[Exclusive] Building a House of Prayer, Ripple Prayer

Building a House of Prayer

Eighteen Prayer Models for Approaching God’s Throne

Author | Dr. Joshua Young-Gi Hong

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“A prayer is the most powerful energy that a human can create.”—Alexisca

A Ripple Prayer is prayer that expands the realm of a prayer gradually like ripples on a lake. When we throw a stone on the lake, a ripple is created. Then, the ripple of waves expands outward. Likewise, a Ripple Prayer is to expand our praying realm step by step. Ripple Prayer usually starts within us and reaches out to our family, organizations, neighbors, community, nation, people, and finally to the world. We embrace each of these realms in our heart as we pray for them. The order of a Ripple Prayer can be reversed. In other words, we can start with the world and then pray for ourselves at the end.

The Holy Place of Prayer

A Ripple Prayer can be viewed as a type of spiritual intercessory prayer. When we pray for others, it is a sign of our spiritual maturity and very beneficial to our spiritual growth. Jesus showed an example on an intercessory prayer in Hebrews 7:24-25: “But because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” A Ripple Prayer is a very effective prayer model for intercession.

In Luke 22:31-32, when Peter was attacked by Satan, we can see that Jesus interceded for Peter so that Peter’s faith will not drift away from Jesus: “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Because of Jesus’ intercessory prayer, Peter gained his strength again and later became a great apostle of God.

To be an intercessor is the greatest blessing on this earth because you are a partner of God. We can spread the ripple of God’s blessing further through prayer.

Generally, a Ripple Prayer usually starts with a prayer for oneself.

The Holy Place of Prayer 1

Awaken Your Soul

We have to awaken our spirit to start a Ripple Prayer.

We have to praise God as we read our favorite words of God in a Psalm such as Psalm 57:7-11: “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.”

Our spirit will be regenerated when we praise God in the manner of this Psalm. When you pray for yourself, tell God exactly what you feel at the moment. Also, even if it may seem trivial, tell everything to God. You have to remember that God counts every hair on our heads. Ask for God’s grace and blessing on your needs and problems. The most important prayer for you should be fulfillment of God’s calling by His will.

In John 17:4, Jesus prayed for concerning himself. “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” When we pray, we are changed to carry out God’s calling for us. We have to give a prayer that coincides with God’s will and not with our own. This prayer will ultimately be a blessing to us.

John C. Maxwell (Partners in Prayer, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996, pp. 43-44) quoted a prayer by a soldier during the Civil War:

  • I asked God for strength, that I might achieve:
  • I was made weak, that I might obey.
  • I asked for health, that I might do great things:
  • I was given infirmity, that I might do better things:
  • I asked for riches, that I might be happy;
  • I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
  • I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men;
  • I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
  • I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life;
  • I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
  • I got nothing that I asked for
  • But everything I had hoped for.
  • Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
  • I am among all men, most richly blessed.

A time for a prayer: “Lord, please help me so that I can be a delight in your eyes. Let praising the Lord be my joy, and let me live for others. Let me be a praying person and let me be used to expand God’s kingdom. Let me have the ability to take care of the calling you gave me.”

After praying for ourselves, we now have to pray for others. As a Jewish proverb says, “Those who pray for others can have their own prayer be answered as well.”

The Holy Place of Prayer 2

Pray for Your Family and Relatives

After we pray for ourselves, next we will pray for the people around us—our spouse, children, and parents. Then, our prayer will continue to include our brothers and sisters and close relatives, as well as our friends. If you are married, it is very important to pray for the spiritual growth of your spouse. We have to intercede and pray so that our spouse for life can know God more deeply and enjoy spiritual joy. It is a good idea to regularly share prayer topics from our relatives and friends to pray for them.

John Maxwell (Partners in Prayer, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996, pp. 68-75) says there are six prayer topics that we need to remember when we pray for others. First, pray so that they can find God’s will in their lives. Second, pray so that they can obey God’s will in their lives. Third, pray so that they can bear abundant fruit in their lives. Fourth, pray for their spiritual growth to know God more closely. Fifth, pray so that the power of the Holy Spirit can be revealed in their lives. Lastly, pray so that they will have the attitude of joy and thanks.

To pray for the spiritual blessing of others is the highest level of intercessory prayer. When you pray for the people around you, you need to pray so that their souls will be well with good things happening to them and that they will enjoy good health (3 John 1:2).

The Holy Place of Prayer 3

Pray for Churches and Pastors

Next, we can pray for our church and pastor. It is important to pray for the church. The church has the calling of testifying the gospel as an agent of God’s kingdom. We should pray for the church and especially for the pastors. In Colossians 4:2-4, the Apostle Paul asked the Christians of Colosse to pray for him: “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.”

