Over the past 20 years, a conversion has taken place in the church worldwide. Like never before, Christians have embraced a fundamental conviction: Nothing in this world is really more important than united, concerted, persevering prayer for the advance of Christ’s kingdom among the nations.
Martin Luther would be thrilled! He wrote: “0 if any congregation were to pray this way, so that a common, earnest, heartfelt cry of the whole people were to rise up to God, what immeasurable virtue and help would result from such a prayer! For indeed, the Christian church has no greater power or work against everything that may oppose it than such common (united] prayer What matters is not the places and buildings where we assemble, but this unconquerable prayer alone, and our really praying it together and offering it to God.”
Pray-ers today display an increasing sense of urgency.
This past December a video was mailed to every church in America- over 300,000. Underwritten by Promise Keepers and featuring insights from a broad spectrum of nationally respected Christian leaders, Hope for a New Millennium issues the prophetic call for aggressive prayer from every part of Christ’s body Thousands of churches have watched it. Interestingly, many of the speakers featured in the video joined with Billy Graham and over 100 other members of Mission America to issue “A Nationwide Call to Prayer to the Church in America.” It first appeared as a full-page ad in USA TODAY This widely circulated, unified summons to extraordinary intercession carries the same spirit of urgency as the video.
Why the urgency? America is at a crossroads, it seems, between God’s judgment or revival. There is a growing hope for a massive spiritual awakening to Christ. A God-given revival must begin in the church, because much of what is wrong with the nation rises from spiritual paralysis within God’s people. The most strategic step any of us can take is to pray-more specifically, to be united as a nation in prayer.
How do you get a whole nation praying together, fulfilling the scenario that Luther outlined? Many of you know that for over 15 years, on nearly 300 stations coast to coast, Concerts of Prayer International has produced a daily two-minute program called National Concert of Prayer (NCOP). (“Concert of Prayer” was a term coined by Puritans to describe broad unity-Luther-style-in revival praying.) Last October, however, NCOP was transformed into a full-time ministry of America’s National Prayer Committee (NPC), a coalition of 400 leaders committed to strengthening the national prayer movement together. Though I continue to host the program, it now features many other voices from the NPC roster of leaders.
But there’s more. Seven years ago, our effort was complimented by a once-a-year “Nationally Broadcast Concert of Prayer” (NBCOP), which was aired on hundreds of television and radio stations, allowing millions of Americans to join a live, three-hour Concert of Prayer. Known as “the world’s largest prayer meeting,” the annual NBCOP is enhanced (and vice versa) by the daily NCOP as it keeps Christians praying in the same direction all year long.
Imagine: What if, on a consistent basis, across all segments of the church, with a single-minded focus, seeking what is most on God’s heart, and led by godly Christian leaders, millions of saints joined daily in prayer for revival? What wonders might God perform for our generation?
Imagine: What if, once every 24 hours, Christians everywhere were reminded to pray for revival and exposed to exciting perspectives on revival from Scripture and current developments-and were able at the same time to feel connected to a multitude of others who are committed to the same kind of praying-and were also offered, at no charge, ministries and resources to help them grow in prayer as well as mobilize others in prayer? What warriors might God raise up within our churches?
Imagine: What if the nearly 2,000 Christian radio stations in the United States cooperated in blanketing the nation every day with a mini-prayer meeting that raised up kingdom-sized prayers that changed the pray-ers and their churches and resulted in a national spiritual awakening to Christ? What worship might God receive in our unity, in our prayers, and in the impact of the answers?
Wonders. Warriors. Worship. These are the gifts awaiting Christ’s people through this simple endeavor to unite the nation daily in revival prayer by radio. I’m encouraged that the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) has begun to look seriously at the project. Church historian Richard Lovelace observes that perhaps the greatest single human factor in the spread of past awakenings has been “communications”-whether by letter or preacher on horseback or newspaper accounts. Today, communications operate at an unprecedented level. They can take the shape of websites (like www.nationalprayer.org) or magazines (like Pray!) or broadcasts (like National Concert of Prayer), as well as many other forms.
NCOP programs have been streamed on the internet at the above website. Take time to listen. Contact your local Christian radio station, and encourage it to consider broadcasting it. Finally, let me know of your interest.