Lausanne Occasional Paper No. 42
Produced by the Issue Group on this topic at the 2004 Forum for World Evangelization hosted by the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization
In Pattaya, Thailand, 29 September to 5 October, 2004
The vision of Issue Group 13 on ‘Prayer in Evangelism’ was to ‘Embrace God’s agenda for World Evangelization through Prayer in Evangelism.’ Its purpose was to ‘Reawaken, encourage and equip the church to be involved in world evangelization through Prayer in Evangelism.’
The group planned to:
- Define the motivation for and the importance of ‘Prayer in Evangelism’ from a biblical and theological perspective.
- Assist and encourage Christians to be involved in prayer based evangelism in every stage of the disciple making process.
- Equip Christians to identify the obstacles to evangelism in their region that need to be the focus of informed, strategic prayer.
- Fuel a passion for prayer based evangelism both locally and globally by sharing stories of God’s miraculous intervention in bringing the gospel to different people groups.
- Source and resource the best material to inspire, educate and assist the people of God in local communities in prayer based evangelism.
In developing this planning by email before the Forum and then throughout the Issue Group meetings during the Forum, participants of the Group identified the topics outlined in the table of contents to provide information and practical instruction on how both the vision and purpose could be achieved. Most of the discussion time was spent in the eight sub-groups dealing with each topic. The chapters therefore are primarily the product of each individual subgroup. The final chapter however, entitled ‘Supplementary Material,’ is additional to what was submitted as sub-group material, expanding on some of the items discussed.
Although not every topic is dealt with in the same way, included in the ways are the following considerations:
- concise definitions of the topic in relation to ‘prayer in evangelism’
- the biblically based theology for the topic
- practical outcomes and action steps on how to begin to mobilise and equip churches in this area
- stories that demonstrate what is being presented
- a list of the best available resources.
For this group it was decided not to address any particular area of evangelism in theological or strategic depth, but to seek to provide the church as a whole, including congregations and mission agencies, with a handbook for Prayer in Evangelism to use in their own situation – whatever that might be.
Praying in God’s Purpose and Praying towards God’s Purpose
for World Evangelization
1. God summons us to pray in the pursuing of His purpose in evangelization of the world.
Article One of the Lausanne Covenant states:
‘We affirm our belief in the one eternal God, Creator and Lord of the world, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who governs all things according to the purpose of His will. He has been calling out from the world a people for Himself, and sending His people back into the world to be His servants and His witnesses, for the extension of His kingdom, the building up of Christ’s body, and the glory of His name.’
God’s people are clearly commanded to pray for the fulfilment of His purpose. The role of prayer in evangelization is integral to God’s purpose in these five ways.
a) God’s calling
God ‘has been calling out from the world a people for Himself.’
God’s call is the heart of His saving work. We are to pray to God to do what no evangelist can do – to draw people to Himself. We ask in our prayers for Him to continue to do all that He will do in bringing people to Himself. We pray for God’s word going forth in a global cry in order that all the earth hear His voice, that none of His words will return void. (Genesis 12: 3; Acts 2:39; 1 Corinthians 1:9)
b) God’s sending
God is ‘sending His people back into the world to be His servants and His witnesses.’
Christ instructs us to pray that God will thrust His people into the communities and lives of people in all the world, to accomplish the work of evangelization. (Matthew 9:37-38)
c) God’s kingdom
God sends His people back into the world for the ‘extension of His kingdom.’ Christ teaches us to pray for the fulfilment of His purpose in bringing forth His rule on the earth amongst every people within the days of this age. To pray for His kingdom to come is to pray for Christ to be obeyed in faith, to pray for signs of His kingly rule to be displayed openly, for the powers of darkness to be subdued, so that whole communities begin to exhibit features of His righteousness and His peace for the transformation of society that they might demonstrate the love of God, the righteousness of God and the peace He intends for His people. It is good and right to pray for His blessing for all the peoples of the earth, for all people to submit to Him as King. (Genesis 12:3; Matthew 6:10)
d) Christ’s body
God sends His people back into the world for ‘the building up of Christ’s body.’ Praying for Christ’s church is a critical dimension of evangelization. Scripture summons us to pray that Christ’s body will be revived, renewed and built up in order to clearly reflect the glory of Christ in all things. By God’s grace prayer-revived churches are ready to welcome and nurture new followers. (Psalm 85:6; Philippians 2:5-7; Ephesians 6:18-19)
e) God’s Glory
God sends His people back into the world for ‘the glory of His name.’
Our Lord tells us to pray that the name of God would be sanctified, that is, to be revealed, distinguished and honoured. This prayer is the beginning point for all effective evangelization. We are to pray that God will be known clearly even by those who reject Christ as Lord and Saviour. The ultimate purpose of an evangelized world is that God will be worshipped and glorified by some from every tribe and tongue. (Matthew 6:9; Philippians 2; 2 Thessalonians 3; Revelation 21)
2. Christ our intercessor, teacher and example for prayer in evangelization
a) Christ’s intercession
Christ enables us as a priesthood of all believers in helping Him in His priestly work and advocacy for others. God welcomes prayer from all people, as a Father receives from His own children. God initiates and helps all prayer by His Spirit, giving us confidence to approach God
personally when we cry ‘Abba Father.’
We are led by Christ Himself, who intercedes continually for us and invites us to join Him before God’s throne in His work of intercession. We learn how to pray from the teaching and example of Christ. We are summoned to pray for others and not just for ourselves at the throne of grace. As we pray in Christ, as advocates before God for individuals, cities and nations, God is pleased to advance His eternal purpose toward completion.
b) Christ’s teaching regarding prayer
Christ’s teaching about prayer moves far beyond personal devotional prayer. He taught His followers to pray for God’s purpose to be fulfilled and sent them to pray for others. Prayer is related strongly to Christ’s teaching about the kingdom of darkness, about the nature of spiritual blindness and of how people are freed from spiritual bondage to become children of God that is foundational for pursuing the task of prayer towards evangelization.
c) Christ’s example
It is not always noted that Jesus prayed in preparation for his next preaching/ministry event. The works of power which accompanied Christ’s ministry were recognized as answers to His prayer and the work of God in response to faith. (John 11:38-44; Luke 18:38-43; Matthew 9:35)
Jesus clearly linked prayer as essential in subduing the enemy in the work of evangelization. (Luke 10:17-20; Matthew 17:20-21)
We will find our best approach to the human questions and issues raised by spiritual warfare in the example and teaching of Christ.
3. Declaration with demonstration in prayer
a) God answers prayer
In John 14:13 Jesus sums up the purpose of prayer: that the Father would be glorified in the Son, whether we do power evangelism, servant evangelism or relational evangelism. Whatever we do, we offer to pray with and for someone revealing our love, and communicating the very love of God.
As God moves in response to prayer it reveals His hand to those who will or have heard the gospel. Prayer demonstrates the gospel, communicates the love, the interest and hope that often opens the way to proclamation. Even the offer to pray for people who have yet to follow Christ displays God’s love as reflected in the good will of His people.
b) The acts of prayer
As God’s people offer to pray for others, His love, His hope, and His blessing are communicated. Answers to prayer may draw attention to Christ and illumine the gospel with clear communication of the whole gospel which is essential for evangelization.
4. Prayer is essential for the work of world evangelization
a) The whole Church
God invites the whole church, every member, every Christian to be a witness and a servant. Every believer has a role and a work to accomplish in prayer.
Everyone is summoned to join in the work of praying for the world and for others. (2 Chronicles 7:14; Matthew 28:18-20; John 17:20-21; Acts 2:42-47).
There are special callings and ministries of prayer and we have come to recognize these by the current term ‘intercessors.’ These ministries and intercessors are to strengthen and encourage the whole church to accomplish God’s work in prayer as a priesthood of all believers.
God is pleased with united prayer (Matthew 18:20). The unity of the Father and the Son is our unity in Christ. Together we say the words ‘Our Father’; we cry out ‘Abba’ Father, demonstrating that the Spirit is bearing witness to us as children of God and heirs with Christ. As we pray in agreement we are glorifying Him, as we align ourselves together with His purpose. (Romans 8:15-17; Acts 4:23-31; Acts 6: 4-5)
b) The whole gospel
In Matthew 25, in the parable of the sheep and goats, our Lord speaks of ministering to those who are hungry and thirsty and are strangers and need clothing and need to be cared for in sickness and in prison. The gospel reaches out to the total needs of humanity – physical, emotional and spiritual. It is a whole gospel that is to be related to our prayer in evangelism. As the Lausanne Covenant (clause 5) states:
‘The salvation we claim should be transforming us in the totality of our personal and social responsibilities.’
c) The whole world
The fact that prayer has a strong connection with the spread of the gospel ought to urge us to see its crucial role in evangelization today. In 2 Thessalonians 3:1 Paul asks for prayer. ‘Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified everywhere, just as it is among you.’ We ask for God’s gracious provision that the gospel will have a continuing transforming effect locally, nationally and globally.
God will surely hear our cry: ‘let the earth hear His voice.’ He will bring forth an evangelized world in which we will hear a rising song coming to a grand crescendo: ‘Let all the peoples praise Him.’
Graeme Goldsworthy, Prayer and the knowledge of God
Steve Hawthorne, Fresh Prayer (www.waymakers.org)
Sarah Plummer, Forty days with the risen Lord – an all age resource for churches to pray towards God’s purpose.
The Bible clearly requires us to pray for persons who are not in the kingdom of God. In 1 Timothy 2 we are reminded that God wants all persons to be saved, and we are urged ‘therefore’ to pray for everyone. In this Scripture, Paul indicates that people come to salvation and knowledge of the truth in response to prayer. Jesus modeled prayer for the unsaved when He prayed, ‘My prayer is not for them [my disciples] alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message’ (John 17:20).
‘Prayer in evangelism’ is prayer for the unsaved, asking the Lord to draw them to Himself (John 6:44); to open their ears to understand the truth (Matthew 13:19); and to open their eyes to see the light of the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4). It also involves praying for ourselves that we may have compassion for the spiritual well-being of unbelievers, and be open to sharing the good news as He opens the door of opportunity. Simply put, in evangelistic praying we talk to God about people and then talk to people about God.
Evangelism without prayer
The church has long sought to engage in evangelism. However, it has not always integrated evangelism with prayer in the way God intended – an oversight that may account for much of the failure of many well-intentioned evangelistic efforts. Attempts to be involved in evangelism with little or no prayer have been discouraging and have yielded limited fruit. Without prayer, God’s people often lack the compassion and the conviction to be effective. If God doesn’t take the initiative in the life of the unbeliever, as He promises to do in response to our prayers, we are limited to human resources and human understanding. It takes the supernatural power of God to release those who are in Satan’s grip (Matthew 17:21AV) and to open the eyes of those blinded to the light of the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4). God will act in response to our specific prayers.
Without prayer, the church’s evangelistic efforts will:
- be burdensome, discouraging, and done out of duty
- lack in the discernment that comes from the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:6-10)
- miss the joy of seeing people come to faith
- fail to produce lasting fruit (John 15:7-8, 16).
Does this mean that evangelism with little or no prayer support will always fail? The answer is ‘no’! God in His sovereign good pleasure may bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ despite our prayerlessness. The church may in fact reap where it has not sown (John 4:37-38). However, God prefers to work through and with us!
Prayer without evangelism
The church has throughout history always engaged in prayer. However, it has not always related prayer to evangelism – a failure that has resulted in different kinds of imbalance. If a church’s prayers and activities are always inwardly directed toward the needs and concerns of God’s people and seldom or never outwardly directed toward the world that God loves (John 3:16) – then the church will:
- be missing the very heart of God
- be lacking in Christ-like vision and compassion
- be ineffective in building God’s kingdom
- miss the joy of seeing God’s power released in people’s lives.
Prayer in evangelism
When believers pray faithfully and fervently (James 5:16) for those outside the kingdom, wonderful things happen. Evangelistic praying generates in the heart of the intercessor a Christ-like and Christ-engendered love that motivates the believer to reach out to lost persons and look for faith-sharing opportunities. God in turn often grants to such intercessors the discernment that further facilitates effective evangelism. Evangelistic pray-ers are often among the first to hear and respond obediently to God’s call for action. In other words, they do not simply look for God to intervene in response to their prayers. They report for action!
Evangelistic praying is for every believer – young or old, educated or uneducated, new believer or veteran saint. They can all pray for the lost, whether in their family, their neighbourhood, their city, for whole nations or unreached people groups.
Guidelines for prayer in evangelism
Not all prayer for the lost is effective. While God welcomes all prayer, even very simple childlike prayers, prayer that is perfunctory, self-oriented or compassionless will not accomplish much in evangelism. We cannot expect God to hear the prayers of those who have hearts that are hard, doubting, unforgiving or disobedient.
To be effective, evangelistic pray-ers must first of all pay close attention to God, worshipping Him with a believing heart (John 4:23-24), desiring His glory in all things (John 17:24). In order to pray on target they need to discern His mission and His heart for lost persons or groups of persons. Like Jesus, who always chose to do what He saw the Father doing, they need to discern what God wants them to pray for and to do. It cannot be emphasized enough that this must involve attentively listening to God in prayer before proceeding.
