ASHLAND — Almost 200 years ago, the Northwest’s Christian roots were established as a response to what some historians term a “Macedonian Call of the West.” In answer to a trek that several Nez Perce and Flathead Indians made to St. Louis, Mo., in search of the “Book of Heaven,” Jason Lee and other missionaries brought the message of the Bible to what eventually became the Oregon Country.
That portion of the region’s history will be re-enacted — and also will inspire efforts to involve modern-day Native tribal representatives — as a major regional prayer gathering for revival in the Pacific North-west takes place atop Mount Ashland in Southern Oregon next month. The second Prayer Mountain Northwest will be held Friday evening through 5 p.m. Saturday Aug. 13 and 14.
“Our expectation is that God is going to answer those who come together to pray,” said Denny Stahl, pastor of Calvary Chapel in Grants Pass and one of the event organizers.
Joining Stahl in the planning group is Dennis Dickson of Grants Pass; both were pastoring churches in Bend when Dickson organized the first Prayer Mountain Northwest in 2004. That event drew about 800 participants to Mount Bachelor in Central Oregon.
Dickson and Stahl agree that a larger and spiritually significant gathering could well be in the works for this second event.
“The aim is to petition heaven to get involved in the things of earth, with a specific focus on the Northwest,” said Dickson.
The organizers note Mount Ashland’s easy accessibility off Interstate 5 and say participants could come from as far away as Seattle, or San Francisco and Sacramento, Calif. Dickson said the event will have no prominent names speaking or leading the event, but will be a humble declaration of the region’s need for revival.
“There will be one personality, and it will be Jesus,” he said.
Stahl said one reason the event could be impacting spiritually is that it will deliberately seek to involve representatives of Native tribes. The goal is to extend love and reconciliation to the region’s indigenous peoples, humbly acknowledging wrongs committed over the years to the tribes as increased non-Native settlement took place.
That kind of reconciliation could truly open the door for a move of the Holy Spirit in the Northwest, Stahl said. “We believe there is only one way that God can bring forth fruit, is that the branches are connected to the roots,” he said.
The event is endorsed by the Salem-based Oregon Prayer Network headed by Madeleine Spalding, and by ROAR (Reviving Oregon’s Amazing Roots), a ministry headed by Aaron Auer and John Sutton (see related story on Page 1) that seeks to call fresh attention to the region’s Christian heritage. Auer and Sutton will be among those who stage a re-enactment of the “Macedonian Call of the West” Friday to help open the prayer event.
For the 24 hours running from Friday evening through Saturday, prayer and praise will be offered in shifts that will allow participants to pray both corporately and privately.
A promotional web site, prayermountainnw.org, has been set up. A promotional DVD also will soon be available. For more information, phone Calvary Chapel of Grants Pass, 541-476-6827.
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