EMQ » January–March 2023 » Volume 59 Issue 1
By Jason Hubbard
This year marks 300 years since the founding of the Moravian community in Herrnhut, Germany. Back in 1722, a group of 300 Bohemian Moravians fleeing persecution, arrived in northeastern Germany. A wealthy aristocrat, named Count Zinzendorf, offered them refuge on his estate to build a small community named Herrnhut, which means “the watch of the Lord.”
On August 13, 1727, during a communion service, they experienced a powerful move of God – an intense sense of God’s love for one another and for lost people beyond their community. What followed was focused, united, and strategic prayer that continued day and night for one hundred years.
As men, women, and children prayed around the clock, God called missionaries amongst them. More than 300 people responded, and they helped establish over 5,000 missionary settlements around the world. Their love for Jesus compelled them to pray night and day, and bring his love to the nations. That was reflected in their motto: “Our Lamb has conquered, let us follow him.”
Today, I believe, we are seeing their vision for prayer being reborn. 2033 marks 2,000 years of the Great Commission and the birthday of the Church. As we draw closer to this significant milestone, God is inviting us to a decade of harvest, where human cooperation in prayer and the empowered proclamation of the gospel has begun to intersect with the divine sovereignty of God.
COVID-19 Draws Together Prayer and Gospel Movements
As COVID-19 spread globally, millions of believers joined together in prayer – from Indonesia, to South Africa, India to Brazil, North Africa to the Middle East. They asked God the Father to give his Son, the Lord Jesus, the nations as his inheritance. While they prayed, the Church grew. One of the largest house church networks reported that during this period they grew from 2 million house churches to close to 3 million. This added 20 million new Jesus followers in just a few years![i] This is just one example of how prayer and gospel movements are converging.
However, a massive amount of the Great Commission work remains. Even after 2,000 years of Church history these spiritual realities continue:
- 86% of the world’s Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims still do not know a single Christian.[ii]
- 1,680 people groups do not have a Bible in their own language.[iii]
- 1.86 billion people in the 100 largest remaining unreached people groups, mostly in South Asia, remain only 1% Christian.[iv]
And if no one shares the gospel with them, nearly 500 million people in China will perish without ever hearing the good news of Jesus.[v]
Jesus shared this tension with his disciples in Matthew 9:35–38 (ESV), “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’”
Jesus gives us the solution to the problem of an abundant harvest without adequate workers – pray earnestly! In fact, 19 chapters before Jesus says, “Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations …” he says, “Pray therefore!” As Dick Eastman, president of Every Home for Christ, and one of the most respected prayer mobilizers in the world says, “The degree to which prayer is mobilized is the degree to which the world will be evangelized.”[vi]
In this command, Jesus doesn’t use the common Greek word for prayer. He uses the word deomai, which means to “plead desperately.” And he doesn’t simply tell the disciples to pray for laborers to be sent out to the harvest fields. He uses the word ekballo, which means to “drive out, or hurl forth.” This is the same word he uses when he casts out demons in both Matthew 9:38 and Luke 10:2. So if we review Matthew 9:35–38 once more, we see Jesus commanding us to plead desperately to the Lord of the harvest to forcefully thrust out laborers into his harvest!
Desperate Prayer Moves Nations
Followers of Jesus in Indonesia experienced great persecution in the 1990s. Then the 2004 tsunami unleased tragic devastation – more than 225,000[vii] people died in Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, and Maldives. In response, the Indonesian Church came together in unified desperate prayer.
On May 17, 2012, 120,000 people – including 9,500 prayer and missions leaders from 86 nations, 20,000 children ages 4–14, and 20,000 young adults ages 18–30 – gathered in Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta, for the World Prayer Assembly (worldprayerassembly.org). The crowd filled the city’s soccer stadium. An additional 385 other stadiums filled with even more Indonesian Christians who joined in praying. They urgently asked God to send a fresh wave of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord to cover the earth as the waters cover the seas (Habakkuk 2:14).