The effectiveness of our prayers will also depend on our human relationships. Scriptures underscore the need to be reconciled to and at peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ and to experience the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace (Psalm 133:1; John 15:9-10; 17:22). An unforgiving spirit will hinder our prayers (1 Peter 3:7). The attitude of our hearts will also affect the quality of our prayers. The Bible is replete with reminders of how to pray. It challenges us to pray:
- in faith knowing that God will answer those who do not doubt (James 1:6) and with childlike trust expect that God will reward (Hebrews11:6);
- with a consciousness of God’s sure promises (Luke 11:7-11);
- with a humble spirit and a contrite heart (Psalm 51:17; 34:18; 138:6);
- with compassion for the lost and hurting people of this world (Matthew 9:37- 38);
- with perseverance (Luke 11:5-8;18:1-8) and, if necessary, a willingness to fast and pray.
As they pray, believers, in order to be effective in evangelism, need also to:
- intentionally build a loving relationship with those who live and work around them – relationships in which they seek the very best for the other person. Such relationships lay the groundwork for friendship evangelism;
- be ready, with an obedient heart, to serve a needy and hurting world in the name of Jesus Christ in practical ways (Isaiah 58:9);
- be available to be used of the Lord whenever and wherever the opportunity arises;
- overcome with persistent prayer the obstacles/opposition to evangelism that will certainly occur.
Outcomes of prayer in evangelism
Many things happen when Christians pray for the unsaved in their spheres of influence, their communities, and their world – things that wouldn’t have happened if they had not prayed (Ephesians 3:20). This is true because all the power of prayer is God’s power released through our prayers. God’s power, working in and through believers, changes hearts (1 Timothy 2:1-4), accomplishes great works (John 14:12-14), defeats Satan (Ephesians 6:18), and shapes history. In reference to evangelism John Wesley once said, ‘God does nothing except in answer to prayer.’ It has been said, ‘Prayer is not a key to evangelism, it is the key’!
Something happens to those we pray for:
- hearts are softened and changed;
- people are convicted of sin and turn to God in repentance;
- people are delivered from bondage and Satanic deceit; and
- strongholds are broken such that individuals and communities are transformed.
Something happens in the church:
- people come to Christ, churches grow, new churches are planted, and the Kingdom is advanced;
- more labourers are released and sent into the harvest;
- the Body of Christ is built up as all believers learn to pray and work together;
- there is increased awareness of the power of prayer and increased discernment of God’s vision and guidance.
Something happens to those who pray:
- they have the joy of partnering with an awesome God;
- they become channels of God’s love birthed in their hearts by the Holy Spirit;
- they learn to use the weapons of spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Corinthians 10:4-5);
- their faith increases as they see the word of God accomplish that for which it was sent;
- they grow spiritually and learn to be increasingly dependent on God.
Vision for prayer in evangelism
We should pray that members of the whole Church – every man, woman and child – be equipped and motivated to play their part in the Great Commission by utilizing prayer as the key to effective and creative evangelism.
Action plans for prayer in evangelism
Implementing prayer-in-evangelism action plans for the global church will require the combined effort of all God’s people whatever their place or position in society and the church. Those in positions of leadership are vested with God’s authority to teach and lead the church in prayer-evangelism. They have a prime responsibility to train, mentor, and be models for believers in prayer and evangelism. Church members, in daily touch with non-believers, are in a unique position to be Christ’s ‘living epistles’ and to share the good news with those around them.
Those in positions of leadership and authority nationally are urged to:
- encourage leaders in the church to unite in prayer for their communities, cities and nations;
- encourage leaders in the church to mobilize all their people to pray for revival and then work together in joint evangelistic initiatives;
- bridge the gap between the workers in evangelism and the intercessors by bringing them together in relationship and collaborative evangelistic initiatives;
- promote existing training materials and produce additional materials for prayer in evangelism;
- recognize and utilize existing prayer networks for use in world evangelism.
Those in position of leadership and authority locally are urged to:
- embrace and model a lifestyle of prayer and understand its importance in evangelism;
- identify, recognize, affirm and activate others who have leadership gifts in this area;
- creatively teach and transfer the principles and practices of prayer in evangelism to the current and next generations;
- implement and organize prayer for all forms of evangelistic ministries;
- consciously encourage children and youth in prayer evangelism ministries.
Believers everywhere are urged to:
- pray faithfully and intentionally for those in their circles of influence and for all those whom God places on their hearts;
- live out a lifestyle of prayer in evangelism in their homes and with their families so that Christian values may be transmitted to the next generation;
- be prepared to share their faith when opportunity arises, noting that this may require some form of training;
- physically go to those being prayed for by means of prayerwalks, prayerjourneys, prayer-drives, and prayer-flights;
- host hospitality or harvest events where guests can explore the claims of the gospel.
Education and training institutions are urged to:
- mentor students in the practical aspects of prayer-evangelism;
- develop courses and prayer evangelism resources;
- help the church understand that all believers are called to share the gospel and facilitate the development of contexts in which everyone is released into Great Commission ministries.
Contemporary examples of prayer in evangelism
Stories abound in the area of prayer in evangelism. The following illustrate the power of prayer in evangelism in individual, family, neighbourhood and national life.
1. A changed life leading to a transformed community:
Naik had never understood love. Life had been cruel to him over many years. He had been involved in theft, murder and adultery. The Lord met him in a prostitute’s house where he heard the gospel on the radio. He was immediately touched by the power of God, convicted of his sin and accepted Christ’s free gift of salvation. After believers prayed for him, the love of God compelled him to tell others about Jesus. He ran to every house in the village, and everyone believed. People who knew him as a brutal man began to call him ‘priest.’ He has become a tribal leader and has been used to bring the residents in many villages to Christ.
2. Family prayer changes lives:
A Christian family in the United States accepted the challenge of praying for their neighbours. As they prayed over eight weeks for five neighbouring families, remarkable things happened. A young man from one of these homes approached the husband of the family and asked for help to get out of dealing drugs. A young girl came with questions about Christianity and gave her life to Christ and started to go to church. A Hispanic family with two children asked to have a Bible study and ended up with all four of them trusting Christ. A Buddhist family from across the street asked to go to church with them. God soon began to draw them to Himself and to touch their lives in gracious ways. All this happened because one family prayed faithfully for their neighbours and were available to be used by the Lord.
3. Church as light and salt to society:
When believers begin to pray seriously for their neighbours, things begin to happen. When members of a church planted several prayer evangelism cells in an apartment complex to pray for those who lived there, the manager became a Christian, drug dealers moved out, crime rates went down, many tenants started going to church, several Bible studies started, and ten people made commitments to Christ. The difference was so evident that the police, discovering the reason for the changes, asked the church to consider planting similar prayer evangelism cells in other complexes.
4. Prayer changes a nation:
For many years, Nigeria was led by military dictators. The last dictator, General Sani Abacha, was the worst. He imprisoned and killed many of his opponents. The church also struggled under this oppression. In 1999, the church in Nigeria, under the auspices of the Christian Association of Nigeria, declared three days of prayer and fasting. Immediately afterwards, General Abacha died! A new president who had been imprisoned by General Abacha and had come to Christ in prison, was elected. The church is now flourishing! God is using the Christian community in Nigeria today as a missionary force in Africa and beyond. A key reason for all this is fervent prayer.
Sovereign God, we acknowledge that You are the head of Your body, the church. Forgive us for our selfish motives and our often pious religious spirit. Open our eyes to the physical, spiritual, and mental ‘lostness’ of those around us. Once again we offer You our souls and bodies as living sacrifices to live and work to Your praise and glory. Please teach us to pray, teach us to listen, teach us to obey You individually and corporately. Send more labourers into Your world to be effective Christ-like witnesses for You – with Your love, passion and concern for all we encounter. Send your Holy Spirit afresh upon us and upon Your whole Church that we might be the ‘Kingdom People’ – one in our heart, vision, and call. Amen.
We seek to provide a tool to reawaken, encourage and equip the whole church to pray in spiritual warfare as we engage in world evangelization.
We agree that evangelization is to bring people from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God (Acts 26:17). This involves an inescapable element of spiritual warfare (Lausanne Statement on Spiritual Warfare, 1993).1
We believe that we are engaged in constant spiritual warfare with the principalities and power of evil, who are seeking to overthrow the Church and frustrate its task of world evangelization (Clause 12 in the Lausanne Covenant, 1974).
We affirm that spiritual warfare demands spiritual weapons, and that we must both preach the word in the power of the Spirit, and pray constantly that we may enter into Christ’s victory over the principalities and powers of evil (Manila Manifesto, 1989).
Prayer in spiritual warfare defined
Spiritual warfare prayer is God-directed intercession using the resources of Jesus Christ given to the whole Church in order to overcome obstacles by the power of the Holy Spirit to facilitate the evangelization of the whole world (2 Corinthians 10; Ephesians 6:12).
Scriptural overview of spiritual warfare
Satan is a defeated creature with limited power for a limited time. Because Satan has set himself up against God, he uses his power during this short time to prevent the hearing, the receiving and the living out of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the world and in the Church. Those who belong to the Lord are assaulted. Those who do not belong to the Lord are deceived and are living in the ‘dominion of darkness.’2
Along with his cohorts, Satan is already defeated and is awaiting his final destiny at the hands of the Lord. God alone has authority over Satan and He has promised to overcome him. Indeed, God has overcome Satan in Jesus by His death and resurrection. Jesus Himself will one day bind and imprison Satan forever.3
As we wait for that day, God calls us as the Body of Christ to participate with Jesus in bringing others out of darkness into the light of the gospel. As the people of God, we stand opposed to Satan, the aggressor. We rebuke Satan, the accuser. We resist him as God’s adversary.4
Jesus was sent by the Father to preach the good news, proclaiming freedom for prisoners. Jesus is the rightful King over all. He wields His sovereign power to free His creation from the kingdom of darkness so that people can become true worshippers of the living God and walk in the light with Him. He shares His authority with His ambassadors to do the same.
As the children of God who live in the presence of the Father, we see things differently. He has seated us with Christ in the heavenly realms so that we can pray as those who know the outcome already won by Jesus. We have been given the rights and privileges that we inherit with Jesus, the Son. Along with the right to become children of God, Jesus has given us authority to preach the gospel; to ask the Father for anything in Jesus’ name; to heal; to cast out, bind and rebuke demons; to do the works of Jesus and to do even greater things than Jesus did, and to witness in such a way that people will be free from the power of Satan, enabling them to receive forgiveness.5
God is at work to make us like Jesus and to empower us by the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:4) as we enter with Jesus into the battle until He comes again. Our aim in spiritual warfare prayer is that God will be seen for who He is, Satan’s work will be thwarted, and that people will be set free to ‘declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light’ (1 Peter 2:9).
Position for prayer in spiritual warfare
Only the living can stand! And only those who have been made alive in Christ and who ‘stand’ in Christ are in a position to stand against the works of the evil one.6
Stand by grace in Christ
It is by grace we are saved from sin, death and Satan (Ephesians 2:8; Romans 8:11; John 4:4). As we acknowledge that we are sinners saved by grace, dependent on the power and authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are given grace to stand firm in battle. Prayer is a prime demonstration of that acknowledgement, as we call on the Lord to protect what is His and to extend His reign to others who need His grace. The people of God can overcome the works of the evil one against the people and purposes of God as we ‘stand’ in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 6).
Stand in freedom by the Spirit
Christ has set His people free from the struggle to try to attain righteousness on their own and from sin (Galatians 5; Isaiah 40:28-31). We are freed by the power of the Spirit to turn away from sin, choosing righteous living and holy attitudes. As we live as free people, God gives us the freedom to enter into His presence (Psalms 15; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 Timothy 2:21-22).
Stand in the armour of God
To be Christ-like in character and life is crucial to experiencing the defeat of the works of Satan in our own lives, the life of the Church and in the unbelievers to whom we witness. In Ephesians 6:10-20 we are given a model for being strong in character and life in ‘the armour of God’. God has given His people weapons for protection and engagement in spiritual warfare. In spiritual warfare prayer, God defeats the works of the devil as we pray and preach the word of God, as we speak the truth in prayer and as we pray with the authority of Jesus.7
Prayer in spiritual warfare
Preparing in and for prayer
Preparation and reliance on the Holy Spirit are necessary for all types of ministry, no less the ministry of spiritual warfare prayer. God’s people, while protected and empowered in Christ, must be aware of the personal responsibility and preparation needed as we engage in spiritual warfare prayer.
To be effective we need God’s direction and instruction. Spiritual warfare prayer cannot be a formula to reproduce or a list of steps to follow. When Joshua won the battle of Jericho, that battle plan had not been tried before and was not found in any manual. So individuals and groups of believers involved in evangelism and spiritual warfare prayer need to:
- determine their evangelism goals and issues
- discern the battle ground and God’s battle plan, spending time in prayer, fasting, and research
- learn through biblical and practical training
- call and equip people for prayer and evangelism, forming teaching teams, researchers, spiritual warfare prayer teams, evangelists and a team of intercessors who pray for other teams.
Preparation of teams should involve training in these areas
- the biblical basis for spiritual warfare, our position in Christ, and the authority we have in Christ
- personal purity, walking in holiness, and living in right relationship with God and others
- biblical forms of intercession
- developing discernment
- use of spiritual gifts for prayer and evangelism
- fasting and other spiritual disciplines
- investigation of the barriers to the gospel (including spiritual mapping)8
- developing strategies for prayer and evangelism
Putting it into practice
Spiritual warfare prayer teams will, under the Lord’s direction, step out of the training room into the neighbourhood, city or other arena in which evangelism is being done or will be done. As they begin to pray for people or places, they may be called on by God to engage in specific forms of prayer (deliverance,9 healing, fasting prayer, etc.) Or God may instruct them in specific ways, places, or times to pray. He will also motivate His people to worship in this context.10
The point of prayer in spiritual warfare
Spiritual warfare prayer is only a prelude or corollary to evangelism and the establishment of the presence of God in the world through His Church (Romans 10:1). The fruit of the labour of spiritual warfare prayer will not be realized outside the full expression of God’s church. Without the follow up of evangelists, preachers, teachers, disciplers and others in the church, those who have been delivered from darkness as a result of spiritual warfare prayer will not step into the Light, become part of the community of believers, nor will they be able to continue to live in the Light.
