Rise of the Praying Church

by | Apr 29, 2011 | Old Magazine Articles

Rise of the Praying ChurchGod is stirring a massive yet underground movement of prayer among His people. But what does it mean? jerusalem 24/7 prayer leader tom hess offers his take.



Rising above
Jerusalem along the city’s eastern side is a rolling ridge of three
peaks called the Mount of Olives. Its simple name, bestowed in ancient
times, doesn’t call to mind the breadth of God’s history this site has
hosted. Yet on its summit the very “glory of the Lord” once stood when
Ezekiel prophesied the regathering of God’s exiled people to Himself
(see Ezek. 11:20-25). Thousands of years later, the glory of the
Lord—God’s Son—stood on the mountain again and set into motion God’s
plan to gather the nations to Himself.

From this mountain, Jesus prayed the
Lord’s Prayer, the beginning of which was fulfilled on Pentecost, and
the end of which will be fulfilled with His coming again to Jerusalem to
reign over all nations. Also from this mountain, before He ascended to
heaven, Jesus commanded His disciples to take His salvation to the world
and to wait in Jerusalem until they had been filled with His power for
the task:

“You shall receive power when the Holy
Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem,
and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts

Heeding His words, 120 of His followers
waited on Him in prayer and worship for 10 days in the upper room until
the Holy Spirit came and baptized them. The prayer movement begun by
those 120 believers has been changing the world for more than 1,900
years! We, the church, have witnessed its historical result—the outward
movement of the gospel from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.

Here on the Mount of Olives, at Jerusalem
House of Prayer for All Nations, we have been keeping similar “upper
room” prayer-and-worship watches for the last 24 years, praying 24/7 for
the peace of Jerusalem and for all countries. Our prayers are united
with those of intercessors worldwide to see the gospel of the kingdom
come back to Jerusalem.

We now are witnessing in the Back to
Jerusalem prayer movement the gospel of the kingdom being fulfilled.
Twelve great global prayer movements are circling Jerusalem like a wall
of fire from the ends of the earth (see Zech. 2:5). Each of these prayer
initiatives corresponds to the 12 historical gates of Jerusalem through
which at least 12 of Jesus’ apostles passed to take the gospel from
Israel into all the earth (see map on p. 30). Here is more about these
efforts—where they are located, who is involved, and the national and
international transformations they are creating:

1. Lion’s Gate

I believe Asia is leading the world
prayer movement today from Korea, China and Indonesia. Many churches
have been praying daily through the Lion’s Gate, where the apostle Jude
took the gospel from Jerusalem to Asia in the first century. As many as
100 million Chinese, Koreans and Japanese are praying in what we have
termed the “Chopstick Revival.” May the shakings in Japan be ultimately
redemptive and may tens of millions of Japanese come to know the King of

2. Golden Gate

The apostle Thomas took the gospel from
Jerusalem to the Golden and Bethany gates in India. About 100 million
intercessors in Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand,
Myanmar, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan are preparing the way back to
Jerusalem for the King of Glory to come through the Golden Gate (or Gate
of the East).

3. Bethany Gate

The Bethany Gate movement is being led
geographically from New Caledonia, New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia.
The strongest prayer movements in this gate are in Indonesia and
southern India, with Niko Njotorahardjo (Indonesia) and Mathew Kuruvilla
(India) serving as key apostolic leaders. Indonesians hosted the first
World Transformation Convocation in 2005 and will host Asian Empowerment
21st Century in October (a follow-up to the 100th anniversary of Azusa
Street) and the World Prayer Assembly in May 2012. 

Including believers in the Arabian
Peninsula, probably 80 million praying Christians are involved in the
Bethany Gate. There is strong 24/7 prayer of the “harp and bowl”
model—which mixes Scripture, worship and intercession—all over Indonesia
and southern India. Observers estimate the Christian community has
grown so significantly it could be more than 20 percent of the
population of Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation in the world. 

