Prayer That Moves Mountains
Overview: Chapter 4, Prayer That Moves Mountains, shares my personal prayer growth and how prayer effects Church Growth.
In sharing about prayer and what God has taught me concerning prayer, it is essential to convey how I was led into a more fulfilling prayer life. About 10 years previous, I learned that I could pray in the Spirit and then be quite and listen and God would speak to me in my mind. Only twice in my life have I heard the audible voice of God, but now, daily I hear Him speak to me through my mind. Over the years, I have been both hot and cold. Sin and doubt would creep in and separate me from communication. I would get excited when hearing God and having it confirmed by something that happened. Then I would hear Him, and when it didn't turn out the way I thought it should, doubt would set in and I would stop praying and seeking to hear for a period of time. Paul says, "I know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him" (Romans 8:28). Believe it. I would encourage you to learn from my mistakes and never doubt and never give up. We separate ourselves - God is always there. God wants to forgive us and talk to us.
About one month before I left for Korea, I experienced a major miracle as a result of prayer. It was one week before I was to take a Greek proficiency test on which I had to score at least an eighty or an entire year of Greek education would be nullified and I would not be able to receive my masters degree. I knew the test would involve the translation and describing the parts of speech of all the verbs in a passage from either the Gospel or the Epistles of John. I prayed and asked God if it was okay to ask which chapter to study. God said it was okay and that it was "Chapter 20". Again on Friday, Sunday and Tuesday, I asked and each time God said, "Chapter 20". On the day of the test (which was at 1pm), I got up at 7am and started studying my vocabulary and grammar, trying to cram a years worth of Greek in one morning. About 9:15am God spoke to me (I was not praying) and said, "can you afford not to be studying Chapter 20?" I spent the next several hours translating, analyzing the verbs and correcting my mistakes on the next 5 verses in Chapter 20. At 1pm, I discovered that out of a possible 1,010 verses in the Bible that might be used for the test, the test was over the exact 5 verses I had spent the morning studying. To have the exact 5 out of 1,010 is the kind of odds that scientists use to declare something is a fact. It is a fact that God speaks to His children. Once, when I was really excited that God had spoken to me, I asked Him if that meant I was was unique or special. He told me , "NO", that He wants to communicate with all of His children.
Now you know where my prayer life was when I went to Korea to learn about Dr. Cho's Church. I had no expectations of personal development. Had I expected personal spirtual growth, my prayer life would have been last area I would have considered because I believed that I had an excellent prayer life - God had other ideas. From the first evening I arrived, God began working on my prayer life and making prayer a part of my education.
Two days after I arrived, I spent the entire day and night at prayer mountain during which God led me to fast totally. It was during this period that the written interviews were birthed. The next Friday, I went to the main all night prayer meeting from 10 pm till 4 am (the all night prayer meeting concludes before the early morning prayer meeting begins at 4:30 am). I was becoming sceptical about the strange intensity with which people prayed in every service and at prayer mountain. Adjectives such as violent, with emphasis or intensity do not fully describe the constant praying aloud with rocking movement. We Americans are accustomed to using our voice and our whole body in acts of concern or excitement, such as at a football game, and we often show more emotion toward a friend we haven't seen in a long time, than we do towards our Father in heaven. This type of praying seemed strange to me and contrary to the way I had been praying where I would become quite to hear God. Finally, after working alongside the same Korean Pastor, Bin Sung Jin, for a couple of weeks, I felt comfortable enough with him to share how I prayed and express oncern that the Koreans who prayed loudly and non-stop could not hear God answer. He smiled gently and said softly, "Oh, yes - they can."
A couple of days later, at the Friday all night prayer meeting, I experimented and discovered that I could pray in the Spirit with intensity and still through my mind carry on a two-way conversation with God. So big deal, now I knew two ways to pray and hear God. For the next couple of days I wondered why God would teach me a different way to pray, so I asked Him about it but did not get an immediate answer (you cannot control God's responses or when He will respond). Finally the following Monday, God spoke to me through the Scripture, "He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground" (Luke 22:44). All my life I have thought how strange that sweat looked like blood. Now God gave me the understanding that Jesus prayed "earnestly" which resulted in "His sweat".When you talk to God daily, it is extra special when He uses the Bible to reveal something. then God said, "If Jesus prayed so strongly that He perspired, shouldn't you do even more so." Of course, I said, "Yes Lord" and began praising God because I had my answer. God wanted me to pray the new way he had taught me. Before I finish sharing how God improved my prayer life, I will share that after the lessons were over, I asked God if I had to tell others to pray the way He taught me. God said, "No, tell everyone to seek Me as to how they should pray and how long to pray. Just like each person has a different calling and different needs, they have different prayer needs."
