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Concerts of prayer

Friday and Saturday nights of Commissioning Weekend featured praise gatherings with plenty of music and prayer inside the spacious Great American Hall at Hershey Lodge.

Friday night’s event was billed as a “Concert of Prayer” and included the Eastern Territorial Songsters (ETS) and College for Officer Training Worship Group, along with Scripture read as a prayer.

Adam Avery, a young soloist, was featured with a children’s choir.

Colonel G. Lorraine Bamford, territorial secretary for women’s ministries, stressed the importance of the weekend, including four “Strikepoint” sessions scheduled the next day, and the commissioning of the Disciples of the Cross session on Sunday.

“What better way to start than with a concert of prayer?” she said.

The song “Lord, I Give You My Heart” featured Auxiliary Captain Danielle Bender as a soloist and Cadet Shareena Lee as a praise dancer.

At the end of the concert, several people came forward to pray that God would speak to them during the weekend.

Commissioner Barry C. Swanson, territorial commander, prayed, “As we let this music, as we let these words from this concert of prayer enter our minds and our hearts and our spirits, [we pray] that your Holy Spirit would take control here tonight.”

Saturday’s event was a “Celebration of Praise and Prayer” and included the New York Staff Band, ETS, and “Jehosaphat,” a Scripture–based dramatic monologue by Ian Evans.

There was also prayer for the four “Strikepoint” areas: Integrated Mission, Deeper Discipleship, Skilled Leadership, and Young Adult Empowerment.

Commissioner Jolene Hodder, guest speaker for the night, said she and Commissioner Kenneth Hodder, her husband, oversee 800 schools as leaders of the Kenya West Territory.

Many of the students are handicapped, but they still love to joyously celebrate the Lord. Hodder found that some of the blind students were able to prayer dance by feeling the music vibrations. She equated that instinct with listening to someone’s heartbeat, most importantly God’s.

“Do you tonight feel that heartbeat? You can have that same relationship with Jesus Christ,” she said. “That’s what God wants for you and me.”

As people streamed forward to pray at the altar, the classic hymn “Just As I Am” played in the background. Commissioner Swanson said they had uttered at least a million words from the stage.

“Now it’s time to listen,” he said.

As more people came forward to pray, Swanson said, “Do you realize what a beautiful sight this is to the Lord tonight?”

by Robert Mitchell

The Salvation Army & RightNow Media
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