Prayer, in the words of Tim Keller, “continues a conversation that God has started through his Word and grace, which eventually becomes a full encounter with him.” Prayer is the vehicle that helps us discover more of who God is and who we are in relationship to him. Prayer also fuels God’s movement in our lives, in our communities and in the world.
Robert Bakke once wrote, “There are times and moments in history that call out for extraordinary prayer—prayer that is above and beyond normal requirements.” Look at every major revival and movement of God throughout 2,000 years of Church history and you will discover that extraordinary prayer is the one golden thread that unites them all.
GOD MOVES IN HISTORY
The Early Church
Following Jesus’ ascension to heaven, the first 120 disciples gathered together and prayed constantly for the Holy Spirit to come (Acts 1:14). God answered their prayers and, when the Spirit came, he gave spiritual power and boldness to their witness and mission to fulfill Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). From this small group dedicated to unceasing prayer came a revolution that radically changed the world.
The Moravian Movement
In 1727 a community of Moravian refugees sought the Lord in prayer until the Holy Spirit moved once again in power. This small band of believers committed to praying 24 hours a day and their prayer chain went unbroken for 100 years. Through their prayers, God planted seeds for a global harvest in missions that led to the First Great Awakening in America and the modern missions movement. Because the Moravians were committed to prayer, they became a launching pad for sending missionaries to countries around the world.
The 1857 Prayer Revival
At noon in lower New York City on September 23, 1857, Jeremiah Lanphier, a middle-aged businessman, knelt alone in the Dutch Reformed Church and resolved to pray after failing to reach the immigrants in his church’s neighborhood. Before 1 p.m. six men joined him. A month later 100 men joined him to pray daily. Eventually, thousands of men gathered every day to pray at noon in the city.
From this dedication to prayer came one of the greatest revivals in American history. Within two years one million people came to Christ in a country that, at the time, had a population of only 30 million. The impact of this revival cannot be overstated. It helped advance the gospel to the nations through men like David Livingstone and J. Hudson Tayler and influenced God’s work through men such as Charles Spurgeon, D.L. Moody and William Booth. All of this from someone who was moved by God to simply pray.
GOD MOVES TODAY
These stories reveal to us the truth that prayer is the fuel that ignites the flame for movements of God throughout history. The Holy Spirit is moved to act when God’s people unite in extraordinary prayer and we are confident that historic and unprecedented change will result. That’s why our agreement on prayer and our commitment to it present the greatest opportunity to heal the division and brokenness in our communities in Arkansas.
The Spirit-filled power of prayer in these movements of God is not relegated to the history books. It can be experienced today in our churches in fresh and powerful ways! When we unite in extraordinary prayer, our love for Christ grows, our experience of God and his work reaches greater depths and the gospel’s power to change lives expands as it is unleashed in individual hearts, churches and entire communities.
Do you want to see your church grow and have a greater impact in your community? If you do, then prayer is the tried and tested best starting point for you. At CityChurch Network we have a vision for churches brought together across denominational divides in extraordinary prayer to see a movement of God in our communities. Through regular rhythms of prayer, we are building a vibrant culture of increasing, unceasing and persevering prayer in churches across Arkansas until we truly reflect heaven on earth.
The vibrancy and unity of our churches depend on our commitment to prayer. Whether you’re a pastor leading your congregation or a layperson like Jeremiah Lanphier, we invite you to join a prayer movement that is already happening in churches in cities throughout Arkansas.
JOIN THE MOVEMENT
There are multiple ways to unite in extraordinary prayer, including 1) Arkansas Prays, 2) One Voice and 3) Arkansas Prayer Summit.
The goal of our Arkansas Prays initiative is to cover many communities with 24/7 prayer. Churches are linking together across denominations, ethnicities, generations, and locations and benefiting from vibrant prayer in their congregation. That means any time of any day, you will be able to look at our calendar and see multiple churches covering that day in prayer. Arkansas Prays is part of a national effort to cover all 50 States in 24/7 prayer.
The regional church united in prayer is the most powerful force in all creation. As our churches grow in vibrant prayer, we regularly gather together to pray with One Voice. One Voice Citywide Prayer events are organized quarterly to gather every church in the city for an evening of extraordinary prayer. One Voice is led by a diverse team of pastors and worship leaders brought together from many different churches. Every One Voice is different and each one gives us a greater glimpse of heaven on earth. One Voice is always free and open to the public.
Arkansas Prayer Summit
For over 25 years, pastors and ministry leaders have attended the Arkansas Prayer Summit to be saturated in Spirit-led, worship-fed, scripture-based prayer for revival in Arkansas. This is a powerful time for spiritual refreshment and connection with other pastors and ministry leaders who share a passion for seeing our cities transformed by Jesus and his gospel.
Join us for a day of seeking the Lord for revival in Arkansas. Space is limited, so sign up today. Go here to register for this year’s Prayer Summit.
A CALL TO EXTRAORDINARY PRAYER
In “Contemporary America and a Call to Prayer,” John Piper wrote, “Let every pastor ask the Lord: Is it time for me to take unusual leadership to summon my people, and the networks I am part of, to extraordinary prayer?” Piper’s call to extraordinary prayer could not be more timely or urgent. A golden opportunity stands before us — to see the Spirit move in even greater and more powerful ways in our time and in our communities. Together we can build a flourishing community and help our churches grow when we unite in extraordinary prayer.
Ronnie Floyd, “Great Movements of God Begin with Prayer,” Biblical Recorder, Link: https://www.brnow.org/opinions/voices-opinion/Great-movements-of-God-begin-with-prayer/.
“Moravian Movement,” Missions Box, Link: https://missionsbox.org/essays/moravian-movement-2/.
John Piper, “Contemporary America and a Call to Prayer,” Desiring God, Link: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/contemporary-america-and-a-call-to-prayer.