By 2022, Indonesia had nearly 600 city-wide prayer networks united across denominations and generations. In May 2022, they celebrated 10 years since the first World Day of Prayer by coming together in a virtual assembly. Thousands gathered at watch parties across Indonesia, and they were joined by participants from 101 other nations. Under this canopy of connected, strategic, and sustainable prayer, the Church in the world’s largest Muslim nation has grown extraordinarily fast.
Since 2019, Last Quarter Evangelism (LQE) has mobilized millions of children and youth in West Africa between 4 and 14 years old to pray and share their faith. The student-designed, student-led outreach program runs from October 1–December 31 each year. It is done in partnership with All Africa Baptist Fellowship (AABF), All Africa Baptist Youth Fellowship (AABYF) and The Prayer Covenant. During the first two years of this large initiative, more than one million people across more than 30 nations came to Jesus as a result of the witness and testimony of these young people.[viii]
During Ramadan in 2022, more than 10,000 people committed to pray 15 minutes each day for 24 unreached Muslims cities throughout the Middle East. Their combined commitment totaled more than 43,000 hours of prayer using specific Bible-based prayer points.[ix]
The last night of Ramadan, Muslims call the Night of Power – a night which commemorates when they believe God revealed the Quran to Mohammed through the angel Gabriel. During that night Reaching Unreached Nations Ministries (runministries.org), the Jesus Film global leadership team and partners, International Prayer Connect ipcprayer.org), and the hosts, Global Family Prayer Room (globalfamily24-7prayer.org) joined together as a global family in 24/7 prayer both online and on the ground. We called our night of prayer, One Miracle Night. Our combined prayer totaled more than 50 million hours! We prayed for Christ to be exalted and gospel movements to emerge throughout the Middle East.
And God acted. One family of Jesus followers reported a significant breakthrough as a result. They owned a completed Bible translation in the heart language of an unreached people who lived hidden in the mountains of their Middle Eastern country. These believers wanted to share it with that community, but they couldn’t find them.
They noticed that the translated Bible was missing every morning, but reappeared when they came home from the work each day. After seeing this pattern several times, they decided to stay up one night to see what was happening.
During the night a dog came, picked up the Bible, and took off running. They decided to follow the dog. It led to the very people they were searching for! They shared Jesus with them, and the village came to Christ!
If God can use a dog to accomplish his work, he can use any of us! As Hudson Taylor said, “When we work, we work; but when we pray, God works.”
Collaborative Intercession Ushers in a Harvest
The Go Movement (gomovement.world) is one example of a collaborative prayer and evangelism effort emerging over the last several years. Its focus is calling every believer to be a witness, with a vision to raise up 100 million intercessors for a one-billion-soul harvest!
This last year, thousands of churches were mobilized in prayer and evangelism. The Go Movement reports that 60 million people came faith this last May, as a direct result of their prayer and evangelism efforts.[x] These numbers are comparable to any of the great revivals throughout church history. And this would indicate a God-breathed Christ-awakening beginning to emerge across the world!
International Prayer Connect (ipcprayer.org) partners with ministries like Reaching Unreached Nations (RUN), Finishing the Task (FTT), and the Go Movement to bring believers together in prayer. Inspired by the story of the Moravians, they recently launched a new prayer initiative called Pray 110 (110cities.com). The focus on these cities came out of research from global house church movements that identified these 110 cities that are ripe for the harvest. Additionally, nearly all remaining unreached people groups on the earth live in or nearby these 110 cities!
These house church leaders also shared that they have teams ready to launch church planting and disciple-making movements in these cities between 2022–2025, and their sense is these movements will rapidly multiply. This is yet another example of prayer and gospel movements coming together.
International Prayer Connect’s (IPC) prayer strategy is to:
- Prayer walk each of these cities in the next three years, praying onsite with insight.
- Raise up 110 million people to pray daily for the peoples living in these 110 unreached mega cities.
- Establish on-going 24/7 prayer in each of these cities, building a canopy of night and day prayer one prayer meeting at a time.
