Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
This is an excerpt from Jesus Now by Tom Phillips, published by BroadStreet Publishing.
You can purchase the full book on Amazon by clicking here>>>
Prayer: The Heartbeat of Revival
On September 12, 1990, forty-five thousand junior and senior high students from a
handful of states around the US gathered in circles around the flagpoles of their respective
schools to pray for God’s presence, strength, and direction in their classrooms, homes,
cities, and towns. The “See You at the Pole” gathering swelled to one million students the
following year. By 2014, this unprecedented day of student-led prayer involved three million
followers of Jesus in twenty countries. As in all great movements of prayer, “See You at the
Pole” did not begin in the hearts of people but rather in the heart of God. God used the
obedience of a small group of teens to ignite what has become an international movement
of prayer among young people.
THE HABIT OF PRAYER
Almost twenty-five years ago, I couldn’t fully understand how prayer would prepare me for
the new spiritual awakening, unfolding today. In January 1991, I was directing the
Washington State Billy Graham Crusade in the Seattle-Tacoma area. The logistical
challenges were unprecedented and enormous. We had only four months lead time, just
one-third of the time needed to plan most crusades. This was a unique Crusade in Mr.
Graham’s ministry because it would be held back-to-back in two major indoor, domed
stadiums—the Tacoma Dome and the Kingdome in Seattle. Yet, another “first,” one of
great, spiritual significance, shed new light on the need for prayer to further the spiritual
awakening God is bringing about in our day.
Early in the Crusade’s planning stages, several prayer intercessors in the Seattle-
Tacoma area said they especially wanted to move into the Tacoma Dome and the
Kingdome sites to fast and pray for the Crusade’s evangelistic meetings as the events took
place. To my knowledge, it was the first time in forty years of Billy Graham Crusade
meetings that local residents had volunteered to actually reside in the Crusade’s stadia from
the time the site was first arranged to fast and pray in an organized effort.
Naturally, I was totally supportive. As many as eighty people began to fast and pray
one to two hours a day, some during free time at their jobs, others at home. Some people
prayed as many as eight hours a day. These dedicated prayer warriors said, “We want to
pray at the stadium. We want to pray for the stadium, the workers, and all the people who
will be part of the meetings.” Though the stadium officials told us there were laws against
anyone residing on the premises, they agreed to let Crusade volunteers use two rooms. I
suspected these stadium officials perceived the Crusade as just another event. Yet I sensed
they saw the value of prayer. I detected they knew that they and their fellow workers
needed prayer. So, they graciously agreed to allow Crusade volunteers to come and pray
for the several days they had requested.
The first major gathering was held on Thursday night, April 3, at the Tacoma Dome.
The stadium was packed to capacity even though the Seattle-Tacoma region received a
record rainfall. The deluge that flooded the freeways caused Mr. Graham to say, somewhat
tongue-in-cheek, “I thought I should preach on Noah’s ark!”
In a room beneath the bleachers, a group of more than eighty men and women
gathered to intercede in prayer and ask God’s protection and direction for the meeting.
During the prayer time, one person shared: “As I’ve been praying, I’m seeing black and
white figures. Not that some are black and others are white. These figures are both black
and white. They’re evil. We need to pray against them.” No one in the room could
understand what this was about, yet the group began to pray against these unknown
Three days later on Sunday afternoon, I was confirming last-minute details at the
Kingdome for the final evangelistic meeting of the Crusade. The chief security officer found
me and said, “We’ve got a problem. Some gay activists are out in front of the stadium,
passing out condoms.” The official explained that since the protest conflicted with our
purposes, and since we had rented the facility, he had authority to ask them to leave.
“There’s another problem, though,” he said. “They want to come inside the
“As a matter of security, what do you think about that?” I asked him.
“Well,” he said, “if they come in, they’ll have to take off their habits. You see, they’re
dressed like nuns. They’re all in black and white.”
God had already shown the intercessors to pray against an organized onslaught that
we couldn’t see, but that He knew was coming. The antagonists were welcomed inside the
Kingdome where they gathered with the pray-ers and heard the saving message of God’s
love in Jesus.
All my life I had believed that God worked through prayer to mend broken
relationships, heal emotional and physical wounds, and make “the impossible” real for His
glory, but this was different. As I traveled to different cities throughout the United States, I
sensed something wonderful and historic with prayer was already occurring.
