The Old Church that Wouldn’t Sell – by Jarod Thomas

I sat alone in a gathering of pastors as the topic of our evening meeting turned to the subject of prayer.

This was not an uncommon occurrence, but this time something touched me. One of my colleagues began to share a story of how he gathered his elders early in the morning once a week to intercede for a soul in need. Usually the situation was desperate. As a result of their pleading, God had been intervening in a miraculous way.

As I listened to his testimony, I sensed God calling me to take action.

Our congregation had recently purchased a new building, but this building was not yet paid for. Our former church sat on a postage-stamp parcel on a busy street adjacent to the city firehouse. While the quaint white church was a landmark in town, the cramped facilities, lack of parking, and occasional wailing fire truck were more than an inconvenience.

However our spacious new church had a dated interior, sat on two acres, had an accommodating parking lot, and included the parsonage next door. Originally listed for $785,000 just three years prior, we purchased the facility for $185,000 — a discount of $600,000!

Our first Sabbath was Mother’s Day weekend. By September, we realized we had a problem when our old church building still hadn’t sold. Utilities and maintenance costs on two churches, combined with mortgage payments to the Lake Union, were beginning to challenge our church budget. With winter looming, we knew that something had to give, and soon.

When I heard the emphasis on sacrificial, united prayer, I sent letters to the entire congregation inviting them to do something crazy. I asked our membership to join me twice each week — at 5:30 in the morning — and pray for about an hour. We followed the united prayer model that we’d been using for the Ten Days of Prayer emphasis that we had participated in the past two years.

At first 15 people attended. Then it dwindled to 10. When the snow started to fly, we settled on five. But we persisted. And shortly after the dawn of the New Year, our old church sold — for the exact price that we purchased the new building: $185,000.

I’ll never forget having our last business meeting in that old, unheated building. The small crowd gathered in their heavy coats, sang a song, and thanked God for what He had done to sell the old church.

But that was not the end of the story. We have continued to pray, and since we have seen souls baptized that had formerly struggled to make a decision. And in the congregation’s sister church, a small group of men began gathering to pray for our ministry in the community. That little country church is now seeing the largest attendance to a prophecy seminar that it has seen in many years.

The past few years have taught me many things about united prayer. Numbers aren’t everything, but consistency is. And when God’s people set aside time to pray — especially when it accompanies a personal sacrifice — God’s people have His attention, and He moves on His own behalf to glorify Himself.

Jarod Thomas has been serving as a pastor in Michigan but is currently in the process of moving to Silver Spring Maryland, to work as communications manager for the General Conference Ministerial Association.

By the way, if you have a powerful answered prayer testimony that you want us to consider for publication with United in Prayer, please  e-mail us at: UnitedinPrayer@ministerialassociation.org (Submissions must be 400 words or less.)  

Note: To view this week’s world church prayer requests, click here!

To download & print this blog, practical application, & prayer requests, click here!

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  • Wojtek Janiuk

    Amen and Amen

  • N B

    Amen

  • Catecha Francis

    Amen! Thanks for your testimony. I wish my church family could read your article. It proves the importance of unified prayer as a church family. Please prayer for us as we pursue the purchasing of a piece of land to build a church.
    We are facing issues with the city who informed us that there are no lands slatted for church building. However, we were notified of a plot that was. After spending funds to run test of the soil, which was believed to be contaminated, came back negative, the seller no longer wants to sell to us, because it was being sold for less than its worth.
    Legal help is being sort. Please pray that whatever the outcome, God would provide us with a place of worship where we could worship unmolested and where souls could be invited to worship.
    Thanks for your prayers.

    • Bethune Davis

      Likewise my sister. I wish every member of my church could see this. Yesterday was prayer and fasting, and most of the members went home. But thanks be to God those who stayed back testified that they were blessed.

      Please pray that our entire church community will catch the vision that United Prayer is what we need in this end time.

      • Gloria Mosha-Onchiri

        Praying.

    • PNB

      Praying for the right resolution to this situation. – Peter Nigel

    • Viveen McLeary

      Prayed for your request Sis Francis. We serve a God of the impossible and what seems impossible to us is possible with Him.

    • Gloria Mosha-Onchiri

      Amen praying.

    • tsholofelo

      Will pray with you. God surely has a way.

    • SHEILA M SEALETSA

      My the good Lord find a plan to resolve this issue. Your people Lord need a place of worship to commune with you. Amen

  • Beverley Joseph

    Thank you for sharing your testimony. I am going through some very challenging family situations and need to be reminded about the power of prayer.