The Apostle Paul knew that the spiritual battle to witness the gospel was too hard and difficult to do on his own. He knew that he could not handle his calling of spreading the gospel without the support of prayer. John Maxwell lists the difficulties often experienced by pastors, which are loneliness, stress, helplessness, depression, and spiritual struggles.

Peter Wagner (Prayer Shield: How to Intercede for Pastors, Christian Leaders, and Others on the Spiritual Frontlines, Regal Books, 1992) stresses the grave importance of intercessory prayer for pastors. He explains five reasons why we should intercede and pray for pastors. First, pastors have many responsibilities. Second, they are bombarded with such temptations as covetousness, fame, material possessions, power, boastfulness, and such. Third, they are under the direct attack of Satan, for Satan attacks the weaknesses of pastors. Fourth, pastors have so much influence that, if they fail, many people will fall. Lastly, pastors are public figures, and their misbehavior will be greatly publicized.

Thus, we have to offer an intercessory prayer for our pastors. We have to pray for their personal needs (humility, wisdom, interpersonal relationship, fruit of the Holy Spirit, health), needs of their family (preference for the family, financial stability), spiritual needs (pious time, fullness of the Holy Spirit, holiness, trustworthy), and their ministry (evangelism, nurturing, missions activities, and such).

One of the characteristics of a growing church is that the congregation prays for its pastors eagerly. One of the major factors of the successful ministry of Pastor David Yong-Gi Cho at Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, South Korea, (also my church of worship) is the continuing intercession for him by the congregation. A person who attends the cell meetings of Yoido Full Gospel Church will notice that intercessory prayer for the church and its senior pastor is never forgotten.

An intercessory prayer for the leaders of a church is a necessary condition for the spiritual victory of the church (spiritual community). We have to pray so that the church and pastors can be courageous in testifying the gospel and carrying out God’s ministry as well as ministering to the congregation by understanding God’s Word and relying on the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Place of Prayer 4

Pray for the Local Community and the Nation

Pray for your local government and nation. Pray so that people will feel welcome to live a life of faith and that conditions may be conducive to missionary activities so that many people can be saved. Pray that the evil spirits working in your city will be bound in chains. Pray for urban missions. The Apostle Paul advises us to pray “for kings and all those in authority” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

At the time of the Apostle Paul, people who were in religious or political high-ranking positions often were very antagonistic to the gospel of Christ. However, the Apostle Paul advises Christians to accommodate those in authority and pray for them. The reason for that is so “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:2). The environment where there is no persecution and where people can live in peace and quietness helps Christians to be pious. In turn, the faithful can effectively witness to the true nature of Christianity. We have to offer intercessory prayer so that national leaders will run the country by God’s will.

When we pray for the nation and our fellow people, we can enjoy a more comfortable life. We must especially pray for evangelism in countries closed to the gospel so that the people may have political justice. As seen from the example of the Apostle Paul, Christians are also patriots who love their countries and people.

The Holy Place of Prayer 5

Pray for World Evangelism

Now, we send out the last ripple of our prayer to the world. When I was studying theology in England, there was a small Anglican church in a town called Eynsham. The congregation members numbered about 150. This church had a clear vision of world mission. This church used Wednesday evenings as a time for fellowship. They had a time for a special lecture or sermon from missionaries or Christian leaders from around the world. And then afterwards they prayed for world missions and evangelism. I used to deliver presentations on the churches in South Korea. After the presentation, the people prayed eagerly for the churches in South Korea. That time, I was so deeply touched by the thought, “Wow! This small church is giving a prayer of embracing the whole world.” Now, South Korea has become an important nation for world missions since the mid-1990’s. The missionaries sent out to cross-cultural countries now has grown to over 10,000, and the target countries for the world mission number more than 145.

Nevertheless, for South Korea to be a leader of world missions, we need to have not only cross-cultural missionaries being sent out to a foreign country but also many sending missionaries to work at the home-base. The sending missionaries do not reside in a mission field overseas but are missionaries who work on world missions ministries in home countries. Sending missionaries present a vision for the mission, support world missions with prayer and materials, and live the life of a missionary with a missionary mentality. It is our great privilege to participate in a world missions with our prayer.

As South Koreans, we can pray for our neighboring countries such as Japan, China, and other countries in Asia as a start. The rate of growth in evangelism in Asia is only eight percent currently. Additionally, we have to pray for the Bible translation and evangelism of those who are still foreign to the gospel. We have to pray so that God’s Word of life can reach them as soon as possible.

Especially, we have to pray for the problem of religious persecution. Currently, there are close to 200,000 people being martyred a year for their Christian faith. Paul Marshall experienced a spiritual rebirth at a Billy Graham Christian evangelism crusade. He then studied theology, philosophy, and politics. Later on, he taught at the Dutch Freedom University and the Fuller Seminary. He could not hide his astonishment when he learned the seriousness of religious persecution being committed all over the world. The persecution of religion and human rights violations being committed in such countries as China, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Egypt, and Sudan are beyond imagination. He later wrote a book entitled Heaven is Not My Home (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999), and emphasized that this world is also God’s world and that we need to put out our best missionary effort to overcome the problems of religious persecution.