As I talked to church leaders and lay persons, as I listened and observed, meditated,
and prayed, I kept coming back to Charles Finney, the great revivalist of the nineteenth
century. Though they were 130 years old, Finney’s “Seven Indicators” of spiritual awakening
were fresh in my mind. As you recall from chapter three, Finney believed revival would
1. The sovereignty of God indicates that revival is near.
2. Wickedness grieves and humbles Christians.
3. There is a spirit of prayer for revival.
4. The attention of ministers is directed toward revival and spiritual awakening.
5. Christians confess their sins one to another.
6. Christians are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to carry out the new movement of
7. The ministers and laity are willing for God to promote spiritual awakening by whatever
instrument he pleases.1
I will be the first to admit that the Jesus-Now Awakening cannot be confirmed by one
man’s list of characteristics. I don’t know if Finney was accurate in all that he said. I’m not
convinced that each of the seven indicators needs to be operative. However, all of the
seven except for one had begun to surface. Listen prayerfully as God seeks to enlist you in
this Jesus-Now Awakening.
Walking in the Light of God’s Word
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to
which he has called you. (Ephesians 1:18 NIV)
Plan to pause and pray together with another person. Claim the promise of Ephesians 1:18 that we might see and hear as Jesus does. Just as the Scripture notes that Abraham was a “friend of God,” rejoice together that you also are the friend of God and He longs to reveal Himself to you and involve you in His kingdom purposes. God wants to confide in you and then co-labor with you for His eternal glory. Ask Him to bless the fruitfulness of the work He has called you to do in this Jesus-Now Awakening.
Father, I want to complete the work you have for me. As I reflect on the privilege and the wonder of co-laboring with you for eternal good, my heart is moved with ...
Continue to reveal yourself to me as I impart your life and love to those I serve.
L-4 Rejoicing regularly in my identity as His beloved
A PERSONAL CONFESSION
By the early 1990s, the only indicator of spiritual awakening not present in North America
was number five, “When Christians confess their sins to one another.” Yet that was about to
As the Crusade in Seattle was concluded in April 1991, and my attention shifted to
the Crusade in Portland, I began to hear about some unusual meetings in which pastors
had come together and openly confessed practically every sin known to man.
It was eye-opening, and to be honest, it put me on guard. So many times I had seen
confession lead to gossip. Yet, as I learned about these extraordinary times of confession,
gossip was nowhere to be heard. There could be only one explanation. When the white-hot
light of God’s Spirit of conviction fell on His people, when one person confessed his sin, all
were convicted to whatever degree they were guilty. The result was that no one was
excluded from conviction or confession, and cleansing came to everyone.
The man behind these Pastors’ Prayer Summits was Dr. Joe Aldrich, president of
Multnomah Bible College in Salem, Oregon. I met Joe in a small, leadership team meeting
to discuss how we might pray for an upcoming Crusade in Portland. Within minutes “Dr.
Joe,” as he was commonly known, presented us with a remarkable vision of how concerted,
organized prayer could unify a city and build the greatest Crusade possible.
That morning, Dr. Joe revealed the answer in these words as he read aloud: “How
good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1). Then he
asked the group, “Guys, what would it take for a bunch of us to get together?” Almost
immediately, the pastors responded with a question of their own, “That’s what we want.
How do we do it?”
“I had been involved in pastors’ conferences before,” says Joe. “Often the
participants would leave feeling tremendously blessed. They’d fly back home to their city,
alone, without coming together with their fellow pastors where they lived.”2
Several months after the Salem meeting, Joe added the practical exclamation mark
to the pastors’ response by inviting them and other ministers from the area to a conference
center for a weekend retreat. The participants were “ ‘one in Spirit’ in the deepest sense I’d
ever seen because we spent time with the Lord. It finally dawned on me to get these Salem-
area pastors involved in the holiness of God, whatever it took.”3
As a result, Joe made sure there was no keynote speaker. He planned no special
music. “In fact,” he recalls, “there was not a single musical instrument! That weekend, we
were willing to gamble and let the Spirit of God be the Spirit of God in our midst.” That first
Pastors’ Prayer Summit could not have been scripted in advance because the events that
unfolded over the next two days were totally unrehearsed and totally of God. In a very
awesome way, truth was stranger than fiction.
There was lots of time for singing, lots of time for prayer, lots of time for God to
speak to ministers who were living a bad dream and who needed to be awakened.
“In one service,” Aldrich recalls, “a pastor came to me during communion, grabbed
my knee and said, ‘Joe, there are seven churches that my church has grievously sinned
against. I need to ask forgiveness of each of those pastors, personally.’ After collecting
himself, this pastor stood up before the gathering and said, ‘My church has spoken against
some of you and your ministries. That is wrong. We have sinned. Will you forgive me?’ ”
“Not only was there forgiveness, but this one pastor’s words touched off reciprocal
Adrich goes on to share another story. “Another time, we were just ready to start
communion when a charismatic pastor stood up and said, ‘I don’t think any of us should
take communion tonight. We know we’ve spoken against each other; we’ve undercut each
other, and we, of all people, should know that we are not to partake in an unworthy manner.’
