Look What God is Doing
Three Indicators of a Coming Global Awakening!
By Dick Eastman
Several decades ago, a seminary professor challenged me to cultivate the healthy habit of reading through my Bible, from Genesis through Revelation, annually. That habit has touched me every day since. But I’ve learned in this journey that no matter how many times you read through Scripture, you can still miss things.
One day, as I came again to one of the most inspiring chapters in Isaiah, I found something I had previously missed. Isaiah is a prophetic book recorded about 700 years before the birth of Christ. The Holy Spirit, speaking through Isaiah, not only describes the coming of the Messiah, but also tells us that the light of the Messiah is going to spread until He someday returns a second time. Chapter 60 begins with these words:
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory
appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. . . . Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come (vv. 1-3, 5).
I had read this passage many times, usually on the same day each year. These opening words of the chapter blessed me again, but I felt as if God had something else to reveal to me that day. I saw something I had not noticed in previous readings. As I came to the final verse of the chapter, verse 22, I felt as though I were hearing directly from God in His throne room, as if He were shouting it into my spirit: “The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly.”
After a slight pause I heard the voice of the Lord add, “It’s time!”
In the next few days, I saw three global indicators of a rapidly accelerating spiritual awakening. I firmly believe this is happening because of the prayer movements expanding exponentially throughout the world.
My desire is that seeing these indicators will plant seeds of excitement, anticipation, and hope within your spirit so you will say on any given day, “I can’t afford not to pray.”
These indicators include the following:
1. Accelerated Harvest Advances
At no point in history has the church seen a harvest that can begin to compare with what has been taking place in recent days. The disciples asked Jesus about the end of the age: “When will these things [plural] happen? And what will be the sign [singular] that they are about to take place?” (Luke 21:7, brackets mine).
Jesus then proceeded to list many things. He spoke of wars and rumors of wars, famines, and earthquakes, but He made it clear that “the end is not yet.” He was saying that these things were going to happen, but they wouldn’t spell the very end. Then, in a parallel passage in Matthew’s Gospel, He gave what I believe is the real sign, the real indicator: “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14).
Prayer and intercession play a significant part in bringing about the greatest harvest in the history of the Church, which I believe has already begun because of the prayer taking place.
Missiologists, who research what is happening in missions among various people groups, estimated in 1985 that about 75,000 people were coming to Jesus daily. If heaven rejoices when one repents (Luke 15:7), how exciting this is! By 1998 that number was thought to have climbed to as many as 178,000 a day. And in the year 2000 some suggested the total reached more than 200,000 a day.
Recent estimates are even more staggering. For example, some researchers suggested that in 2000 some 25,000 Chinese were coming to Christ daily. At a conference of mission strategists in 2006, one researcher suggested the number was closer to 50,000 a day. People we know on the field in China indicate that number could well have doubled by now. Although statistics may be hard to come by in regions like China, obviously there is a dramatic acceleration of the harvest—unlike anything at any time in history.
The ministry I lead, Every Home for Christ (EHC), like many global mission ministries, can cite equally amazing evidence of this acceleration indicator. In the year 2000 EHC followed up approximately 750,000 decisions for Christ and other positive responses to our home-to-home campaigns in about 100 nations. We were encouraged by those numbers but had little idea they would grow exponentially in the subsequent decade.
In 2011 our global force of 4,000 supported workers (with an added 30,000 monthly volunteers) followed up more than 13 million people with Bible courses for new believers.
Our church planting results have seen the same dramatic increases. In villages where there are no churches to follow up large numbers of people coming to Christ, our evangelism teams start Christ Groups (New Testament-type house churches). In the year 2000, some 1,500 Christ Groups were established. That’s about four each day. Only 12 years later, that number reached 25,000—an average of 68 a day.
How can we explain this? The next indicator, in my opinion, holds the answer.
