Marcs Vision

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8 (NKJ)

A couple of months ago as I was preaching a series on the Sermon on the Mount, God caused me to really meditate on this verse. I felt like He was saying that it didn't just mean in heaven, though that is certainly included. But those with pure hearts would see him now, as He really is, present with us in this natural world. I don't mean visibly, but with the eyes of our heart, know, sense, and feel His presence and His ways, in a practical way. I said, "I want to see you that way, Lord," and so I have been praying almost every day, "Make my heart pure, Lord, so I can see You." I am telling you this to lay a foundation for what I am going to share with you about what has happened over the last several weeks. Some of it is hard to comprehend and accept, but God went to great effort to remove all doubt in my heart and mind about the validity of it. I want to make a qualification once and then I will not try to explain the following statements again. When I say, "the Lord said," or "God said," or "the Spirit said," I did not hear an audible voice speak, but received a strong impression in my spirit that God was communicating directly with me. The first time this happened in a powerful way was in 1986 while serving my first pastorate at Stavanger Friends Church, the same church I now presently serve. The Lord woke me up in the middle of the night and took me to Amos 3;7,8 "Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets." I remember saying something like, "That's great Lord, but why are you telling me this? I'm no prophet!" I looked back down and the next verse says, "A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord has spoken! Who can but prophecy?" I have never had a mentor to teach me what the calling meant and it was not well received in the churches I was ministering in. The truth is, it has caused me a lot of problems over the years and I have failed in it so many times, I had given up on that call long ago. I left my first church and the next one split over the supernatural gifts issue and I nearly left the ministry. I did leave Iowa and served two other churches, one in Michigan and finally left the denomination to try and help plant a Vineyard Church in Ohio. Although I didn't realize it at the time, I was trying to open my own doors and create my own vision to be successful in the eyes of others. I almost lost my family and did end up burned out and out of the ministry for a year. Then through some strange events God brought me back to Stavanger Friends Church where I initially received the call and I have been here for nine years. I have also been serving Faith Evangelical Church in Laurel.

A few of us have come to believe that God wants to birth a House of Prayer in Marshall County. We have been to Kansas City and caught a vision of what God is doing there. We have listened to Mike Bickle's series "Encountering Jesus", a 20 year history of God raising up the International House of Prayer, and we have read his new book about the life of David, "After God's Own Heart." (In my opinion this book is an absolute must if you want to understand the house of prayer movement). Then we teamed up with the Iowa For Jesus Network (IFJN) and began to pray about having a local house of prayer. We read the Dutch Sheets and Chuck Pierce prophecies and began to wonder about what it might mean for us. Sometime during the first week of June I felt like God was telling me to prayer walk around Marshall County. I have prayer walked our church property many times, but that seemed a little extreme to me. So I began to question God about why I should do this. I didn't get any answer, just a strong impression that I should do it. So I said I was willing but I wanted confirmation from God to know it was really Him and not just some crazy idea of my own. A couple of days later on June 12, Gregg McCall, director of IFJN came to visit and prophesied that he saw me in Jesus shoes walking and that God was giving me the promise of Joshua (Joshua 1:4), "Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you..." So I was convinced I should do it, but didn't feel any sense of urgency and kept putting it off. I thought I could do a side of the county (24 miles) in one day. I finally started on Friday, June 25, and after 12 miles my 52 year old body was aching and my feet were blistered. I began to realize this was going to take longer than I thought. On the following day, June 26, several of us from Marshall County attended the State wide Worship and War room in Des Moines. I already had my sermon chosen for the next day and my text was II Chronicles 20, so it caught my attention when Linda Schreurs gave three scripture passages for a foundation of the meeting. The first was from II Chronicles 5, the second was Amos 3:7,8, and the third was II Chronicles 20. So one had to do with the Lord's call in my life 18 years ago and the other was my sermon text for the next day. That seemed to be more than coincidence. Linda also said there would be a great breakthrough eight days later on July 4th. I thought it would have been nice if I had started sooner and could have had my prayer walk done in time for this great breakthrough, but didn't have any sense the two events were connected in any way. On Sunday, June 27, the Faith Evangelical Church members met and unanimously decided to dissolve their relationship with the denomination and reorganize as an independent house of prayer. On Monday the 28th I walked 13 miles, rested on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, the 30th of June, walked 16 miles. So Friday, July 2, when I started in the morning, I had 54 miles to go. But Friday changed everything. I was becoming frustrated at not being able to give any clear answer to people of why I was doing this and so I began to question God as I walked. I said, "I don't know any other directors of the Iowa Houses' of Prayer who are prayer walking their county, why do I have to? What's so special about Marshall County?" The answer was confusing at first as I began to think about the human body. A person may have no conscious brain activity and yet the body can still live for years. It's not very functional, but there is life. The reason there is life is because the heart continues to pump oxygen, nutrients, and energy to every part of the body including the brain. But if the heart stops, neither the body nor the brain can live more than a few minutes. So the heart is the center of life, not the brain. Then I received a strong impression that God was asking me a question, "Where are you right now?" I began to look around and answered, "I'm walking down the western border of Marshall County about a mile west of State Center, a town that received its name because it is located at the very center of the state of Iowa and it is in Marshall County. In other words, Marshall County is the heart of Iowa.