After that, pastor after pastor asked forgiveness of each other. I saw one charismatic pastor
lying on the carpet, face down, crying to the Lord, ‘I’m empty, I’m barren, I need to be filled
and restored.’ ”
“Confession before God is a great leveler among Christians,” admits Joe. “Non-
charismatic pastors had to admit, ‘This charismatic knows his Bible. He loves The Book. He
loves the same songs I do. He’s my brother!’ On this extraordinary weekend the
stereotypes, the prejudices that kept these fellow-Christian leaders apart for years, began to
The word spread and several other prayer summits were held within the next few
months. Terry Dirks directed International Renewal Ministries, which would eventually lead
to Pastors’ Prayer Summits throughout the country. Observing the first few meetings, Dirks
said, “We began to see that God had placed in the hearts of His people a hunger for
Himself. Men said, ‘It’s not business as usual. We don’t need more seminars and
conferences. We need a fresh touch of God in heaven-sent revival.’ ”
Through the Prayer Summits, Joe Aldrich, Terry Dirks, and many others discovered
a critical relationship between the initial stirrings of a fresh, spiritual awakening in America
and fullblown revival. If past revivals in our country are any indication of what’s to come, the
brokenness and restoration ministers are finding through the Pastors’ Prayer Summits will
lead to evangelism that brings others into a personal relationship with God through Jesus
As Joe Aldrich summarized so well, “In this movement we’re watching, there is a
desire to see God really impact a community. But to impact a community, we must be a
community. To be a community, we must have unity. To have unity, we must have humility.
And to have humility, we must rediscover holiness.”5
Community based on unity, unity built on humility, humility rooted in holiness!
This progression of faith summarizes so well the way God is breathing new life into
our nation’s pastoral leaders—by bringing them to their knees. The words of one Prayer
Summit participant suggest why these remarkable gatherings are synonymous with true,
spiritual awakening: “We came to pray,” he wrote, “but we beheld Jesus. I arrived as a
pastor. I departed as a believer. No amount of words could explain the depth, the warmth,
the love, the mutual care that has been imparted as we have looked to the Lord of the
In 1986, George Derksen was a thirty-five-year-old publisher from Toronto, Ontario,
Canada. For years, he had produced attractive magazines. Because he wanted to put his
talents into something that people wouldn’t throw away, he developed an idea to produce a
book unlike anything he had ever done. He designed The Why Book as an attractive, 150-
page “coffee table book” to lead readers to ask the central question, “Why am I on this
earth?” It was his way of reaching out with the gospel. At Expo ’86, the World’s Fair in
Vancouver, British Columbia, 10,000 copies of The Why Book were distributed at the
Pavilion of Promise. Another 130,000 copies were distributed throughout Winnipeg,
Two years later, a tele poll revealed startling findings:
• When asked if The Why Book was still in their home, 65 percent of the people said,
• Sixteen percent said they had signed a commitment card (attached in the back of the
book), to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
• The most remarkable discovery, however, was this: When those signing the
commitment cards were asked if they had learned of anyone who had been praying
for them, according to George, a majority said, “Yes, someone was praying.”6
“My prayer is that God will revive the people of Canada and save our country,” says
George. “My prayer is that Canada will be known as a country of prayer.”7
JIM THARP’S SCHOOL OF PRAYER
In 1975, I met Jim Tharp, a senior pastor at a church in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Throughout the years, our friendship deepened. In 1986, our paths crossed again as I was
in the midst of directing the “Peaks to Plains” Billy Graham Crusade, a five-state
evangelistic outreach to Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, and Wyoming.
Right away, I could tell there was something unusual about Jim. He told me he had recently
met with some fellow pastors in a “pastoral institute,” sponsored by his denomination. The
focus of the conference had been prayer. One Christian man had completed forty days of
prayer and fasting and told the group about it. Jim said the man’s testimony and the prayer
he experienced over those days had gripped him. “Never before had I majored in prayer,”
he said, “but I began to discover something of the power of prayer as seen in the life of our
Lord and the early church.”8
Jim couldn’t contain his excitement. He created an eight-hour seminar called a
“School of Prayer.” In the school, Jim distinguished Great Awakenings (which he defines as
“mighty movings of the Holy Spirit who falls on sinners in the land”) from revivals (“the
spiritual renewal of the church itself ”). He also described spiritual warfare and how a
Christian could establish a discipline of prayer and Bible study. The School of Prayer
seminars became so popular throughout the US Jim resigned his pastorate to invest more
time in teaching on prayer. He taught and encouraged thousands to pray.9
NELL BARR: POWER PLANT
“For years I viewed prayer as just another part of being a Christian, like reading the Bible at
dinner. The School of Prayer revolutionized our prayer life,” says Nell Barr, who developed
the discipline of praying one hour each morning with her husband. “At the end of the hour I
don’t leave the prayer time; Jesus just continues to walk with me.”10
Nell remembers when Jim told the story of the renowned pastor Charles Spurgeon
who, while giving people a tour of his church prior to his sermons, led them down into the
basement. “Here, I want you to see the power plant of the church,” he said. When Spurgeon
opened the door, there was a roomful of men and women deep in prayer. After hearing the
story, Nell Barr felt moved by the Holy Spirit to form a similar “power plant” of continuous
pray-ers who would intercede during all eight hours of Tharp’s annual School of Prayer
session in Bozeman, Montana. As she said, “Every time we step into that prayer room, we
step out of a realm of time and into a realm of communion.”11
Walking in the Light of God’s Son
For as many as are the promises of God, in Him [Jesus] they are yes. (2 Corinthians 1:20 NASB)
Pause and ask God to reveal Jesus to you from His Word. Ask Him to show you how He is One who is humble and gentle (Matthew 11:28–29).
