One of the great challenges of building a house of prayer is focus. Oftentimes believers celebrate the idea of prayer but don’t actually attend prayer meetings. As a leader the challenge is inspiring people to do the prayer meetings and not just celebrate the idea of prayer. This has required me to have laser focus in building IHOP Atlanta. One of our key building strategies has been, “If something doesn’t build the prayer room we don’t do it.” I know this is incredibly narrow, but for us to build and sustain a 24-hour, 7-day a week, corporate worship-led prayer meeting, we’ve needed to be very narrow. We’ve needed to cut out the distractions and give ourselves wholeheartedly to the place of prayer. As a result, by God’s grace we’ve been able to offer Jesus ceaseless adoration and intercession for the last 6 years. Thank you JESUS!
This focus to build prayer has required me to momentarily press pause on many things, including other valid Kingdom pursuits that have burned in my heart. In March the Lord began to re-awaken some of these passions. For years, I have carried a great burden for the gospel to go forth in the nations of the earth. At times it has been more intense than others. These last years, I have been so focused on building the house of prayer that overseas missions has been a secondary thought. That has changed literally overnight. The only way I can describe what happened to me is this – it seems like the Lord “flipped a switch” in my heart and re-awakened a burning passion to see the gospel go forth in the nations. I have believed for years that the next great missions movement and the prayer movement are one reality. This convergence of prayer and missions is happening right now, right before our eyes.
More than I ever have, I am beginning to understand the Lord’s plan as it relates to empowering the proclamation of the gospel in the nations through ceaseless prayer. The house of prayer is the perfect training ground and prayer base for the global missions movement. A house of prayer is a ‘green-house’ to cultivate fiery missionaries who carry a culture of prayer and a passion to preach the gospel to the lost. In one moment, it seems, God has caused this fire to burn brightly again and given us at Ihop-Atlanta the green-light to be a launching pad to send burning ones into the harvest field.
In March the Lord spoke to my heart that He would see to the gathering of missionaries if I would see to the sending of them. My wholehearted response was YES, LORD and I covenanted with the Lord to send out every missionary that He wants sent. Right now we are training & sending several missionaries for work overseas. This year alone we will see at least 6 missonaries sent into the harvest. We now have a prayer focus to send 100 missionaries into the mission field over the next 10 years. “The harvest truly is plentiful but the laborers are few; Therefore PRAY to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest that He will send forth laborers into His harvest field.” This truly is the hour of the convergence of prayer and missions and we are ALL IN!
Mark 8:34-35 “… Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.”