11.04.2012, Finding Christ in Touch of Glory Prayer Mountain, 09:04
One of my goals this year is to go on a solitary sojourn into Touch of Glory Prayer Mountain in Antipolo City. Upon learning that our small group will spend the Holy Week in this mentioned retreat venue for prayer and fasting, I was possessed with great amount of delight and excitement. Never mind that I have the company of my friends, I am convinced that I will have umpteen opportunities to cry my broken heart out and hear His loving, reassuring voice. In preparation for this, I went on a 3-day juice feast and prayed for resilience. I’m so willing to trade this life-long practice of indulgence for a 5-day all-liquid fast in hopes to experience complete dependence on Him and the ensuing clarity of mind.
The prayer and fasting was set from Maundy Thursday morning until Black Saturday noon, with 2 sets of worship and preachings in its first 2 days. As a corporate slave, I only managed to reach the highlands by Thursday evening, just in time for the evening service. To my disappointment, I missed Coach Ella’s preaching on confidence in prayer that morning. See, I’ve read this book in hopes to improve the pattern and delivery of my prayers but my insides don’t fully resonate with the insights the authored imparted. Worse, I had an uncomfortable last-minute lead-the-prayer moment during my aunt’s wedding reception recently. In spite of being accustomed to the Christian way, I began with the sign of the cross and slightly downplayed my grateful message as most family members and guests are Roman Catholic. A part of me still feels bad for doing so.
Like I mentioned above, I came with a heavy heart and exhausted mind. I’ve been occupied with self-improvement and pay-it-forward efforts in hopes to be a good example and to be an instrument of peace and love to a fraction of mankind. As a response from above, Coach Ina made us reflect on the love story between Jacob and God (Genesis 32). We all tend to make our own plans and then meet Him in prayer when things don’t go our way. However, we don’t really need to plan as He has laid out everything for us. It’s best to submit to His will and trust in His goodness. But we humans can’t help but panic when something we aspire for badly is far from coming into fruition. Coach Ina reminded us that, when we come in prayer, we must come with a neutral heart. Any biases will make us misread “signs”. If I would take Coach Ina’s preaching as a sign to this major concern as of late, then the answer would be “70 years” (Jeremiah 29:10 and Daniel 9:2). And it never ceases to bring a smile to my face.
To complement Coach Ina’s message, Coach Ronald brought us Friday evening to Jesus’s walk to the Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46). Jesus was fully aware of His Father’s will, but He can’t help but call out to Him and ask to take away the cup filled with His wrath. He who was prophesized to fulfill the greatest act of love, sacrifice and forgiveness actually prayed to have it reversed? What’s going on? Prayer, says Coach Ronald, isn’t always about altering our poor circumstances and finding solutions to our predicaments. It’s about laying hold of God. Yes, we all carry our own crux every day, but we must realize we’ve got help from God and the people who matter to us. I was again reminded of my old resolve to tell Him everything, no matter how shallow or otherwise, before divulging it to anyone. It will be my next step take my prayer life to the next level.
We were asked to find a total stranger amidst the crowd and exchange our prayer intentions. My prayer partner, Jo-ann, is in her patient pursuit for her purpose in life. As if to agree with the abovementioned plans, Jo-ann asked me to pray for her to remain prayerful. And so I did.
What makes such aim difficult to achieve? Looking back, I am guilty of seeking for signs and determining the leading option among the friends I’ve surveyed about my ordeal. After the back-to-back preachings, I am again reminded that I must learn to throw out my ceaseless control issues and walk by faith, not by sight. Of course, going all the way up to Antipolo made me feel positive that He’d make His presence felt more commanding than the usual (in Sunday services, company of loving friends and others). But He chose to play a mute role througout the duration of my stay. And I don’t feel any disappointment or resentment inside my hungry heart. Silence is still an answer; He possibly wants me to chill out and let Him do his elaborate and timely work. Also, “no” is still an answer. In due time, we will comprehend why. Because He lives, it is pointless to get anxious about the future.
In due time, we will realize it’s all for the best. For now, I shall imbibe the learnings I’ve had and watch my ties with the people I met in this experience blossom. It’s great to know that I’m not alone in this spiritual journey. It’s great to have a support group like my small group.
Touch of Glory Prayer Mountain may owe its existence from the pioneering Christians in South Korea, but people from all religions and all races are welcome to visit. We were informed that this niche will soon undergo renovation for its envisioned direction as a prayer resort. I am blessed to have walked its earth before it made its rich transformation and I look forward to bring my grateful energy again when it’s ready to accommodate people. The succeeding paragraphs would be my humble attempt to give you a virtual tour of what to expect inside. Please forgive the poor quality of my photos.
The Prayer Mountain, I assume, is teeming with people during the Holy Week, hence the CLOSED sign. Guests may actually stay over and sleep, but I’m not sure which day/s they close for maintenance. Our small group had to take refuge in the nearby hotel and head back to Prayer Mountain for prayer and fasting.
Right across the entrance stands the building where we held our worship and where we listened to the preachings. There’s a stage for the worship team and the band to perform and projector for audio-visual presentations the pastors may wish to show us. Behind it is the cafeteria.
The distance between the building and the cafeteria also serves as an alternate place for reflection and/or prayer. A great number of trees stands nearby, providing shade and hypnotic breeze in your solitary moment.
Prayer Mountain holds many prayer cells where guests can set themselves apart for intense prayer. People are advised to leave their footwear behind and turn the lights off when they’re inside.
The surrounding greens, as always, make it easy to feel close to His presence. There were instances of slight rains prior to my arrival so I didn’t make a daunting descend beyond the prayer cells. I vow to pack hiking sandals the next time I visit. I heard a portion of the Prayer Mountain is closed to accommodate the Angat Lahi trainees. It would have been a great sight to see them in action.
And to my surprise, there’s a fish pond to soothe the eyes of a beach bum like myself. Such an amazing view!
As early as now, I am inrigued to see how the new Prayer Mountain would look and feel like. It will be an improved sanctuary that would promote reclusion and time for worship and pensive thoughts. And I pray for its charm to capture more weary and grateful souls alike. At the same time, I wish this local niche would somehow mirror our roots to our visiting brothers and sisters from faraway lands.