God, I want to see and encounter Jesus in your Word. I know your Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:14).
Do a work in me so that I have your humility, your gentleness and your holiness, so that I might join you in this Jesus-Now Awakening. Thank you for hearing and for answering (John 15:7).
W-6 Fresh, frequent, transforming encounters with the Christ of Scripture
MAC PIER: PRAYER FOR THE CITY
Before Mac Pier became the president of New York City Leadership Center, he headed the
Concerts of Prayer for Greater New York. Mac has steeped himself in the urban setting and
his boots-on-the-ground appreciation of God on the move cannot be missed.
The church in the urban arena is really reflecting the major global trends of the
growth of Christendom, particularly in the eastern and southern hemispheres. In
New York City, for example, there are two thousand five hundred Hispanic
congregations and large numbers of Korean churches, not to mention thousands of
African American churches. The percentage of non-white, active, orthodox
Protestants is probably 92 percent, so the demographics of the church in urban US
really mirror what’s happening globally.12
The church Mac attends in Flushing, for example, is very diverse. He shares, “We
have five congregations and people speak as many as sixteen languages in one
congregation. So we have some examples of that, particularly in parts of the city where
there is a lot of diversity. Queens and certain parts of the Bronx are very diverse. The
upshot is that integration, not discrimination, is the watchword for today’s imminent spiritual
“For the most part,” says Pier, “most churches in New York are still what we call
‘tribal’ in that Africans worship with Africans, Chinese worship with Chinese. There are
some exceptions to that. So on a week-to-week basis, most people tend to worship with
people who look like themselves. But there are significant expressions of churches doing
outside things together, whether it’s an event, or a project, coming together for conferences.
So there is a lot of cross-pollination happening together at that level.”13
Stitched into the weave of this multi-ethnic faith network is prayer. “We started with
our first Concert of Prayer in February of 1988, and since then well over 200,000 people
who attended various expressions of the Concerts of Prayer movement,” says Pier. “We
started by inviting sixteen churches to come together and pray, and seventy-five churches
showed up. Within two years, churches in each of New York’s five boroughs, plus Long
Island and New Jersey were gathering regularly to pray.”14
Pier and countless other Jesus-followers in Gotham know
that God’s faithfulness to touch and transform New York City
through the prayers of His faithful children is nothing new. “In
1995, we started a daily prayer vigil patterned after the Moravian
Movement and Isaiah 62:6–7:
I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace
day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, And give Him
no rest till He establishes And till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
In 1727, twenty-four Moravians began a twenty-four-hour prayer vigil that lasted one
hundred years. We began a daily prayer, involving one hundred churches. Today, here in
2014, it’s still going strong. During the first five years of the prayer vigil, we saw the murder
rate in New York City drop by 70 percent. Up until 1994, we had been the most violent city
in America, with about 2,400 murders annually. Six years later, we were considered the
safest city in America of more than a million people. We attribute this to what was
Fervent, faithful, uninterrupted prayer has meant something more. “There’s a parallel
relationship between the prayer movement and the church planting movement. We’ve had
about ten denominations working together, and throughout New York City we’ve helped
incubate about one hundred new churches in the last three years alone. This is significant
(even though the greater New York City region is 21.5 million people), so we recognize the
need to do more.”16
How far and wide has this prayer-fed spiritual fire begun to spread? John Robb with
the International Council of Prayer offers a 30,000-foot view, explaining that the Global Day
of Prayer brought half a billion people together in prayer. Dale Schlafer, president of World
Revival and Awakening, adds a needed exclamation point: “If it’s God who sets His people
to pray, it must mean God is going to answer these prayers. He wouldn’t waste time on
something He doesn’t intend to answer. Sometimes we get discouraged. What keeps me in
the game is believing maybe this prayer is the one that tips it!”