Thus, we have to pray for the missionaries in such oppressed countries so that they may be well protected and testify of the gospel powerfully.

We also have to give an intercessory prayer to end world poverty. Despite such amazing advancement of modern science, several million people are dying of hunger and famine every year. Over one billion people are in a state of malnutrition and are going to bed undernourished. Over one and a half billion people are living with less than one dollar a day. The United Nations reports that 1.33 billion people do not have enough clean drinking water and that 2.25 billion people live in an area with no sewage system. Currently, 300 million children are either orphans or homeless. Three hundred and sixty million children are illiterate, and 250 million children are being exploited by child labor. Thirty-four thousand children are dying of hunger and disease every day. We have to pray for solution to these dire circumstances and witness to the gospel and the imminent coming of God’s kingdom.

The Holy Place of Prayer 6

Embark on a Prayer Journey for a Spiritual Revival

There are many kinds of journeys in this world; however, there is no journey that is more blessed than a prayer journey. This is a journey into our inner self and a journey that embraces the world. The author of the book, A Diamond in the Dust, Joni E. Tada, said that she could pray the best on her bed. She suffered from paralysis of her body, so, she had to lie down on her bed in the evening. Sometimes, a friend would come to visit her, and she often sat at the end of her bed, praying together with her. She wrote this in her book:

“One night, the friend gave me a surprise present, a small radio. I turned on the radio and tuned in. While changing the stations, I heard a report that a person in Ecuador was leading a Bible study. On another station, a BBC program from Hong Kong was on the radio. My friend and I were meeting the world with this small radio.”

They prayed for these people while listening to the information from the radio, and Joni said, “We traveled the world with our prayer. And we even didn’t have to move from the bed. As the voices from people around the world reached us through the radio frequency, our prayer would go straight to them. When we were praying, the grace of God came upon us, and we couldn’t leave the room.”

You can also participate in world missions through a prayer journey. We can take part in a spiritual revival movement through a prayer journey.

The Ripple Prayer starts from a prayer for spiritual blessing for oneself and then progresses to the spiritual blessing for the world. It is a prayer for missions and for our spiritual revival. A true revival of our spirituality is for the church, local community, the nation, and the world to change to God’s will.

Checkpoint of Prayer

The topics for the Ripple Prayer suggested in this chapter are only a model and an example. When you offer the Ripple Prayer, it is better to think of the prayer topics beforehand. If a group prays together, it is a good idea to suggest not only a prayer topic but also the time duration for the prayer. For example, you could say, “Let’s pray for this nation and people for four minutes.” We can pray more effectively if the topic for a Ripple Prayer is set more specifically. For example, if we specify the prayer topic as “Let’s pray so that our church can lead one hundred souls to the church this year,” then the focus of the prayer can be clearer.

Sweet Rain of Grace

The Ripple Prayer is very effective in learning intercessory prayer. We can mature through our prayer for others. A Ripple Prayer is also very effective when a group prays together on an occasion like a church meeting. Rather than having the people in a group pray the way they like freely, a Ripple Prayer, which expands the realm of a prayer together with the same Ripple Prayer topics, can be a venue of blessing for the praying group. Because a Ripple Prayer usually includes a prayer for the world, we can be world Christians.

Praying Time

The time duration for a Ripple Prayer depends on the number of prayer topics. If there are many prayer topics, the time will be lengthened and vice versa. Of course, the time duration can be set as you judge to be appropriate. However, a rule of thumb is to set the maximum of five minutes per prayer topic. Above all, let the Holy Spirit guide you including the praying time.

Closed Prayer Room

  • Ripple Prayer is a prayer that expands the realm of a prayer gradually like ripples of wave on a lake.
  • Examples of Ripple Prayer
    >> Establish the ripples of topics for an intercessory prayer (for example, my wisdom, the health of my spouse, union of churches, peace in the local community, national president, mission to Myanmar, and such).
  • My Ripple Prayer:
  • The Order of A Ripple Prayer
    >> Praise (Hymn or Chorus)
    >> Confession of Thanksgiving
    >> Reading a prepared Ripple Prayer
    >> Carrying out the Ripple Prayer
  • Self-illumination
    >> What are the topics for your intercessory prayer?
    >> Are your Ripple Prayer topics very specific?
    >> Have you tried a Ripple Prayer in a church?
    >> Are you a world Christian?

One Last Word on Ripple Prayer

There are many kinds of traveling journeys in this world, but there is no journey more blessed than a prayer journey.

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