The Year of Transition

In the spring of 1977 my parents, Don and Libby Miller, resigned from their 11 year pastorate on Long Island, New York and moved to Fort Worth, Texas. They believed they were being led of God to begin a prayer ministry at a time when Deeper Life Conferences, Bible Conferences, Revivals and Crusades were all the rage. I remember hearing a seasoned veteran of the Texas church scene chide Dad, and tell him that he was crazy to try and conduct four day prayer conferences. He told him to stick with revivals because no one in Texas was doing prayer conferences. Dad's response was, "That is why I am going to start doing them." To Dad it seemed perfectly logical to step out on faith to do what God had called him to do.

After 34 years, and over 1000 prayer conferences, Dad's faith in God then has proven to be a safe bet today. He was a wise man to listen to the voice of God, and not the conventional wisdom of his day. You would be hard pressed to find someone in Texas who is making a difference, or making a living conducting four day revival meetings. Makes you wonder if there had been more emphasis on prayer if we might be experiencing more revival. But I digress.

During the last three and one-half decades, Mom and Dad have travelled to 48 states. The two Dakotas were the only holdouts. Still, they have crossed the borders to Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, the Middle East, India, South America conducting what he called Bible Based Ministries Prayer Seminar. To most people it was known as the "Don Miller Prayer Conference." He virtually gave away his little green and gold notebook on prayer, and spread it like seed corn all over the world awaiting a harvest of a new generation of prayer warriors.

Mom and Dad have ministered to missionaries, Mayans, Minnesotans, mainstream and no name churches all over the world. They have paid their own way when a church could not afford the travel expenses, and they have returned the love offering when they saw that the church needed it more than they did. Their selfless devotion to their passion for prayer has been a catalyst in the lives of many preacher boys who today are leading their churches to be a House of Prayer. What the world sees today as a revival of prayer is in no small measure a product of the prayerful perspiration of two people who have lived and developed a ministry from a small office in a 1400 sq. ft. home on the east side of Fort Worth for the past 33 years.

I will never forget staying in their home while they were on the road. When the phone would ring, it would always hold a lesson in geography. One day I handled calls from Australia, Hong Kong, England, Scotland, and a half dozen states. I often thought that in another dimension spiritual forces were at work all around that small home. It must have been a message center for angels coming to and fro carrying urgent requests for a movement of God. No wonder the word of God warns us to never despise the day of small things.

There are people who have made prayer a science and others who seem to have cornered the publishing market on the subject. Dad always kept it simple. "Prayer is the intimate communication between the Heavenly Father and His child." To him that meant that prayer was something that a person was meant to do. It was not a subject to be taught, a book to be bought, but an intimacy to be sought.

This meant that over the years Dad has been an early riser. He would begin his day sitting in his "Prayer Arbor." It was a swing, supported by a wooden frame, and topped with a fiberglass, corrugated roof. Nothing fancy. It was where he met God every morning spending the hours of 4-7 AM listening to Him, and conversing with Him. Rain or shine, cold or hot Dad was in his Prayer Arbor keeping his most important appointment for the day. He practiced what he preached and what he preached rang with the authenticity of a genuine walk with God. This was his secret. There have been those over the years who have wanted to teach his stuff, but did not have the right stuff when it came to prayerful preparation. When Dad prays it is not a performance, but a continuation of a conversation that began early in the day. When he teaches on prayer, he does not approach it as a subject but a reconnection with someone he longs to be with.

Last month, Dad met with his board of directors of Bible Based Ministries. At his request, they voted to close down their organization. It was a bittersweet moment. After 34 years of ministry a transition was going to have to take place. Don't get me wrong. Dad is still able to preach and teach, but the wear and tear of traveling has become more and more difficult for them. They have enjoyed preaching for pastors in the area who have arranged to pick them up and bring them to their church to preach. This has been a blessing for the church and for my parents.

This has been a year of transition for them, and it has become one for Dana and myself. After 20 years of praying about following this direction of our lives, we have stepped out on faith. Dana believed God was leading us in this direction over a year ago. It has taken me longer to get used to the idea of releasing the pastorate as my expression of ministry, but the time was right in July of this year. The past five months have provided me a growing sense of freedom and purpose about what is ahead. We have a growing confidence that God has called us to take up this mantle of prayer, and continue what Mom and Dad have begun. It will take on a different expression, but it will still have the main focus. We will continue to share with people that prayer is the intimate communication between the Heavenly Father and His child.

When we shared this new sense of direction with Dad, we were not surprised that he said he had felt this same leading from God for some time. When I hesitated in resigning and moving ahead with the leap of faith, he said quietly, "If God has called you to do this, you might want to think about being obedient." I'll let him share with you the commissioning that he gave us as we began this journey.

"What I have had in my heart, I have placed in your mind, and I have called on God to let it come forth from your mouth. This will mean that my ministry continues through you. There have been those who have wanted me to pass this mantle to them. They may have never asked for it directly, but I knew what they were seeking me to do. I have felt for some time that it would be you who would take on this ministry.

Since you were a child, I know God has been up to something in your life. Your mother and I were impressed to include my name in yours, Gary Don Miller. This may have been more prophetic then than we knew. It means something. It is more than a coincidence that this ministry is taken on by you, and that my name is carried on by you.

It is also interesting that you were born on a Sunday morning right after I preached, and after you were born that day I was able to return in time to preach that night. I was able to share the news with the congregation at the evening service that God had given us a son. Your ministry logo may carry a new name, but the message will be the same. The definition of prayer will always be 'intimate communication between the Heavenly Father and His child.' " Don Miller

After meeting with Dad's board, and our lawyer, Dana and I were impressed to commission this new ministry, "The Whitefield Project." God used this 18th Century preacher, 1714-1770, as a spark to ignite The First Great Awakening in America. We are praying for God to do something through us that only He will get credit for. The prayer journals of George Whitefield often called people to prayer with the reminder "Man's extremity is God's opportunity." George Whitefield

We are excited to be a part of what God is up to in the world today. Thank you Dad and Mom for believing in us, and passing this baton to us. Thank you dear friends for praying for all four of us during these days of transition. Mom and Dad will continue to preach and pray in churches that open their doors to them. Dana and I are going to spend the rest of our lives equipping couples, parents, and people of all ages and stages of life to utilize prayer as the foundation for family worship. The hope of our churches can only be built on the firm foundation of praying people who live out what they believe among those that know them best, and know them at their worst.

"The Whitefield Project" is a non-profit organization with a board of directors recognized by the State of Texas. Tax exempt status has been applied for with the Internal Revenue Service, therefore year end gifts and contributions to The Whitefield Project will be recognized as tax deductible.

If you need more information on how to schedule a "Pray2Gether" Prayer Conference, contact us at the following address or phone number. If you are interested in acquiring a DVD set of the Don Miller "Bible Based Prayer Conference" let us know. We have a limited number available for the low cost of $50.00 (price includes shipping).