DAVID BRYANT’S CONCERTS OF PRAYER
In 1988, David Bryant left InterVarsity Christian Fellowship to devote his complete time and
effort to nurturing what he sensed was a grassroots prayer movement. He founded
Concerts of Prayer International (COPI) “to serve the church by promoting, equipping and
mobilizing movements of united prayer that seek God for spiritual awakening and worldwide
Bryant himself writes, “Historically speaking, the primary focus of Concerts has been
on two major agendas: Christians prayed for Christ’s fullness (Ephesians 1:22–23) to be
revealed in His church to empower them to accomplish the task that was before them. They
also prayed for the fulfillment (Ephesians 1:10) of His saving purposes among the nations
through an awakened, consecrated church. The same twofold agenda prevails today.
“And so Concerts of Prayer helps describe Christians united on a regular basis to
seek fullness and fulfillment. Extraordinary, united prayer is not determined so much by how
long one prays or how often, but rather that Christians do pray, that they pray for those
things most on God’s heart, and that they do so together—‘in concert.’ ”18
Practically speaking, Concerts of Prayer took the form of large, public meetings,
usually in a church building. Typically, each concert followed a structured, two-hour format:
• Celebration (ten minutes)
• Preparation (twenty minutes)
• Dedication (five minutes)
• Seeking for Fullness/Awakening in the church (thirty minutes)
• Seeking for Fulfillment/Mission among the Nations (thirty minutes)
• Testimonies: What has God said to us here? (ten minutes)
• Grand Finale (fifteen minutes)
Concerts of Prayer have played an important part of the current, ongoing prayer
movement in America. Through the vision and efforts of David Bryant and the ministry he’s
founded, many Christians, who perhaps wouldn’t otherwise, have come together in prayer.
A FEAST OF PRAYER AND FASTING
“I am convinced that God will soon send a great spiritual awakening to our country and the
world ... .”19
These words came from Bill Bright, founder and director of Campus Crusade for
Christ International. In a warm yet urgent three-page letter, Bill had invited Christian leaders
in the United States to join him from December 5–7, 1994, for three days of prayer and
fasting in Orlando, Florida.
The names of seventy-two distinguished Christian men and women who made up
the Invitation Committee told me that this gathering would be a first in recent memory. But it
was Bill’s own story that convinced me I had to attend:
For me, the call to fast and pray for our nation began in earnest on July 5, 1994,
when I began a forty-day fast for revival and awakening in America and the
fulfillment of the Great Commission throughout the world. On the morning that I
began my twenty-ninth day of fasting I was reading in 2 Chronicles, chapters 28–30,
when God’s holy Word spoke to my heart in a most unusual way.
Like ancient Judah, our nation is rapidly becoming morally and spiritually
destitute. As I read that Hezekiah, King of Judah, wrote a letter to the leaders of
Israel and Judah inviting them to join him in celebrating the Passover in the newly
opened, cleansed and dedicated temple—which his evil father, Ahaz, had closed—I
felt impressed by the Lord to write letters to hundreds of the most influential
Christians in this country, inviting them to gather in Orlando, as guests of Campus
Crusade, to fast and pray. We do not have a political agenda.
This will be strictly a time for fasting and prayer and for seeking God’s
direction on how we, His servants, can be instruments of revival for our nation and
the world. By God’s grace, this could be one of the most significant prayer and
fasting gatherings in modern history.20
I accepted Bill’s invitation and went to Florida. Based on all that happened in
Orlando, I can say that, by God’s grace, Bill’s hope and prayer came true. As one of nearly
seven hundred participants, I witnessed an unusual display of Christian leaders across the
denominational and parachurch spectrum. That unity was expressed best by
author/speaker Kay Arthur who gave the memorable illustration of two different heart
tissues beating at different rhythms, yet when they physically touch each other, they beat in
unison. “When we touch Jesus,” she says, “we pump the same.”
Today, more and more of these people are saying, “There is such a desperation in
our world, it’s time we got on our faces with one another to break down barriers and build
bonds of love and trust.”21
The biblical evidence of Hezekiah and others shows that revival is of God.
The historical precedence of former Great Awakenings suggests that revival in our
nation could come again.
The reality that our ever-darkening world is now being pierced by extraordinary truth
indicates that the early light of revival is already dawning.
I can hear at least three distinctive voices of prayer, three unmistakable expressions
of the Holy Spirit beckoning and bringing the young and the old—all ages and stages in
between—to Jesus. As you read their stories, notice what unites Nick Hall, a college
student-turned evangelist; Karen Cover, a faithful, persevering pray-er in Hollywood; Bill
Eubank, a lay pastor, and Bruce Snell a businessman.
“JESUS, WILL YOU RESET MY LIFE?”
When Nick Hall was a junior at North Dakota State University, he wrote a paper in an
English class about envisioning a student-led, campus-wide initiative to present the gospel
of Jesus to classmates. Eight thousand people filled the Bison Sports Arena, and 1,200
students gave their lives to Christ.
