In October of 2002, Larry and Robyn Morris answered the call of God to establish a House of Prayer in their city, Wilmington Ohio. During Robyn’s regular, morning, prayer time she heard the Lord say, “I want you to establish a House of Prayer in Wilmington.” Prayer was not an unfamiliar thing to Robyn and Larry; they had been gathering to pray with friends for several years. But what would a House of Prayer look like? Within days of hearing the Lord’s instruction to establish a House of Prayer, Robyn received a gift subscription to a Christian magazine, on the front cover were the words, “God is Raising up Houses of Prayer All Over The World!”
Thus the journey began…..A small storefront building was found next to Joe’s Java (The coffee House portion of Sugartree Ministry). The Morris’ along with some friends began to meet in the space while the renovations began – however the Lord had other plans – Sugartree was given the opportunity to move to a larger facility and when this happened, the little House of Prayer moved with them.
Because the new building was being updated, the room that the HOP met in had no heating and air-conditioning; so another move took place…and they all decided to move back to Larry & Robyn’s home. The gatherings began to grow and take on different “looks” as the Holy Spirit moved among them. Finally in January of 2005, the Lord instructed them to become better equipped and take the HOP into the city. The group now consisting of between 12-15 musicians, singers, and pray-ers began attending training workshops at the Cincinnati House of Prayer (C-HOP), while still gathering in their home. In May of 2005 the group accepted an invitation from C-HOP to lead the Night-Watch on the 2nd Friday of every month. After three years of preparation the Wilmington House of Prayer (WHOP) finally saw the realization of their beginning endeavors. In December of 2005 WHOP was invited to convert the game room at Joe’s Java in the Sugartree Ministry Building into a Main Prayer Room for intercessory worship gatherings and equipping times. This continued until late 2008 when again, another move was on the horizon.
In October of 2008, the city of Wilmington had two things of totally different proportions happening. DHL, an international freight company announced it was closing its doors in Wilmington, bringing with that closing 8,000 job losses. This brought a need for Sugartree to expand its dining and soup kitchen areas to make room for those in need from the DHL fallout. At that time the WHOP made a decision to move into a local church building to give Sugartree more room.
But at the same time God was on the move…an evangelistic outreach, Impact World Tour, had been being planned by 11 local churches and the WHOP. The outreach took place in the Wilmington High School and the city saw 384 responses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ! During the outreach a prayer room was set up at one of the churches to cover the outreach in 24 hours of prayer, with each of the 11 churches and the WHOP taking 2 hour shifts. The outreach and the prayer room were such a success that the group wanted to keep the momentum going and a monthly meeting of community and church leaders was planned for December.
At this meeting it was decided to continue to meet monthly for a “Strategic Leader’s Luncheon” and to plan for other community wide events as well as to begin a monthly “Mobile Prayer Room.” Each month the WHOP went into one of the 11 churches and converted a room into a prayer room where they would cover their city in prayer for 12 hours.
The 12 hours were split into 2 hour shifts with each shift overlapping an hour with another church on their 2 hour shift (ex: church “A” prays from 6am-8am; church “B” prays from 7am-9am, etc.). Relationships began to be built and the unity among the churches increased.
During this time a several things began to transpire –
- The pastors of the 11 churches met together weekly to pray and decided to give this unified group of churches a name, “Wilmington Community Churches”
- The WHOP began to increase its weekly prayer times
- The first annual 12 Hours of Worship and Prayer on the Courthouse lawn observing the National Day of Prayer was born
- An outreach ministry to the city, through the newly formed Wilmington Community Churches, called “Be The Church Day”, was also born
- On May 20th, 2009 during one of WHOP’s prayer meetings the Lord put upon their hearts that He would suddenly and spontaneously take the city of Wilmington to 24/7 prayer.
In July of “09” the Wilmington Community Churches and the WHOP were given an opportunity to participate in a state-wide prayer event taking a week of 24/7 prayer. Wilmington’s week of 24/7 prayer was scheduled to begin on August 30th. At the same time, the Lord put upon the hearts of some of WHOP’s leaders, to take His Presence to Downtown Wilmington because there were a people looking for Him who couldn’t find Him where they were at. These same leaders were meeting for lunch and noticed a vacant storefront building across the street from where they were eating. The building was unlocked and as they looked around it seemed the Lord was saying that this is where He wanted the group to hold their week of 24/7.
At the next monthly Strategic Leader’s Luncheon a unanimous decision was made to rent the storefront site for one month and hold the week of 24/7 prayer there. While preparing for the 24/7 prayer, an anonymous donor paid the dues for WHOP to have a one year membership to the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. And on August 30th the Chamber of Commerce, the WHOP leadership team, and the 11 churches gathered for the ribbon cutting of the new Community Prayer Room and to start their week of 24/7 prayer.
On that day, August 30, 2009, BURN 24/7 “A Community Prayer Room” was born; the Lord fulfilled His word that He would suddenly and spontaneously take the city of Wilmington to 24/7 prayer and it has continued to this day!