From Rooftops to the Basement

In the very beginning of Origins church, we prayed. Every Friday night we’d gather on the roof of the old church office and we’d look over Times Square with the bright shining lights and whatever the weather, we’d pray over the city of New York and ask to see His kingdom come in us, through us and in this city.

At first we thought it was up to us to bring the Spirit of God to a God-forsaken city, though we quickly and humbly realized the Spirit of God was already working and moving there. So we prayed to join God in what He was already doing. It was miraculous to see so many young people giving up their Friday night plans to gather together in prayer. It set the tone for future of Trinity Grace Church.

We prayed to join God in what He was already doing.

Once we started the Chelsea service at St. Paul’s German Lutheran church, we started gathering to pray before the service. I’ll never forget the day, Rickey Kraemer, Cliff Cunningham and I, snooping for a good place to gather, stumbled upon a locked door. That door also happened to have a key hanging not too far from the lock.  As we opened it, we found that the stairs lead all the way up the steeple and to another door that lead onto a roof portion towards the back of the building. It was like a slice of heaven, praying on the roof of old St. Paul’s Church, overlooking the Chelsea rooftops and above the flowering cherry blossom trees. Our group grew, adding the faithful Francis Pua and the passionate prayers of Ray East and then Esther Adams and Chidi Achara. Our rooftop prayers were truly spiritual moments of respite before the crowds came and service started.

However, soon enough, someone in charge of St. Paul’s found out we’d been going up on the roof and quickly revoked those privileges. The church grew and so did the demand for the space that we had. Our prayer group had a harder and harder time finding places to pray. So, we burrowed down and found a space for a circle of folding chairs in the basement near the loud fan of the furnace.

It wasn't the most inspiring spot, but it didn't hinder us. In the heat of the summer, we found that the basement was the coolest place to be and in the chill of the winter we welcomed the sound of the furnace fan. We sought the voice of God in that basement, we asked how He wanted to move in the services that would be happening above us, and we were amazed to see our prayers come to fruition. Our church community was becoming a people hungry for the voice of God and the hand of the Spirit. Prayer extended for all attending after the service and we were thrilled to see lives changed in those pews. We experienced the reality that the ‘the prayers of a righteous man (or woman) availeth much.’

Needless to say, prayer is still a core value of Trinity Grace Church. It is a blessing to see fruit continue to be born from the prayers sown by so many faithful believers.