Jesus’ heart for the Church could not have been any clearer—“My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Mark 11:17). It has always been God’s plan for every local church and fellowship in every nation to become houses of prayer. The question is: how do we help churches develop a culture and rhythm of prayer?
Our prayer strategy is an expression of the Moravian prayer movement that began in Herrnhut, Germany in 1727 under the leadership of Count Zinzendorf. That year, a few believers covenanted to start a 24/7 prayer chain with at least two people praying every hour. Little did they know that their prayer watch would last over 100 years. By 1791, the Moravians had prayed non-stop for 65 years and sent over 300 missionaries around the world. We ask every church to adopt a monthly day of prayer and cover those 12 or 24 hours in prayer. The goal is for every church to develop a culture and rhythm of prayer and one way to do that is to adopt a monthly day of prayer.
OUR STRATEGY IS:
Our strategy is simple—every church in the world can adopt a full day of prayer (24 hours) or a half day of prayer (12 hours) every month. Churches with 20 members and 20,0000 members can all participate. The monthly day of prayer is not the end game—it’s the on-ramp.
Our strategy is unifying—Baptist, Reformed, Protestant, Pentecostal, Charismatic, and non-denominational churches can all adopt a day of prayer and do it their way at their church. They lead their own monthly day of prayer, but then they come together to cover their city in prayer in monthly, quarterly and annual gatherings, which produces a greater level of unity and trust between pastors.
Our strategy is pastor-led—it empowers the senior pastor to lead his church in prayer. It honors the pastor’s authority as God’s appointed leader for the church.
Our strategy is local-church-based—it engages churches in prayer and includes the intercessors, who are already praying, but also church members who may not attend a corporate praying meeting. People can pray from home, school, a college dorm, a coffee shop, or their home. We believe in the local church is at the center of God’s plan for the redemption of the world.
Our strategy is powerful—when churches in a city and nation pray for the same things, that targeted and focused prayer is strategic and powerful. This reflects the power of agreement, as Jesus said in Matthew 18:10, “Truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”
Our strategy is sustainable—since every church is only responsible for one day of prayer a month (or more if they want), it does not burn out any single church. Local churches have been praying 24/7 for 10 years now in Austin and Bellingham. This model has staying power. You can’t fake 24/7 prayer for 10 straight years with churches from across the theological spectrum and still be growing and thriving.
Our model of spiritual awakening is based on the model outlined in the Book of Acts.
1. PRAYER—We believe that all human and spiritual transformation begins with prayer and is fueled by and sustained by prayer. The first thing the disciples did after Jesus ascended to heaven was to rush to the Upper Room and devote themselves to unceasing prayer. Acts 1:14, “They were continually devoting themselves to prayer.” The Holy Spirit uses prayer to unite His church and break down denominational, theological, ethnic, and socio-economic walls that separate us from each other.
2. UNITY—Unceasing prayer brought the disciples to a level of unity they hadn’t experienced before. There were a lot of rivalries, jealousies, and competition among the disciples, but when they devoted themselves to prayer, God began to unite them with one heart for one purpose. Acts 2:1, “They were all in one accord in one place.”
3. EVANGELISM—When the church is united, the Holy Spirit releases a fresh power in evangelism that results in exponential convert growth. Acts 2:37, “Those who embraced his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to the believers that day.” Three thousand believers were added to the church in a single day when they began to walk in unity.
The purpose and outcome of unity is that people will get saved. The most credible witness to the world that Jesus is Lord is a unified church. Jesus prayed in John 17:21, “May all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” Only a united church can heal a divided nation.
4. DISCIPLESHIP—Jesus never called us to win converts, but to make disciples. Once people make a decision for Christ, it is the church’s privilege and responsibility to nurture them and disciple them into full devotion to Christ. We believe that discipleship happens best through the local church, and especially in the context of small groups. Acts 2:42, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
5. SERVICE—The early followers of Christ were contagious and multiplied rapidly largely because of their passion for Jesus and their compassion for people. They were generous with their resources and shared with anyone who was in need. Acts 2:44-45, “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they shared with anyone who was in need.” By the time we get to Acts 6, we see that the church took on the responsibility of feeding and caring for widows. We believe that a praying church is a compassionate church.
Serving the poor is not an add-on to the Gospel—it’s at the heart of the Gospel message. In His very first sermon, Jesus declared in Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.” Jesus made it clear that the Gospel has a special application for the poor. James 1:27 confirms the importance of serving the poor: “Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress.” Compassionate service confirms our message that God is love.
6. TRANSFORMATION—The disciples didn’t grow big churches that were insulated form church—they understood from the beginning that their calling was to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). The early followers of Christ transformed every culture and society they came into contact with. People would bring their occult books to the town square and burn them publicly and embrace Jesus as Lord (Acts 19:19).
In Acts 19:25-27, so many people in the city of Ephesus were getting saved and forsaking the worship of the goddess Diana and other gods that it was disrupting their economy that was built on idol worship. Acts 17:6 gives us insight into the kind of transformation impact they were having on cities: “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also.” Transformation of society is the real biblical evidence that a spiritual awakening is taking place in a city or nation.
