Prayer Movement Gains Momentum In Finland

by | Jun 30, 2001 | Charisma Archive

Church leaders are crossing denominational lines to unite in prayer for the secularized country



A new zeal for intercession is sweeping across portions of Europe. In secularized Finland, world famous for its lakes, cell phones, ice hockey players, long winters, loneliness and vodka–but not yet for its fear of God–church leaders meet
monthly for interdenominational intercession in 24 cities.


Charismatic, Baptist and Pentecostal pastors; Lutheran vicars; and Orthodox priests are joining hearts and hands to plead the case of their country before the Lord in prayer. Also, Helsinki ministry leaders who represent a variety of churches meet in the Helsinki Parliament twice a month to intercede in unity for “those in authority.”


Antero Laukkanen, a young Helsinki businessman with no particular church involvement, conceived this new and growing prayer movement in 1992. Laukkanen said the Holy Spirit woke him up at 4 a.m., telling him that he had been a believer for 20 years but did not yet know how to pray.


Laukkanen today works as a personal assistant for a Christian Democrat member of parliament. He also pastors the Helsinki Charismatic-Baptist Lighthouse Church that he planted three years ago. While walking Charisma through parliament, Laukkanen recounted the nightly visitation that changed the direction of his life.


“I could not go back to sleep, so I kneeled down to pray,” he recalled. “But after some 30 minutes it became overwhelmingly clear to me that I did not know how–and I started crying. The Lord spoke to me in business terms and asked if I wanted an account without a limit, called ‘the account of prayer.’ He also asked me if I wanted to make a career–in the invisible world.”


These illustrations made it even clearer to Laukkanen that he did not know the first thing about prayer. For two and a half years the businessman–then in his mid-30s–did not get much sleep. He never slept past 4 a.m.


“I was not active in a church. I prayed only,” Laukkanen said, emphasizing that these early morning prayer sessions had no special direction. “It was like two lovers conversing. The Lord was teaching me about Himself and enlarging the capacity of my inner man.”


Then in 1994 Laukkanen was asked to join the leadership of the Finnish March for Jesus initiative. After the march, Helsinki pastors and Laukkanen kept meeting for prayer, and about six months later the others asked the businessman to take the lead.


“The pastors laid hands on me and something happened,” Laukkanen said. “I got a vision of pastors praying together in every city in Finland, and seemingly I also got the anointing to do something about it.”


Laukkanen had a growing burden to pray for the authorities, and in 1995 the praying pastors contacted the president’s office, committing to pray for the president daily. The president responded positively, and for a year and a half the pastors received regular prayer requests from the president’s office.


“Then the media found out about it, and the president backed off,” Laukkanen said.


In 1996 Laukkanen and others had a vision of praying not only for the parliament, but also in it. Laukkanen contacted a member of the Christian Democrats, and the miracle happened–the intercessors were allowed in.


“Some 70 pastors showed up for the first prayer meeting in the parliament,” Laukkanen said. “When we gathered at 7:30 a.m. in front of the building, we were shocked. Media was all over the place–the main dailies, national television. It was a complete surprise.”


In modern Scandinavia, church leaders, in particular charismatics and evangelicals, generally are not part of the political scene. The Helsinki initiative hit the prime-time news.


Christianity has a stronger hold in Finland than in the other Scandinavian countries. Some 39 percent say they believe in the Christian God, and 20 percent believe in the divine inspiration of the Bible. In neighboring Sweden, 18 percent of the population understand “God” in Christian terms, and 3 percent view the Bible as God’s Word.


Still, secularization is widespread in Finland. Only about 10 percent of Finland’s 5 million people attend a religious service at least once a month. Less than 1.5 percent of the Finns are Pentecostal, charismatic or evangelical believers.


Laukkanen is not discouraged. He prays that 1 million Finns will be born again in this generation and believes the new prayer movement has done much to unite Christian leaders in Finland. “It is hard to slander people you’re praying with,” he noted.


Laukkanen also has seen several positive social and political changes in recent years, including the number of pornography bars in Helsinki dropping from 13 to 2, and the minister of education, who is a believer, permitting Christian schools.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

How to Operate in the Power Gifts of the Holy Spirit

How to Operate in the Power Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He told the apostles in Acts 1:8 (NLT), “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” Jesus promises a gift that would give them comfort, power, strength and encouragement. That gift is the Holy Spirit, and that...

Messianic Rabbi: Make the Choice to Be an Outsider

Messianic Rabbi: Make the Choice to Be an Outsider

One of the wonderful things about reading through the Bible is that the more you read it, the more things you find within its pages. No matter how many times you read a verse or a series of verses, because the Bible is a living document, there will always be more to...

Kingdom Economics: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Kingdom Economics: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress unanimously voted to pass a declaration of independence from Britain. Each signatory was facing death by hanging if the bold experiment failed. The Declaration of Independence declared that all men were created equal and that...

Consider This Unsung Hero of the Bible

Consider This Unsung Hero of the Bible

Sometimes, I think Martha in the Bible gets a bad rap! I am not saying that Jesus labeled Martha at all. Please hear me out. But I think we would be wise to avoid picking up and holding onto some of the dynamics in this potential sibling rivalry between Martha and...

Prophetic Word: We Are Entering the Books of Acts

Prophetic Word: We Are Entering the Books of Acts

On the morning of June 5, 2022, I was praying in preparation for the Arise Women’s Summit I was hosting near Knoxville, Tennessee, when the Lord took me into an encounter. I found myself in the library of heaven standing before a giant staircase made of extremely...

The Church Revived: 3 Keys to the Emerging Move of God

The Church Revived: 3 Keys to the Emerging Move of God

During the past two years, I believe the church at large has been in a season of returning to God. Repentance is crucial when it comes to revival. Scripture shows a clear pattern that repentance precedes the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (see Joel 2:12-28 and Acts...

RECENT ARTICLES

How Divine Wrestling Changes Our Identity

All of us at some point will hit a place of getting the wind knocked out of us. We all experience unexpected detours and times when there seems to be no way out. But there is One who lives in us,...
Spirit-Filled Pastor: How Does God Lead Us Today?

Spirit-Filled Pastor: How Does God Lead Us Today?

Whether it is the Spirit leading or forbidding in the book of Acts, or the Spirit leading throughout Christian history, it’s clear that the leading of the Spirit is important. In the Old Testament, it appears that the Spirit of God could be withdrawn completely from...

Joyce Meyer: Keys to Winning Your Race in Life

Joyce Meyer: Keys to Winning Your Race in Life

Everyone has a race to run. That just means we all have a life to live. The apostle Paul says in Hebrews 12:1 (NIV), “Therefore...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for...

What Is ‘The One Thing’ God Wants From You?

What Is ‘The One Thing’ God Wants From You?

In 1971, I was invited to spend one month in Singapore at a new institute that had been started by John Haggai. It was still in the formative stages then—a place where Asian church leaders would be trained and challenged to witness for Christ. Today, more than 40...

37 Prayers for the Suffering Persecuted Church

37 Prayers for the Suffering Persecuted Church

It was a Pentecost bloodbath and most Christians never heard about it. More than 50 Christians were killed in one of the deadliest terror attacks on Nigerians this year. Scores of gunmen rushed in to kill Christians in the midst of worship. All told, over 360 million...

Pin It on Pinterest