PULSE, an evangelism ministry founded on prayer, was born. PULSE exists to
awaken culture to the reality of Jesus. By 2015, the movement had grown to impact more
than thirty university campuses and more than 250,000 people. Where is prayer? It is at the
center, as the group’s newsletter makes clear: “At every PULSE event, we refer to our
prayer room as ‘The Engine Room’ because we believe this is where our power comes
from. This room is typically unseen by most attendees, located in a classroom or closet at
the venue. Regardless of its location, ‘The Engine Room’ is always filled with faithful
intercessors, asking for God’s blessing toward the harvest.
Chris McFarland, Executive Vice President of PULSE, notes, “Jesus said, ‘My house
shall be called a house of prayer,’ and His disciples witnessed firsthand the power of Jesus’
prayer life as they asked Him, ‘Lord, would you teach us to pray?’ For anyone wanting to
follow Jesus, prayer must take priority.”22
PULSE is the ministry behind the RESET Movement and the Together 2016
gathering at the National Mall in Washington, DC on July 16, 2016. It was a day of unified
prayer and worship rallying a generation around Jesus and a call for a supernatural reset in
lives, culture, and our nation.
Rather than resorting to the “we” of an organization, the RESET message focuses
on the “you” each and every individual who is invited to pray the RESET Prayer: “Jesus, will
you reset my life? My thoughts? My priorities? My school? My fears?” With its focus on
making new, individual relationships with Jesus, RESET has introduced a fresh, new
language of personal revival. (For more information, visit pulsemovement.com.)
KAREN COVELL: IN A LEADING ROLE
Whether it’s a career, a budding romance or life’s final chapter, most people would gladly
love a Hollywood ending. Fade in to Karen Covell whose genesis in ministry called for a
surprise Hollywood beginning. She set out wanting to produce live theater before plying her
craft in television and film. Then, fourteen years ago she felt some new inner stirrings.
Prayer, which had always been such a part of her Christian life, became a driving passion.
I began to ask others to pray with me for those working in Hollywood—producers,
directors, actors, writers, and technicians. I got a lot of pushback from believers outside of
Hollywood. Many Christians I met wanted nothing to do with the entertainment industry,
mainly because of the kind of movies they didn’t like coming out of Hollywood. They weren’t
shy, either, telling me, “You’re wasting your time praying for celebrities.”23
Covell persisted. Down, though not defeated, she prayed that God would massage
and soften the hearts of Christian believers who had backed away and declined to pray. In
2001, she founded the Hollywood Prayer Network. Over time, online connections sprang
up, churches inquired, trusted relationships grew, and prayer groups formed. Today, the
Network’s ministry has more than 20,000 praying members, and they have matched 1,800
one-to-one prayer partnerships—individuals, each of whom prays regularly for a person in
the entertainment industry. There’s a reason, Covell believes, why prayer avoidance has
given way to prayer involvement.
BILL EUBANK: THE GIFT OF INTERCESSION
Bill Eubank was driving in the car near his home of Charlotte,
North Carolina, when he realized he wasn’t alone.
I heard the Lord say, “You need to be involved in a group of men to pray for greater
Charlotte region.” I began to listen to what was going on, both inside me and in our
area. I joined a group of four men, two of which were pastors, to intercede for our
city. Thirty years later, we’re still praying. In the past five or six years, we’ve sensed
very strongly that God wants to move again through our region of the country.
There’s a sense that God wants to pull out all the stops, invade society, and touch
those who know Him.24
Might Bill’s own words be the encouragement you and others need to turn to God
and trust God in and through intercessory prayer?
If you are born again, you are God’s son or daughter (John 1:12). As His child, you
have a direct “hotline” to God. At any time, you can boldly come into His presence
(Hebrews 4:16). This incredible access to God is the basis for intercession. Once
you are in God’s presence, you can now discover His battle plan for the situation you
are facing. Because prayer alone is not enough—you need a target for your prayers!
To discover God’s plan, all you have to do is ask. The Bible says “If any of
you need wisdom, you should ask God, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).
When we ask God for wisdom, His desires will become the focus of our prayers. “Let
God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good
and pleasing to Him” (Romans 12:2).
Intercession involves taking hold of God’s will and refusing to let go until His
will comes to pass. Intercessory prayer is not the same as prayers for yourself, or for
‘enlightenment,’ or for spiritual gifts, or for guidance, or any personal matter, or any
Intercession is not just praying for someone else’s needs. Intercession is
praying with the real hope and real intent that God would step in and act for
the positive advancement of some specific other person or groups of people
or community. It is trusting God to act, even if it’s not in the manner or timing
we seek. God wants us to ask, even urgently. It is casting our weakness
before God’s strength, and (at its best) having a bit of God’s passion burn in us.25
On page 200–202, you’ll find some practical resources to pray, including helpful tips
from Bill Eubank. Included are suggestions for establishing “Prayer Etiquette” for corporate
and intercessory prayer. The second list includes some insights and lessons Bill and others
have learned over the past thirty years of weekly intercessory prayer.