    • PNB

      MY God give you grace , resources, courage and patience to meet the challenges- Peter Nigel

    • tsholofelo

      May the all powerful father in Heaven hear your plea and remind you of His power day and night.

  • Desiree

    Thank you for sharing your testimony,I do believe in prayer and this has even encouraged my heart to persist and if possible, invite others to join me or to join a prayer group. Have a blessed week.

  • Annette Alleyne

    Thanks for confirming that our Heavenly Father answers prayer. Please pray for me that I may have a solution to the present challenge facing me and that God will provide a job.

    • PNB

      I have prayed for you. I pray that the right God ordained solution will be provided for the present challenge and suitable employment be procured. Blessings . – Peter Nigel

    • tsholofelo

      Praying

  • Viveen McLeary

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful story of answered prayer for your church. I wish the members of the church I attend would come together and pray earnestly and plead with God for our church building that is still not completed so things will be completed very soon. Please pray with us that God will intervene and the work be completed soon.

    • tsholofelo

      Will join you sister

  • Gloria Mosha-Onchiri

    Amen!We are also looking to buy a church of our own as we have been worshiping in a rented community hall for a long time.We have monthly prayer and fasting which involves 24 hrs prayer chain for the church building. We are believing God for a miracle please pray for us to get our own church.
    Gloria From West Bletchley community church in Milton Keynes United Kingdom.

    • PNB

      Joining with you in prayer that West Bletchley will be able to have a church building of its own. Jehovah-jireh . Peter Nigel

    • tsholofelo

      Have joined you my sister

  • Lilz_Aya

    Amen! Thank you for this encouraging testimony. God bless.

  • tsholofelo

    Thank you very much for this testimony. It has encouraged me a lot since we also are in a situation that needs such a prayer. We have been praying for a church plot since 2006 and it has been 10 years now. We meet on Sunday mornings just as you stated we started many in number but now sometimes only three people meet. I thank God for using your testimony to rekindle the ray of hope which was now beginning to dwindle in most of us. Am going to share this with our church members as a way of motivation and encouragement. And please brothers and sisters, pray with us. We need our own place of worship. All this time we have been worshiping in a church building belonging to another church which worships on Sunday. And I believe it’s time we have our own.

  • Telisha

    Power in prayer! The power of prayer!

  • Naomi Esau

    There’s so much one could say in response to this heartwarming article!! Here are a few:
    1. Prayer unlocks the treasure-house of heaven.
    2. ” The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
    3. ” Where two or more are gathered in my name I will be in their midst.”
    4. When I first joined this church ⛪ we had prayer meetings EVERY Wednesday evening- rain or hail. It was considered that prayer meetings indicated the strength of the church. Meaning the numbers that attended..
    5. Personally, when it comes to requesting money God gives us the EXACT amount we need..to the cent.!! He’s done that to me on at least 4 occasions..
    We MUST always remember to say” Thy will be done.” Some times God answers us in watsY far exceeding what we ask for..
    6. The most convincing point in our beliefs is our understanding of prophecy. Especially Daniel and Revelation..those relating to the end times. Prior to baptism EVERYONE was thoroughly grounded in these.
    7. These prophecies PROVE beyond a shadow of a doubt that JEHOVAH is the ONE and ONLY true God!!
    8. When we approach God in prayer we must have clean hands and heart..we need to make confession of ALL known sin & be in good standing with all..having made amends with those we may have wronged..or those who have wronged us.
    In the LORD’S PRAYER we state ” forgive us even as we forgive others.”
    9. The church’s greatest need for these times is to be totally committed..personally..to GOD and be well versed in ALL the Scriptures.. We are to live by every word that comes from the MOUTH of GOD – NOTHING LESS and NOTHING MORE..
    MAY GOD RICHLY BLESS YOU..

  • Dwight hanawalt

    When i was a kid growing up, we had prayer bands at our church on Sabbath afternoon. Wish we would start that again.
    I was having some discouragement when i turned 40. I knew walking would help me. I was walking at Mckee Foods recreation Center when a little Robin was sitting on the track. I love birds. He didn’t fly away. I picked it up thinking it was injured. Took it to their office. A guy called his wife saying she knew about taking care of animals. A girl was holding the bird when it suddenly flew and hit the wall. She picked it up and took it outside and it flew from her hands. Sometimes i wonder if God put that bird on the track to lift me up. I forgot about my troubles.

  • Colleen Chandler

    The South Oropouche church in Trinidad join you in prayer .may God Bless us all