The Sanctuary has a clear prophetic blue print, and one that seems to be ever increasing over time. We (Simon & Philippa) have tried to be as brief as possible yet remain faithful in recording the journey that God has given us.
At the beginning of 2005 Rocky Abernathie and Geoff Beurk came to Father’s House and Lox Lane Encounter Centre to minister – both profound prophetic voices. Rocky prophesied over Simon about the Lord giving him specific places where he would be sent.
Simon had a strong sense in his spirit that they had something that would affect the DNA of Father’s House. So he gathered a few friends and booked some flights to Kansas City just before Christmas.
Whilst in Kansas they were blown away by the presence of God and the continual worship, you could literally feel the pleasure of God when you walked into the prayer room. Simon was once again impressed that what they had would affect our spiritual DNA. During this visit, someone prophesied that there would be pathways between Father’s House and IHOPKC and that they would take back some of the DNA of what God had started in Kansas.
Upon returning to the UK we thought a lot about what had happened and wondered what we should do next. After Christmas Simon felt God challenge him to take a day out a week to seek the Lord, and as a step of faith he did!
In February 2006 Patricia Bootsma visited Father’s House, we felt that this was a time of birthing, and it was significant for us as a church and for us personally. The team prophesied that the worship in Father’s House would crack open the heavens and that we would have worship in the style of the Tabernacle of David, similar to IHOPKC. As a church we had already been doing extended times of worship but we now felt that we had more of the blueprint, to aim for night and day prayer.
We were careful not to copy other 24/7 prayer initiatives. We wanted to remain true to the words he had given us about DNA yet also develop the vision God had for Shaftesbury. We believed it would develop as God reveals his purpose for it over time.
As a result we started to pursue this form of worship and prayer with as much time as we could give.
In 2010 Philippa felt the Lord lead us to set apart a room within the Father’s House for Prayer and Worship. She felt there should be a holy place like within a traditional church’s sanctuary that is set aside for worship and prayer.
So it began and we transitioned our prayer and worship into the Sanctuary.
2011 and 2012
In November 2011 an outpouring of the Holy Spirit began in Kansas City. In Simon’s hunger for the presence of God he went to Kansaa with a few friends to find out more.
Later that year the IHOP team decided to travel to the UK. Gordon Clowrey had visited IHOP with Simon and realised that hew knew some of the IHOPKC leaders, he made the most of the opportunity and asked them if they would come to Shaftesbury too. Their tour consisted of Glasgow, Manchester, London and Shaftesbury – we felt honoured, bearing in mind the size of Shaftesbury in comparison to the other venues.
We began organising the meetings and anticipated maybe a few hundred people, as bookings began the numbers went up, and up, and up. We looked at overflow facilities and then numbers went beyond anything we could cope with. In the end we had 1000 people booked up! We hired a huge marquee that transformed the church car park into the meeting venue.
We were shocked that we had so many people wanting to come to Shaftesbury, significantly more than the other venues. Why did so many come to Shaftesbury? We believe it was a confirmation to pursue the call towards 24/7 prayer and worship in this area.
Since the Sanctuary’s launch there has been a regular expression of prayer and worship. In November 2015 a group of us decided to pray together for an hour every morning, the thinking behind it was, maybe the Lord will come, what have we got to lose? A core group of people began to gather, pray, worship and facilitate time the Sanctuary.
We felt God’s pleasure with what we were doing, this continued week after week and in September 2016 we felt that this increased. Since then the hour in the morning has frequently been extended, and has more often than not, had a strong sense of the presence of God.
These times have been marked with prophecy, Spirit led intercession and profound moments of knowing His presence. Around Christmas 2016 there were two prophetic words that were consistently given. One was about the loaves and the fish and that as we gave our offering the Lord would multiply it and the other was from the widow’s oil and that as we kept coming before the Lord then He would keep filling us with his presence.
The conclusion from this was that we needed to extend our times in the sanctuary, as we keep coming He will keep filling us and as we bring our offering He will multiply it.
The journey hasn’t been without its problems and there have been many obstacles to overcome.
In the sanctuary there is an expectancy and energy that fills the room as we gather to worship Jesus. Each day we find the presence of the Lord comes as we worship and lift up His name. Amidst our prayer for nations, governments, local schools, people who are sick and the broken, our heart is to be Kingdom minded, looking to seek first His kingdom and engage with his presence, listening for His promises and declaring them.
There seems to now be a window to push forwards with what God is saying to do next, with increased sessions, to gather a team and to communicate more widely what we are doing.
We welcome you to be part of this journey as we can’t do it alone – if you would like to be involved please get in touch with us.