NEW MORNING OF REVIVAL
Bruce Snell is a businessman who loves getting rousted out of bed at 3:00 a.m. “I have this
intimacy with Jesus. Seven days a week, He awakens me in the dark. An uninterrupted time
of prayer follows. I talk to Him. I tell Him the things that are on my heart about my family, my
work, my life, but most of all, I ask Jesus, ‘What is it that you are speaking to me, Lord.
What is it ... that you ... are speaking ... to me?’ ”
“One morning, the Lord Jesus said to me, ‘The altar, Bruce, stay at the altar.’ ”
“At the altar is where we are altered! At the altar of prayer is where I leave everything
that weighs on me. At the altar is where I reach out and reach up and bring everything,
every praise, every concern, every longing, every sorrow, every joy to Jesus. I leave it all
with Him, and I leave it all in prayer.”26
Do you see more clearly why prayer is the heartbeat of both personal revival and the
Great Awakening now before us?
Charles Finney noted that revival is simply normal Christianity. In a normal family
relationship, you expect clear communication between all the members. For the Christian,
prayer is that clear line of communication in an intimate relationship with God. We see in the
parable of the Prodigal Son specifically how prayer shows the early beginnings of revival.
As the son returned home and reestablished his communication and relationship with the
father, the father turned to the elder son and said, “Your brother was dead and is alive
again, and was lost and is found” (Luke 15:32). The Greek word for “alive again” is
anazaho, which means “brought back to life.” So, what the father really meant was that his
son was now revived!
Perhaps without knowing it, these Christians are experiencing the fact that prayer is
always the most telling gauge of spiritual awakening. Why does God want us, as
individuals, to pray so that He can corporately address the needs of His prodigal church?
It’s beyond us. It’s beyond human understanding why God would want our silent longings
and muttered whispers. Yet, He does. And through our prayer, revival begins.
Prayer unleashes power.
Power is necessary for the revitalization of the church.
A revitalized church is a unified and Christ-focused church.
A unified and Christ-focused church is necessary for evangelism.
Evangelism is necessary for discipleship.
Discipleship is necessary for a maturing, reproducing church.
A maturing, reproducing church is necessary for the building of the kingdom.
And the building of the kingdom is necessary for the return of Christ.
Revitalization, evangelism, discipleship, and building the kingdom for His return—it
all begins in prayer—prayer that begins in the heart of God and moves to the heart of the
Christian, whose heart is turned toward God. It begins in the heart of people like Nick Hall,
Bill Eubank, Karen Covell, Mac Pier, and Bruce Snell. Each has invited others to pray in
adoration, praise, confession, and repentance before our Lord. This is how personal revival
begins and how a Great Awakening spreads.
“OH, GOD …”
• Seven hundred Christian leaders gather to fast and pray together for three days in
• A handful of tired pastors meet for breakfast in Salem, Oregon.
• Four men meet for prayer every Saturday morning for thirty years.
• A businessman is rousted from his bed at 3:00 a.m., only to get down on his knees
and bring his entire self to the altar.
The stirring power of prayer in America today is defined by everyday people such as
It happened on the Hebrides Islands, off the western coast of Scotland in 1947. A
group of five to seven very godly men had become concerned about their home and
country. Sadly, they felt that the Spirit of God was absent. They were despondent about
their friends’ indifference to the gospel and their nation’s indifference to spiritual things.
These men realized that the needs were so far beyond them that their only hope, their only
answer, was to go before God.
Sacrificially, these few common men began to pray. After working all day, they would
go home for dinner and dedicate the evening to their families. Then, around ten o’clock,
when they were tired and ready to go to bed, they would walk out into the night and meet
together in a lighted barn. There they would pray—sometimes five, sometimes six,
sometimes seven of them. For two long years, they went to the barn, night after night. In the
heat of summer and in the briskness of fall, in the chill of winter and in the cool of spring,
these sacrificing, godly men met together on their knees.
“Oh, God,” they cried out, “do something for our islands.”
Every time they prayed they always read a passage of Scripture, and they prayed
until they had peace in their hearts. One night in 1949, two years after they had begun
meeting, as they gathered in the barn, one of the men opened his Bible to Psalm 24 and
began to read. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that
dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Who
shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath
clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn
deceitfully” (Psalm 24:1–4).
Suddenly the truth hit these men. “Is it possible,” they asked, “that for two long years
we’ve been praying night after night, sacrificially, for the Lord to move on our islands—and
yet our hands are not clean? Is it possible our hearts are not pure? Is it possible that our
souls have been lifted up to vanity and that we have sworn deceitfully?” That moment, the
Lord convicted them that all the things they feared were true. That night, they prayed the
words from the book of James, “Therefore confess your sins to one other and pray for one
another that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is
working” (5:16 ESV).