This kind of prayer in response to the purposes and Spirit of God has been demonstrated to be used by God to bring new life both in the Church and through our evangelistic endeavours. Some of the tangible outcomes of spiritual warfare prayer will be:
- the revelation of sins, sin patterns, and spiritual strongholds in the believer, the church, the community and in those to whom we witness
- demonstrations of God’s presence and power over evil including healing, deliverance, and power encounters
- increased ability of those in ministry to survive and thrive in their ministry contexts
- openness to the gospel in individuals, communities or among those who have not responded before
- renewed spiritual life of a congregation demonstrated by increased love of and commitment to prayer, worship, evangelism and missions
- those involved in spiritual warfare prayer will also experience ‘backlash,’ or the retaliating attacks of the evil one in attempts to hinder or stop prayer.
Present day testimonies
(a) Church planted in South Asia through spiritual warfare prayer
In 1981, a couple returned from Bible College to plant churches in my capital city. The first step in their pioneering effort was a week of fasting and prayer. As they fasted, the Lord guided them to plant the church among the poorest people in our city. They then went prayerwalking in this area full of criminals, drug addicts, pick pockets and prostitutes. They made friends with the people in the area, introducing themselves to the people and sharing with them about their purposes for being there. God had already prepared a young man’s heart to receive Jesus and his mother welcomed this couple into their home. When they went there, they found her 18 year old son to be mute and very short. His mother expected us to pray for him. In answer to prayer, God performed a miracle, and he was able to speak. This opened the door to start Bible studies and as God added people to the Bible study, they gave their hearts to the Lord. Within four months they started a church. The young man, who was miraculously healed, became the pastor of the church. He was a midget who grew to a height of 5’5”.
(b) Canadian neighbourhood changed through spiritual warfare prayer
The Vancouver Eastside Salvation Army Mission (known as the 614 Mission, in reference to Isaiah 61:4) is committed to win the world for Jesus starting in Vancouver’s downtown eastside. In one slum hotel, 614 has had a non-stop prayer meeting since late February 2004. Some mission members committed to daily prayerwalks through the neighbourhood, walking in pairs, praying biblical prayers of blessing over the few remaining legitimate businesses, praying prayers of restraint over illegitimate businesses, and prayers of protection and restoration for hurting people and relationships. Many college students and others read Scripture and prayed together each morning for 30 minutes. As a result of prayer so far, two marijuana shops have closed. The most notorious corner in the country is now unrecognizably cleaned up. People have been saved, delivered and healed. God has given some prophetic gifts for intercession and often leads people into worship as they intercede for the neighbourhood.
(c) Attempts to hinder evangelism in the US overcome through spiritual warfare prayer
Just prior to beginning evangelistic Bible studies with international students at an American university, I would suddenly become incredibly tired or sick just before going to the study. After seeing the pattern, I asked God to show me what was going on. He showed me that it was a tactic of the enemy to prevent the proclamation of the gospel. God overcame that distraction as I verbally rebuked sleepiness or sickness, praising Jesus for His power to accomplish His purposes through me, and choosing to go to the study no matter how I felt. As I took those simple steps, tiredness and sickness immediately lifted and God used those studies to reveal Jesus to people who had never seen Him before. Some of those students turned to the Lord and I give thanks for the prayers of God’s people.
(d) The unreached in Africa reached through spiritual warfare prayer
In 1997, the Yarsi (Jula, Wala-Dagaari) were an unreached people group dominant in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Today by the grace of the Lord, there are no less than four Christian partnerships reaching them through seven short-term prayer missionaries and on-site missionaries.
The action plan we had (1997-2000)
- initial spiritual mapping of the Yarrsi in Burkina Faso in 1998;
- strategic prayer mobilization through
*prayer warriors and prayer journeys in Ghana;
- discipleship training seminars held by Disciple the Nations (DTN)
for several churches and Christian leaders in Burkina Faso; and
- missionary mobilization of indigenous missionaries.
- several prayer warriors used the prayer PACT plan to pray for the Yarsi people;
- placement of African indigenous missionaries in Bobo-Dioulasso;
- co-working among Christian organizations: Disciple the Nation, Pioneers-Africa, and Assemblies of God in Bobo-Dioulasso to reach and disciple the Yarsi and the Bolon for Christ;
- ongoing prayer journeys are continuing to the Yarsi in south-east Mali, north-west Ghana and north-east Ivory Coast; and
- discipleship training centres set up in Burkina Faso among the Yarsi.
- Neil Anderson, Victory over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ, (Regal Books 1990).
- Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Operation Andrew. Booklet to motivate the church to pray specifically for the salvation of individuals.
- Pieter Boid, Nations Called.
- Rebecca Brown and Daniel Yoder, Unbroken Curses.
- Mark Bubeck, The Adversary. A primer for understanding the enemy and learning strategic, biblically based praying for yourself and others.
- John Dawson, Taking Our Cities For God: How to Break Spiritual Strongholds, (Creation House, 1989). An approach to discerning the spiritual problems of a city and practical steps to seeing spiritual barriers broken in order for people to become receptive to the gospel.
- Dick Eastman, Strategic Level Warfare.
- John Edwards, Loose Him and Let Him Go.
- ______________, Discerning of Spirits.
- Pete Greig, Red Moon Rising Story of the 24/7 prayer movement.
- Frank Hammond, Our Warfare Against Demons and Territorial Spirits.
- _________________, Overcoming Rejection.
- _________________, The Saints at War.
- Frank Hammond and Ida Mae, Pigs in the Parlour.
- Paul Hiebert, Spiritual Warfare and World View. A missiological perspective on the theology of spiritual warfare that provides Biblical boundaries and guidelines for those learning and teaching about spiritual warfare principles and practices.
- Patrick Johnson, Operation World.
- Jessie Penn Lewis, War on the Saints. A classic exposé of Satan’s tactics against the children of God that will challenge and motivate you to get into the word and to learn to pray.
- George Mallone, Arming for Spiritual Warfare, (Eagle Press, England). One of the most practical and comprehensive books on the subject.
- R. Arthur Mathews, Born for Battle. 31 Studies on Spiritual Warfare, (Shaw 1978). A powerful classic for understanding and engaging in spiritual warfare.
- Ana Mendez, Shaking the Heavens.
- Watchman Nee, Sit, Walk, and Stand. Exposition of Ephesians, including theology of spiritual warfare.
- George Otis, Informed Intercession – Transforming your community through spiritual mapping and strategic prayer. (Renew Books, 1999).
- Ed Silvoso, That none should perish.
- C. Peter Wagner, and F. Douglas Pennoyer, Wrestling with Dark Angels
The need for healing in evangelism has never been more than it is today. With the widespread skepticism and indifference to the gospel in many sectors, there is a need for the clear demonstration of the restorative and healing power of the Lord in the world. From the outset, we need to agree to the fact that the Lord is still active in fulfilling all that He has spoken in His word – healing of the sick included.
Our approach is to consider the various aspects of the issue namely, a description of the topic, the biblical basis for prayer for healing in evangelism, the practical outcomes and action steps to motivate and equip the church, some illustrative stories on healing that give access to evangelistic activities and to supply a list of available resources on this subject.
Healing entails bringing cure to the sick and physically afflicted person. It is expressed in the removal of infirmity and disability that has plagued an individual. This definition, however, limits itself to physical and observable healing and does not deal with the subject of inner healing – a concept that is coming into gradual prominence. Inner healing focuses on the healing and conversion of an individual by stepwise exploration of areas of past hurts, and any unforgiven past. (See Experiencing Jesus: Inner Healing Prayer as a Tool; for Evangelism. Chapter 9).
Biblical basis for healing in evangelism
There are various teachings in the circles of the church today and there is need to clarify the mind of God on this issue. The main concern to some has been – does God really want me to be healed? If He does, why did He allow me to become ill in the first place? Is it the will of God for people to be healed?
God does not cause people to become ill, although in His permissive will, He allows those situations to happen and exist (see Job 1:4-10). “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father” (James 1:17). One of those gifts is that of healing from diseases and illnesses.
The plan of God for our healing
The Bible teaches, as illustrated below, that the Lord is interested in our healing:
- ‘by His stripes we were healed’ – Isaiah 53:5-6.
- ‘I wish above all that you be in health and prosper as your soul prospers’ – 3 John 2
- ‘I am the Lord that heals you’ – Exodus 15:26
- ‘healing is the children’s bread…..’ – Matthew 15:26
- ‘Balm in Gilead’ – Jeremiah 8:22
- ‘If my people who are called by name will humble themselves… and pray… I will heal their land…’ – 2 Chronicles 7:14.
- ‘I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly’ – John 10:10.
We could refer to a number of other scriptural illustrations that clearly indicate the Lord can heal divinely by prayer. Having said this, we are also in agreement that the Lord can guide medical personnel in administering medications that have proven qualities and general acceptance in the medical fraternity, to a sick person and the Lord can cause a cure to be obtained. It is noted that Jesus on one occasion used a mixture of spit and mud to apply on the eyes of a blind man who subsequently regained his sight (Mark 8:22-26).
Other healings recorded in Scripture:
a) Old Testament events
- Abraham prayed for the healing of King Abimelech’s family – Genesis 20:17-18
- The son of a Shunamite couple given life – 2 Kings 4:18-37
- Naaman healed through Elisha’s intervention – 2 Kings 5:1-14
- King Hezekiah’s prayer for preservation of life – Isaiah 38:1-9, 21-22.
b) Jesus healed as part of His ministry
- He healed a sick man at the pool of Bethesda – John 5:6-14
- A paralytic was healed and Jesus linked healing with forgiveness of sins – Matthew 9:1-8; Luke 5:17-25
- Jesus healed the woman with the issue of blood – Luke 8:40-43
c) The Apostles had a ministry of healing
- The lame man at the beautiful gate who then praised God – Acts 3: 1-6
- Ananias prays for Paul’s healing – Acts 9:10-12
- The cripple at Lystra is healed – Acts 14:8-18.
Contemporary stories/testimonies of God’s divine healing
These serve to illustrate the tangible nature of healing.
- A woman with HIV/AIDS was healed in India after a prayer session. She is alive and serving the Lord and has led seven people to the Lord.
- A sick woman in Ghana was laid on a stretcher on the platform, and by a command of the ministering priest, she was raised back to health and carried her own stretcher out. By the next day, there were three times more people in the crusade and a third surrendered to Christ. Hallelujah!
- The healing of a traditional Muslim leader who had a stroke in Nigeria led to the total turn around of the entire village to God and the subsequent expulsion of the Imam and conversion of the existing mosque to a church. To the glory of the Lord, the village has remained under the tutelage of the Lord through the ministry of His church.
(i) Where can healing occur?
The Scriptures demonstrate that healing, like most blessings from God, do not need to be shrouded in secrecy nor have a mystic/mystifying undertone. Hence, recorded instances of healing have occurred in various settings and places in the Bible. We believe this is, and should be the case today. The following are some examples:
- In the home setting – Jesus healed the mother-in-law of Peter who was taken ill with a fever, and she rose and ministered to them (Matthew 8:14-17);
- At the church/place of worship – Jesus healed the woman afflicted in the synagogue (Luke 13:10-17);
- One-on-one – Ananias prayed for the healing of Paul and instantly, Paul’s blindness was overturned (Acts 9:10-19);
- Hospital or place for the sick – Jesus healed a man at the pool of Bethesda (a place where people were healed). This man was sick for 38 years (John 5:1- 9);
- Other public places – blind Bartimaeus was on the road when he cried to Christ for healing. Jesus obliged him and called him to receive his sight, and he did (Mark 10:46-52).
So, location and place are no restriction to our practicing and administering divine healing to those in need.
(ii) The name of Jesus
Praying in the name of Jesus is very important in every prayer of healing. The Bible records that whatever we ask in the name and in accordance with the will of the Lord Jesus Christ, He will do it. So issuing commands to infirmities and the demon spirits behind them has to be done in the name of Jesus (John 14:13-14; 1 John 5:14; Acts 3:16). The Bible says that ‘They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony…’ (Revelation 12:11). It may be appropriate in a prayer of healing to reflect on the fact that our healing can occur because of Christ’s suffering on the cross and so it is through His blood shed for us that we can pray against all evil.
(iii) Authority of the believer
Authority of the believer should be applied in praying for the sick. The Christian should remember that we have authority and that the Lord has given us the keys of the kingdom. We should therefore go with assurance of faith as we pray for healing of the sick and afflicted, and rely on God to do His work of healing in accordance with His will. God does not always heal and we accept this in faith because this keeps us humble (see viii below). Remember that Christ accepted His crucifixion as His death was for our salvation. Our illness may be used by Him to mature us in some way.
