contributed a grand piano, and others have come to join us in holding forth in two-hour sessions several nights a week plus one session on Friday morning and another on Friday afternoon.
The latest development concerning the Big Sky House of Prayer Ministry is the encouraging news that there is a possibility of a gift of eight acres of land in a wonderful location near Bozeman, Montana, where we hope to build a facility large enough to accommodate people from all Christian communities for intercessory prayer for revival throughout Southwest Montana, in all of the nation and in the world. We plan to develop A GARDEN OF PRAYER on the outside with a number of prayer stations where people may come and pray as they wish during the clement weather seasons. Inside the building, we envision a large auditorium where we can accommodate several hundred people coming together for “one accord” spontaneous praying, with music and song and Scriptures forming a background. There will be classrooms for teaching Militant Intercessory Prayer. There will be a Healing Room for anointing the sick and laying on of hands for their miraculous deliverance. We also plan to add prayer rooms for those who, after praying in “one accord” with others, may wish to slip away and pray in a different kind of setting — perhaps forming circles of prayer or even praying alone as they are led by the Spirit.
We hope to learn soon whether or not the gift of land will become a reality. And then of course, there will be the need for faith to raise a few million dollars needed to construct the kind of building needed to serve this vision.
As we close the year 2009, we report the fewest number of events in the last fifteen years, such as Schools of Prayer and Revival meetings. And yet on every occasion — in the Laurel, Delaware revival with the Wesleyans, on the Rocky Mountain District with the Preachers’ Revival services, in the Muncie, Indiana School of Prayer and in revival services at the Christian Family Tabernacle near Ogdensburg, NY — there is much evidence that God heard the prayers of many of you and poured out His Holy Spirit in great anointing power. To Him be glory and praise and honor!
Looking forward to the new year of 2010, my dear wife Shirley and I seek your prayers for God’s continued anointing and blessings on all the events to come and on all the various ministries we are engaged in.
Prayer Requests for 2010
¨ Finishing and polishing the book, ESTELLE. Please pray for the Spirit’s anointing on this. Shirley and I left for Dothan, Alabama Dec. 1, and plan to return to Bozeman around the middle of March. During these ten weeks I hope to make great progress toward finishing the book.
¨ Preaching and Teaching Events. Join us in asking the Lord to open the doors where He would have us go to conduct Schools of Prayer and Revival services.
¨ The Big Sky House of Prayer. Pray that the land might be given soon, and for the needed funds for building.
¨ A Daily Five-minute Radio Broadcast, which we hope to title “A Call to Prayer.” Pray with us for a slot on Christian radio stations for airing an urgent biblical admonition to believers to arm for spiritual warfare.
¨ Adequate Finances for all of Christian Renewal Ministries. We ask that each of you pray over the amount the Lord would have you contribute throughout the coming new year. Seeing what the Lord has done over the last fifteen years, I do not apologize for asking you to join me in looking to the Lord to know what to freely invest in this ministry. Please pray about the enclosed card and fill it out according to the Lord’s leading. Please list your personal prayer requests on the back of the card. I give these requests special attention by writing them into my Prayer Journal and allow the Spirit to lead me in praying over them.
I am praising the Lord for my new bride, Shirley. I know that she is a gift from the Lord for spiritual companionship, a tremendous partner in ministry and a most helpful travel mate. I wish to acknowledge the efficient services of my executive assistant and daughter, Pris Larsen. Finally, I am grateful to the Lord for the wise counsel and faithful support of our Christian Renewal Board of Directors: Dave & Marilyn Bos; Paula Butterfield; Greg & Rena Donaldson; Gail & Betty Fremont; Duncan & Susan Hill (Susan is a most efficient Board Secretary); Kyle & Vanessa McMurray; and Ben & Ruth Ann Smith.
All of us at Christian Renewal Ministries wish for all of you A Most Christ-centered Holiday Season and a fresh daily anointing of the Holy Spirit for every day of the New Year! Thank you for your prayers and generous support of this ministry!
A Report on My Recent Prayer Tour of Israel
It was a rewarding experience to join Joel Rosenberg and 300 fellow evangelicals on a two-week prayer tour of the nation of Israel on Nov. 5-17. After receiving the invitation from Joel, and then praying about it, I knew the Lord was leading me to go. I told the Lord what I felt was an amount I could invest in the trip, and then what I would need to meet the balance of the costs. Within a matter of days, the Lord used several praying men and women to meet every dollar needed.
It was a joy to meet Joel and hear him teach for several hours during the two weeks. Having read his books, EPICENTER, THE EZEKIEL OPTION, THE LAST DAYS and DEAD HEAT, I was convinced the Lord had raised Joel up to use him for challenging believers’ pre-millennial confusion in eschatology (Biblical events of the last days). I found Joel warm and receptive to my thoughts concerning the desperate need for genuine revival among Western evangelicals. I found him to be an anointed prayer warrior, who led us in a most exciting two-day Prayer Summit in Jerusalem for a glorious climax of our tour.
Many of you were praying for me during this tour, and I was conscious of a continual need for an anointing to share my burden for believers to be sanctified holy and filled with the Holy Spirit and fire. It so happened that many of those on tour with us were present when I presented Joel with my book, THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER, and heard me emphasize my conviction that one of the greatest needs in the North American church is a new understanding and a fresh encounter with the Holy Spirit. I was surprised to be sought out by a good number of the 300 fellow tourists to know more about how to be filled with the Spirit.
The highlight of my two weeks with the tour was experiences of praying with many of the 300 to be sanctified holy and filled with the Holy Spirit. On the last day in Jerusalem, just hours before catching my El Al flight from Tel Aviv to New York, I prayed with Katie, a 19-year-old university student from Rockford, Illinois. She came out of our prayer meeting and was running to catch up with some of us who were catching our bus for the hotel. She asked if “Jim Tharp might pray with her to be filled with the Spirit.” I readily went aside with her onto the sidewalk and questioned her about her relationship with God — did she know Jesus as Savior? Was she truly sincere and ready to surrender all to the Lord for His will for her life? When I was convinced that she was a candidate for the baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire, I quoted Luke 11:13, and we both began praying. She soon drowned out my praying with her own hungry pleading with God for the fullness of the Spirit. As I slowed in my praying, she began praising God for a great experience of the Holy Spirit and fire. Soon she stopped praying, began jumping up and down, saying, “It’s done! I’m filled! The fire is burning!” So I joined her in dancing a Hallelujah jig right there on the streets of downtown Jerusalem before a hundred Arabs and Jews, along with a few other evangelicals who were rejoicing with us that Katie would leave Jerusalem filled with the Holy Spirit and power!
Thanks to all of you who prayed for me on this tour. And how grateful I am to you who contributed to the costs of this great event in my life. I return to my ministry feeling that I myself have a fresh filling of the Spirit. Glory be to God!