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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...




12. 12. 12

By John W. Kennedy
Mar. 18, 2012

Jerusalem Pilgrimage Highlights Pray for Hope

Many Christians view prayer as a private matter, an activity before meals or at the beginning or end of the day. Public petitions before the Lord seem to be reserved for the pastor at church services.

But Convoy of Hope is hoping to change such notions, with a lengthy, highly visible, worldwide prayer event. Pray for Hope (www.prayforhope.com) is a plan to enlist a million people to intercede on behalf of the planet’s poor and suffering.

A 10-day prayer pilgrimage in Israel during December will culminate with a 12-hour gathering on 12.12.12 (December 12, 2012) in Jerusalem on behalf of the poor and suffering. The tour, in cooperation with the Assemblies of God Center for Holy Lands Studies, will focus on alleviating conditions causing poverty.

“The poor were near to the heart of Jesus,” says Thomas E. Trask, chairman of Convoy’s Global Prayer Initiative. “When people pray, the Lord is able to turn the circumstances of the poor and suffering. When we pray, the Lord will bring those in poverty and distress out of hardship and heartache, and into joy and abundant life.”

Compassion has been a hallmark of Convoy of Hope since its founding in 1994.

“When Jesus was moved to compassion, His first step was always prayer,” says Assemblies of God world missionary Tom Lofton, founder of 12.12 Global Day of Prayer for the Poor and Suffering. “That ought to be our response as well.”

Lofton notes that Jesus spent all night praying for ministry-minded followers to make a commitment.

“We’ve got to have workers full of God’s power and love to be able to reach the poor,” Lofton says.

Trask, who retired in 2007 after 14 years as general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, is volunteering to head up the campaign, with the goal of finding 1 million Christians to offer sustained petitions to the Lord for those who are suffering and in poverty.

The past two years, Pray for Hope has been held on Dec. 12 in Kansas City, Mo., in conjunction with International House of Prayer (IHOP). Scores of intercessors, especially young people, have been praying at IHOP around the clock since 1999.

In addition, Pray for Hope has sponsored summits in Phoenix; Detroit; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Laredo, Texas; and Springfield, Mo.

The 2012 experience will be much broader in scope, with live-stream coverage from Jerusalem.

Pray for Hope leaders, citing John 17:23, are inspired that diverse groups are coming together in a unified effort. Numerous partners have lined up to support the event, including the Global Day of Prayer, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, National Day of Prayer Task Force, Assemblies of God Office of Prayer and Spiritual Care, and IHOP.

“Ultimately we want the blessing to be for the poor,” Lofton says. “Our desire is to see a genuine impact on those living in poverty.” More than 15 percent of Americans live below the poverty line according to the Census Bureau. In the United States, in excess of 46 million people are in poverty, the most in 19 years.

Often physical poverty goes hand in hand with a poverty of spirit, Trask says. When individuals turn to the Lord, dire circumstances in their lives can be transformed, he says.

Jerusalem is a significant location in Christian history.

“We recognize that the greatest act of compassion was Jesus laying down His life in Jerusalem,” says Harold Sallee, director of Convoy’s Global Prayer Initiative. “This is where the whole Christian movement began.”

The journey will involve participants boarding buses daily to visit sites as well as to pray.

Marc Turnage, director of the Assemblies of God Center for Holy Lands Studies (www.holylandsstudies.ag.org), says throughout the trip people will be praying at specific locales that have stories relevant to the 12 points of prayer Convoy of Hope has outlined in connection with the poor and suffering.

Turnage, who lived in Israel for more than six years and has been leading academic study tours in the Middle East since 2000, has worked with the Israel Ministry of Tourism to develop favorable airfare rates for anticipated travelers.

The dozen stops, all tied to Scripture verses, have specific petition themes for the poor, including salvation, justice, safety, shelter, education, health care, employment, food and water. Each day will have a targeted purpose, including several nontraditional sites off the typical tourism path.

Turnage will give biblical insights in visits to Caesarea, Almagor, Chorazin, Capernaum, Masada and Bethlehem. The Garden of Gethsemane and the Via Dolorosa are among the Jerusalem highlights. The Israel pilgrimage winds up with 12 hours of prayer at King of Kings Church in Jerusalem.

Sallee encourages Christians to make the trip to Israel not as just a vacation but rather to see where Jesus lived and worked among the poor. The fact that multitudes will be praying simultaneously for the same results makes it a unique opportunity, he says.

“I want to be part of something that is God-breathed and God-sustained, and makes an impact on the world,” Sallee says.

Trask says the ultimate goal of 12.12.12 is to awaken the Church to pray to be God’s hand extended to those in need.

“The Church has yet to discover the power of prayer,” Trask says. “Prayer is work; it’s not necessarily popular, but it is the avenue that God works through.”


JOHN W. KENNEDY is news editor of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Email your comments to pe@ag.org.