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Season of Lent & a Jericho March
Topic Started: Mar 21 2009, 12:53 PM (1,762 Views)
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Resident Rebbi

I had a very interesting conversation with a friend recently. He is a younger man and a fairly new worship leader; he had heard tales of what used to be called Jericho Marches, especially within the Pentecostal tradition. We compared notes and discovered that what we knew or had heard about those marches seemed to be pretty much the same, that they were often related to a sort of faith-building exercise that was linked to a musical, singing march around the outside of the congregation. Lots of hoopla and often linked to offerings. There were also penny marches where people were encouraged to bring their pocket change for some specific project or cause.

We discussed his interest for a while and there emerged what I thought was a God-given plan for his non-liturgical congregation. Since it was just before the first Sunday of Lent, what would happen if he suggested a plan to his pastor to being a little more biblical character to the march? What would happen if the congregation was encouraged to march around the space in total silence, like the Hebrew community so long ago? They were told to make this parade in silence, circling the city once each day for six days... here, let's just quote from Joshua 6:
Joshua 6:2-5
The LORD said to Joshua, "See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the valiant warriors. You shall march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. You shall do so for six days. Also seven priests shall carry seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark; then on the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. It shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people will go up every man straight ahead."

Later in the chapter, Joshua tells them not to say anything until commanded to do so, and then to shout and holler and otherwise raise a ruckus. The various translations are a little fuzzy about whether or not the priests sounded the trumpets on each of the days leading up to the defeat of Jericho, but either in silence or with only the sound of 7 rams' horn trumpets, can you imagine the watchers on the walls of Jericho looking down on the parade, scratching their heads and wondering what in the world these crazy Hebrews were doing, walking laps around their impenetrable city? Makes me smile thinking about it.

The Hebrews, under General Joshua, obeyed God's instructions. They walked without talking, but I'd bet there was a whole lot of praying going on. They had been told what would happen, how God would act and that the city would fall. God said it, that was enough, let's go! They were walking prophetically for their own deliverance from an oppressive force. And God delivered them.

Back to my young friend's proposal to his pastor. He has proposed that there be a brief explanation of the process and the fact that he feels God has given him this plan much as God instructed Joshua. What walled cities are in the lives of those in the pews in his congregation? What huge insurmountable, impenetrable things are preventing them from spiritual success? Sins such as unbelief, dishonesty, pornography or other sexual sin, or financial issues, discord in the family, or any other major issues that you can put a label on, God is interested in bringing down the walls for their victories. The folks will write these down and lay the papers on their seats face down while they walk the walls around their worship space. After their own silent march, the papers will be collected and on the seventh day the papers will be burned and there will be a shout of joy over the victory that our God will bring.

There were lots of chill bumps as we discussed this and as details of his vision for their own version of a Jericho March took shape. He presented it to his pastor and his pastor lit up! He thought it was a GREAT idea and they started it out on the first Sunday of Lent. The seventh "day" will be Resurrection Sunday. Tom is hoping to find some trumpets or at least some things to make a large joyful noise. He continues to encourage the folks in this endeavor, building their faith that not only CAN God do this, but that it is His purpose TO do it.

Tom, his pastor, and I are excited to hear the testimonies of what Father is going to do in the lives of that new congregation of mostly pretty new Christians. Thought I'd share so that y'all can begin to pray for their faith to rise and for God to meet that rising faith is amazing and tangible ways.

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This is the most of the email that I got from my friend Tom about the results of the march discussed above. Thought you'd like to read it. It was a faith builder for all of them, and I think it will be an encouragement to any who read it, especially if you are in the process of churchbuilding. God is still at work in mysterious and wonderful ways.
You asked about the whole Jericho march. Well, let me tell you about it!

For the first few weeks, it had mixed results. Everyone but the pastor thought I was a bit nuts. I went ahead and explained the purpose for the march from Scripture, sharing some of the details of the original Jericho march and how we could incorporate those details into our congregation's march.

Well, we definitely prayed before even starting the whole march.

Week by week, the one thing that was consistent was that people definitely had prayer requests. We had them write them down on slips of paper, like you and I had discussed. We passed a basket around and collected them and then after the march, we prayed over every one of them. Everything was anonymous, of course.

The marches themselves were interesting. You know how we have wanted more exuberance and more interaction in our worship times? Well, the marches were definitely done in a more silent fashion. Not only did I have them be silent throughout the whole thing, but I had them pray and pray hard…not just for their own needs, but for the needs of the other church members, for our country, for other people around the world, etc. It wasn’t just a march; it was a prayer time of great intensity. No matter what we did, I wanted to make sure and base everything on Scripture.

Dean, our prayers began working. Throughout our weeks of the march, people would come up to me and be amazed as to the results of the prayers. One man came up to me and told me that he was afraid of losing his job because of lack of money within his company. People were on their way out, but it turns out that not only did he not lose his job, but he got promoted and asked to carry out some more duties. While it wasn’t significant, he got a bit of a salary increase.

Another man came and told both my pastor and me that for weeks, he had been a bit worried about some health issues he’d been having. He was so new to Christianity but he figured he would really try putting his faith into practice. He went and got some tests done, and it turns out that he was fine!

One other person kept praying that her family would come to church with her, and they finally did…on the last day of the march.

Now, the last day was very interesting. This was after that gentleman (Brother David) came and openly shared his opinions with Pastor & me about how things were going. The last day was when the metaphoric walls were to come down! We were going to bring down every wall that was a barrier to increased faith. We were going to bring down all the walls and obstacles the devil put in our way. Yes, the walls were coming gown, and we were going to be the warriors to bring them down. They had no idea what they were in for.

We continued to ask for prayer requests, and by this time, people were getting used to this event. I still had some skeptical people, but I definitely had others on board with it because they were seeing, first hand, that prayers were being answered.

What they weren’t expecting was that we would really cut loose and get into the march like never before. Oh, it took them a bit and they hesitated, but I asked them that as they marched, they were to shout and make joyful noises of cheer unto the Lord. We even had some whistles and noisemakers to symbolize the trumpets. People were leery, but they knew we meant business, and we all did it as a church! Someone came up to me later and said they didn’t know they could make so much noise in church before. It wasn’t nonsensical noise though. It was serious, praiseful noise that was reaching the Lord and letting the devil know we meant business!

After the march, we came back and were exhilarated like you wouldn’t believe. The pastor preached for a bit, but there was a different feeling happening there. We asked if there were any testimonies from the people who participated in the march. The people I mentioned, and a few others, leery as they were, actually gave their testimony.

We still had some negative spirits there asking if this was really scriptural. We proved it was, and they couldn’t help but accept that what we were doing was OK. We still have some skeptics, but we have believers, too!

I still get comments on how great that march was and how it increased their faith now. Yes, I know now that the devil is angry and that he will want to avenge what we’ve done, but we don’t care. We just need to pray without ceasing now and we need to keep things happening.

I still get a huge smile on my face when thinking of what can happen when we all trust the Lord and put our leery feelings aside! Amen??

Anyway, that’s what happened there.

PS Oh, also that day, we actually got some louder singing happening, and that’s a great start. They’re singing for longer periods of time without quieting down and letting me be the lone carrier.

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