With millions of Christian believers holding mass prayer rallies worldwide, scholars and prayer-movement leaders are asking whether this development foreshadows church renewal on a global scale.
Many prayer-movement activists fervently assert their commitment to prayer will usher in a modern-day Great Awakening like the eighteenth-century event that revived the church in America. However, other Christian leaders and scholars are wary of such bold expectations.
Whether or not 1994's prayer movements are a warm-up for revival, few people dispute the tremendous growth in organized corporate prayer during the past ten years.
The June 25 March for Jesus, involving 12 million Christians in 179 countries, and the September 21 See You at the Pole campaign, with nearly 2 million high-school students, are two of the most visible recent manifestations of this expanding phenomenon, as millions of believers are expressing their Christian devotion through public prayer and witness.
According to David Barrett, a leading demographer of global Christianity, 160 million Christians worldwide are committed to daily prayer for revival and world evangelization. He estimates there are 1,300 global prayer networks and 10 million prayer groups that have revival on their agenda.
Prayer activists are using every conceivable vehicle to gather and pray together, such as all-night prayer vigils, round-the-clock prayer chains, and even electronic mail. David Bryant, executive director of Concerts of Prayer International, says that prayer gatherings can involve anywhere from a handful of people in a park to millions in dozens of nations linked up via satellite television.
"A prayer movement that greatly surpasses anything, perhaps in all of Christian history, ...