THE VISIONIt can be any day of the week, any time of the day or night. As you walk into the room, the first thing that strikes you is a very tangible presence of the Lord, a presence that is increasingly touching the greater community. The beautiful worship music certainly contributes to the atmosphere as a popular worship chorus is extended to a 15 or 20 minute prophetic song and prayer. About a dozen people are scattered throughout the room either worshiping along with the band, or kneeling in prayer at a seat, or pacing the aisle way, praying. The singers up front alternate with one another, often harmonizing with one another’s spontaneous, prayerful lyrics as the musicians play. Every 15 minutes or so, a prayer leader reads one of the prayers of the Apostle Paul or a Psalm or another portion of scripture, then prays the scripture for the city of Ann Arbor and the region. You join your heart to the prayer and quietly amen each point of the prayer, gripped with a burden to see even a greater measure of the spiritual breakthrough that has already begun to hit this strategic city and region since this prayer meeting began. Today, it is the worship team of one of the area’s Korean churches that is providing the offering of music to the Lord. Yesterday when you came in, it was the worship team of one of the university churches. Last week, it was one of the other community churches that led in song. As the current song comes to a close, you see another team of worship leaders preparing to take over the next two hour shift which will begin the night watch that will go all night. This team consists of “prayer missionaries” and musicians who have come from different parts of the country to focus on praying for the region for 6 months. Your heart swells with joy as you gratefully reflect on the great things God has done in unifying believers and transforming the community since the Intercessory Mission began. You were there when it was just one day each week. Then you were there when it grew to two days, three days, etc.. until today, where this kind of “Harp and Bowl” prayer occurs 24/7! THE NEED Our community stands out spiritually among others in the region. Unfortunately, it is not in a positive sense. We have everything from abject poverty on one end of the county to idolatrous materialism in another. We have institutions that influence the entire world, but actually influene people away from Christ and holiness. The culture of death, occultism, and an anti-Christ spirit reign. Immorality is rampant, even to the point that some of our fellow pastors have fallen. Other pastors are facing major health, family, or personal battles. Ann Arbor has become known as a “pastor’s graveyard.” The absence of true mega-churches in a community our size is also telling. What is the answer? Scripture and history point to prayer. If we want to see breakthrough, we will need to radically commit ourselves to prayer.
THE TESTIMONY Bangor, Ireland, in 555 AD, under the leadership of Comgall and Columbanus, night and day worship continued for over 300 years resulting in the thrusting forth of missionaries with apostolic power that touched all of Europe. Clairvaux, France, in 1120 AD, Bernard and 700 monks gathered to pray. This continued 24 hours a day for many years resulting in a dynamic release of the prophetic (from which we get the word clairvoyance) and evangelism across Europe.
Hernhutt, Germany, in 1727 AD, under the leadership of Count Zinzendorf, night and day intercession continued in what became known as “The Hundred Year Prayer Meeting.” For over 120 years, this single prayer meeting continued uninterrupted and birthed the first great world-wide missionary movement. It was through one of these missionaries that John Wesley experienced his conversion and himself initiated Great Awakenings in England and America.
New York, USA, in 1857, Jeremiah Lamphier, a quiet businessman, was appointed by the Dutch Reformed Church as a missionary to the central business district. The church and city were both in decline. He called a prayer meeting in the city to be held at noon each Wednesday. Eventually 5 men showed up. Two weeks later, they moved to a daily schedule of prayer. Within six months, 10,000 men were gathering to pray. This prayer meeting is often pointed to as the beginning of the Second Great Awakening, where famous evangelists such as Charles Finney and others saw over one million new believers won to Christ.
MORE RECENT EXAMPLES Jim Cymbala – Received a word from the Lord in his heart to make the prayer meeting THE priority in his church, The Brooklyn Tabernacle. The church grew from a handful of people to a congregation approaching 10,000 people that has so far planted 17 other churches in New York and across the nation.
Roy Pointer – After extensive research of Baptist churches in the United Kingdom arrived at the conclusion that wherever there was positive growth, there was one recurring factor: they were all praying churches.
David Shibley – When asked to explain how the church in which he worked as Pastor for prayer grew from 13 to 11,000 people in 9 years, he replied, “The evangelistic program of our church is the daily prayer meeting. Every morning, Monday through Friday, we meet at 5:00 AM to pray.”
David Yonghii Cho – Has mandated day and night prayer in his church for over 30 years. His church has become the largest single congregation in the world, and the church in his nation of South Korea has grown from 1.8% to 40.8% of the population in the twentieth century.
THE SCRIPTURAL CALL TO PRAYER "Is it not written: 'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations?’” – Mark 11:17 “The core identity of the Church now and in eternity is to be a House of Prayer” – Mike Bickle “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.” – Luke 18:7-8 “I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.” – Isaiah 62:6-7 “ They all joined together constantly in prayer…” – Acts 1:14 I.M.P.A.C.T. Touch the Ann Arbor, Michigan area, and you will touch the world. Local IMPACT will result in international IMPACT. The brightest and the best from all over the world come to this community to study and to work, often returning to their part of the world as leaders in their countries and cultures.
That is why this ministry is called I.M.P.A.C.T. Prayer is the single most powerful force on earth. The I.M. stands for Intercessory Mission. The P.A.C.T. stands for the Pastors’ Alliance for County Transformation: a group of pastors, churches, and ministries that have united together to do whatever it will take to bring transformation to this region. We realize everything begins with prayer. Thus we have I.M.P,A.C.T!