More Prayer Lessons
A couple of nights later, at the all night district prayer meeting at prayer mountain, there were over a thousand people sitting on the floor praying intensley. Along with the other Pastors, I would step over people, laying hands on them and praying for them. As I was returning from the far side of the room, a lady smiled and pointed to her head, so I went over and laid hands on her head and prayed for her in the Spirit. You don't need to speak the same language to ask for prayer or to pray.
Friday afternoon, after my first month in Korea, I was back early from ministry and God told me to pray in the Spirit. While praying, God told me I should pray "My agenda" (meaning God's agenda). I said, "Ok, what do You mean?" God asked, "Would you be willing to pray five or ten minutes for each hour of the upcoming day?" I said, "Sure". Then God said, "Instead of Ed's agenda, you must start praying My agenda. You are to read your Bible at a separate time from your prayer time. First, you are to pray at least five to ten minutes for each hour of the upcoming day. After you have prayed for the entire day, you are to pray the Lord's Prayer outline and for your own personal concerns." Incidently, there are also personal concerns prayed for in each hour. Especially when you know what is happening at a certain time.
In one week, God had taught me how to pray with intensity and with His agenda, but being taught how does not develop displine. God also started me on a fast that day; however, I didn't connect the two until a week later. God placed me on a fast to help me develop the displine of my new prayer life.
Dr. Cho on Prayer
I had wondered why I was having to learn so much about prayer, when the annual Church Growth International Conference in Seoul began. The first speaker was Dr. Cho, who said, "Church growth must start with prayer." I might also remind you that the fisrt factor mentioned in the interviews with the Pastors of the largest Presbyterian and the largest Methodist Churches in the world was PRAYER.
Dr. Cho's entire talk that morning was about prayer. He said, "If you want to have a praying Church - follow the Pastor. Only a praying leader can make your Church pray. You must make the foundation of the Church prayer. Through prayer we can have intimate fellowship with God. We can read about God through the Bible, but through prayer we can have fellowship with God. Every day when you pray it will only cover that day - pray daily." Dr. Cho also said that to pray effectively in regular prayer he uses the Lord's Prayer. Then he proceeded to teach on every part of the Lord's Prayer and how to pray using it as an outline.
Dr. Cho said, "I must fulfill my calling as Christ's servant. To do this effectively, I must spend my life in prayer. Every major principle that I teach in Korea and around the world did not come out of a theological book, but it came from genuine and intimate fellowship with the Holy Spirit in prayer. I can just say to the Holy Spirit, 'Sweet Spirit, please let me tell You about the problem I have. I know You know the mind of God and you already have the answer.' With assurance, I then await the answer from the Holy Spirit." Dr. Cho encourages everyone to depend on God for their wisdom and suggests, "Dependence on the Lord increases your spiritual sensitivity." He also advises, "We must ask in accorance with the will of God. It is therefore imperative that we learn to listen to the voice of God daily. Prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue. To pray effectively, we must listen to God as well as speak."
There are many prayer mountains and retreat centers in Korea where people go to pray. The one that I mentioned visiting is called Osanri and is associated with Dr. Cho's Church. There are buses going between this prayer moiuntain and Dr. Cho's Church many times a day. After the one hour bus ride, the Koreans register and pay a small fee related to how long they will be staying. In a typical year, there are around two million people who registered at Osanri Prayer Mountain. Sixty percent of these people are in the age bracket of 21 to 40. It is available to all Christians and only about 23% of the people are from Dr. Cho's Church. Over half the people are either Presbyterian (42%) or Methodists (12.5%).
There are many stories told about people being healed who visited prayer mountain. Dr. Choi Jashil, Dr. Cho's mother-in-law, who was responsible for establishing prayer mountain at Osanri, wrote a book full of beautiful testimonies from people who have been blessed at prayer mountain entiled, Korean Miracles. However, only about 1.2% list healing as their purpose in visiting prayer mountain. Of course 1.2% is over 22,000 people. Over 75% list that their main purpose is to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of a prayer mountain is to provide an enviroment for prayer. Another way is like Full Gospel Inchon Church did in their new building. They built twenty small private prayer rooms in their basement, definitely giving their Church a foundation of prayer.
It seems approriate to close this chapter with a prayer. "Dear God, I pray that ever person reading this chapter will be blessed with two way communication and hear your voice every time he or she prays. Help everyone to spend time with You daily. thank You for this in Jesus' Name, Amen."
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Weekly MINISTRY NOTES including a JESUS TEACHING
For the title page and contents, Chapter 1 Setting the Stage, Chapter 2 Only in Korea?,
Chapter 3 Winning a Country for Christ, Chapter 4 Prayer That Moves Mountains,
Chapter 5 The Weapon at Work, Chapter 6 How Cell Groups Work,
Chapter 7 100 Days in Inchon, Appendix: Written Interview Comments