(iv) How can we administer divine healing?
a)By laying on of hands is one way we see in the Scriptures. In Matthew 8:1-4, Jesus laid hands on the leper ‘and immediately, his leprosy was cleansed.’
b)By speaking forth the word of/for healing. The centurion recognized the potency and authority of the spoken word, so he requested Jesus to speak and give the command for the healing of his servant. Jesus marvelled that a Gentile could muster such faith. Jesus spoke, and the servant was healed (Matthew 8:5-13).
c) By sending an item of clothing. Controversial, but we have an example where pieces of items of clothes like a handkerchief and apron were used as a symbol of the presence of the one praying for healing (Acts 19:10-12). Paul sent those
materials to where he could not physically visit and the Lord honoured this action. He healed and delivered those who were oppressed.
d)By anointing with oil. James (James 5:13-15) encouraged the Church to call the elders and let them pray and anoint the sick in their midst. This was not for soothing purposes – it was for healing! This is still in use and is encouraged.
e)Some unusual means. The shadow of Peter (Acts 5:12-16) cast over the sick was reported to have healed the afflicted. God can instruct His servant to do some unusual, unorthodox and unconventional things. The prompting of the Holy Spirit should be obeyed.
(v) Are all healing experiences instant?
Many who are discouraged by the fact that some people do not get healed when prayed for have asked this question. They argue that with Christ and the early apostles, it was always instant. Whilst this was so, we must take note of the instance where Christ applied mud to the eyes of a blind man who later reported that he was seeing men as trees (Mark 8:22-26). Christ had to touch him a second time and then he saw clearly. So it can happen, that a healing may be gradual over a period of time. It is no less a healing as granted by God.
(vi) Faith in healing – whose faith?
This is another issue of concern to the church. Is it the faith of the believer administering healing prayers or the faith of the recipient? Faith on both sides is important and should be encouraged. However, it is not uncommon for the recipient to be ignorant of the faith issues and as such may not appreciate their importance. The faith of the believer should be called to bear in such a time. Sometimes, both may lack the appropriate faith yet God may choose to heal, because healing is by His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6).
(vii) Who is the healer?
Many times we have made mistakes in thinking that the believer is the healer. No! God is the healer (‘I am the Lord that healeth thee’ Exodus 15:26). This understanding should guide our approach to ministering to the sick. The church should go out and pray for the sick and believe that the Lord our healer will do His work by the Holy Spirit. See also Acts 3:12-16 where Peter explained that they were not the healers, but Christ Jesus.
(viii) Why are some not healed?
We may never know, but it is important to note that even in the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, not all were healed. The Scripture tell us that only the impotent man of 38 years was healed at the Pool of Bethesda when Jesus visited them. All the others at the pool who were waiting for healing were not healed (John 5:1-15). It is also noted that in His native village of Nazareth, Jesus healed only a few people.
Action steps commended for the Church
The above discussion points us to the following summary as the practical steps that the church may have to take in effectively integrating healing ministry in its evangelistic ministry:
- understand and believe it is the will of God for us to be healed of our physical and spiritual sicknesses;
- understand that ALL believers have a covenant with God that entitles them to exercise the healing grace (Luke 16:17-18);
- desire and ask for the grace for healing through anointing;
- the church needs to step out in faith and pray in the name of the Lord over those who are sick (James 5:13-16);
- we all need to be a clean vessel for the Lord to use us (2 Timothy 2:21).
- 1. Church leaders should effectively embrace divine healing as a necessary
support for effective evangelism.
- 2. The WHOLE church should be encouraged to use the WHOLE gospel tools, including healing, to take the gospel to the WHOLE world.
- 3. Training in healing ministries should be an essential and integral part of a sustainable process of ensuring continuity in the church. The training should be simplified and friendly to the church – both the laity and the clergy. We believe strongly that this submission, if understood in the spirit of what the Lord desires for us to do, as against what we think should be done, and used as a simple tool for teaching, the church will be tremendously blessed.
This submission is aimed at galvanizing the church to appreciate with a new understanding, the importance of the ministry of healing in evangelistic ministry. Apart from relieving the sufferings of the afflicted, God had, has, and will always use healing to draw attention to His overall intention to forgive and cleanse the inner guilt and dirt in the lives of people. This is particularly so where there is strong opposition to the gospel. Such practical demonstrations of the awesome power of God leave no one in doubt that we serve a MIGHTY GOD who is ever present.
May we all receive a new heart, new vision and a renewed call towards this aspect of healing in evangelism in our obedience to the Great Commission.
What is world evangelism?
World evangelism is a war. It is the war between light and darkness. It is the war between Christ and antichrist. Satan is described in the Bible as the prince of this world. World evangelism is an attack on Satan’s realm, it is releasing people from Satan’s grasp so that they can enter the kingdom of God.
To combat supernatural evil forces, we need the supernatural force of prayer with fasting. It is not that one’s regular prayer has no power, but fasting brings a special focus to one’s prayer. In other words, prayer with fasting shines the light on Satan’s darkness and his activities. That is why for some things Jesus our Lord said, ‘This kind can come forth by nothing but by PRAYER and FASTING’ (Mark 9:29 AV. See also Matthew 17:21 AV). Fasting and prayer are vital in the life of Jesus and in the lives of many church leaders. Prayer + Fasting = Power over Satan.
What is prayer and fasting?
Prayer is one of the greatest blessings of Christianity. Prayer is expressing what is in our heart to our great God. It is a two-way conversation with Him. Fasting is choosing to remove the distraction and time commitment of eating to give the Lord God our full attention and ask Him to be at work in the world. The choice to fast and pray is a personal commitment to acknowledge our complete dependence on God and wholeheartedly seek Him. Combining prayer with fasting makes a connection from the NATURAL to the SUPERNATURAL.
In Acts 12:5 we read about Peter being in prison. The constant prayer of the church resulted in God’s supernatural intervention. Peter’s chains fell off and the iron gates were flung open. The church today needs the supernatural power of God. When Christian believers seek God by praying and fasting they are acknowledging that this is His world, His battle, and it will be His hand that moves the world to accomplish His plan.
Prayer and fasting is a component of ‘Prayer in Evangelism.’
Victories in the spiritual battlefield and success in the spiritual harvest can only be accomplished by God. When Jesus came, the task He had been given by His Father was to preach the kingdom of God (Mark 1:14-15). We should note that Jesus began His earthly ministry of announcing the kingdom of God with prayer and fasting.
What will it take for world evangelization?
‘If my people who are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sins and will heal their land’ (2 Chronicles 7:14). The phrase ‘humble themselves and pray’ refers to praying and fasting; ‘seek my face’ means studying the word of God; ‘turn from their wicked ways’ is confession and repentance. The result is that God will answer their prayers, their sins will be forgiven and their land will be healed.
A plan for prayer and fasting in world evangelism
The foremost thing Satan dreads is prayer. His main goal is to keep the saints from praying. He doesn’t fear ‘prayerless’ Bible studies, ‘prayerless’ work, or ‘prayerless’ religion. He laughs at our toil and mocks our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.
Prayer is hard work and it is always a struggle to be faithful in keeping a strong prayer life. Paul, the spiritual giant, viewed prayer as hard work and he always urged people to continue in prayer. He asked the Church in Rome ‘(to) join me in my struggle by praying to God’ (Romans 15:30). To the Ephesian church he said, ‘Be alert and always keep on praying’ (Ephesians 6:8). He challenged the Colossian Christians, ‘(to) devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful’ (Colossians 4:2). Jesus our Lord said, ‘Watch and pray.’ Isaiah told the people, ‘I have put a watchman over the walls of Jerusalem. All day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the Lord take no rest for yourselves. And give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in all the earth’ (Isaiah 62:6).
The need of prayer and fasting is crucial in taking the gospel to those individuals, cities and countries who are totally opposed to Christ and His saving work on the Cross. Suicide bombers and Islamic extremists continue to create problems and turmoil. The political socioeconomic scenarios of the world are transforming quickly. The dramatic political changes that we are witnessing have contributed to an unprecedented need for world evangelism. The need is there but the doors for conversion to Christ are shut tight, sealed with religious laws. More countries are having ‘Sharia Law’ imposed. This is where the supernatural intervention of God in response to our prayers and fasting is needed.
The benefits of prayer and fasting
- Fasting is not fun.
- Fasting and prayer helps to focus your heart on God who alone can release His supernatural power in your life. God will give you wisdom and direction.
- Praying and fasting bring protection (Ezra 8:21, 23-31). Ezra and his team were bringing a large load of gold and silver to the temple of God in Jerusalem. They had to go by a route that was infected with bandits. Ezra proclaimed a fast to seek protection from God (Ezra 8:21). God did not allow one hand to be laid upon them because they humbled themselves in prayer and fasting.
- Jesus encouraged fasting and prayer for deliverance from evil spirits and for building our faith (Matthew 17:14-21).
- Fasting gives us deliverance from addictive habits and spiritual hardness. Isaiah declares that by fasting we humble ourselves and this is what the Lord requires of us and then He will free the oppressed and break every yoke (Isaiah 58:5-6).
- Fasting and prayer break the darkness that overwhelms and hinders the nations and defeats the territorial spirits which hinder world evangelism (Daniel 10:13).
- God will take over the problems we face when we humbly fast and pray. Our battle becomes God’s battle (2 Chronicles 20:15).
Types of fasting
- There is a complete or absolute fast when one has no food or drink. This is also called the total fast. The maximum time for this fast is 3 days and 3 nights (Ezra 10:6; Esther 4:16) – please consult your doctor before pursuing a total fast. Paul had this type of total fast ‘And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank’ (Acts 9:9).
- There is a supernatural fast which is 40 days and 40 nights without food or water. Moses fasted. Jesus fasted. It requires supernatural power. Only God can tell you if you are to pursue this type of fast and then He will help you keep this fast. Not everyone can do it.
- There is a normal fast which is fasting from sunset-to-sunset with no solid food, only liquids.
- There is a partial fast. This means completely doing without certain foods such as desserts or rich foods (Daniel 2:3). Daniel kept three weeks of partial fast with mourning (Daniel 10:2, 3).
How to observe times of prayer and fasting
Fasting and prayer are commands of God with His eternal promises. That is why we need to spend time in prayer and fasting.
- You can fast a normal fast or a partial fast.
- Fast one day or two days a week, or whenever you can.
- Spend more time in prayer and memorize special verses or a portion of the word of God. Receive your spiritual nourishment by studying the Word of God.
- Read through the four Gospels of the New Testament. There are 89 chapters in the four Gospels. By reading approximately 2 chapters per day, you can read through all four of the Gospels during the forty days.
During the forty days of prayer and fasting, get together with fellow Christians and fast as a group. There are many examples of group or corporate fasting in the Bible which can be found in the books of Jonah, Ezra, Esther, 2 Chronicles and Joel.
In 1979 a group was evacuated from Iran and went to the island of Cyprus. Things were very tough. God impressed upon the heart of one member of the group to have a 40 day fast. As she was struggling with this idea, God showed her a wonderful way to establish a 40 day fast.
Prayerfully choose forty people. Each person fasts one day during the forty day period chosen. Then as a group the forty day fast is completed. If you cannot find forty people, do it with a smaller number and divide the forty days among the group. Use alternate days, so that the forty-day fast is kept continuously.
Have a theme for your group fast, such as repentance or evangelism. Most of all, as you fast and pray, have a humble mind-set. One person fasts one day and the rest keep an attitude of prayer according to your theme.
Some recommendations to accelerate prayer and fasting for evangelism
- Set a national day of prayer and fasting as you pray for an unreached people group.
- Make every first Friday of each month a fast day for the Muslim world and Christians living in these Muslim dominated countries.
- Select a time as a group to commit to pray silently for two minutes, praying the same requests at the same time to God through Jesus our Lord. This is united and persistent prayer.
- Some may like to pray wearing a sackcloth pin as a symbol that is called ‘The humility flower.’ This is the humbling of yourself privately before God who knows your heart.
- Form prayerwalking teams to pray for your city.
- Pray for four homes in your neighbourhood. This is called ‘neighbourhood praying.’ Pray specifically for those people to come to know Jesus Christ.
- Have prayer partners pray for one another over the telephone.
- Organize prayer groups.
- Host a prayer conference
- Set aside one day a month for fasting/prayer as a church or family.
New doors with modern technology
The Internet has brought the gospel to millions through the use of ‘Christian chat rooms’ and web sites directed towards communities who reject Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Satellite television, radio, literature, the ‘JESUS’ film, and the movie ‘The Passion of the Christ’ are bringing the gospel to many people around the world every day who had been taught that Jesus is not the Son of God. New doors are opening with new challenges to glorify God. God is at work opening the doors for world evangelism as we engage in prayer evangelism on our knees with fasting and prayer.
‘This is the confidence we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hear us, And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desire of Him’ 1 John 5:14-15 AV.
Prayer and fasting saved the city of Tehran (written as a personal experience)
The newspaper headline sent a shiver down my spine, ‘The Blood will be Ankle Deep’. On this wintry morning, in 1978, as I sat at the breakfast table, I was shocked to read the headlines of the Iranian newspaper. ‘The streets of Tehran are predicted to be ankle deep in blood as the next demonstration opposing the Shah takes place on Saturday.’ This was only three days away. I was alone in a country to which we had come four years prior to serve God. My husband and son Shalem were in Beirut, which also had its share of political upheaval.
I sat transfixed with fear at the thought of what might happen on the streets just outside my door. In a desperate whimper, I let out a cry to the Lord for help. I began to pray. While on my knees, I felt a compelling motivation, a seemingly audible voice, urging me to somehow start a prayer chain. But how could I do this? Because of the Islamic revolution in Iran at that time, our church had shut down. Most of the people with whom I regularly prayed had long since fled the peril of the revolution. The city was run by bands of armed gunmen, who summarily executed those that did not condone the revolution against the Shah. At night the sounds of rapid gunfire and the vociferous chanting of ‘Allahu-Akbar’ (God is Great) and ‘Marg bar Amreeca’ (Death to America), permeated the air.