History records that these men left the barn that night, and on the way to the village,
they topped the hill and looked down the road. There, in the ditch, they saw two town
drunks on their knees, stumbling and mumbling. As the believers came closer, they realized
the two men weren’t drunk at all. They were sober, and they were praying. They were on
their knees, under conviction of sin, asking God to forgive them.
“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective!”
The men, who had prayed every night for months, looked out over the night sky and
saw the homes below. At 1:30 a.m., lights in the village were on. The people had awakened
from their sleep. Dozens of families, realizing their separation from God, had gotten up from
their beds in consternation to try to find someone awake with whom they could talk. Night
became dawn, and the next morning, people knew that something had changed. The
people invited Duncan Campbell, the great evangelist from England, to visit their homeland.
He came, preached, and great revival broke out—a revival that was born through prayer in
Might the Holy Spirit already be at work in you drawing you to Himself, stirring you to
pray, moving you to pray for a fresh awakening, a new touch of God?
What do you think God could do in your life, your church, your nation, if you began
praying for revival? No one knows the answer—yet. But one thing is absolutely certain:
• If the moral deterioration expressed through corruption, lying, violence, and greed in
our nation grieves you,
• If the growing indifference to the good news of salvation saddens you,
• If the break-up of marriages, families, and other cherished relationships hurts you,
• If these and other sorrows have stirred in you a new hunger for God,
You are not alone.
If your prayer is that our nation turns from its prodigal ways and comes home to a
loving Father, if your heart beats in unison with the people about whom you’ve been
reading, then you are part of the Pastors’ Prayer Summits. You are part of Nell Barr’s early
morning-prayer time. You are part of anyone and everyone who meets before work to pray
for their country, their city, and their church.
You are already part of this Jesus-Now Awakening!
Be filled with expectation and hope for all that God is now unfolding in North America
and all that is yet to come. Be glad, and be aware. The current spiritual awakening is not
without potential obstacles and threats that can cause spiritual blindness. Imagine Jesus
standing before you, close enough to reach out and touch. You simply walk past Him
because something has seriously harmed your vision, which means you don’t have eyes to
see. Because He has loved you since forever, He turns around and calls your name. But
because something has damaged your hearing, you keep walking, unaware that it’s Jesus
calling you, calling you to turn around, calling you to Him.
How would you feel? What would you do if you had eyes to see and ears to hear?
Isn’t it time we looked at what on earth could be keeping you and me from joining Jesus in the great
Jesus-Now Awakening that’s already begun?
Walking in the Light of God’s People
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For
the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:18 NIV)
Consider the current challenges and struggles in your world and in your life. Are you losing hope in relationships, religion, or politics? Are you struggling at work, with your family, in your accomplishments, or your faith? Whatever your challenge, meditate on the Lord of hosts, who longs to show you grace and rises to show you compassion. Invite Christ into your struggle. Together, with other followers of Jesus, make a personal request for Jesus to show Himself to you in the midst of those challenges. In the quietness of this time, close your eyes and imagine the picture of the resurrected Christ. He is excited to express His personal grace and divine favor just for you. Imagine the scene of Jesus rising to receive you with welcoming arms! Pause to picture this moment between you and Jesus. Notice the tenderness of His expression and that Christ longs to give you grace. Hear the gentleness in His voice as He confirms His great compassion for you. Now, with a partner or small group, give Jesus thanks for such an incredible blessing just for you!
Tell Him about your gratefulness. Jesus, as I imagine you standing up to receive me with welcoming arms, I am grateful because … I am thankful when I see the tenderness in your face and hear the compassion in your voice because … I am moved with gratitude for how you …
L-3 Experiencing God as He really is through deepened intimacy with Him
1 Finney, Lectures on Revival of Religion, 22–34.
2 Joe Aldrich, in discussion with the author, February 8, 1994.
6 George Derksen, in discussion with the author, December 6, 1994.
8 James W. Tharp, letter, February 28, 1994.
9 Nell Barr, in discussion with the author, November 28, 1994.
12 Mac Pier, in discussion with the author, July 8, 2011.
17 “Mission Statement” (Wheaton: Concerts of Prayer International, 1994), 1.
19 Bill Bright, letter, October 7, 1994, 2.
21 Steve Hallin discussion with the author, December 7, 1994.
22 Chris McFarland, in discussion with the author, November 17, 2014.
23 Karen Covell, in discussion with the author, February 24, 2015.
24 Bill Eubank, in discussion with the author, November 13, 2014.
26 Bruce Snell, in discussion with the author, June 17, 2014.
27 Colin C. Whittaker, Great Revivals (Springfield: Gospel Publishing House, 1984), 181–83.
Jesus Now by Tom Phillips • BroadStreet Publishing.• Purchase the full book on Amazon