Saturday, February 15, 1997
When the transparencies took some time to get up on the large screens, Zacharias Fomum waited patiently, expressionlessly. The silence grew. Peter Wagner said "Go ahead and say something until they get it up."
Characteristically, Professor Fomum said, "let us pray." Fomum, a full-time university professor, is also the founder of a 6,000-member church, and the leader of 300 churches in 20 countries. Peter Wagner says that he is one of the world's foremost authorities on spiritual warfare. (His story is so dynamic, it deserved more space, so look for it in the Special Report: Winning Churches). Not surprisingly, two minutes after Peter Wagner announced that Fomums books were available in the lobby, the paperbacks were all sold.
The theme of the day was preparing the prayerwalking teams to go into the 10/40 window. Most of the approximately three thousand people attending the conference indicated that they would be going on a prayer journey to a Joshua Project people during the Praying Through the Window emphasis in October 1997.
Next, Fred Markert of Strategic Frontiers brought his brand of bubbling enthusiasm to the platform. Just his presence itself was miraculous, since he had been flat on his back with back pain for two months and had been healed just in time to speak at the conference. Markert was introduced as the world's most prolific prayer walker. In explanation, he called himself a prayer "practitioner," and said "when the water is stirring in the pool, you gotta jump in and get a dose of it." He started prayerwalking as a three-day-old believer, before it even had the name.
While he related stories of God's work in prayerwalks which gave the audience goosebumps, the most important principle he shared was the balance of "Spirit and Truth" mentioned in John 4:23-24. Leaving out either one in a prayerwalk makes it unprofitable. The "Spirit" factor is the supernatural events, such as divine healings, miracles, insights, dreams, visions, strategic level warfare prayer -- similar to the concept of rama. "Truth" includes the written word, principles of sound accounting, medicine, research, long term church planting, missionaries -- similar to the concept of logos. In the past, missionaries tended to only have truth in their ministries, but now the power of God in Spirit adds strength. It is essential to first destroy the devils work according to I John 3:8, before seeking and saving the lost.
He presented an overhead transparency showing the difference in measurable response to a gospel presentation since 1993, when Praying Through the Window began softening the enemy's defenses. Responses to receive Christ shot up seven hundred percent and has continued growing as the prayer has escalated.
Other important principles he illustrated included identifying the redemptive gift and calling of the people group, in order to understand God's strategy for reaching them. One vivid method of learning God's intent is for God to reveal it directly. He recounted an instance where a member of his team in Azerbijan was given a gift of speaking in Azeri for 10 minutes with a local man. When a translator was brought later, the Azerbijani recounted what he had been told. The team discovered that their member had told him (in fluent Azeri) that they loved him, that they came here to serve the people of Azerbijan, and that they would found a university and an agricultural project in other parts of the country. All those things have since come to pass.
Markert's talk acted as a bridge between the "Spirit" of Fomum and the "Truth" of the practical prayer journey training of the afternoon.
Jim Orred presented the ministry of the Reconciliation Walks -- covering all the villages pillaged during the Crusades in order to formally repent and offer love on behalf of Christians. During Ramadan, local tv stations in Turkey showed cartoons and other programs about bloodthirsty Crusaders raping and murdering their way to Jerusalem. The hatred and fear of Christians is kept alive to each succeeding generation. But in countries which normally expel Christians, the walkers have been welcomed with gifts and joyous escorts. The walks will continue for two more years until Jerusalem.
Trevor Gregory, a director of prayer training for Operation Mobilization had the audience cackling with laughter with his portrayal of team dynamics in the scene above Rephidim: Moses (the stuttering Irishman "influencer"), Aaron (the softspoken southern English pastor), Hur (the highbrow thinker "awfully good of you to invite me"), and Joshua (the head-knocking Scottsman "doer").
Those from the audience who will be leading a prayer team into the 10/40 window were invited forward. Gregory charged them to be known by their unity, despite the devil's attempts to derail. Hundreds thronged the front and aisles for this time of commissioning as other delegates laid hands on and blessed these leaders.
Cal Johnson, black pastor of rapidly-growing Solid Rock Church in South Colorado Springs, described how Ted Haggard had taught him to prayer walk and to emphasize missions, rather than the troubles of the community alone. "As you sow yourself out to people overseas, you may not receive anything from it. But God will supernaturally change your neighborhood."
Beverly Pegues, director of Christian Information Network, presented a paper full of practical steps to preparing and taking a prayer journey.
Rick Ward heads the research team at Bethany World Prayer Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, producing prayer profiles for the Joshua Project peoples. He briefly explained the Joshua Project list and other resources for finding information about unreached peoples.
Deborah Strong, a professional author and editor as well as missionary to Nepal, stressed the importance of writing down for posterity the things that God is doing in our generation. From her experience on the editing team of the Window Watchman book, she gave practical guidelines of what types of things to record about the prayer journey: 1. All supernatural events whether or not you believed them 2. Practical information for future travelers 3. People group research 4. History 5. Prayers 6. Scripture the Lord impresses on the team 7. Songs 8. Prayer needs of the people 9. Praise reports
A question and answer time for all the days speakers followed.
As the afternoon and the conference drew to a close, participants shared communion and everyone who wanted to pray with a speaker formed lines across the front. Many hundreds went forward to wait. Cindy Jacobs closed the meeting with a short commissioning prayer, but as the praise team sang and flute played, it was evident that the doors of New Life would not be closing for several hours. The conference ended on a quiet meditative note as, one by one, the world quietly filtered out into the falling darkness, heading for homes and journeys in the 10/40 window, lights directed by hands of Light.
"Living on the edge is too conservative. You gotta go over the edge and hang on with our fingernails." -- Fred Markert
--"Live" from Praying with Power conference, Colorado Springs.
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