Churches can include additional prayer requests, but these are the 7 main areas we are praying for:
1. PRAY FOR UNBELIEVERS TO BE SAVED. Pray that people’s hearts will be opened to repent of their sins and confess Jesus as Savior. Pray that every person in the world will be able to hear the Gospel in their native language. (Matthew 9:37-38; 24:14; Romans 10:1; 2 Peter 3:9; Acts 26:18)
2. PRAY FOR A NATIONAL SPIRITUAL AWAKENING. Pray that Jesus will revive the Church and awaken every nation to the greatness and supremacy of Jesus. Pray that God will pour out His Spirit on every nation and forgive our sin and heal our land. Pray that billions of people will be convicted by the Holy Spirit, repent of their sins, and turn to God with all their hearts. (2 Chron. 7:14; Daniel 9:18-19; Psa. 85:6; Hab. 3:2; Acts 2:37-41)
3. PRAY FOR UNITY OF THE CHURCH. Pray that denominational, theological, and ethnic walls will come down so that pastors will love each other, pray together, and serve each other. (John 17:20-23; Psalm 133:1; Ephesians 4:3-6)
4. PRAY FOR FAMILIES. Pray that Jesus will heal, restore, and strengthen every marriage and family. Pray that husbands will love their wives like Christ loves the church and that wives will respect and submit to their husbands. Pray that the hearts of parents will be turned toward their children to love them and raise them in a God-honoring way. Pray that children will respect and obey their parents. (Genesis 2:24; Joshua 24:15; Psalm 127:3-5; Malachi 4:6; Ephesians 5:22-33; Ephesians 6:1-4)
5. PRAY FOR RACIAL RECONCILIATION. Pray that God will heal racism and use the church to stand against racial conflict, violence, and prejudice. The church must lead the way in racial reconciliation by modeling love and respect for every person regardless of the color of their skin or their ethnic background. (Romans 10:12-13, Galatians 3:28, Acts 10:28, Acts 10:34-35, John 7:24, 1 John 2:9, James 2:9, Revelation 7:9)
6. PRAY FOR LIFE TO BE VALUED AND PROTECTED THROUGH ALL STAGES OF LIFE, BEGINNING AT CONCEPTION. Pray for God to break the culture of death and restore a culture of life. Pray for legalized abortion to come to an end. (Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:5; Proverbs 24:11; Deuteronomy 21:8-9)
7. PRAY FOR LOCAL AND NATIONAL GOVERNMENT LEADERS. Pray that God will help them make wise decisions and govern with integrity, justice, and mercy. (1 Tim. 2:1-2; Rom. 13:1; 1 Pet. 2:17; Titus 3:1-2; Micah 6:8)
Steps to Launch a Day of Prayer
1. ADOPT A DAY OF PRAYER
Sign up for a monthly full day of prayer (24 hours) or half day of prayer (12 hours). Your church will pray the same day of the month (1st, 8th) or day of the week (2nd Wednesday, 4th Friday).
2. APPOINT A PRAYER COORDINATOR
The Prayer Coordinator is a member of the church, who under the leadership of the pastor, can organize, schedule and provide general leadership for the church’s prayer activities (including the day of prayer). This person must have an active and healthy prayer life, a good reputation in and outside of church, and have the ability to lead in prayer and mobilize others to pray.
3. SHARE THE VISION
The Pastor shares the vision with the church during Sunday morning services a few weeks before the first monthly day of prayer. Points to include:
Share the goals behind the day of prayer
Affirm the prayer coordinator and his/her role
Encourage people to sign up for 30 – 60 minute prayer slots
4. RECRUIT & FOLLOW UP
Using prayer commitment cards or sign up sheets during or after services, have people sign up for a prayer time slot.
Print and distribute simple prayer points to those who sign up (suggestions on how to pray during their committed prayer time including specific and measurable prayer points to pray for the church, city and state).
The Prayer Coordinator follows up with those who sign up (through text, email or the church’s preferred method of communication), with prayer points, scheduled time reminders, encouragement, etc. and works on getting all the time slots filled by prayer partners.
Prayer partners pray during their selected times on your monthly day of prayer from home, school, work or church. This will help them make prayer a daily lifestyle.
City & State Transformation
Unceasing prayer is happening in homes, places of work, college dorms, coffee shops, parks, and churches. Through united prayer, we are witnessing Jesus transform our economy and confront the abortion crisis. The hungry are being fed and the poor are being served. We took Jeremiah 29:7 to heart and began praying for the peace and prosperity of our state: “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” God made it clear that prayer plays a vital role in the safety and prosperity of your community.
New Mexico was ranked 50th in the family prosperity index[i], 49th in economy[ii], and has the 2nd highest poverty rate in the nation[iii]. But when God’s people pray, God hears from heaven and things begin to change. A state that was facing an expected $200 million deficit[iv] now has a $1.2 billion surplus[v].
According to a Bloomberg news report, since the beginning of 2017, New Mexico is #1 in job increases and wage increases[vi]. To be clear, new economic policies, a thriving oil and gas industry, and the hard work of many have made this possible. However, it is too drastic of a turnaround to be explained by natural solutions alone.
