When the Church Prays: What in the World Is the Summit’s “Boiler Room”?

This guest post comes from Sarah Short, one of our more passionate Summit members. (May her tribe increase!)

We left our house at 8:15 a.m., and I forgot my coffee. Want to know what it’s like to get five kids out the door on a Sunday morning at 8:15 when it’s 6 degrees outside? And, you’re Southerners?

It means you forget your coffee and let me just tell you: It ain’t “Easy Like Sunday Morning,” as Lionel Richie might have you believe.

We parked, walked our parka-clad children to their classes, waved to the under-appreciated parking attendants in snow masks, and headed toward the Boiler Room.

The Boiler Room, you ask? The first time I heard those three words, I imagined two things:

  1. The bottom level of some abandoned building where Freddy Krueger kept his dead bodies.
  2. The noisy, creepy, back-of-the-basement room in my 1980s elementary school where the custodian hung out with his mop and bucket.

For our church, the Boiler Room is our room of prayer — the place where a group of people comes together to pray during all of our services. It’s named after the prayer gatherings at the church of Charles Spurgeon, a famous 19th century preacher who believed that prayer was the spiritual power behind the effectiveness of his ministry.

This was our first week heading to serve in the Boiler Room. After a few months of asking each other where we might serve within our church, the only place we wanted to go was …

Not the Boiler Room.

I suppose we had preconceived notions/questions about it:

  • One hour of prayer? Just prayer? Really? Just prayer? I have never sat quiet and still one hour in my life.
  • Will there be donuts?
  • Will we fit in?
  • Do we want to fit in there?
  • What if it’s … weird?

My husband and I have been Christians most of our lives. We ask the same questions you do! We are as unwilling, prideful, skeptical, and downright lazy as they come when the word “serve” is before us.

Somehow [read: The Holy Spirit], we couldn’t escape a nagging nudge to begin serving and praying in the Boiler Room. I’m not from a persuasion where I believe God speaks to us audibly, but I do feel his nudges. As much as I try to escape them, they are often relentless.

Which translated to: You’re going to the Boiler Room.

So, a couple weeks ago, on the coldest day in Raleigh’s history, we walked down the walkway and into a room of prayer. We sat around a table with two men, joined later by another, and we prayed.

For an hour. We prayed. And it was incredible.

There we were, five of us, and every preconceived notion I had about praying, only praying, was shattered in that hour.

Among my other previously mentioned objections, I suppose I thought we would spend an hour praying for Pastor J.D. and his message delivery. I suppose I thought we would pray for our worship leaders, and our production team, and that things would go as they should. And, I suppose I thought we’d pray that the Holy Spirit would move during the service?

We did. We prayed for all of those things.

But only, only briefly.

Why? Because let’s be honest here: Does Pastor J.D. really need the significant portion of our prayers during the service to deliver a stellar message? Don’t we have a talented, capable worship team? When two or more are gathered, isn’t the Holy Spirit among us?

So what did we pray for? What was so magnificent in that hour of prayer?

We declared that God is powerful and that we believe that when we ask, he hears and delights in saying yes!

We made bold “asks,” knowing that God delights to answer them:

  • We prayed for the lost people coming through our church doors that morning. For their salvation. For their open hearts. For their lives to be changed in that service.
  • We prayed for revival among Muslims in Iran. (Talk about bold!)
  • We prayed for our church planters — for their hearts and that God would be near during times of loneliness. We prayed for their churches, for their people, for their cities.
  • We prayed for those among us with long-term, unanswered prayers. For boldness in their asking, for persistence, for faith to believe the promises of God.
  • We prayed for our missionaries around the world. For their protection, for their hearts, for the people they are serving. We prayed for their children.
  • We prayed for those who professed faith in Christ at our Christmas services at DPAC. How could we forget them? We held that service for them!
  • We thanked God for the blessings of the past year and we asked him for guidance as we enter a new year.

We sat in that room and got to hear other people’s hearts for The Summit Church, hear their fervent prayers for the global church, for our city, and for the local churches in Raleigh-Durham. We learned from them, and we joined with them.

We collectively proclaimed this truth: A praying church is a church that is near to God’s heart. 

If we want access to the very heartbeat of God, we need to be a people of prayer.

  • What if we packed out the Boiler Room every weekend, every service? What if there was standing room only because The Summit Church is a praying church that is near to God’s heart?
  • What if we live out and proclaim this promise: Ask, and it will be given to you.
  • What if, as we fill up the Boiler Room every weekend, we pray desperately, boldly, persistently, and trustingly?
  • What if there are donuts? (#notsorry)

Will you join us? Will you join us in proclaiming that we are a people of prayer?

This year. Come join us in the Boiler Room. During every service at The Summit Church.

Come pray with us.

Come and ask.

Come and see what God does.

Oh! men and brethren, what would this heart feel if I could but believe that there were some among you who would go home and pray for a revival of religion—men whose faith is large enough, and their love fiery enough to lead them from this moment to exercise unceasing intercessions that God would appear among us and do wondrous things here, as in the times of former generations.

–Charles Spurgeon

To join one of the Boiler Room teams praying during every Summit service, go to summitrdu.com/serve.