World Prayer Assembly - Let the New Wave of His Glory Fill the Earth!
By John Robb, Facilitator for the International Coordinating Team, The World Prayer Assembly Chairman of the International Prayer Council
Some of you may be asking, “Why Indonesia? Why now?” It was in November of 2009 that Tom Victor, president of the Great Commission Coalition, showed me pictures of the new World Prayer Centre at Sentul City, just an hour’s drive outside of Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta. Tom described an 11,000 seat auditorium nearly filled with a group of Christian leaders meeting to worship and pray on a Saturday morning. He felt overwhelmed by the presence of God in the place, so much so that it was difficult to stand. He’d taken pictures of the 13 story prayer tower next door and shared about the 24/7 intercession that was going on there.
As I looked at these pictures and heard about the exceptional things happening in the rapidly expanding prayer movement in Indonesia, with more than 500 city networks connecting over 5 million believers, something began to stir within me. Perhaps Indonesia should be considered the site for the World Prayer Assembly. The International Prayer Council had formed in 2001 as a network of prayer networks and ministries after the 9/11 attack on New York. For several years we had been thinking about holding another international prayer congress like the original one held in Korea in 1984, a generation earlier.
That original event, the International Prayer Assembly, had gathered over 3000 Christian leaders to Seoul, Korea. It was a very catalytic event, resulting in the prayer movement taking off “like a rocket thrust,” as Ben Jennings, one of its leaders and a later founder of the IPC would report. Before that first gathering there were no national prayer networks. The IPA encouraged the formation of many such national and international networks as well as numerous prayer initiatives which the Lord has used to impact nations. The movement for world evangelization was especially influenced through the connection of prayer and evangelism. The host nation of Korea itself has seen a 55 fold increase of overseas missionaries, growing from 400 in 1984 to over 22,000 in 2010, following that first International Prayer Assembly. But the prayer revival has also affected many other kinds of ministry efforts that are engaged in bringing Christ’s salvation, healing and transformation to our world.
During a United Nations Prayer Initiative, arranged by the International Prayer Council in September 2009, our leadership team had agreed that we needed to hold another such international prayer congress. We felt it was time to pull together the diverse strands of the prayer movement, to celebrate all the Lord had done through the global prayer movement and to learn from one another as we coordinate go-forward plans for the future.
Now as I gazed at the pictures from Indonesia, it seemed obvious that this vast and colorful island nation was beckoning. As a result Tom and I journeyed to Jakarta in January 2010 to confer with the leaders of its prayer movement. Iman Santoso, Bambang Widjaya, Daniel Pandji, Wilson Pribadi, Tony Mulia, Roy Tirtadji and many other church and marketplace leaders warmly received us. As we talked and prayed together, our Indonesian colleagues seemed to sense that God was calling them to host this international prayer congress. They knew God had given them a special grace in prayer, a gift they were to share with others. We all felt captured by the prophetic affirmation of Habakkuk, who in a time of great turmoil declared that the earth would be “filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” This verse has become a theme as we anticipate the prayer and mission movement moving together like two streams flowing as one river, integrating and supporting one another.
Another passage that has captured us is John 17:21, Jesus final prayer for his followers. His prayer that we might become one as he and the Father are one. It was the precondition for the world to know Him. Both of these passages speak of a united Body working and praying together for the glory of the Lord to cover the earth. They have become anchor verses that are foundational for the World Prayer Assembly.
As we talked and prayed during that first trip, we were aware that the world did not need another human-centered event full of flashy speakers and programming that kept the participants running - leaving them exhausted at the end. Instead, we felt it was time to explore a new paradigm, emulating the five leaders at Antioch who gave themselves to worship and prayer. It was this approach where they receive His strategy for the mission they were called to fulfill. We wanted the WPA to be filled with the guiding presence of the Lord, letting Him be God by giving Him the opportunity to speak as He did to the Antiochian five. That extended prayer meeting at Antioch resulted in the launch of the Gentile mission that took the Gospel into Europe and transformed human history. What might the Lord do if 5000 Christian leaders adopted the same stance of praying and waiting on the Lord in each of the plenary and track sessions at the WPA?
As we parted from those first deliberations in January 2010, we agreed to continue praying, seeking the input from a multitude of counselors, including my own colleagues in the IPC as well as others. The vision began to spread within Indonesia as hundreds of leaders began to embrace it. Other prayer networks around the world also responded enthusiastically, affirming their intention to be part of the WPA.
Tom and I traveled on to Korea to meet with church and prayer ministry leaders. They had been the initiators of the first event in 1984. We wanted to see if they would bring their special prayer gift to the WPA. Their response to the vision was also warm and enthusiastic. Before leaving Korea it was obvious that Korea should be a co-host nation with Indonesia for the WPA. We’ve watch with excitement as a national prayer network has emerged in their own nation through this process. Several key leaders have stepped up to help lead the process in Korea including John Hur, Sarah Lee, Ko Jikhan, and Youngchae Song.
We’ve watched over the months as a spiritual highway or axis between two of the world’s most powerful prayer movements has developed. Indonesians and Koreans have met together to pray, strengthening their bond with one another and agreeing to work together as co-hosts for the WPA in May 2012. All the planning, deliberation and prayer would have been worth it just to see the growing heart unity between intercessors from these two nations.
In March of 2010, Daniel Pandji, leader of the Indonesian national prayer network, wrote to say that he and others felt the theme of the WPA should be “New Wave.” Shortly after that I was in Mexico City for a special prayer initiative with government officials concerned about the growing influence and destructive war with the drug cartels. An IPC colleague of mine, Leslie Keegel, who has an extraordinary prophetic gifting, had come along to minister to the officials and church leaders with me. During that very time, as I thought about the mammoth administrative and financial effort it would take to put on the WPA, I began to get cold feet. I was feeling my own inadequacy and wondering if I should continue to be involved.
