Thursday, February 13, 1997
The flags of the New Life Church sanctuary made a colorful setting for the thousands gathered underneath them this evening for the first session of the conference, three hours of prayer and worship. The worship itself was no less colorful and international.
Again, Peter Wagner acted as host. He spoke of the subject that is close to heart lately, the construction of the World Prayer Center building, now coming to life from the dirt just past the New Life parking lot. He described the 220 flag poles which would fly more flags than the United Nations. He showed the newly-acquired flag of the Southern Ute nation, as an example of often-overlooked people groups in our own country.
He introduced the Praying Through the Window III conference, coming this October, and emphasized again the importance of the 10/40 window. "In general, people who live outside the 10/40 window will have a reasonable opportunity to hear the gospel in their lifetime. A person born inside the window will not. But it's going to change!" he added.
He read his life-stage verse, Revelation 5:9, which describes God's throne room. One of the features is the bowls full of prayers of the saints. He speculates that there could be a bowl for each people group and that it needs to be filled with prayer for that people group to be released by the principalities and powers. "In the past, we have been praying by drips. Now we've got firehoses!" he said, referring to the 30 million who prayed during Praying Through the Window II. He pointed out the new song which will be sung by every tribe and language, "but we can't sing it yet" because we don't have every tribe yet. But we will soon.
Even though he is the "coordinator" of the prayer track, he asserts "we're not producing the world prayer movement, God is. We're just looking around for what's happening."
The evening's worship leaders were a group called the International Center for Cultural Studies and Development," made up of young artists from many regions: Africa, Samoa, Thailand, Puerto Rico, and the Cook Islands, all YWAM missionaries. The group leader, from Samoa presented the theme for the worship: that every cultural expression has honor in it, which God deserves. Dance and music are the treasures of any people, and when incorporated into worship, they remove the excuse that Christianity is a white man's religion. God is instilling dignity in the people groups of the nations.
The worship was multi-textured. The changes in costume, foreign languages and instruments served the theme of the conference well and reminded everyone of the people God loves.
Tall conga drums kept the enthusiastic beat going for hours. The leader explained that in Polynesia, drums mean something good is happening, a worthy person is present, in this case a worthy Person.
In the first song, the trilling and yelping sounded very Spanish and I could imagine a fiesta. In other songs, the yips sounded more South African. I wonder if it will catch on-praise yipping. I think some well-placed yips could improve attention on Sunday mornings.
For one song, we learned that Bayete (ba-yet-ee) in Zulu is the highest honor word given the king. We not only sang it, but learned to bow the way a Zulu would to his king. Later in one of the repetitions of the song, the praise team escalated into Zulu dance, with a the drums thundering a driving pulse and the dancers standing in line making a scooping motion in unison on the second beat of each measure. Pretty soon, the whole auditorium was scooping and stomping like Zulus while the drums led the celebration. Then the leader led us in claiming as united people the nations of Africa back to God.
R., a surgeon, was the first of many international leaders to lead in prayer, for revelation of God's presence. He also prayed that as we are inadequate, God needs to give life to dry bones as he did for Ezekiel. "We're not asking this time for our necks and backaches. We are asking for the lost!"
Another song told of a new sound coming from indigenous peoples.
Asuncion Arimany of Guatemala prayed that we would be sent with dignity and integrity.
Then we learned another foreign word, ha-er-e-mai, welcome in Polynesian. The praise team came out in somewhat Polynesian dress and with shaking hands danced what appeared to be hand symbols, the women making smooth hand motions while the men did a more athletic, shouting dance.
Zacharias Fumum called us to holiness, a radical suppression of the lusts of the flesh, separation from love of the world and its things, and salvation from the "self life."
Sam Seong Kim, a Korean pastor living in Kazakstan, prayed for salvation for the people of the 10/40 window.
Labib Madanat a Palestinian from Israel prayed for both the Jews and their leaders and for the Palestinian and Arab people and leaders. His heart seemed to break as he prayed against the torture, despite talks of peace.
Chuck Pierce heard the sound of the gathering of the bones, the unity of the Body of Christ coming together. Heard the doors opening to let prisoners come forth.
Bev Pegues, the director of CIN called to "Pharaoh", "Let my people go!"
The final dance of the evening was a hula, performed by the troupe in loose clothing, (the girls wore full circle skirts with knickers underneath for modesty during whirls), leaf wreaths, bracelets and necklaces. The dance was used traditionally to call warriors to come to war.
The final event of the evening was watching the new Praying Through the Window Video, To the Ends of the Earth. The meeting concluded just before 10pm.
"Live" from Praying with Power conference, Colorado Springs.
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