Almost twenty-five years ago, I read an interview of David Yongi Cho in Charisma Magazine which really bummed me out. It was a long interview which dealt with his life and founding of the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, South Korea, which then had 700,000 members.
What particularly bummed me out was when the interviewer asked: “Will America ever have a church as large as Yoido Full Gospel Church?”
“No,” replied Cho, “because Americans aren’t willing to pay the price in prayer that it takes to build a large church like Yoido.”
Slap! His words felt like a glove slap to my face, challenging me to a duel.
I readily admit to being full of myself at the time because I prayed 3 to 4 hours each day which is what Cho and his 400 elders averaged. So, I thought: “All I need to do is find a few believers like me who enjoy praying and voilà! America will have a large church.”
Well, after journeying over hundreds of miles of life’s back roads and through more than enough deep valleys, I have arrived at this conclusion: Cho was right. America will never have a church like Yoido Full Gospel, which now has over 1 million members.
“What?” you proclaim, picking up your gloves, readying to slap my face. “Do you still believe that the Lord’s house is called to be a house of prayer?
“Yes, I do,” I reply, keeping my eyes on your hands.
“Then what’s your problem?” you say through clenched teeth, still ready to slap me.
I shrug. “It’s a long story. Do you really want to hear it?” I whisper.
So, over the next few weeks, I will write on prayer. Some of the articles will deal with my prayer heroes. Some will deal with the mistakes of different prayer movements. Some will deal with my mistakes and lessons I’ve learned about prayer.
But hopefully, we will all end up trusting and loving the Lord more than we do now.
(Continued in Part 2)