As Leslie was giving some strikingly accurate words to others, he unexpectedly turned to me and said that I would be involved with a “new wave” of God’s moving that would come upon the earth. He repeated this phrase “new wave” three times not knowing that this was the WPA theme the Indonesians had just chosen! I was blown away, as we say, realizing that the Lord was speaking directly to me and was urging me not to give up my own involvement!
When Tom Victor and I returned to Indonesia in April, word of the WPA has spread through the various denominations and much of the country already. We were astonished at how organized and on fire the Indonesians were. They managed to form a national committee, identifying over 50 top church and marketplace leaders to serve on it in only 40 minutes. No one was vying to be in charge, but all were willing to serve in any capacity necessary to make the WPA a reality. The maturity and spirituality of these leaders has deeply impressed Tom, my IPC colleagues and me throughout the process since then. Tom and I have made eight journeys to Indonesia in the last 21 months and each time we’ve been more delighted and astonished by these humble and vibrant brothers and sisters in Christ.
Truly Indonesia, as the host nation, has much to share with the rest of the world. The depth, breadth and passion of the nation’s prayer movement with it’s many expressions has been refined and stretched through the fire of intense persecution and suffering. The unity of the Church in that nation is remarkable and has, we believe, earned it the favor of God and His choice as the WPA host nation. When 5000 plus ministry leaders from 200 nations descend on Jakarta in May 2012, they will be challenged and stirred by a movement of united prayer that encompasses hundreds of cities, many ethnic groups, as well as children and youth in massive numbers. Prayer rallies, prayer towers and 24/7 watches have become commonplace, an expected part of the culture of most churches.
We’ve also been impressed by the remarkable favor the Lord has given with political and religious authorities in this, the largest Muslim-populated nation. The leader of a 40 million-member Muslim organization was an invited speaker with us at a Christian conference in October 2010. The governor of Jakarta was on the same stage with me in April of 2011, warmly welcoming the World Prayer Assembly to Jakarta. Muslims and Christians do not have to live in hostility, but through prayer and love can have a good, even a close relationship of respect and affection. The Indonesian church has shown this is possible by pursuing reconciliation and goodwill with their Muslim countrymen. What a lesson for the rest of the world!
The unity of their leadership across denominations and ethnic identities, their genuine humility before the Lord and passion to pray for their land and our world, have positioned them well to host the WPA. They are used to putting on large prayer meetings. In 2005, the national stadium was packed with over 100, 000 for a four hour prayer meeting while another 20,000 stood outside unable to get seats!
We believe the Lord is going to do some extraordinary things at this once-in-a-generation event in May, 2012. Earlier this year, Leslie Keegel, who is in my opinion one of the most accurate prophetic voices in the world today, sent me what he believes is a word from the Lord concerning the WPA:
From Leslie Keegel, March 22, 2011:
“God is showing me that He has chosen Asia as the epicenter for the next mighty move of God; the great revival the Church has been waiting and praying for. The nation of Indonesia in particular is the Asian nation God has chosen to be the epicenter for the world impacting global revival He is planning on sending on the nations. God has heard the cries of the Indonesian Church, seen the tears and the blood of her saints poured out like a river. God has prepared the Indonesian church over the decades, has set the stage and sanctified the atmosphere of the nation in preparation for this global revival.
The World Prayer Assembly is chosen to be a " Jerusalem," a Pentecost, where the Holy Spirit fell on the early Church. The Holy Spirit will be poured on the World Prayer Assembly, upon the Apostolic/Prophetic leaders, Pastors, Evangelists, Marketplace leaders both men and women, youth and children. Like it was promised through the Prophet Joel 2:28 - 32, it shall be. The old and the young will hold hands together - men, women, and children and move forward in the power of the Spirit.
The great move shall start at World Prayer Assembly and cascade to the nations, pulling down fortresses and boundary walls and uprooting strongholds. God will continue to shake the nations. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken violently. His warring angels are waging war against principalities and powers of the nations of the world. He is judging the gods of the nations, the arrogance and everything which tries to exalt itself above God. He is judging all perversion and everything false in the hearts of men. As God judges the nations, He will pour out His Spirit on all the nations of the world. Millions will come to the Lord, by way of peoples movements, nation after nation shall open their borders to the flooding revival of God. The move which is initiated at the World Prayer Assembly in Indonesia will profoundly impact the nations, pulling down strongholds and opening blind eyes.
John, you and the leadership of the World Prayer Assembly instrumental in organizing this great series of meetings need to see the World Prayer Assembly not as an event but as a God ordained movement orchestrating a global revival. I see your leadership team on the crest of the wave emerging into a new global move of the Holy Spirit. This move is epoch setting for a new emerging wave of fresh young global leadership.
John, this is all I see now. I know there is much more God is going to show me. I will write to you again, when I hear again from God the Holy Spirit.”
Certainly, my colleagues and I are looking forward with great expectancy to what the Lord is going to do at the WPA. When we were meeting in April during our sixth time of planning and prayer together, I felt the Lord was showing me something. In my mind’s eye, I suddenly saw the International Expo Centre where the WPA will be held. It was filled with beams of light moving up and down like a laser light show. They came from the heavens downward and then shot upward again in a spectacular scene of bright, vigorous movement. I believe it was a picture of what will be the most compelling thing about the WPA and what will happen there - the manifest presence of the Lord of glory Himself as we gather about His throne together. We will swim together in the ocean of His love and grace, then ride the “New Wave” into all He wants to do for us and our world!
Additional information about the World Prayer Assembly is available on this site. You can also register your interest in participating here. Or write to firstname.lastname@example.org