Leading the prayer time was David Bryant, author of a book on intercession called In The Gap, and founder of a prayer movement called Concerts of Prayer. Bryant is one of a cadre of internationally known specialists on prayer and spiritual warfare who have been attending GCOWE '95. Evelyn Christensen is an animated grandmother whose book, What Happens When Women Pray, has sold over 2 million copies. Both Bryant and Christensen have made a deep impact on the United Prayer Mobilization track in the past several days.
Though the two thoughtful experts on prayer are not actively linked in any way, their approaches to prayer have striking similarities. Christensen's latest instructional masterpiece on prayer, A Study Guide for Evangelism Praying, has been available for less than three years and is revolutionizing evangelism praying around the world. Within ten months of its release, the booklet was in use in 82 countries.
The key to Christensen's approach in this latest prayer tool is the concept of triplet praying, a powerful method of pre-evangelism praying, Evelyn urges everyone to use. It works like this:
Join with two other Christians, each choosing three non-Christians<> for whom you all will pray to find Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Get together every week for 15 minutes to pray for the salvation<> of your nine people.
Select a country or people group that is unreached with the gospel<> of Jesus and include them in your prayers.
Pray only for these issues:
Covenant in advance for the length of time you will pray together and re-examine/renew that commitment when the time is fulfilled.
Christensen's popular 30-page book was specifically prepared for the use of the AD 2000 International Women's Track. Her goal is to teach and mobilize women and men around the world, across denominational and para-church organizational lines, to pray for and reach the unreached for Jesus Christ.
A Study Guide for Evangelism Praying takes the student through the basic steps of salvation, assurance, reality of hell, and the glory awaiting when a person accepts Jesus as Savior and Lord. And then, she says, comes the real challenge. The following are a few of the listed excuses "pray-ers" are to confess for not bothering to pray for and reach the lost:
I have not accepted my personal responsibility to obey Jesus'<> command in His great commission.
I have been too busy keeping my own family and myself together to<> bother with other people's problems.
I have been taught to be tolerant of all people's religions, and<> not to think of mine as superior to theirs.
I lack understanding of the power of the Holy Spirit to use and<> bless my seemingly feeble efforts.
I am afraid I will fail.<>
I would rather be liked by people than to push my religion on them.<>
I just have not cared.<>
Subsequent steps in Christensen's system include personal preparation and examination with two pages of Scriptures listing specific sins.
A section deals with God's power and exhorts the Christian to wait upon God for the infilling of His presence. Quenching and grieving the Spirit are dealt with. The final section touches on spiritual warfare and the need for pre-evangelism praying.
Bryant's movement focuses on two major thrusts of prayer: spiritual awakening and world evangelization. The idea is to gather together a broad-based segment of the Body of Christ within a community, city, or region. Efforts are made to blend together the strengths of the various theological frameworks within Biblical Christianity, while holding a high view of Scripture and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Inevitably, there is an effort to unite both a variety of denominational expressions of worship and prayer and diversity of social, ethnic and cultural groupings within a community.
The main emphasis in Concerts of Prayer is to seek a balance within the various themes brought forward before the Lord. Bryant believes that a balanced format would include:
Rejoicing -- Praise and celebration of the hope that God has set before us in Christ for AD 2000.
Repentance -- Turning away, both individually and corporately, from all that might hinder the fulfillment of that hope.
Resistance -- Intercession at every point where the enemy is seeking to thwart the unfolding of what God has promised to His church and to its mission in the world.
Restoration -- Praying for God to fill The Church with the fullness of the life of Christ.
Releasing -- Asking God to release many new works of His Kingdom, both locally and worldwide, to advance the AD2000 vision.
Receiving -- Listening to hear and confirm whatever new words of promise and mission God may be speaking to us.
Recommitment -- Offering ourselves back to the Lord, in view of the great hope toward which we've prayed.
Bryant sums up this movement by saying that a Concert of Prayer is not: simply any time that Christians gather to pray, a one-time event, a specific kind of prayer program per se, a specific format for leading united prayer, an organization, or a particular kind of prayer gathering. Rather, he stresses, it us a prayer gathering that is broad-based, balanced in styles and emphasis, aimed concretely on revival and mission, a means for pastors and spiritual leaders to unite the Body of Christ in prayer for the kingdom, and part of a larger movement, uniting the church worldwide in prayer.
Like Concerts of Prayer, Evelyn's book promotes an effective pattern for ushering friends and acquaintances into the Kingdom of God and advancing God's worldwide purpose. The book can be picked up in the lobby of Love Hall. Additional copies may be ordered through the AD2000 North America Women's Track.