2. Accelerated Strategic Prayer Movements
Clearly an accelerated number of strategic prayer movements among multiple organizations across the globe are training and mobilizing people to pray. One prayer focus that has united many in this task is known as “Praying Through the Window.” This ministry focuses on a geographical section of the world called the 10/40 Window, where an estimated 97 percent of the world’s least evangelized people live. The “window” covers the rectangular area from 10 degrees to 40 degrees north of the equator and from North Africa all the way across China.
In October 1993, a month of strategic prayer was set aside for the 10/40 Window. Hundreds of ministries and churches participated. Reports documented that during that emphasis at least 21 million Christians were praying globally for this region of the world. Additionally, some 249 prayer teams traveled into the 62 countries of the region during that month to do on-site praying.
Two years after that first October focus, I spoke to one of EHC’s overseas coordinators in the Middle East about the millions of people praying for the 10/40 Window, where he served. Prayer teams had visited his area during that month. I asked, “Did you notice any difference from when you first went there until after the praying of those millions?”
The young missionary and his wife had served in a Muslim-dominated nation for a number of years. He said, “I can’t speak for others, but I can certainly tell you our story. In the two years leading up to that month of prayer, my wife and I went with literature from home to home. We could not go in a systematic way, door-to-door, where we would be noticeable (since it was not a gospel-friendly country). But we would go to a home here and there throughout the town, and keep a record, and come back a few months later and go to other homes . . . In two years not one non-Christian family invited us in. They slammed the door, they spit at us, and they threatened us. Not even one person let us come in.
“But then came that month of prayer,” he said, “and in the last two years since that month of prayer, we have been invited into the homes of—and led to Jesus Christ—more than 2,000 Muslims who lived in those same villages!”
3. Accelerated Signs and Wonders
Acts 2:43 says of the early Church: “Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.”
I carry in my Bible a three-fold statement by A. W. Tozer: “Anything God has ever done at any time He can do now. Anything God has ever done anywhere He can do here. Anything God has ever done for anybody He can do for you.” We should not be surprised that God is moving supernaturally in these days as the result of all the prayer rising globally.
Myanmar, the former country of Burma, is a country that needs much prayer. A case study presented to me tells the story of a monk in one of the high mountain monasteries. He was sitting in front of the statue of Buddha, chanting with his eyes closed. Suddenly he heard an audible voice. He was positive that it was the Buddha speaking to him. The voice said, “Go find Jesus.”
He had never heard the name, Jesus, but because he thought the Buddha had said, “Go find Jesus,” he jumped to his feet and headed for the door. The head of the monastery said, “Wait! Where are you going?”
The monk turned to him and said, “The Buddha told me to go find Jesus.”
The head of the monastery replied, “Who’s Jesus?”
“I don’t know,” the young monk said, “but the Buddha said to find Him.”
The monk headed down the mountain, and, when he came to the first town, he saw a huge poster that said in the Burmese language, Come See JESUS. With excitement the monk thought, He’s here in town!
It was the night an evangelistic team was showing the “JESUS” film in a local hall. The monk went to that meeting that same night and saw the story of Jesus for the first time. By the end of that first encounter, he gave his heart to Jesus! That monk, of course, quickly realized that it was not the Buddha that told him to go find Jesus. It was the Holy Spirit working. The last I heard, the monk had become an evangelist.
Praying at Jesus’ Feet
I am convinced that God is working as a result of people praying. He wants you to pray for His will to be done. God is bringing in an incredible harvest around the world, and I believe He wants to do the same in the U.S.
As we keep seeking God, the heavens are going to open and we are going to see great things happening. There is no challenge or problem too great. God never lacks a solution. The real school of prayer is at Jesus’ feet. May we concentrate on what He wants us to do!
DICK EASTMAN, president of Every Home for Christ, is a popular author and speaker. His books include Beyond Imagination: A Simple Plan to Save the World, and his newest book, The Purple Pig and Other Miracles. You can learn more at ehc.org.