Working together with on-the-ground teams, IPC developed five prayer points for each city which include the unreached languages of the people groups in each city, Bibles that need to be translated, humanitarian needs of justice, and areas of remaining demonic strongholds. During the next three years, IPC will track the measurable results – number of disciples made, Bibles being translated, and house churches planted. Anyone can join in praying for these cities by signing up at 110cities.com.
Global Voice of Prayer
In 2021, Global Voice of Prayer (globalvoiceofprayer.com) partnered together with several other global prayer movements around the world to produce a powerful and inspiring one hour documentary, called Come to Table,[xi] documenting the prayer and mission’s movements over the last few decades!
One of the great stories documented is the impact of the Global Day of Prayer, whose founder and leader, Graham Power, recently went home to be with the Lord. In 2001 Graham initiated a stadium gathering in Cape Town, South Africa that saw 45,000 Christians pray for the needs in their nation. By 2010 this movement grew to become the largest prayer gathering in recorded history with about 350 million from 220 nations participating in the Global Day of Prayer on Pentecost Sunday.[xii]
Prayer is the Key to Revival
Ultimately to have God’s blessings, God’s work must be done God’s way. And Jesus, himself, is the work, the way, and the blessings we need. He must have the supremacy, predominance, preeminence, central focus, exaltation, visibility, and raison d’être! As David Bryant writes, “both individually and corporately, we must be committed to pursuing together more of who God’s Son is to us, for us, over us, before us, within us, through us and upon us!”[xiii]
We have a phrase in our house of prayer, “Little keys open big doors.” Let’s take this little key called prayer, put it in God’s hand and believe God to open a big door called revival and awaking in the nations of the earth! We praise God for the promise that “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16, NKJV).
God releases his power in response to the prayers of his people. God will either give us what we ask for or give us what we would have asked for if we knew everything he knew. I believe he is so much better than we think he is and doing more than we think he is doing in response to our prayers! May God do immeasurable more than all we ever ask or even imagine all for his glory, for our joy, and for the salvation of the multitudes in the nations!
Jason Hubbard (firstname.lastname@example.org), PhD, currently serves as the director of International Prayer Connect (IPC) – a global network of hundreds of global prayer networks and ministries. IPC’s vision is to “Catalyze united prayer across nations, denominations, movements, and generations for the fulfillment of the great commission.” IPC also helps to mobilize prayer for several mission organizations. Jason has been married to Kristie for 30 years, and they have three children and four grandchildren.
[i] Source verified but not disclosed due to security restrictions.
[ii] “Global Evangelism,” Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, https://www.gordonconwell.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/13/2019/04/1EvangelismInfographic.pdf.
[iii] “2022 Global Scripture Access,” Wycliffe Global Alliance, https://www.wycliffe.net/resources/statistics/.
[iv] “Unreached: 100 Largest,” Joshua Project, https://joshuaproject.net/unreached/1.
[v] Todd M. Johnson and Gina A. Zurlo, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed October 2022), https://worldchristiandatabase.org/.
[vi] Excerpt from “Dick Eastman’s 1971 Vision of a Global Prayer Movement,” International House of Prayer, https://www.ihopkc.org/press-center/news-articles/dick-eastmans-1971-vision-global-prayer-movement-2/.
[vii] Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia, “Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004,” Encyclopedia Britannica, August 20, 2022, https://www.britannica.com/event/Indian-Ocean-tsunami-of-2004.
[ix] “Ramadan 2022,” Pray 4 Movement, https://pray4movement.org/ramadan_2022/.
[x] Go Movement, Powerpoint Presentation for Finishing the Task Conference, October 25, 2022.
[xi] “Come to the Table Pentecost Global Broadcast 2022,” Global Voice of Prayer, YouTube video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Codez81DwO8&t=256s.
[xii] “About Us,” Global Voice of Prayer, https://www.globalvoiceofprayer.com/about-us/.
[xiii] David Bryant, Christ is Now! (New Providence, NJ: New Providence Publishers, 2017), 4.
EMQ, Volume 59, Issue 1. Copyright © 2023 by Missio Nexus. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from Missio Nexus. Email: EMQ@MissioNexus.org.