Dr C. Peter Wagner, formerly Professor of Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary, author of numerous books, is President of Global Harvest Ministries and Co-ordinator of the United Prayer Track for the AD2000 and Beyond Movement. This article was published by Global Harvest Ministries as ‘Getting Ready to Sing the New Song’.
A church for every people
and the gospel for every person
The Bible tells us that one day four living creatures and twenty‑four elders are going to surround the throne of the Lamb and sing a new song: ‘You have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation’ (Rev. 5:9). What a song!
If the motto of the A.D. 2000 Movement is fulfilled, that song will be sung pretty soon. I have the faith to join A.D. 2000 in believing that there, in fact, will be ‘A church for every people and the gospel for every person.’
Does it require faith to say such a thing? It definitely does.
Speaking as a professional missiologist, I can, with great assurance, affirm that there is no known human theory of missiology today that could bring about such a result in such a short time. If that is the case ‑ which it is ‑ the only way it could possibly happen is through a mighty move of the sovereign hand of God.
Prayer Moves the Hand of God!
What is it that moves the hand of God more than anything else?
Prayer! In fact, in the verse just before the words of the new song, the ‘prayers of the saints’ are highlighted (see Rev. 5:8).
Nothing could be more important for fulfilling Jesus’ great commission to ‘make disciples of every nation’ than mobilizing massive prayer for world evangelization. Since we founded Global Harvest Ministries and the United Prayer Track in 1991, the burning passion of Doris’ and my hearts has been to see more of God’s people praying in one accord for the lost of the world than ever before.
We are not generating the worldwide prayer movement. God is doing it. I like what Eddie Smith of the U.S. Prayer Track once said: “Our job is not to get people praying, but to get praying people!” Never before in history have there been so many Christians praying on all the continents.
Our assignment from God is to see that as many of them as possible are praying for the lost ‘with one accord,’ as Luke put it in Acts 2:1. When we first began we thought we were stretching our faith to believe that we could get one million praying for the same nation or city at the same time.
But our faith was too small. Much more than this has actually taken place, by the providence of God.
Millions Praying In One Accord
In October 1993, 21 million were praying in one accord for the 62 nations of the 10/40 Window [10 to 40 degrees north between Africa and Asia]. In October 1995, 36 million were praying in one accord for the 100 Gateway Cities of the 10/40 Window. We are confident that in October 1997 there will be 50 million praying in one accord for the 146 Gateway Clusters of 1,739 major unreached people groups.
I am confident that you will be praying in one accord with Doris and me and millions of others. In fact, you may even be a member of one of the 17,390 local churches (10 per unreached people group) or a member of one of the 34,780 home cell groups (20 per unreached people group) committed to praying for one of the groups past October 1997 and through the end of the year 2000.
The Lights Are Coming On!
If you are like many others who pray, you want to know if your prayers are being answered. The answer is yes!
When the A.D. 2000 Movement began in 1989, darkness prevailed across the 10/40 Window. But we have been praying in one accord for seven years now, more and more each year. It would be discouraging if the same degree of darkness persisted. But it has not.
Lights have been coming on in many significant parts of the 10/40 Window since we have been praying. We are getting reports that some of the 1,739 unreached people groups are now reached, but we are not tooled to start deleting names as yet ‑ so let’s keep praying for them all in the meantime.
The three most formidable anti‑Christian forces in the world are Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. I have some good news for those who want to see multitudes among these peoples move from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God. Remarkable things have been happening in this decade of the 1990s.
My observations lead me to believe that the principalities over Buddhism are ‘on the run.’ This is the first large wall, after Communism, to come down in our generation. For years Buddhism has been taking a hit in South Korea, and more recently, on even a greater scale, in mainland China.
I visited Thailand, the strongest Buddhist nation in Southeast Asia, twice this year and I was amazed at the growth of Christian churches. Many Thai leaders point to 1993, more or less, as the turning point.
Why not? Twenty‑one million were praying for Thailand in one accord. The video for the 1995 Praying Through the Window II featured a Thai pastor, so Thailand got more prayer than most places. Numerous Thai leaders said, ‘Peter, for the first time in all of history, it is easy to lead a Thai person to Christ!’ Thailand will be a key to evangelizing Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Cambodia and Viet Nam.
The principalities over Hinduism are ‘badly battered.’ Nepal is the only Hindu kingdom in the world, and it has recently become one of the brightest lights for the gospel in all of the 10/40 Window. Although it is still supposed to be a crime to convert to Christianity, some changes were made in the constitution in 1990, and churches are being multiplied from north to south and from east to west. Laws are not being enforced. Reports tell us that there are probably
200,000 believers there, possibly 300,000.
The light has just come on in the Indian Himalayan state of Sikkim where some are saying that 20 percent or even 30 percent may now be Christian. Surprising reports are coming in from many other sections of previously resistant North India. Probably Nepal will be a key to breaking through the Buddhist strongholds in Bhutan and Tibet.
The strongest principalities are those over Islam, but I see them as ‘scared stiff.’ They have been shaken by the large numbers of Muslims coming to Christ in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country. They are fully aware of the power of light being released through our annual ‘Praying through Ramadan’ effort. And, most of all, they are frightened, as they well should be, by the massive Reconciliation Walk tracing the routes of the First Crusade from 1996 through June of 1999 with a message of repentance for the sins of our ancestors during the First Crusade 900 years ago. Nothing could weaken the principalities keeping Muslims in darkness more than this initiative.
Our prayers are working, and the world is changing as a result. Now is the time to pray as never before. Let’s double and triple our efforts.
The heavenly choirs may not quite be ready to sing the ‘new song,’ but they probably should begin choir practice, because the time to sing the song before the throne of the Lamb seems to be right around the corner!
(c) C. Peter Wagner. Used with permission of Global Harvest Ministries.
Some books by C Peter Wagner
Leading your Church to Growth (1984)
The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit (1988)
Your Church can be Healthy (1990)
Spiritual Power and Church Growth (1990)
Prayer Shield (1997)
Churches the Pray (1997)
Breaking Strongholds in Your City (1997)
Church Growth and the Whole Gospel (1998)
Church Quake (1999)
Your Church can Grow (2001)
Your Spiritual Gifts can help your Church Grow (2005)
Praying with Power (2008)
Warfare Prayer (2009)
Discover your Spiritual Gifts (2010)
© Renewal Journal 9: Mission, 1998, 2nd edition 2011
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