October 31, 2017 was 500 years after Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg. Barbara and I were in Berlin for a meeting of several hundred global leaders there to mark that date. It was my privilege to lead morning prayer sessions at that gathering. We then made our way to Wittenberg and to Castle Church for the 500th year celebration. The church was packed and the moment was unforgettable.
From Wittenberg, Barbara and I drove to Herrnhut, Germany. The little settlement became famous for the 100-year Moravian prayer revival out of which came 300, mostly unnamed and unremembered missionaries, before the likes of David Livingston, William Carey, Hudson Taylor and others. On the edge of the estate of Count Zinzendorf, this Christian community, at first divided, then ordered and bathed in prayer, flourished. For almost a full day, we explored the little town. We sat for some time, silently, and alone, in the historic sanctuary. We toured the handful of exhibits in the two small museums. We visited the fledgling house of prayer in the small city.
Early that morning, staying at a small bed-and-breakfast farmhouse just outside the city, I was awakened very early, before dawn. I made my way downstairs. The farm house was not yet stirring. I sat in the kitchen and began to scribble on a pad what I sensed to be a download directly from the Holy Spirit. I perceived clearly, that we, as a church, were about to be thrust into a new era that would be as significant as the Reformation.
My notes that morning include: Is the church merely a social institution? Is it primarily a charitable and benevolent organization? Is it a house of religious entertainment and inspiration? Is its purpose moral education? What is the church?
Overwhelmingly, the stats show, most people believe the church to be an institution designed to serve them in some way. Church is a collage of Christian services offered to attendees for a donation. The view is crippling, narcissistic, pragmatic, and far from the Biblical norm. It is time for a new reformation.
Read more in Doug’s upcoming book, The New Apostolic Epoch: God’s Determination to Have a Praying and Missional People. Apostolic epochs involve a breaking away, a new definition and a reorientation. They refocus kingdom purposes. The apostolic epoch that we are now entering is the fulfillment of the desire of Jesus, that his church be a house of prayer for all nations. This is the not the mere amplification of prayer as it is often perceived. It is not the addition of a missing prayer component, or prayer even as a bountiful additive, a power pack, to what we are currently doing. It is not the mere deepening or heightening of the value of prayer; it is a seismic apostolic shift. Through this assertive sovereign governance of God, He will intervene into history for missional purposes. It is my sincere belief that we are on the edge of such a moment again.