The fog thickened as I neared Gallupville Gospel Church. I drove through heaven like clouds which slowly unveiled this modern facility. It was nestled in the middle of a quaint setting with breathtaking views overlooking the Schoharie Valley. Deep scars still remain here nearly six years after Hurricane Irene’s floods came through and devastated the region. In the village of Schoharie buildings still sit vacant, skeletal remains of a once thriving community. Thousands of families have relocated. Through it all, Pastor Jim Wolford and his flock have remained steadfast. Gallupville Gospel Church continues to shine God’s light brightly to these hurting rural towns.
Arriving a bit early for the 10:30 am service, I was greeted by Pastor Jim’s wife, Colleen, who invited us downstairs to join their intimate breakfast and study group. Each person around the table smiled and introduced themselves. It was INSTANT FAMILY. All they did was add a generous portion of God and stir. Afterwards, Pastor Jim took me on a tour of the church. I enjoyed hearing about their difficult journey from an old building in Gallupville, complete with outhouses and woodstoves for heating, to this new facility in 1990. They began with just the sanctuary and completed the additions over an 8 year period, enabling them to remain debt free.
Pastor Jim opened the service in prayer as his wife lead worship from the keyboard. During the worship, several people kneeled at the altar in prayer and I saw Pastor Jim pray with many of them. This deep and genuine worship continued with lifted hands and open hearts. I loved how Pastor Jim prayed before his message, calling out the names of many in attendance. It was apparent to me that he hears from God and has the heart of the true Shepherd, Jesus our Lord.
The message was entitled, “Strategic Secret Prayer Agents”. He talked about the importance of those things done in secret, especially prayer. God puts a high premium on those things done in secret. The CIA, US Navy SEALs, and Christian missionaries were all excellent examples of the power and significance of things done in secret. He recalled the early beginnings of their church, back when they first opened in 1978. There were many rough bars in town. Instead of picketing or writing letters to town hall, the church gathered together in prayer, their greatest weapon. One by one the bars closed, and it has been a dry town ever since.
Not everything we do for the Lord needs to be announced. This convicted me deeply and it was no coincidence that I had lost cell phone service as I attempted to post my whereabouts. I focused more intently on the message and heard the cry of Pastor Jim’s heart. God has commissioned us to pray. Intercession is of eternal importance. We need to understand the power we have as secret prayer agents. Matthew 6:6 “But when you pray, go into your inner room, close the door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
Do we understand the power we have as secret prayer agents for God? Can we comprehend the importance of praying to God in our prayer closets? Jesus is our example. Being fully God and fully man, He still found it necessary to be alone as He confided with His Father. He is our Teacher. Pastor Jim and his flock have laid hold of this great truth. We as Christians need to be clandestine prayer operatives in a world that is hostile to the goodness of God.
A good message convicts, and this message surely convicted me. I have a passion to see unity in the Body of Christ. The very purpose of my “Church Journeys” is to help bring this UNITY to the Capital Region. Have I been spending enough time in secret prayer? I prayed right then and there for UNITY and believe, without a doubt that, according to 2 Chronicles 7:14, God heard from heaven and even now is rewarding His Church.
Tucked away in a small town in rural Upstate NY, Gallupville Gospel Church is praying. They are praying for their community and praying for the Nations. They are praying for their church and praying for God’s Kingdom. This church may not be on the front page of any newspaper. Perhaps you never heard of them until now. However, this House of Prayer contains a group of “Strategic Secret Prayer Agents” who are not only impacting their community, but they are changing the world. AMEN!
Church Website – http://www.gallupvillegospel.org
By Donna Hansen Munafo
(Contributing writer Michael Frati)