I got up from my knees, still not quite sure of how to initiate the prayer chain with fasting. I took a step toward the telephone, (which worked only intermittently), and promptly stumbled over a step, falling down and injuring my back. I lay on the floor, in pain, helpless, with a thousand thoughts racing through my mind. How was I going to get help? Who could I call if I make it to the phone? There was a twenty-four hour curfew placed on the city. How could I get to a doctor? I began to pray. I cried to the Lord to reach down with His healing hand and touch my back. I laid there praying for hours. At 3:00 p.m., I felt the healing hand of the Father as He touched me. A wave of warmth and an electrifying power welled up inside me. I had been healed and I knew what had to be done.
By 6 p.m. I was on the phone to anyone I could think of. To my utter amazement, God had prepared the hearts of all those that I called; they were all willing to fast and pray. Moreover, God kept the phone line operative for the time I was placing calls. I got in touch with 60 believers, all of whom were Iranian national Christians. A prayer chain had been initiated! At about 11 p.m., I reached for the phone one last time, to attempt to place a call to my husband, but the phone was dead. God had kept it working just long enough for me to get through to the people on the prayer chain. He certainly does work in mysterious ways.
Three days later, the demonstration did take place. Over 1.5 million radical Muslims turned out on the streets to call for the overthrow of the Shah of Iran. The large majority of these had brought all manner of weapons with them, including machine guns that had been looted from the local armouries. Long speeches were given by Mullahs (Muslim religious leaders) calling for the violent destruction of anything or anybody that hindered the creation of an Islamic state. Although there had been brutal violence in prior demonstrations, on this day, not a finger was lifted in anger. The vast multitude of people peaceably assembled and then, at the end of the day dispersed. Not knowing that 60 Christians were on their knees praying for this miracle! The awesome power of the peace of God saturated that enormous assembly, and undoubtedly saved countless hundreds of lives. From that day forward, the power of prayer and fasting have become a bottomless resource for me.
The plan of forty days of prayer and fasting was crystal clear in my mind. A forty day fast is a total fast, a difficult fast. I wanted to involve groups of people in this fast. God gave me a wonderful plan. Choose forty people from your church, Sunday school class, bible studies, etc. Challenge them to join in this effort of reaching your city for Jesus Christ. Forty people who will fast one day each in the forty day fast. If there are not enough people, then the same people can fast twice on alternate days.
- Pray for children.
- Pray with children.
- Prayer by children.
1. Pray for Children
The disciples were instructed: ‘See that you do not look down on one of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven’ (Matthew 18:10 NIV). Jesus’ admonition is not to look down upon them or despise them. They have pretty significant priorities in the heavenly realms.
Some other significant texts:
‘Arise cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heat like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of the children, who faint from hunger at the head of every street’ (Lamentation 2:19 NIV).
‘Children are a heritage from the Lord…. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior…’ (Psalm 127:3-5 NKJ).
Mobilise the church to pray for children in their families, communities, cities, nation and the world.
- Hold a special prayer day for children.
- Establish prayer groups to pray intentionally and regularly for children.
- Adopt a project or a nation or an issue, (street children, sexual exploited children, HIV/Aids orphans), and be informed and pray.
- Highlight the plight of the children in the 10/40 window.
- Encourage use of resources developed to mobilise prayer for children such as prayer diaries, web sites.
Prayer for educational establishments.
- Prayerwalk around schools,
- Establish or join prayer groups for local schools.
Pray and reach out to children for deliverance from demonic oppression/bondage or anything that prevents children from coming to Jesus.
Stories and testimonies
A school prayer group reports from the United Kingdom:
‘The very first day we met to pray as parents we discovered that the school was interviewing for a new head teacher. We were able to pray about this and were delighted that a Christian was appointed. Since this appointment, every new teacher appointed has a clear faith in Christ. We can testify to the power of prayer in transforming our community as we meet weekly to pray for the local school.’
2. Prayer with Children
The Body of Christ is called to have the same care for each member and to give greater honour to the weaker parts (1 Corinthians 12:12-26).
Children are included in the gathering of God’s people (Joshua 8:35; Chronicles 20:13).
Children are specifically mentioned and included. ‘Prosperity will serve Him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn – for He has done it’ (Psalm 22:30-31).
As children are taught about the Lord so will they teach their children and their children’s children. Future generations shall be told about the Lord. The challenge for us in prayer is to have this generational perspective, placing ourselves humbly at this point in history, recognizing all that has gone before and looking to what is to come: the return of Jesus for a church, complete (including children) and without blemish (Ephesians 5:27). God can reveal truth and wisdom to those with childlike qualities (Luke 10:21).
We are commanded to ‘…love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up’ (Deuteronomy 6:5-7 NKJV).
When the disciples were arguing over who will be the greatest in heaven, Jesus brought a child and urged the disciples to be humble like a child (Matthew 18:1-4). We need to understand that we can learn from children – their humility and their attitude to God. We need tobe examples to them in our lives and in our relationship with God, but also recognize their role as examples to us. ‘Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 18:3).
We are reminded from the example of Naaman’s servant girl that children can demonstrate a deep trust in God (2 Kings 5:1-4).
Encourage the practice of family prayer times, devotions and personal prayer.
Model a lifestyle of prayer to children.
Mentor and disciple children in a life of prayer.
Include children as part of intergenerational prayer, encouraging the church to follow the
command that one generation shall tell another (Psalm 78:4, 7).
Stories and testimonies
I would say the greatest ministry that I have with children in our local church is our children’s intercessors prayer group. We meet every Sunday evening to pray and participate in special prayer emphasis throughout the year such as the World Wide Day of Prayer for Children at Risk, Prayer for the Muslim community during Ramadan, National Day of Prayer and others. When we bring the children together to pray, we are equipping them to become full members of the Body of Christ and then we mobilize them toward the Great Commission as they pray for the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of children all around the world. I believe that children enter into a fuller understanding of God’s love for them and for all peoples of the world as they learn to talk with God in prayer. I believe that through prayer, children can learn at an early age their personal responsibility to be involved in God’s eternal plan.
3. Prayer by Children
Children “minister to the Lord” (i.e. can lead in prayer) – 1 Samuel 2:11.
Children hear from God – 1 Samuel 3.
Children can prophesy – Joel 2:28.
God hears children’s prayers – Genesis 21:17 (Ishmael’s voice).
Children are ordained to declare God’s glory. ‘from the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies to silence the foe and the avenger’ – Psalm 8:2. Children are, therefore, a strategic key to overcoming Satan.
Children declare and make a way for Jesus to come – Matthew 21:15-16.
In the context of the House of the Lord and being called to be a house of prayer for all nations, children have a significant role to play – Isaiah 56:7.
We need to be clear that when Scripture refers to ‘ALL the saints’ that this includes children. 1 Corinthians 12 speaks of the different spiritual gifts. Children are to be considered in this mix, with different gifting given by the Holy Spirit to bring to the whole. There is no child-size Holy Spirit! We need to see our children released to be all that God intends them to be, recognizing that as they too are empowered to pray, they will receive burdens for the lost and will be able to evangelize more effectively among their own peer group. ‘Here am I and the children whom the LORD has given me! We are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, Who dwells in Mount Zion’ (Isaiah 8:18 NKJV).
Encourage church leaders to regard children’s ministry as more than teaching children, but as an opportunity where children can be empowered to fulfil their God given destinies and where they can become functioning members of the wider body, particularly in the area of prayer. Invite children to be actively involved in every aspect of the congregational prayer life.
- Praying for the sick
- Praying for deliverance
- Participating in the prayer programme of the church
- Establishing a children’s intercessory prayer group
Encourage children to meet regularly with each other to pray for salvation.
- For schools/classmates
- For clubs/teams
- For their homes/families
- For communities
Employ creative methods to facilitate prayer.
- Flags, maps, pictures, costumes, games.
- Prayer tools. (See resource list.)
- Onsite prayer. (Prayer on location)
Take children on mission trips to pray and evangelize.
- Equip and teach children so that they are prayerfully prepared.
Stories and testimonies
- During the 2002 World Wide Day of Prayer (WWDP) for children at risk, an orphanage based in Kampala, Uganda, received a burden to pray for children with HIV. There was special prayer for a young boy called Ivan who had been tested and was found to have this virus. Because of Ivan’s poor health he was taken to a special centre which deals with HIV/AIDS cases. Ivan was seriously ill. The orphanage called for 40 days of prayer and fasting, and a number of project children, staff and friends were involved. By the WWDP 2003 signs of healing were shown and doctors retested Ivan. Ivan’s new blood test showed that he no longer had the virus! There is no known cure for this virus, yet Ivan, now 7, is healthy and happy and is attending school. We praise God because He heard and answered the prayers of His children.’
- “J2” prayers of 1,000 children (based on Joel 2) is a United Kingdom initiative, under John O’Brien. He has gathered children to pray and cry out for the nation of England. Children have returned to their schools and have started prayer groups in their schools.
Summary of recommendations:
- The profiling of the importance and strategic nature of children in the world.
- The raising up and releasing of spiritual mentors to nurture and see children’s prayer lives develop.
- The releasing of children to become more functioning members of the ‘Body’ of Christ equipped to pray and minister.
As Rachel cried ‘give me children or I will die,’ Genesis 30:1, so will the Church die if it does not encourage children to be actively involved at the very heart of its life – in praying. The future of the church is the child.
Church Pastoral Aid Society. Firestarters. National project to encourage national involvement of prayer for childhood. (England) www.heartforchildren.com
Kids in ministry International. Provides training courses and resources to empower children in prayer. http://kidsinministry.com
Kids In Missions. Teaching children about missions by doing missions. www.kidsinmissions.org
Praykids magazine. (Nav Press) A resource to help children learn about different areas of prayer. www.praykids.com
Children’s Prayer Network Australia. Resources available. http://surf.to/kidspray
Powerpack. This is for training prayer warriors. Full of stories, testimonies about children used in prayer. www.powerpackministries.co.uk
Deborah Arise. An International prayer network of mothers whose heart cry is to ‘raise up an army of young people; warriors with a heart for mission and evangelism and full of zeal and passion for Jesus.’ www.deborahariseeurope.org
Esther Network International, Children’s Global Prayer Movement. A ministry that mobilises children to pray for the world. www.cgpm.org
Kingkids International, YWAM. To lead children and youth worldwide into a proven knowledge of God. www.kkint.net
Children’s prayer network US. Founder Mrs Lin Story. Mobilised prayer for government. www.childrensprayernet.net
Viva Network mobilises prayer for children at risk. www.viva.org
Faces of Children mobilises prayer for children and facilitates annual prayer summits. www.facesofchildren.net
Good News Ministries. Raising children in God’s family and preparing them for the coming revival. www.goodnews.netministries.org
Prayer is fundamental to evangelism. It is fundamental because the work of redemption is the work of God the Holy Spirit (‘God the Evangelist’) even as it is focused on the glory of Christ: the Lamb that was slain for the sins of the world. Prayer acknowledges God’s primacy in the saving of lives, human inadequacies (‘Not by might, nor by power …’) and fulfils God’s command that Christians ask Him to act. In Ezekiel 37, for example, the prophet is commanded to proclaim the promises of God to the dry bones, but Ezekiel is also commanded to pray to the wind – the Spirit. The latter is commanded so that the bones can indeed live. The praying and preaching in Acts 1-6 reflect the same.
This chapter frames the central role of prayer and the work of evangelism in the larger context of ‘transformation.’ That is, the eschatological end or the completed work of God portrays His intent for all things – individual people, human institutions as well as the created order – to be transformed by His power and grace. If the field of God’s activity is for the transformation of all things, then evangelism – the proclaiming of the Good News of Jesus whereby people believe in and surrender themselves to Christ – is a work within the larger sphere. Furthermore, at the core of both transformation and evangelism is God the Holy Spirit in answer to prayer.
If transformation can be pictured as the whole wheel, and evangelism as its hub, then prayer is the axle. We refer to it as ‘The Prayer Core.’ This core is also part of the ‘guiding coalition’ at the heart of both evangelism and transformation in a community, city or nation.
We will speak to the strategies of prayer in the follow progression:
- The Core (the axle): those who are committed to covering the whole field in prayer and leading and multiplying this prayer force
- The Sphere of Evangelistic Activity (the hub): whether out of the local church, parachurch, mass crusade, small group, one-on-one, etc.
- Transformation (the whole wheel): to include all aspects of human activity and society
We also identified common strategic values in all three of these areas. They are:
- Relationships: members of a prayer force must be friends with God, with each other, especially between mentors/coaches and learners.
- Communication: using every available media to inform, encourage, delight, challenge, teach, guide and inspire.
- Pray (for more prayer): wanting more prayer across the spectrum, we must pray for a spirit of prayer to be poured out by God.
- Repentance: prayerlessness indicates trust in something other than God.
- Biblical instruction/theology: The necessity of prayer, the grasp of the commands and the promises of God, and the proper attitudes, actions and motivations of people who pray must be taught.
- Exhortation: preaching and teaching for motivation, inspiration, instruction, and vision-casting.
- Accountability: chaos, spiritual pride, biblical errors and un-Christ-like personal behaviour can occur without accountability.
