There’s a new initiative that has kicked off in CRM and I am excited to be a part of it. What is this initiative, called PRIME? The leaders describe it like this:
PRIME Movemental Prayer Initiative
Prime (verb): to make ready for use or action
CRM has identified prayer as “critical in laying the foundation and creating the conditions for a movement to launch and thrive”—the name Prime conveys this unique and essential role of preparation. This initiative catalyzes CRM teams into a posture and position strategically primed to launch and sustain the gospel movements we long to see.
The initiative has five different streams or teams: Worship, Prophetic, Strategic, Intercession, and Healing. Each team has people from all different branches of our organization. Each “team” gathers regularly via video conference calls that span 12+ time zones. We also have a workspace online where we can share messages, pictures, and documents.
When I first heard about the formation of PRIME, I got really excited. The Lord has been leading me into more and more prayer ministry since we’ve moved to Serbia, and I have mostly been “going it alone”—trying to apply what I’ve gleaned from random conversations and books. I have definitely been in a learning posture and have been asking the Lord to teach me how to pray.
Now that PRIME is operating, I have access to a whole bunch of folks (more than 45 last time I checked) that are committed to prayer and prayer ministry. They represent a wealth of ministry experience, especially in the area of prayer. The day after PRIME went “live,” I was already posting my questions and experiences. The interactions have been stimulating and have definitely encouraged me to step out in faith as I pray for my city.
About the time PRIME was launching, I felt led to get out of the city for a while to try to clear my head. Opposition from the enemy had picked up, and I find that leaving the city can sometimes help me get some relief. So, while having coffee in another town, I began praying and asking the Lord what he had for me. I had been reading a book on prayer-walking and wanted to be more intentional in how I prayed for my city, Novi Sad. In that cafe the Lord planted an idea in my heart that seemed pretty crazy but super exciting at the same time. I sat with it for awhile and kept praying about it all the way home. I ran it by some trusted colleagues and mentors to be sure it was not something I’d dreamed up but was truly from the Lord. After a day or two, I was convinced that God had spoken, and now it was up to me to obey. Gulp.
And so began what I am calling project “Saturation Novi Sad.” This project is simply to walk and pray on every street in the city. Novi Sad is not a very large city, so logistically this is totally doable, although I have no idea how long it will take. I am tracking my progress on a map pasted together from Google Maps. While I don’t prayer-walk every day, I do try to make sure that I am out on the streets regularly.
What do I pray? That has been a real learning curve for me. My goal is to pray the prayers of heaven—to echo God’s very heart as I speak to him about the city he loves but is heartbroken about. I always start with worship, up to 30 minutes before I start in my chosen section of town, and then I ask God to give me his heart. I listen as I walk, and I keep my eyes open, hoping to see things that will inspire my prayers. Then I pray what is on my heart or stirring in my spirit. It’s that simple. I am intentional to do a lot of blessing of the city and its people–calling out the wonderful ways the people in Novi Sad reflect God’s heart. Sometimes things get intense as passion flares and I hit upon something the Lord is passionate about in a certain area, but most of the time it is simply dialoguing with the One I love about the city he loves.
Once I have walked the whole city, I will start taking people with me, but this first round I feel is for me alone, to learn from God how to pray like this. All the while, I have PRIME right there to bounce my experiences and questions off of. I have already seen God do some really cool things and feel like I learn something new every time I go out. One thing is for certain—I am always blessed by having spent so much time intimately connecting with my Savior. It has been perfect timing! God placed the Saturation Novi Sad project in my heart just as the PRIME initiative launched.
These are indeed exciting times for me in Novi Sad. I find as I pray for the redemption of this city, and as I pour my heart out for its citizens, God is growing my faith by leaps and bounds. I cannot wait to see what the Lord will do.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paul Hovda and his wife Jody have lived and served in Novi Sad, Serbia since 2012. Prior to that, they served in Caracas, Venezuela for eight years.