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God answers prayer at the altar

Pastor Mur shares a story of how God answered a prayer in ways he never expected.

There are nearly 50 Foursquare churches in Hawaii, and 75,000 people get to go to these great churches each weekend. They are full gospel churches that grew out of the ministries of two men – Ralph Moore and Wayne Cordeiro who founded Hope Chapel and New Hope.

I attended a Foursquare church for the first time in November 1976. I had come from New Jersey to California to speak at a construction industry seminar, and planned my trip so I could attend that Sunday morning service at Angelus Temple, its founder’s church. It was the first time I had ever been to California.

I was 30 years old when God saved me in 1961. I had no background in Biblical Christianity when that happened. I had moved to Philadelphia earlier that year, and made a friend who invited me to a Billy Graham Meeting, and late one night two weeks after that meeting, Jesus came into my bedroom and my heart.

I immediately wanted to be an evangelist like Mr. Graham, and enrolled at Philadelphia College of the Bible in January 1962 after executing its written agreement never to attend a full gospel church. I unintentionally broke that agreement 18 months later, and was soon involved with full gospel churches. My dad had taught me to love to read, and in those days I read everything I could find about the Holy Spirit. My construction work moved me around, and I had to drop out of Bible College.

While there were no Foursquare churches where I lived, I discovered the writings of Aimee Semple McPherson, the founder of the Foursquare movement, and decided that I would go to her Angelus Temple if I ever got to Los Angeles. I was 45 years old when I got there for the first time.

The Angelus Temple, Church of the Four Square Gospel, built by Aimee Semple McPherson and dedicated January 1, 1923. The temple is opposite Echo Park, near downtown Los Angeles, California.
Image: 2005 photograph / Wikimedia Commons.

When the Temple’s morning service ended that day, I walked up onto the platform and stood behind the pulpit. No one paid any attention to me. I looked out into those 4,000 seats, and tried to imagine what the place looked like 50 years earlier when Sister Aimee was in her prime; and then I did something outrageous and even silly: I prayed that God would somehow involve me in that Temple and in the church it had spawned.

I said outrageous and silly because I lived 2,500 miles from there. I was the founder of a small, though growing, consulting engineering firm that demanded my attention virtually every hour of every day. Those demands had also led to a failing marriage and all the hurt and misery that entailed. My prayer lacked a serious foundation; there was nothing to build on, and I soon forgot my words. But looking back today, I realize that the first thing I learned at that church is that God answers the prayers uttered at that altar.

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Category: Living the Faith

About the Author: H. Murray Hohns went home to be with Jesus on November 28, 2012. He was on staff at the largest church in Hawaii and served on his denomination's investment committee from 1999 until his death. Hohns held two degrees in Civil Engineering, an MA in Theology from Fuller Seminary, and served as an instructor at Foursquare's New Hope Christian College (formerly Pacific Rim Christian College) in Honolulu. He wrote six engineering books and hundreds of articles in every type of newspaper, magazine and journal.

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