Another area where we have seen answers to prayer in New Mexico is on the abortion issue. Albuquerque, the largest city in our state, has been known as the ‘late-term abortion capital of America.’[vii] Since churches began praying 24/7 for an end to late-term abortion in New Mexico, three abortion clinics have closed.[viii] Furthermore, for over two decades, the University of New Mexico Health and Sciences Department conducted research on aborted baby parts. In a remarkable turn of events, UNM has now ended the controversial program.[ix]
Church unity is one of our main prayer focuses. We are seeking to live out Jesus’ prayer in John 17:21, “That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” A unified church is the most credible witness to the world that Jesus is Lord. We have been asking God to unite the church of New Mexico across denominational lines and ethnic backgrounds. And Jesus has begun to answer that prayer. We believe that only a united church can heal a divided nation. “I have been in Albuquerque for 38 years and I’ve never seen pastors come together for anything like this. It is changing the climate,” says New Mexico Ministry Network Pastor Micheal Dickenson.
It is our conviction that a praying church is also a compassionate church that serves the poor and neglected. Acts 1:14 reveals that the Early Church was devoted to prayer: “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer.” Their lifestyle of prayer gave birth to generosity and compassion, as seen in Acts 2:44-45: “All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” Both then and now, when God’s people pray, He gives us His heart for the poor.
New Mexico Prays churches are uniting to serve our communities and love them like they have never been loved before. On June 23, 2018, over 100 churches, non-profits, businesses, and government agencies partnered together to sponsor a Convoy of Hope outreach at the Albuquerque Convention Center.[x] We gave away over $1 million worth of goods and services—including 80,000 pounds of groceries, 9,900 meals, 1,600 gardens in a bag, 3,000 pairs of shoes, 280 haircuts, and 465 family portraits to 5,082 guests. We will host our 2nd annual Convoy of Hope event November 2, 2019. The City of Albuquerque has graciously sponsored the rent for the Convention Center.
A week later, 24 churches partnered with Calvary Church and Skip Heitzig for Freedom Celebration, a two-night Gospel crusade where 1,968 people made decisions for Christ. We partnered with Albuquerque Public Schools to feed over 2,000 needy and homeless children and their families Thanksgiving 2018.[xi] Through one of our outreach ministries, Feed New Mexico Kids, we have provided over 77,000 pounds of snack packs over the past 2 years to feed kids on the weekends through APS schools. As in the days of the Moravians, prayer is moving us to mission and service.
With God’s favor, we have built a partnership with the Albuquerque Police Department. We meet with the Chief of Police, Deputy Chiefs, and executive team to pray with them and strategize how to make our city safer. We are partnering together for 9 major initiatives in 2019 (see below). We made crime reduction our number 1 priority in 2018. And look how Jesus honored that prayer! 2018 is the first year in 8 years that Albuquerque had an overall decrease in crime.[xii]
Robbery decreased 36%
Auto theft decreased 31%
Murder decreased 10%
The City of Albuquerque and the state of New Mexico are experiencing societal transformation through unified, strategic, unceasing prayer; compassionate service; and the power of the glorious Gospel. There is still plenty of work to be done, but we believe we are in the very beginning stages of a spiritual awakening. And it all started with 24/7 prayer and continues to be fueled by 24/7 prayer.
The Albuquerque Police Department and New Mexico Prays will partner together for public safety to reduce crime and make our city safer. Our 9 initiatives for 2019 are:
1. Community Services: New Mexico Prays will give APD a database of community services provided by churches and non-profits in the Albuquerque metro area by February 15, 2019. We will provide annual updates to the database. APD will use the database to create an App for APD officers to refer people to services provided by churches and non-profits.
2. Coffee with a Cop Sunday’s and Recruiting: New Mexico Prays will encourage churches to host an annual Coffee with a Cop Sunday and a provide table after service in the lobby for APD to recruit people for employment. APD will provide officers for churches that want to host a Coffee with a Cop Sunday.
3. Monthly Communication to Churches: Chief Geier will provide a monthly update to churches about progress and areas where APD might need assistance from the community. This will include a monthly letter and 1-minute video.
4. Security Assessments: APD will perform free security assessments for churches. New Mexico Prays will communicate to churches that these assessments are available and refer them to the APD point of contact.
5. Trainings: APD will provide free trainings for churches on community policing and security-related issues. New Mexico Prays will help organize, host, and promote these trainings.
6. Community Outreach: APD will provide officers to participate in community outreaches, including but not limited to: Thanksgiving at APS schools, LOVE Week (June 14-22, 2019), and Convoy of Hope (November 2, 2019).
7. Chaplains: New Mexico Prays will help recruit Chaplains for APD.
8. Food Collection: APD will have food collection bins at every APD sub-station to collect food for Feed New Mexico Kids (a ministry of New Mexico Prays). Feed New Mexico Kids will use this food to provide kids at APS schools with weekend snack packs and supply food to APS food banks.
9. Stand True For Blue: Stand True For Blue will provide encouragement and emotional support to APD officers and Thankful Thursdays.
Mike Geier, Chief of Police, Albuquerque Police Department