4. Mount Zion Gate

The apostle Matthew took the gospel from
Jerusalem to Ethiopia. The Mount Zion Gate of Africa has strong growing
prayer movements in Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia. Approximately 75
million intercessors, with many 24/7 prayer watches, join in united

The Ethiopian Orthodox church, led by
Abune Paulos, and the Protestant church came together in cooperation to
host our fourth All African Convocation in Addis Ababa in 2010. The
church in Ethiopia has grown from 50 percent to 60 percent in the last
10 years and comprises 40 million Orthodox Christians and 17 million
evangelicals. Paulos has taken a strong pro-life stand. He is a defender
of the biblical family and stands against the practices of
homosexuality and same-sex marriage. He is also committed to standing
with Israel and says, “The God of Israel, the people of Israel and the
whole land of Israel are one, and Jerusalem should remain the capital of

5. Bethlehem Gate

The apostle Mark took the gospel and led
the prayer movement from Jerusalem to Egypt, and to the Bethlehem and
Ein Kerem gates in the first century. In 2001, Graham Power convened the
first Global Day of Prayer in South Africa, which is now convened
annually in almost every nation. South Africa has one of the stronger
prayer movements, with more than 100 night-and-day watches. Bennie
Mostert has helped facilitate and encourage 24/7 prayer throughout South
Africa and other nations. Constant prayers have helped overturn the
injustice of apartheid. But prayer is needed for the church and
government to change and take a clear biblical stand on abortion, the
family and God’s covenant with Israel. 

Prayer movements are also growing in
Zimbabwe, Congo-Kinshasa and Uganda. John Mulinde has been leading and
encouraging 24/7 prayer in Uganda and other African countries and is
helping many nations with the process of national transformation.

6. Ein Kerem Gate

Two nations in this gateway where God is
moving powerfully are Nigeria and Brazil. I attended all-night prayer
meetings in Nigeria led by modern-day apostle E.A. Adeboye, where 4
million intercessors in one place prayed all night. A month later, in
2001, God gave them a Christian president. 

Again in 2010 another Christian president
was elected. The Christian population has grown during the last decade
from 50 percent to 60 percent. Each month they host all-night prayer
meetings attended by more than 1 million people.

In Brazil, the Before the Throne
ministry, led by Ana Paula Bessa, annually records live worship albums
with up to 2 million people in attendance. Pastor Marcio Valadao
(Bessa’s father) and pastor Rene Terra Nova each have growing praying
churches of more than 40,000 believers. 

Prayer and 24/7 prayer movements are
growing all over Brazil. The Christian population has grown from 15
percent to 30 percent in the last 10 years. 

They are a wonderfully worshipping and
celebrating nation. Pray that God will give them good government that
will rule in righteousness and justice and stand with God’s covenant
with Israel, as well as the other Latin and South American nations. 

7. Mevasseret Gate

God is moving in the Mevasseret Gate,
where the apostle Simeon first took the gospel from Jerusalem. Mexico,
one of the 10 largest nations in the world, has a growing prayer
movement and Christian population. Colombia is also experiencing
revival: The gospel is triumphing, and drug lords are decreasing. God is
strengthening the prayer movements in many of the smaller nations and
Caribbean island nations within the Mevasseret Gate. Pastor Myles
Munroe’s teachings on prayer, the kingdom and leadership are helping

8. Jaffa Gate

The apostles Peter and Paul took the gospel from Jerusalem to Rome. From Rome it moved west. 

Today God is moving in the Jaffa Gate,
where Canada has a Christian prime minister, Stephen Harper, probably
the strongest head of state supporting Israel today. Repentance and
reconciliation in Canada are changing the nation, and Canadian youth are
helping to bring this transformation.

In the U.S., many organizations are
encouraging prayer for the nation and the world. Prayer movements are
growing on college campuses. Prayer movements, 24/7 watches and houses
of prayer are growing and multiplying in many U.S. denominations. 

The Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles,
which started in 1906, was a spontaneous 24/7-prayer movement that went
on nonstop for three years and began taking the prayer movement and
gospel back to Jerusalem through the Jaffa Gate. As a result of this
movement, more than 700 million people have become Spirit-filled

Since 1999, the International House of
Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City, Mo., led by Mike Bickle, has probably done
more than any to mobilize full-time “intercessory missionaries” to
promote the harp and bowl model, especially in the U.S. Through its live
webstream, IHOP has reached far beyond America, however. Joining with
Youth With A Mission they are helping to change the face of global
evangelism and working with the Koreans to help join the Eastern and
Western churches together. 

Here in Israel, we have been keeping 24/7
prayer going in Jerusalem for all nations since 1987. At that time, the
number of 24/7 houses of prayer in the world was fewer than 25; today,
there are an estimated 10,000.