- The local church: prayer at every level honours what God has ordained, encourages the welfare of congregations, and lifts up the arms of pastors and teachers.
- Unity: modelling oneness in the midst of diversity, reconciling people, clearing up grievances, and working with one mind (the mind of Christ) empowers our prayers.
The Prayer Core
For prayer-filled evangelism the following is needed:
- Raise up the Core. The foundation of prayer for transformation and evangelism resides with the Prayer Core. Like a nuclear generator, it is where the ‘heat,’ motivation and vision resides. The Prayer Core is made of individuals with the call of God upon them to fill all aspects and activities of evangelism with the presence, grace and power of God. This comes through prayer. Like the evangelists themselves, they are a work of the Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s work. If the work of the evangelist is an arrowhead, then prayer comprises the mass behind it. The raising up of this core is begun in heaven. God places in certain hearts, through the Scriptures, the burning desire and conviction for a core to form. They are, too, the guiding coalition. The prayer core calls others to the work of prayer, inspires the faithful to persevere, attracts others to join, grow and persist, thus expanding the core. They too, set the tone, model the intensity and teach the biblical vision for prayer and they mentor people in prayer. They exhibit the necessary discernment, maturity and insight in the dynamic relationship with the Holy Spirit and the constantly changing circumstances of evangelism and transformation. The Prayer Core is sprinkled with key Christian leaders whose track record of personal integrity and holiness and church leadership is honoured.
- Prayer, teaching and preaching: This Core of committed praying people, prays for prayer to grow. Through the Bible and anecdotes from history and contemporaneous accounts, this core group teaches the necessity of prayer. Through preaching, we can prophetically summon, inspire and motivate others to pray.
- Catalytic events: The Core group prime the pump of prayer by planning and executing activities and gatherings that will captivate and press home the need for God to act and people to ask.
- Communication: Through all available media, the Core keeps itself informed, refreshed and motivated by providing information and stories about God’s activities
- Establish relationships: Generally, all works of God are begun, expanded and sustained among friends who love God and each other.
- Identify strategic leaders: Core members are always on the look-out for respected and capable church leaders who will join their ranks and enhance the prospects of qualitative and quantitative expansion with the backing of local congregations.
- Expand the Core. The goal of any evangelistic or transformational work is to soak it with expanding resources from the Holy Spirit. A Billy Graham Crusade, for example, constantly expands the prayer core through intercessory teams, leadership prayer meetings and, especially, ‘Operation Andrew’ where an ever-increasing team of hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands of people cover every person who attends an evangelistic meeting with weeks of prayer – praying for each by name. Expanding the core necessitates …
- Prayer, teaching (training) and preaching: These never cease to be critical, either in the foundational activities or in seeking to expand the prayer core.
- Multiply …
- Pastors: A sustained and responsible expansion requires pastors. They are the gatekeepers to local churches and have God-given authority and responsibilities. This, too, honours the local church as God’s principle mechanism through which His work on earth is accomplished. By multiplying pastors, however, a vision that transcends the local church (for a community, city or nation) grows up among the shepherds and helps fan the flame of prayer in local congregations
- Prayer groups: Both small and large cells of prayer, varying in size and type (in church, among churches, etc.), are central. They give prayers a sense of belonging, mutual care and foster deepening relationships of trust which lead to greater confidence and clarity, and more powerful praying.
- Networks: Often, there exist multiple networks of prayer across a given geography. If they do not exist, they need to be encouraged and nurtured. Networks, by nature, have access to large groups of people. These various networks, however, often do not work in either cooperation or unity. To expand the core, networks need to see each other as partners.
- Communication: Expansion requires regular, quality information, inspiration and testimonies. Expansion needs reassurance, excitement and a well-informed membership.
- Mobilize and network the Core: The Prayer Core group, like any group, needs to be led, given a sense of order, marshalled and employed for specific purposes, connected to others like themselves so that a spiritual synergy and momentum arises.
- Prayer, teaching (training) and preaching
- Calendar: The calendar needs to answer basic questions like, what is happening? What needs to be prayed for? When is prayer needed? Why is it critical? Who is involved or invited?
- Prayer requests.
- God at work;
- local, regional, national, global.
- ‘Dreams and visions.’
- Links to be established amongst all members of the core group.
Prayer Strategies for the Evangelization of Cities and Nations
Prayer is both a form of, and a tool to support evangelism. Many have come to Christ through a dream, a vision or a revelation without direct human communication of the gospel. Although very often there has been a person praying for the one whom the Lord has spoken to through the dream or vision and usually the Lord inthe dream directs the person to a man or a woman to go and see. This is the sovereign work of God in response to the cry of God’s people, through prayer, for the lost of this world. Others, whose hearts have been prepared by the prayers of the saints, come to Christ through hearing or reading the word of God. There is an increased understanding that the sooner prayer is introduced into the planning stage of evangelistic activities the greater is the impact and the fruit that emerges from that activity. Evangelism that is birthed out of prayer produces much fruit, but evangelism without prayer is largely sterile.
If the church is to be effective in evangelising the community it serves it must first commit to a strategy of prayer that will prepare the individual hearts of people to receive and positively respond to the gospel message, as well as impact the spiritual soil of a whole city, thus creating an environment of openness to the gospel in the hearts of the unsaved.
Strategies for effective prayer, as with effective evangelism, usually come from mature, passionate leaders trained and motivated by the biblical examples of the life changing nature of prayer and its impact upon the lives of people. There are today too few leaders who have learned and experienced the power of prayer themselves, hence the not uncommon assumption prevalent across the church that prayer is a worthwhile optional support for evangelism, rather than a strategic tool for effective evangelism.
This thinking must be changed and proper teaching and training given in our Seminaries, Theological Colleges and Bible Colleges in order to change the mind set of the future generation of spiritual leaders. A theological understanding of prayer and its impact on aligning the hearts of people with the purposes of God in the salvation process, would do much to encourage more believers to commit to prayer as a strategy and evangelism as an activity worthy of their time and effort. Local Pastors must also take responsibility to instruct and lead their congregations in the development of new understandings and the implementation of new strategies in prayer, directed towards focusing the whole church back to the importance of engaging in the Great Commission.
One of the best methods of instruction and motivation for people is the modelling of strategic principles by their leaders. If the leaders do not pray it is unlikely their congregations will pray. If they themselves are not committed to evangelism then neither will their congregation be. If leaders do not have and/or cannot inspire a vision for the church to impact their whole community, the people will not be motivated to work towards the extension of the kingdom of God. Their commitment is not likely to go beyond the day to day running of their church programmes.
Most pastors understand today that the task of evangelization of a whole community is beyond a single church or individual to achieve. Past efforts, which have been largely unproductive, are encouraging pastors to look to other pastors for relational and co-operational support. Pastors prayer groups are springing up in many cities and nations to provide the opportunity for the first time in many years for combined church initiatives to be initiated thus providing greater momentum and support to the task of evangelism.
Church leaders must assist their congregations to expand their vision to also embrace this ‘city mindset’ that longs for people to be added to the kingdom rather than looking only for more people to be added to the membership of their church. Our experience is that people are quick to respond to a clear vision presented byresponsible and trusted leaders. They are simply waiting like sheep for a shepherd to show them the way.
Effective prayer and evangelism strategies are dependent on healthy local churches to implement the God inspired visions that will flow from properly trained leadership. Strategies must be developed to resource the local church. Many resources are already available through the highly effective work done by the numerous national and global prayer networks and ministries around the world. The availability of the Internet today has revolutionised communication processes, and the availability of resources to assist leaders in the task before them of training up their local people, is almostunlimited. Church leaders must be encouraged to connect with these resources to inform, encourage and motivate the local church into effective prayer strategies in their community which will lead to more effective evangelism. Well prepared and resourced strategies are much more likely to succeed, and in turn inspire further involvement by an ever increasing number of Christians in the mission of world evangelization.
Prayer alone does not do the work of the evangelist. It is an essential and vital part of a process without which evangelism will lack power and fail to produce results. Prayer, however, is not passive and strategies of taking prayer from the pew into the city must be developed. Such strategies will include:
- Formation of citywide and local Church Intercessory Prayer Teams to focus on specific issues of prayer. These teams will require proper training, mentoring and mobilization to enable them to engage in effective prayer ministry in their community.
- Undertake research in an endeavour to discover ‘hidden’ hindrances to the reception of the gospel within given communities and the development of strategies to counter and/or remove those hindrances through prayer. There are many examples of places which have become known as ‘hard’ places to evangelize. To ask the question ‘why’ is to begin a process of understanding that brings much enlightenment to many unanswered questions of the past. Yesterday’s ‘defeats’ are being turned into today’s ‘victories’ as an ever increasing understanding of spiritual issues affecting cities and nations is being gained by a church hungry to reach the lost.
- Taking spiritual responsibility for their community by prayerwalking the streets of the city, praying for every home and ultimately for the salvation of every person. Our media is daily full of the needs of our communities which require a spiritual response not generally available to our community and governmental leaders. This provides the church with a wonderful opportunity to, in a spirit of humility, become part of the answer for the communities felt and expressed needs. Strategies to match the prayer resources of the church with the felt and expressed needs of the community open up almost unlimited opportunity for the church to regain lost credibility with the world we seek to reach. We believe that results achieved through prayer are multiplied by the degree to which prayer is focused to the specific needs of individuals, churches and whole communities. Such multiplication of answered prayer will inevitably lead to a greater harvest into the kingdom.
God’s prayer strategy for the evangelization of a city is based upon obedience by the whole church throughout the community, city or nation for biblical transformation. This transformational road is dependent upon God and His church working together. Each of us must recognize that His kingdom is to come and His will is to be done in the city where He has sent us.
In Jeremiah 29, the prophet gives us an exciting glimpse into the workings of God and the cooperation of His people to effect His will and bring His blessing upon a city that was anathema to them. Notice these instructions are ‘to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people carried into exile’ (Jeremiah 29:1-2). This is the involvement of the whole leadership and congregation working together. These instructions given by God to His people are relevant today as we consider God’s prayer strategy for the evangelization of a city.
Your (elders, priests, prophets and all the other people) investment of life and resources in your city will bring peace, prosperity and welfare (Jeremiah 19:7). Such involvement will create the needed climate for the reception and the acceptance of the message of God through Jesus Christ by your life. The surrounding context gives to us the fuller picture of God’s prayer strategy for the evangelization of your city. It is as we demonstrate a deliberate permanence of settling in, that peace, prosperity and welfare will come. You must decide you’re going to spend the rest of your life in this new place (verses 4-6).
This is one requirement for a prayer strategy for a nation, that we sink our roots into the community. Make an investment of our lives and all that we are in the city for which we are praying, so that God’s presence, grace, love and life may flow in you and through you to bring blessing to your city.
Besides being committed to live in the city or the nation, there is also the strategy of praying specifically for the city or the nation. It is God’s will that we plan, persist, and passionately join together with fellow Christians in unified corporate prayer for all aspects of the city. It is this kind of prayer that brings the blessing of peace, prosperity and welfare to the city. Notice what God says through the prophet in verse 7: that our involvement in and prayer for the city will result in the blessing of God. Jeremiah writes: ‘Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.’
Furthermore, God says, stay focused! Do not listen to or be deterred by others. You are in that city by divine appointment and you are to remain focused. In the due course of time, God says, I will tell you when it’s time to stop and when to leave (verses 8-10). When you respond in complete assurance that God is in control, He will reveal His plans for you individually and corporately in your city. He knows all about the history, obstacles, and concerns about your city, and God has a plan to resolve all these issues. His desire is for your complete welfare and future that is filled with Him in your city. Take ownership of your city. See the city as having been given to you to pray for and pastor, whoever you are, at whatever level of involvement God has placed you in the city. You are His conduit of blessing for your city. That is God’s plan (verse 11).
We will all discover that plan as we call upon God. It cannot be over emphasized how important and pivotal is prayer in this whole process of the evangelization of cities. Come to God that He might come to you. Pray to God that He might reveal Himself to you and to your city. Ask the Lord to reveal and remove the offences and obstacles of the city that prevent His presence and blessing from coming. Examine its history, values or cultural behaviour that are offensive to Him.
The promise is that God will listen to you when you pray this way for the city. Seek Him with all your heart in relation to the city and nation in which He has placed you. Have confidence in Him. Display faith and trust in His ability to answer in ways that are supernatural and spiritual. When you do this, He will bring you to the place in life where He wants you to be (Jeremiah 29: 4-14).
Repentance: Answer/research the Matthew 5:23-24 questions: ‘What issues does God want us to correct?’ As an individual; as a church. For example, racial reconciliation; nation to nation; theology; gender issues; church to community.
Preparations for Prayer: Ezra 7:6-10: study it (research the stories), do it and teach it. A. Murray: ‘The man who mobilizes the Christian Church to pray will make the greatest contribution to world evangelization.’
Enlistment of Prayer: Develop prayer bases; prayer rooms; prayer centres (‘houses of prayer’); ‘24/7 cells’; prayer cells; churches; prayer chains; networks and events; appoint local-church, regional/national prayer network leaders; schools of prayer; prayerwalking.
Communication of Prayer News: Establish throughout the various media to report progress for praise and encouragement; problems for intensified or expanded prayer; inspiration: biblical teaching and exhortation; biographies.
Praise/Celebration: Praise festivals; days of thanksgiving; banquets and feasts.