Powerful Film Needs Prayer
The “JESUS” film is one of the most powerful evangelistic tools ever developed. Produced more than 30 years ago by Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru) and based entirely on the Book of Luke, this timeless film has made an unprecedented impact around the world. It has been translated into more than 1,200 languages and shown in more than 230 countries.
It is estimated that every eight seconds, someone in the world makes a decision to follow Jesus Christ after viewing the film. To put that in perspective, that is 10,800 people per day, 324,000 per month, and more than 3.8 million per year. That’s like the entire population of Pittsburgh, PA, coming to Christ every 28.25 days.
More than 200 million people have come to faith in Christ through the “JESUS” film, and more than one million churches have been planted through the film’s influence. The film has yet to be translated into some 500 languages of more than 100,000 speakers. Many of those languages and people groups are in or near the 10/40 window. You can join the prayer team for this project by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Look into the 10/40 Window
Paging through the morning paper or scanning the news online, you would never know an unprecedented movement of God is underway in the earth. Secular media treats our world as “bad news as usual”—terrorist attacks, wars, threats of war, poverty, crime, natural disasters. Doom and gloom seem to be the order of the day.
Look behind the headlines, however, and you will see a harvest of souls unequaled in the history of mankind. And the lion’s share is taking place in what is known as the 10/40 Window. Luis Bush coined this term at the Lausanne II Conference in Manila in 1989. Recognizing the world’s desperate spiritual needs, Bush invited millions of believers around the globe to pray for a work of God in the 10/40 Window. By 1993, some 21 million people were praying faithfully for this region of the world.
The window extends from West Africa to East Asia, from 10 degrees south to 40 degrees north of the equator. Nearly four billion people live there, including 90 percent of the world’s poorest of the poor. An estimated 1.6 billion of these people have never had the chance to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
However, the seat of every major non-Christian religion—Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Animism, Atheism, and Sikhism—is headquartered in the 10/40 Window.
Breakthroughs in the Window
Since Luis Bush’s call to prayer, the Lord has been at work, bringing tremendous harvests in places commonly associated with spiritual darkness, oppression, and barrenness. Some major results of this focused prayer include the following:
The Middle East and North Africa. Throughout this area, Muslims are accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord in numbers dwarfing that of all past centuries combined. “Because of prayer for the 10/40 Window, ‘The Passion of the Christ’ movie took the Muslim world by storm,” a Christian leader reported. “More Arab Muslims have been able to clearly hear and see the gospel in their own language than we would be able to reach in a lifetime of ministry in the Middle East.”
China. Untold thousands are putting their faith in Christ each day. Some estimate the number of believers to be more than 100 million.
Mongolia. According to Operation World, there may have been only four Christians in Mongolia in 1989. Today, there are more than 40,000 believers in hundreds of churches and groups, meeting in most parts of the country.
India. Key Christian leaders attribute prayer for the 10/40 window as one of the major catalysts to the conversion of hundreds of thousands of Indian Dalits (untouchables) and backward castes. In 2002, key leaders also attributed the planting of thousands of churches in India to the effectiveness of the prayer movement.
Algeria. One Algerian Christian stated, “The Lord has opened before us a golden ministry door in Algeria. I remember taking a two-hour trip throughout the region and every single village we passed through had a Christian congregation. Algeria is truly experiencing a great [awakening]. Their time is now!”
Governments. Christian political leaders are now heads of government in several 10/40 Window nations
Wide-open doors. There are 26 nations in the 10/40 Window now considered “gospel ready.” This means they are open to Christians being involved in their nations in such ways as humanitarian aid, education, medical assistance, and political input. Some are open to the gospel being preached.
The Window International Network (WIN) is known for launching and facilitating the annual Praying Through the Window prayer initiatives that have mobilized millions of praying believers globally for the past 11 years. WIN cofounder and president Beverly Pegues makes this plea for ongoing prayer: “Prayer moves the hand of God. Once there is sustained, strategic, and informed prayer in the 10/40 Window, we will witness massive numbers of unreached people coming to Christ. Pray that it will happen in our generation.”