In 2012, we are planning an All
Euro-Americas Convocation in Rome, the city from which the gospel came
to the West. We believe it is time for the gospel to return from Rome to

9. New Gate

This is where the apostle John on the
island of Patmos, coming from Jerusalem, received the Revelation of
Jesus and the end times. From A.D. 555 until the A.D. 800s, there was a
24/7-prayer watch of as many as 3,000 people in Bangor, Ireland, that
transformed the country and took the gospel to other European nations.
In the 1700s and 1800s, another 24/7 watch that lasted 120 years began
in Herrnhut, Germany, with Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians. It
birthed the Protestant missions movement worldwide.

Numerous movements of 24/7 prayer are
taking place in Germany, one of which is led by Peter Wenz, who has
conducted 24/7 prayer for 17 years and has the largest church in
Germany. In 1999, his movement began a nationwide prayer initiative.
Peter Greig of England started a 24/7 movement among young people, which
has spread across Europe to other nations of the world. Strong 24/7
watches also are being held in Switzerland. Pray that there will be a
spiritual awakening again in Europe as there has been throughout

10. Samuel’s Mountain Gate

The apostle Andrew originally went to
Kiev, Ukraine. Growing prayer movements can be found today in Ukraine, a
former Soviet republic, as well as in Russia. As a direct result of
prayer and biblical prophecy, 1.2 million Jews have come home to Israel
from the former Soviet Union since 1986. Of the Jewish believers in
Israel today, 60 percent have come from the former Soviet Union and are
on the front lines of the revival in Israel.

Ulf Ekman, from Sweden, and Finnish
Christians are making a significant impact in this gateway through their
prayer movements and proclamation of the gospel. Hudson Taylor, a great
missionary-statesman to China had an open vision that the greatest move
of God in the last days would come out of Russia and the Ukraine. The
move of God that is happening today, and that will continue in Israel,
could be part of the fulfillment of this vision. 

11. Damascus Gate

The apostles Luke and Paul went to
Antioch in Turkey, where the followers of Jesus were first called
Christians. The first megachurch was in Ephesus, also in Turkey. Today
the prayer movement and houses of prayer are multiplying among the young
generation in the Turkish church, which has doubled in the last 10
years. As prayer increases in this nation of 70 million, we believe that
millions will become Christians. In the midst of many trials, we praise
God that the prayer movements among youth in Lebanon and Syria are
growing. Let’s pray together for the gospel to triumph in Lebanon and
Syria and that the terrorist organizations will be dissolved.

12. Beth El Gate

The apostle Bartholomew took the gospel
to Armenia, which became the first Christian nation in the world and
where today growing prayer movements are developing. One church in
Armenia has grown to 8,000 people, a substantial number for that region
of the world. Kazakhstan and central Asia, where the church was
annihilated by the Muslims after Muhammad established Islam, have seen
tens of thousands of indigenous people becoming Christians, many of whom
are strong intercessors. The indigenous praying church in Iran, which
straddles the Beth El and Lions gates, has grown from 3,000 people at
the time of Iranian Revolution in 1979 to more than 3 million today.
According to Reza Safa, who operates a 24/7 television network in the
Farsi language, now is the time of visitation for the Iranian people. 

The Isaiah 19 Highway

In the center of the world that surrounds
Jerusalem and Israel—from the Nile to the Euphrates rivers—is the Arab
Middle East and Turkey. God says this region, which once was the Garden
of Eden—the land God covenanted to Abraham that David and Solomon ruled
over (see Gen. 15:18)—will ultimately be the length and width of the New

Isaiah 19:23-25 says that in the last
days this region will be a blessing, when Egypt, Israel and Assyria
worship God together. Egypt will be His people, biblical Assyria His
handiwork and Israel His inheritance. We have been working extensively
into this vision for more than 20 years and now are seeing the first
fruits of this vision throughout the Middle East. Representatives of
this vision from the 24 nations in this region have joined us to worship
and form an Isaiah 19 prayer council representing almost all these

God is now shaking the Middle East, as He
did the former Soviet Union almost 25 years ago. In Isaiah 19:1, God
says He will ride on a swift cloud to Egypt, which would be an
appropriate description of the force of change that began there in

Growing prayer movements are taking place
in Egypt, where there are approximately 20 million believers—Coptic,
Orthodox and evangelical—including millions of believers among the young
generation. There are almost as many believers in Egypt as there are in
all other Middle Eastern countries combined. 

The prayer movement includes a strong
interdenominational 24/7 watch in Cairo. The Christians had a
significant presence during the demonstrations at Tajir Square, where
Muslims even supported them. 

