Prayer Paramount During, Beyond California Congregation’s Pentecost Observance

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Western

By Carl Stagner

On the fiftieth day after Easter, another important, yet occasionally overlooked date significant to the Christian calendar is Pentecost. Perhaps not historically celebrated in the Church of God movement to same degree as other Christian denominations and movements, Pentecost nevertheless holds theological weight which shouldn’t be dismissed with cavalier regard. The events outlined in the second chapter of the Book of Acts remind us of many applicable truths, not the least of which is the reality, presence, and power of the Holy Spirit. The fourteenth verse of the previous chapter establishes the prayerful disposition of the apostles in those days leading up to such a miraculous display of God—“They all joined together constantly in prayer…” (NIV). Longing to maintain a similar posture before the Lord who still works wonders today, the Church of God of Exeter, California, has taken specific steps to place paramount emphasis on prayer—not only during the days leading up to Pentecost, but also throughout the year.

“The prayer room is open and ready.” A post with pictures on the church’s Facebook page announced the celebration of Pentecost had commenced at the Church of God of Exeter. “Knowing the same Spirit who empowered them then is the same Spirit empowering us today…” the post continued. “Join us in praying and reflecting on God’s fulfilled words and promise in Joel 2:28.” Such background information and instruction further communicated opportunities for the California congregation to pray individually or at scheduled collective gatherings. The Thursday, Friday, and Saturday immediately prior to Pentecost Sunday would feature group gatherings at 6:00 in the morning and 6:00 in the evening. During the day, people could come at-will to simply “sit and be with the Lord.” With the newly established prayer room open from 6 in the morning until 11 at night, a season of prayer in the life of the Church of God of Exeter has certainly underway.

Decor representing the Holy Spirit in the prayer room.

“First, I have to give credit where credit is due,” Pastor Brandon Zoll explains. “Most of what we do during these prayer rooms of preparation is the work and heart of my wonderful wife. God has stirred her deeply regarding the ministry of prayer and its place in the rhythm of life of the church.”

The broader church in the West has witnessed a variety of seemingly special manifestations of the Spirit in 2023 alone. Analysts have suggested widespread growing hunger for the things of God has contributed to phenomena like the Asbury Outpouring earlier this year; when coupled with the release of the powerful Jesus Revolution film in a society finally returning to a sense of normalcy (or adapting to the new normal) post-pandemic, it appears pastors and churches are intentionally seizing the moment and getting on board with what God is up to. Recognizing the Holy Spirit’s catalytic role in this wave of spiritual renewal, Church of God congregations across the United States and Canada have offered more space and time to simply worship in song and testimony, follow the leading of the Lord, and consider a more intentional observance of Pentecost.

“We are to remember God’s great works and movements throughout history,” Pastor Brandon reflects. “Understanding the various calls to remember in their context is not simply to call it to mind…. It is to put ourselves there as if it were happening right now as it did then. There is something to be said about church tradition throughout two millennia, and our calendar with its holidays and seasons. We believe we lose much of our history and identity as God’s kingdom people when we neglect to recognize and celebrate all the great shaping and identifying moments of us becoming just this. Pentecost is one such shaping and identifying moment.”

Design elements encourage prayer for the entire world.

Pastor Brandon Zoll goes on to discuss the significance of Pentecost and its implications on our lives as believers today. He asserts that the Holy Spirit not only empowers and guides us, but also sends on out on God’s mission in the world.

“This is why we do our prayer rooms during these times,” he adds. “We do them to help prepare our bodies, souls, and minds for the celebration of these moments. We also open this up to our whole community and encourage our brothers and sisters around us and their gatherings to join us in unity in this.”

Reflect, remember, and pray. That’s what their prayer rooms are structured for. Various stations of prayer focus intercessors on certain people, places, and topics of need. Sunday’s Pentecost celebration then becomes a celebration of all the Lord has done, is doing, and will accomplish in their midst and for the world.

Learn more about the Church of God movement at

Feature (top) photo: Prayer room ready for Pentecost observance participants at the Church of God of Exeter.

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