American Colony & Jerusalem Prayer Center.

Tragedy Births a New Beginning.

The Great Chicago Fire was only the beginning of devastation for the Spafford family.   Anna and Horatio suffered large financial loss in the fire, yet were still willing to open their home to those who lost every thing. After two years of helping their neighbors exhaustion set in.  To recover Anna and their four young daughters sailed to Europe leaving Horatio caring for his business. A collision at sea sank their ship. Anna telegraphed back, “Saved Alone. What shall I do.”

Horatio set sail to join Anna. The captain informed him when the ship reached the area where his daughters perished. Here he penned the words to the hymn “It is well with my soul.” Returning to Chicago to rebuild their lives Anna had another daughter, Bertha. Then a son who soon died.

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Seeking a new beginning Anna, Horatio and Bertha along with a few other families set sail for Jerusalem. They lived communally forming a society whose work was intended to hasten the second coming of Christ. In 1888 Horatio died from malaria. Anna, Bertha and over 130 members carryed on the benevolent work of the American Colony.

The day of benevolent work has passed. The American Colony is now a luxury five-star hotel leaving behind unique pages of Jerusalem’s history.  Wikipedia

American Colony, Jerusalem 2017.


Connected by Blood.

What is now the Jerusalem Prayer Center was built as a home for a wealthy Arab in 1890.  Anna and Horatio’s daughter, Bertha and her husband, Frederick Vester, purchased the home in 1905. For twenty-five years it served as their family residence until sold to Sweden’s Counsel General to Jerusalem in 1930.

Sold once again to the Baptist Convention in Israel it served in from 1969 to 2006 in various capacities. Run down from years of use it was decided, through unanimous answer to prayer, that God wanted it restored to be a house of prayer.


Completed in 2008, visitors now enter its doors to petition the Lord God for their own nations and the Arab and Messianic congragations in Israel. This map excited me in knowing that Jews and Arabs are prayed for and that the kingdom of God is expanding in the promise land.



The Jerusalem Prayer Center.