The shaking in Egypt could become worse
before it becomes better but will ultimately be redemptive as Isaiah
19:23-25 says. The nation of Egypt will be saved and become God’s

Also, as people have been praying,
Israelis continue to return to their land. In 2008, Israel had the
highest Jewish population of any country. The nation is slowly awakening
spiritually. The prayer movement in Israel continues to grow, with four
24/7 watches in Jerusalem, ours for 24 years and the other three for
the last five to seven years. There are also three 24/7
multicongregational watches—one in the north, one in the south and one
in the west of Israel, and numerous other houses of prayer are in motion
or starting. 

Groups are praying and fasting in every
nation on the Isaiah 19 highway. Corporate, fully functional 24/7 prayer
watches are also being held in Kuwait, Algeria, Sudan, Turkey and
Israel, and emerging 24/7 watches are being held in other Middle East

We have convened an annual All Nations
Convocation Jerusalem and Watchmen’s Tour of Israel since 1994, which
includes leaders and delegates from all the 12 gates and many of the
nations of the Isaiah 19 highway. Almost 230 nations have been
represented. For 14 days we keep 24/7 prayer with thousands of delegates
from all nations, praying around the clock in the “upper room.” In 2012
we will hold our 25th anniversary of 24/7 continual day-and-night
worship and prayer at the All Nations Convocation and Watchmen’s Tour of
Israel, from Sept. 16 to Sept. 30. 

As encouraging as it is to see growing
movements like these worldwide, we need to see much more depth and
breadth in both individual and corporate worship and prayer to see the
nations transformed. May the term “24/7” not be just another fad but an
individual-corporate lifestyle of deep abiding devotion to Jesus. 

May His praying church prepare the way
for Him to return, stand again on the Mount of Olives (see Zech. 14:4)
and reign as King of Glory from Jerusalem over the whole earth.

Tom Hess established the
Jerusalem House of Prayer for all Nations in 1987 as a 24-hour,
day-and-night prayer watch to pray for peace in Jerusalem and for all




The 12-Gate Global Prayer Movement Back to Jerusalem 

These 24/7 prayer initiatives are
named for the 12 tribes/gates of Jerusalem, through which the apostles
took the gospel worldwide





The World’s Largest Praying Church

The World’s Largest Praying ChurchCharisma Publisher Steve Strang met recently in Seoul, South Korea, with the Rev. Young Hoon Lee
(left), pastor of the city’s Yoido Full Gospel Church. They discussed
the prayer movement at Yoido that’s been going since 1973 and how God is
moving today in South and North Korea.

Steve Strang: What are some of the prayer distinctives at Yoido Full Gospel Church?

Rev. Young Hoon Lee: Various
prayer gatherings are part of our weekly program. We have daily dawn
prayer meetings, overnight prayer meetings and special prayer meetings
such as the Daniel [Fast] Prayer for 21 days, the 12 Baskets Prayer for
12 days and the Jericho Prayer for seven days, which caters to the
common needs of the members such as economic crises or a university

The church members and many visitors
from outside and inside of Korea come to Choi Ja-sil Memorial Fasting
Prayer Mountain for fasting prayer, which is an extreme form of one’s
resolute prayer and brings miraculous healing and resolution of

It is well-known that healing through
prayer is one of the theological contributions that our founding pastor,
Rev. David Yonggi Cho, has made to the contemporary church.

Strang: How has the Holy Spirit impacted Yoido’s work in Korea?

Rev. Lee: In 1958, Rev. Cho
pioneered a church with only five members that became the Full Gospel
Church—the largest single Christian congregation in the world within 50
years, with a membership of 780,000. He emphasized the Pentecostal
belief in baptism in the Spirit distinct from conversion and speaking in
tongues, followed by intimate fellowship with the Spirit. These
emphases serve also as the significant cause that ignited the
Pentecostal Holy Spirit movement in Korea. The dynamic of the Holy
Spirit has made a great impact on Korean church growth.

Strang: What is on the horizon for you?

Rev. Lee: I envision another
great revival in our near future. In order to witness this, we must
emphasize a powerful prayer movement along with world evangelism, the
baptism in the Holy Spirit, divine healing, the practice of the love of
Christ and personal sanctification.

Currently, we are constructing the Cho
Yonggi Heart Hospital in the very center of Pyongyang, North Korea. With
it, leaders of North Korea will think about Christianity, and the love
of Christ will be manifested in North Korea through medical support.




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