Why would anyone choose to spend three hours a day in praise and prayers in a nation that arrests outspoken Christians? An El Dorado graduate did just that. (He is unnamed for safety reasons.) He quit his engineering job a year after receiving his degree and signed up with the International House of Prayer, where praise and prayers continue 24 hours every day. At IHOP he learned to pray for hours at a time and how to present the message of Christ's life and death to folks in the mid-East.
“It gets boring sometimes,” he admits. Still, he continues simply because he knows that persistence in prayers makes a difference.
His proof? Until the 1970s, the Muslim faith dominated the area where this EHS grad now lives. Christian churches could only meet inside designated church compounds. Pastors who preached elsewhere risked arrest and jail time.
Then, in the 1990s, a worldwide movement called the 10-40 Window began. It focused prayer on the people groups between the 10th and 40th latitudes north of the equator, where two-thirds of the world's population live. The majority of them live in poverty with a low quality of life and no Christian resources or education. Christians around the world prayed specifically for this region, which includes many Islamic nations.
A couple years ago, the former engineer moved to a region where the discovery of oil in the latter part of the 20th century brought massive waves of workers in from other nations to build a modern country. The influx of laborers now vastly outnumbers the local population and its rules.
“Today there are churches meeting in all the hotel conference rooms and schools every Friday morning. And the government turns a blind eye to the meetings. More are getting saved than in all of human history. This is an answer to prayer,” he said.
Which is 'why' a large part of his ministry involves 20 hours a week of prayer. Those hours of prayer undergirded the year-long organization of the largest Christian gathering ever in the area. It culminated this spring with 12,000 people who came to a Hillsong concert. At the end of the concert, 400 individuals accepted Christ's payment for their sins.
“There is prayer happening all across the city. Prayer begets more prayers. Prayer is multiplying until God has to do something. The root of all the fruit is prayer,” he said. He has seen visitors to the daily prayer and praise services escalate from five a month to 150 a month. He credits it all to the persistent prayer of believers.
Because of the prayers, he reports that a man who once taught the Koran had a dream in which he saw Jesus. He became a Christian and joined the believers in worship and Bible study. In time he declared, “I feel God is telling me to go home and share the Gospel. Please, be my prayer cover as I go.”
In text messages, the new believer reported that his wife became a believer after he prayed and God miraculously healed her mother. He reported that 37 became new believers. “God is helping me get souls. I am not afraid,” he texted.
Another man grew up not trusting Christians. Then he saw the activities of terrorists, researched the life of Mohammad and became agnostic. Through an Internet connection, he followed a suggestion to read the book of John, became a Christian and now preaches the gospel to other Muslims.
“God is moving because of our prayers.” the prayer warrior concluded. He urged others to join him in persistent prayers to make a difference.
Joan Hershberger is a retired journalist who lives in Parkers Chapel with her husband. She may be reached email@example.com.