‘May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.’ 2 Corinthians 13:14
We all desire good health whether it is physical, emotional or mental. Have you ever thought about your spiritual health or the health of your prayer life? How healthy are you spiritually right now? Does your spiritual and prayer life need renewal?11 Could your heart, vision of the future and your spiritual calling use rejuvenation? This planning guide can help you develop a healthier prayer life that will bring spiritual renewal. This guide will focus on three areas of your prayer life (personal, local church community and the world) and three areas of your spiritual life (heart, vision and calling).12
Your personal prayer life is where your personal relationship with the triune God is developed and deepened.13 It is this relationship with God that makes the message of Jesus Christ unique. It is through this relationship that your heart finds healing and love, and your vision and call are developed and renewed.
Your local church community prayer life involves your interaction with other believers, which is a vital component of the message of Jesus Christ. It is in church community life that your heart is further cared for through relationships with others and you are given opportunities to refine and exercise your calling.
World prayer life focuses on God’s kingdom work – the outpouring of the message of Jesus Christ into the world through evangelism and discipleship. It is in kingdom life that you further live out your vision and exercise your calling in helping others come to know Jesus Christ and grow in their relationship with God.
There are five steps in this plan:
Step One: How is your relationship with God?
A clear understanding of God and the message of Jesus Christ is important to a healthy prayer life. God cares for you more than Himself and this love is unconditional and constant.14 As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.’ ‘For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him’, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’15
Once you truly accept this message by faith, you are no longer separated from God and a relationship with Him is now available.16 You now have eternal life – you can truly know God now and for all eternity.17 You now belong to God the Father, to Jesus Christ His Son and His Holy Spirit is within you.18 You are a member of God’s own family.19 You are reborn and given true life through Jesus Christ.20 All of your sins, your total debt no matter how great, is totally forgiven21 and you are no longer under the power of sin.22
Step Two: Questions to help you measure your prayer life today. Do you experience feelings such as guilt, shame, anxiety, or fearwhen you think about having a personal, intimate relationship with Almighty God, your Creator? Has it been awhile since you spent time with God giving Him your full attention? Do you feel distant from Him? Do you think that God is unhappy with you or upset that you have not talked to or spent time with Him lately? You may be wondering if God accepts you as you are. Will He forgive you of your sin? Will He punish you for your disobedience?
It is through His Son Jesus Christ that you can confidently come before God in prayer. Think of God as that unquenchable thirst deep in your soul, and think of prayer as the glass of living water that can satisfy this thirst.23
God is calling you to live a different life24 – one with meaning and purpose, a life of obedience to Him in love and holiness. He is asking you to be involved in His Kingdom – to pray for, give towards and help share the message of Jesus Christ so that everyone in the world has the opportunity to hear and respond to the ‘Good News.’25
Here is one question from each area to use to determine the health of your prayer life today:
Personal: Are you regularly communicating and fellowshipping with God?
Local Church Community: Are you committed to prayer and fellowship with the local church community?
World: God’s desire for the world is that ‘His kingdom should come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ Is God’s desire your heart’s desire? Do you regularly pray for the message of Jesus Christ to be shared all over the world and clearly heard and understood?
Step Three: Three purposes of your prayer life.
Personal: Your purpose in personal prayer is enjoying your friendship with God.
Local Church Community: Your purpose in church community prayer is meaningful relationships and prayer with your local worship community.
The World: Your purpose in prayer for the world is that every person around the world is given a chance to hear the message of Jesus Christ and that all of God’s people will be involved in helping share this message to every nation.
Step Four: Activities that can help you grow a healthier prayer life. Since God made you in a unique way, you will enjoy and benefit from some types of prayer activities more than others. God does not intend us to all pray alike. He wants us to approach Him in the unique way He made us. In the Life Prayer Plan, information is provided to help in choosing activities that are included in the plan to help you grow a healthy prayer life.
Step Five: Questions to help you evaluate your progress. Use these questions to help evaluate your progress in developing a healthier prayer life:
Personal: How and what do you feel when you pray? How and what do you think God feels when you pray? Do you show God your emotions, your feelings?
Local Church Community: When you pray with others, are you talking to them or to God?
World: Do you personally know others who are not a part of God’s Kingdom How can you pray for them and your influence in their kingdom view?
A. Strategic Definitions and Applications of Warfare Prayer
A variety of types or methods of warfare prayer have emerged in recent years, some of which may have been viewed as controversial either because of their unique terminology or because of perceived, and in some cases, real excesses in how these methods or strategies have been applied. However, most students of Scripture would agree that Ephesians 6:10-12 describes various levels of divine order in the invisible realm that seek to thwart evangelistic activity on the earth. Thus, wise strategies of prayer in evangelism would do well to focus prayer against these demonic forces. Some aspects of applied spiritual warfare include:
Strategic level prayer
This term has emerged in recent years to describe prayer that is intentionally focused or targeted on that which is perceived to be more strategic in a nation or region. Strategic means ‘that which counts the most.’ To discern how to pray for that which is more strategic than something else, methods such as spiritual mapping, prayerwalking and prophetic praying (to name a few) have emerged.
Following is a definition of several such methods:
Based on certain interpretations of passages such as Ephesians 6:10-12 and Daniel’s encounter with the ‘Prince of Persia’ in Daniel 10:4-13, some believe that it is possible to receive spiritual discernment regarding specific invisible demonic forces or entities that appear to control graphic regions. Thus, research into specific past influences of a region, including various historic factors, have helped intercessors pray more intelligently for these regions. Such praying has been appropriately defined as ‘informed intercession.’
Prayerwalking is an attempt to apply ‘informed intercession’ and thus confront or ‘pray against’ such spiritual forces in a community or area. Prayerwalking has been defined by some spiritual warfare practitioners as ‘prayer onsite with insight.’ This has led to many tens of thousands of individuals and hundreds of prayer teams to systematically prayerwalk their neighbourhoods as well as making prayerjourneys to cities in the 10/40 Window throughout the 1990’s. An estimated 5,000 such prayerjourneys took place during that time in all nations that make up what has been referred to as the 10/40 Window.
The 10/40 Window is a geographic location in the world so designated by the longitudinal lines from 10 degrees to 40 degrees north of the equator. This area includes most of West and North Africa, the Middle East, most of South and East Asia. This area has been termed the 10/40 Window, where two-thirds of the world’s population lives in one-third of its land mass. The vast majority of the world’s least evangelized people live in this area.
The harp and the bowl movement
Based on the picture of worshipping elders and living creatures in Revelation 5:8-10 coming before the Lamb each holding a harp (symbolic of worship) and a bowl (full of the prayers of God’s people), there is a growing emphasis on what some have termed as ‘intercessory worship.’ This is also called the Harp and Bowl movement.Those endorsing this movement see great significance in the fact that the symbolism of the harp and the bowl in Revelation 5 immediately leads to the release of a ‘new song’ (verses 9 and 10) that speaks of the Lamb of God redeeming humankind out of ‘every tribe, tongue, people and nation.’ Those involved in this movement believe the greatest power in spiritual warfare in the years ahead will be released through saturating all evangelistic activity with intense worship that by its very nature is intercessory. As God’s presence and power comes through worship, it is believed that Satan has to flee and his power is diminished. Thus, worship has, in itself, helped ‘dethrone’ Satan, producing a similar result to that of intercessory prayer. Jehosaphat’s victory (2 Chronicles 20:21-23) is based on an example of an ‘intercessory worship’ victory. One translation of verse 22 (The New Living Translation) reads: ‘At the moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves.’ Few can doubt that it was worship that led to God’s presence coming just as if intercessory prayer had been prayed and resulted in a similar victory.
Prophetic prayer acts
Some believe that Ezekiel (Ezekiel 4:1-2) was instructed to engage in a prophetic prayer act when God told him to draw the city of Jerusalem on a stone tablet and then lay siege to it. To sketch a map on a stone tablet would be equivalent today of drawing a map of a city on a piece of paper. Ezekiel was told then to ‘lay siege’ to this crude map. Some warfare strategists believe God was saying to the prophet, ‘Before I work out my will and plan for the city of Jerusalem, you must first prayerfully and prophetically declare my will and plan over the map.’
Today, we hear numerous accounts of intercessors using physical acts in prayer that result in unique answers to prayer. One such report describes how 20 young people from America prayed in a clearing in a large park in Central Sofia, Bulgaria, in July 1988, while Communism was still in power there. The team, at the direction of one of its leaders, felt led to dig little holes in the soil of the clearing and plant imaginary seeds of God’s glory in their small holes. Then, they were encouraged to praise God that these seeds of glory would grow to produce such fruit that the Communist governmentof a Stalinist-type leader Todor Zhivkov (in power more than 33 years) would fall and doors would open to spread the gospel freely across Bulgaria. Within four months of that unique time of prayer, a revolt took place in Bulgaria that did lead to the fall of Todor Zhivkov. Amazingly, according to the Los Angeles Times (November 13, 1989), the revolt literally began in a clearing in that same park in Central Sofia where a group of Bulgarian youth began a petition-signing drive against the then-Zhivkov government. The drive began with just a handful of young people (about the same number as had prayed four months earlier) who signed the initial petitions. The signing of those petitions soon led to many thousands protesting. Within a few days the Communist government had fallen as a direct result of what began in that park.
B. Experiencing Jesus: Inner Healing Prayer as a Tool for Evangelism
Frecia Johnson, Ph.D.
Inner healing prayer (IHP) is prayer through Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit that heals the deepest parts of the person’s being and sometimes results in physical healing. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people worldwide have become believers, or stronger believers, in Jesus Christ by participating in, observing or hearing testimonies of positive results from this type of prayer. During IHP, it is a beautiful thing to see the joy that spreads across a person’s face as he or she experiences Jesus, often for the first time, and feels Jesus’ overwhelming love. This is an experience that is not easily forgotten and can be transformational in the person’s life and faith.
IHP can be used effectively in evangelism in the following ways: First, leading non-believers through IHP often causes them to commit their lives to Jesus, and those who have become believers through IHP frequently lead others, often their entire families or people groups, to Christ. This occurs when they share their own testimonies in their everyday lives, both next door and abroad, and it can happen to every person in every socio-economic level. Not only do they have an opportunity to hear the gospel, but they find inner peace in the midst of their often chaotic circumstances.
Second, many Christians who have received IHP report that their relationship with Jesus is so transformed that they are more eager and better equipped to evangelize others.
Third, effective IHP to a church’s members and its leaders can result in more evangelistic churches. Two very large churches—both in Buenos Aires, Argentina—require IHP as a condition to membership and report that this practice has made their churches far healthier, more vibrant, faster growing and more evangelistic (Deiros 2003).
IHP can be and often has been used for evangelism worldwide. As the following experience illustrates, it is just one of many stories that could be told. Mary Ann looked frightened and was evidently in a great deal of pain. At the Lord’s nudging, I gently took her hand, looked into her eyes, and asked if I could pray for her. She probably expected me to say a short prayer and that would be the end of it. Instead, I began leading her in IHP. First I asked the Lord to show Mary Ann an area of her emotional life that He would like to heal. I then proceeded to guide her through an hour and a half of IHP during which she fully experienced Jesus—she ‘heard’ His voice, viewed her experiences through His eyes, deeply felt His love, and was able to forgive and receive forgiveness for several past emotional hurts. I asked if she was a Christian and she surprised me by saying that she was not. I then led Mary Ann to give her life to the Lord. After observing God’s healing power on his wife, Mary Ann’s husband also committed his life to the Lord also.
Recent research about IHP has resulted in a new approach developed by myself (in my role as the President of Experiencing Jesus Ministries), called ‘Experiencing Jesus.’ The research results showed that this approach, which focuses on helping the recipient to interact with Jesus throughout the entire prayer session and on a new approach to forgiveness (both of which are unique to this ministry), achieved high levels of inner healing by using both of these components. The results also showed that the more interacting with Jesus was used, the higher the positive changes in the recipients’ personal spiritual lives. These changes included: experiencing Jesus; relating with Jesus and others; turning to Jesus rather than their friends for help; ability to forgive; and increased personal and group bible study, formal prayer, church attendance and quality of life (Johnson 2004: Appendix EE).
The recipients of IHP in the research also reported that IHP was an essential part of preparation to be a missionary or a pastor, that it revealed the importance of having an intimate relationship with Jesus, and that it resulted in a general paradigm shift by changing the recipient’s view of God and of Jesus’ power, and by seeing self and others through Jesus’ eyes (Johnson 2004).
Any form of IHP that helps a person experience Jesus’ presence during IHP can bring some level of faith and healing, but this research suggests that the more IHP components that are used, particularly the component of Interacting With Jesus, the more effective the inner healing.26I strongly urge all churches and lay ministries to seriously consider utilizing IHP to empower the health of the churches and their evangelistic outreach.
Bibliography and References cited regarding the practice of IHP
- Deiros, Pablo. Personal interview with author, Pasadena, CA, February 5, 2003.
- Foster, Richard J. Prayer: finding the heart’s true home (San Francisco: Harper, 1992).
- Grieg, Gary S. and Kevin N. Springer, eds. The Kingdom and the Power (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1993).
- Johnson, Frecia C. Experiencing Jesus: Inner Healing Prayer for Personal Transformation, Church, and Mission (Ph.D. dissertation, Fuller Theological Seminary, 2004).