The Lord spoke and said, "Name the house of prayer in Laurel, the Heart of Iowa House of Prayer and you are to pray that the heart of the state would be purified and set free for my purposes. Then with the heart pure, free, and protected, I will send my life blood of healing, salvation, deliverance, anointing, revelation, etc. to every part of the body."

I should have caught on to this a lot sooner. The Pierce/Sheets prophecy said, "It will start in the heartland." A local prophetic voice kept telling me, "Guard your heart", and Mike Bickle's book was "After God's Own Heart."

The Lord also said, "Most of the church is living out of the brain center, trying to think of new ways and programs to attract people and keep them interested in church. But you cannot discern My ways or hear My voice with your brain, I communicate to you through your heart. And it's not about church, or programs, or numbers, it's all about intimacy with Me, heart to heart communication. But My people's hearts are dull and they are in bondage and living in deception through their thoughts. Many have disqualified themselves out of guilt and shame and failure, but I love them and if they would just turn their hearts to me, I would heal them and set them free." The impression I received was that when the walk was finished, I was to make a declaration in the name and authority of Jesus on July 4th that the hearts of God's people would be set free to worship and serve Him in a fresh way.

I went 20 miles that day, but that left 34 miles and no day of rest to recuperate. Saturday, July 3rd, the Lord sustained me and I went 20 miles again. That left 14 to finish on Sunday July 4th. I gained release from my early service at Faith church and walked 10 miles Sunday morning, went to the service at Stavanger and in the afternoon finished the last 4 miles and ended the walk at the Heart of Iowa House of Prayer.



I didn't feel very anointed,mostly tired, sore, and limping badly from blisters, but I and 5 others worshiped and then I made a Declaration of Freedom for God's people in the Name of Jesus to whom all authority in heaven and earth has been given. I declared God's Sovereignty over the heart of Iowa and that all the strongholds of the evil one would be torn down and destroyed and that this new life would go out to the rest of the body of Iowa and to the nation.

We spent some time in quietness before the Lord and prayed together and then went home. As I was going home, I got the sense that God was saying, "This is why I called you, this is what you have been waiting for, this is your purpose in Me. Though you gave up on yourself, I have never given up on you." It was a comforting communion with a merciful and loving God. It's not about our weaknesses, our failures, our sinfulness, we all have that. It's about His great love and His great power to bring us to His purposes in spite of ourselves.

Something has definitely shifted over Marshall County and the state of Iowa, but the Lord reminded me that walking the county and making the declaration was the easy part. The victory has been declared in heaven, but in 1776 after the Declaration of Independence, there was 4 years of war before the reality of freedom was finally gained. The victory is ours, but we must partner with God and pray into existence on the earth what has been declared in the heavens. And how will the battle be won? Look at II Chronicles chapter 20. They fasted, they prayed, they prophesied, they positioned themselves before God and the worshipers and singers were the front line in the battle. Are these not the things God has called us to do as Houses of Prayer? Let us remain faithful and trust Him. We do not have to take no for an answer for the victory is already won. Let's go forth boldly and humbly to claim it for our God and for the good of His kingdom!