- Kraft, Charles H., Ellen Kearney and Mark H. White. Deep Wounds, Deep Healing (Ann Arbor MI: Servant Publications 1993). 26 Details of how to lead IHP using Experiencing Jesus Ministries’ approach that utilizes a large number of components can be obtained by emailing: [email protected]
Christian Healing Ministries – http://www.christianhealingmin.org
Deep Healing Ministries – http://www.deephealing.org
Elijah House Ministries – http://www.elijahhouse.org
Experiencing Jesus Ministries – email: [email protected]
Pastoral Care Ministries – http://www.leannepayne.com
Prayer is indispensable in our response to the God-given vision
of the Lausanne Movement:
‘The Whole Church taking the Whole Gospel to the Whole World’
As we wait upon the Lord, He re-ignites our passion for Him, for His people and for those who do not know Him. He gives us a ‘new heart, a new vision, and a renewed call’ for the task of world evangelization. In response to prayer, He empowers us by His Spirit, and reveals His plans and strategies to address the critical issues and challenges of our day.
For ‘such a time as this,’ we believe God is stirring His church to ‘Prayer in Evangelism’. Clear evidence of this is seen in the dramatic growth of National, International and Global Prayer Movements in recent years. They are having a powerful impact in opening not only areas of the world that have been closed or unresponsive to the gospel but also hidden and forgotten people groups. The 10/40 Window and Operation World, and the 24/7 Prayer Movement as well as the various National and Regional Networks and the larger coalitions of Prayer Networks and Prayer Mobilizes are among these.
The International Prayer Council was formed just after the 9/11 terrorist attack to connect, motivate, develop, strengthen and equip national movements and local churches to fill the nations with prayer for the fulfilmentof the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, (www.ipcprayer.org). The Lausanne Intercession Working Group is part of that coalition.
The testimony of Scripture and church history from earliest times until now, gives clear evidence that prayer and evangelism are vitally linked. In this paper, we have sought to provide practical, biblically based material on various aspects of prayer in evangelism and stories of what God has done in response to prayer to reawaken, encourage and equip the church to be involved in world evangelization through prayer in evangelism
‘Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ…Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should’ Colossians 4:2-4.
Baker, H. A. Visions of Heaven (ISBN 0-88368-401-2)
‘Beggars, outcasts, homeless – such were the orphan boys who came to the Adullam Home, a rescue mission in China. God reached down to them and visited them with a powerful outpouring of His Holy Spirit.’
B. Toward motivating, mobilizing and monitoring
Houston, Tom. Scenario 2000 – A Personal forecast of the prospects for world evangelization (Monrovia, CA: MARC a division of World Vision International, 1992).
C. Toward designing, deploying and developing a prayer strategy:
Dutch Sheets Intercessory Prayer. How God Can Use Your Prayers To Move Heaven And Earth, (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1996).
Johnstone, Patrick. Operation World – The Day-by-Day Guide to Praying for the World;(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1993).
Johnstone, Jill. You Can Change the World – Help Children Pray for the World(Carlisle: OM Publishing, 1992).
Mostert, Bennie. Against the Tide (Taking the gospel to the ends of the earth) (Christian Art Publishers).
Operation Andrew & Prayer Triplets (Minneapolis, MN: Billy Graham Evangelistic Association).
Sheppard, Glenn Global Prayer Strategy – United Unending Prayer (Atlanta, GA: International Prayer Ministries, 1989).
Silvoso, Ed. That None Should Perish – How to Reach Entire Cities for Christ Through Prayer Evangelism (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1994).
D. Toward Understanding and Undertaking Spiritual Mapping
Dawson, John. Healing America’s Wounds (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1994).
Otis Jr., George. Informed Intercession – Transforming Your Community Through Spiritual Mapping and Strategic Prayer (Ventura, CA: Renew Books, 1999).
Akpan, Ime. Deliverance from Evil Covenants and Curses (Mamprobi, Ghana: Deliverance Ministry, 2003).
Bassey, B. U. ed. Prayer School – Manual 2nd Edition (Lagos, Nigeria: Intercessors For Nigeria, 2000).
Bradley, Stuart. Redeeming Your City And The Nations (Port Elizabeth, Republic of South Africa: Yada International, 2003).
Dawson, John. Healing America’s Wounds (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1994).
Dutch Sheets Intercessory Prayer. How God Can Use Your Prayers To Move Heaven And Earth, (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1996).
Gardiol, Carolina. Spiritual Mapping, – In The City Of La Plata & Christ The Only Hope The Largest Church Inside A Prison In The World (Evangelism De Cosecha: C.C. 642 Correo Central, 1900 La Plata, B.A., Argentina, 1996).
Jacobs, Cindy. Possessing the Gates of the Enemy – A training Manual for MilitantIntercession (4th edn), (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1996).
Johnstone, Jill. You Can Change the World – Help Children Pray for the World(Carlisle, UK: OM Publishing, 1992).
Johnstone, Patrick. Operation World – The Day-by-Day Guide to Praying for the World (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1993).
Kwami, S.Y. Spiritual Warfare (Tesano, Accra, Ghana: SonLife Printing Press and Services, 1994).
Madugba, Mosy U. Elders at the Gate.(Spiritual Life Outreach Publications: Port Harcourt, 35 Nuru-Onlwo Street, Aguda S/L, Lagos, Nigeria, 2000).
Nwanakpa, Emeka. Redeeming the Land – Interceding for the Nations (Rev edn, Achimota, Ghana: Africa Christian Press, 1999).
Odoi, Afotey Francis. Influencing the Heavenlies – Nothing Happens in your life except in answer to prayer(Teshie Accra Ghana: Marantha Power Ministries, 2003).
Okwara, Thomas E. Tapping the Resources from Above (Owerri, Nigeria: Heritage Projects-Publishers, 1998).
Olumuyiwa, Steve. Understanding And Dealing With The Heavens (Akure Ondo State, Nigeria, 2002).
Onwona, Samuel Ofori. Shadows Come to Light – Prayer as Spiritual Warfare (Achimota, Ghana: Africa Christian Press, 2000).
Orisa, Nelson U. Spiritual Emancipation of Families & Communities in Africa, 2nd edition, (Onitsha Anambra State, Nigeria, 2002).
Otis Jr., George. Informed Intercession – Transforming Your Community Through Spiritual Mapping and Strategic Prayer (Ventura, CA: Renew Books,1999).
Sheppard, Glenn. Global Prayer Strategy – United Unending Prayer (Atlanta, GA: International Prayer Ministries, 1989).
Silvoso, Ed. That None Should Perish – How to Reach Entire Cities for Christ Through Prayer Evangelism(Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1994).
Strong, James. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1980).
Uzorma, Iyke Nathan. Occult Grand Master (Now in Uzorma Warfare Treatise Book One (UWT B/1), Benin City, Nigeria: Franco-Bon Publishing Ministry (Evangelism Through Christian Literatures), 1994).
__________. The Occultic Strongholds in Nigeria and the rest of the world (Benin City, Nigeria: Uzorma Expository Series, vol. 2, 1994).
Wagner, C. Peter, ed. Breaking Strongholds In Your City how to use spiritual mapping to make your prayer more strategic, effective and targeted, (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1993).
___________ . The Queen’s Domain – Advancing God’s Kingdom in the 40/70 Window (Colorado Springs, CO: Wagner Publications, 2000).
Webber, David, & N.W. Hutchings. New Light on the Great Pyramid(Oklahoma City, OK: Southwest Radio Church, 1985).
Convener: Glenda Weldon – Australia
Co-convener: Earl Robinson – Canada
Facilitator: Godson Onyekwere – Poland/Nigeria
Charles Kwame Asare | Ghana
Robert Bakke | USA
Michael Ripon Biswas | Bangladesh
Jeffrey Chew | Malaysia
Martin Chow | USA
Naelle Crabtree | Australia
Marcia Dews | Australia
Dick Eastman | USA
Swarnalatha Felix | India
Alvin Vander Griend | USA
Steve Hawthorne | USA
Jenny Hill Wales, | UK
Iain Hudson | Scotland, UK
Ibeabuchi Ijioma | Nigeria
David Inja | India
Ben Jennings | USA
Lawrence Jimoh | Burkina Faso
Frecia Johnson | USA
Leslie Keegel | Sri Lanka
Henrik Laursen | Denmark
Aldo Hectos Martin | Argentina
Iqbal K. Massey | Pakistan/USA
Helene Nsim-Oum Mbella | Cameroon
Goody Nwagboso | Namibia
Dennis Odoi | Uganda
Bob Perry | USA
Victor Pandian | Singapore
Brian Pickering | Australia
Sarah Plummer | Australia
S. D. Ponraj | India
Margaret Purvis | USA
David (John) Richard | USA
Steve Ronk | USA
Albert Saah | Ghana
Daniel Sathiaraj | India
Becky Stephen | USA
Joe Walsh | USA
Chrissie Wilkinson | UK
Katie Biss Williamson | USA
1 Satan, powers and principalities are real, personal spiritual and created beings who pervert what God has created for good and who deceive in order to redirect human allegiances to anyone or anything other than God. (Lausanne Deliver Us From Evil Consultation, Nairobi, 2000)
2 Isaiah 14:13f; Luke 9:1-2; Romans 1:5; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; 1 John 5:19-20; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; Ephesians 6:12; John 8:44; Colossians 1:13.
3 Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14-15; Revelation 17:14; Revelation 20:1-3; Genesis 3:14; Isaiah 14-15; Exodus 14, 1 Samuel 17:47.
4 Mark 16:20; 1 Peter 2:9-12; 1 Peter 5:8-9; Revelation 12:10; James 4:7-10; Galatians 5:16-17; Ephesians 6:12; Jude 20f
5 Luke 4:18; John 17; 1 John 5:19; Luke 9:1-2; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20a; John. 1:12; Luke 10:17; John 14:3; John 16:23; 1 John 5:19; 1 John 5:19; Luke 9:1-2; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20a; John 1:12; Luke 10:17; John 143; John 16:23; 1 John 5:19; Luke 9:1-2; Luke 9:1-2; Matthew 16:18-20; 18:18-20; Luke 9:1-2; John 14:12; Acts 26:15ff; 2 Corinthians 5; Ephesians 2:5-6.
6 Believers and non-believers alike who invoke the name of Jesus for their own purposes will find judgement rather than freedom (Acts 5:1-11; 19:13ff). Israel, in Deuteronomy 1, illustrates the consequences of refusing to hear and obey God in warfare. When they looked at the size of the enemy, rather than the greatness of their God, they chose not to engage the enemy, as God commanded. As a result, the Lord promised that no one from that generation would see the promised land except Caleb, who had obeyed. When Israel repented, they wanted to try it again. But God said it was too late. Again, they didn’t listen to God, but took for granted their authority and God’s earlier promise in a different circumstance of favour and victory and went ahead into battle. God called that ‘arrogance.’ Of course, they were defeated.
7 2 Corinthians 10:3-4; Ephesians 6:18; Acts 4:23f; Matthew 6:9-13; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; 2 Timothy 3:16; Revelation 12:11; Luke 10:17; 1 Peter 1:16; Colossians 3:8; James 1:21; Galatians 5:16-17; James. 4:4-10; 5:16; 1 John 1:8-9; Daniel1:8; Revelation 22:17-20.
8 Researchers or teams may investigate the History, demographics and geography of a neighborhood, city or nation. The Lord may give insight during the process of spiritual strongholds, cultural or social sins, religious or personal covenants, the presence of witchcraft, etc. that can inform prayer and the communication of the Gospel. Spiritual mapping is the process of discerning spiritual strongholds to produce a map used in prayer, preparation, planning and placing resources for demolishing demonic strongholds toward the fulfilment of the redemptive purposes of God for a people in their present situation or condition.
9 While casting out demons is not all there is to spiritual warfare, it is part of the responsibility given to the body of Christ. When proclamation of the word or proximity to the people of God illicit demonic manifestations God can empower His people to pray for freedom (1 John 4:1-3, 6; Mark 6:7-13).
10 In worship we engage in spiritual warfare (John 4:23-24; Revelation 7:10f, 11:15f, 15:3-4; Daniel 2:19-47). Worship is the beginning of warfare prayer – itis the One we worship who has all authority and power, having won the victory already through the death and resurrection of Jesus. And worship is the goal of spiritual warfare – to free others to worship the Living God. We are not to worship to accomplish our agendas, to manipulate God, to use God as our means of power over demons or spiritual obstacles. Worship is the declaration of the truth about God and who we are in relationship to Him. By God’s grace, as we worship, God accomplishes His purposes, including overcoming His enemy.
11 Psalm 51:10; Isaiah 40:28-31; Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Colossians 3:5-10; Titus 3:3-7.
12 Prayer for the purposes of this planning guide is defined as ‘attentive communication and communion between a believer and the triune God.’
13 Triune refers to the three persons of God – God the Father, Jesus Christ His Son and the Holy Spirit.
14 1 John 4:8-10; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
15 John 3:3:8,16-18; 14:6,7.
16 John 1:12; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Colossians 1:21-23; 1 Peter 3:18.
17 John 17:2,3.
18 Mark 9:41; John 3:29; 16:15; Romans 1:6; 14:8; 1 Peter 2:9.
19 John 8:35.
20 John 3:3-8; 10:10; Romans 6:4,5;Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 2:4-6.
21 Matthew 18:21-35.
22 Colossians 1:13,14; Titus 2:11-14.
23 Hebrews 4:14-16.
24 Psalm 1:2,3; 23:2,3; 34:8; 42:1,2; 63:1; 107:8,9; 143:5,6; Isaiah 41:17,18; 44:2-5; 49:9,10; 55:2,3; Matthew 5:6; John 4:13,14; 6:35;7:37,38; Revelation 21:6; 22:17.
25 Mark 8:35.