Operation Global Rain
A grassroots prayer initiative sweeps the globe
The sermon title read: “Why We’re Not Ready for Pentecost.”
That will be the perfect rebuke for those church members who are spiritually lazy! thought Atonte Myers, wife of church pastor Ivor Myers. Yet as she listened to the sermon, Atonte began to realize her own need of revival. She was convicted of her sinful condition, and together with many other church members that day, she stood up when her husband appealed to the congregation to commit to 10 consecutive days of praying for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This was not 10 days of preaching—but of praying and agonizing with God together for the blessing of His Spirit.
Each night up to 70 of the members of Myers’ California church prayed through a specific topic such as true repentance, forgiveness, witnessing, and family issues.
“We prayed with short-sentence prayers instead of each person praying longer prayers,” Atonte says. “It made the time pass quickly and kept everyone focused on praying.”
The Communion service held on the final night led to reconciliations and “provided much-needed healing for our church,” Atonte says. “People who had not spoken to each other for years were crying, hugging, and apologizing for their anger and bitterness.
“The following Sabbath church was packed!” she adds. “Some people just walked in off the street while others felt impressed to come back to church after many years! We rejoiced and knew God was answering our prayers.”
This experience gave the Myerses an idea: What if other churches in the area joined them in 10 days of prayer? What if the whole conference prayed together? Or the whole world church? Pastor Myers quickly obtained the support of Jerry Page, who was president of the Central California Conference at the time, and the grassroots prayer movement known as Operation Global Rain (OGR) was born.
No one expected what happened next. The idea spread rapidly, and soon more than 1,800 churches in 80 countries had signed up to participate in the first worldwide OGR, held in January 2007. Testimonies flooded in afterward telling of revived churches, converted lives, renewed passion for evangelism, and healed relationships.
“The Lord showed me that only through humbled hearts, true repentance, and praying together as the apostles did will we experience revival and receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit needed to spread the message around the world,” Atonte says.
Every January since then, hundreds of churches around the world have participated in the prayer initiative.
OGR Melds With Revival and Reformation
As part of the General Conference Revival and Reformation initiative, the world church’s Executive Committee at the 2010 Annual Council held in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States, voted to make OGR’s 10 days of prayer an annual global event each January. The next worldwide OGR has been scheduled for January 4-14, 2012, and will focus on daily prayer meetings. The final day, Sabbath, will feature a special celebration.
Pacific Press Publishing Association has printed a book by Mark Finley titled 10 Days in the Upper Room to serve as resource material. It can be purchased at local Adventist Book Centers or online at www.adventistbookcenter.com.
Church congregations, small groups, or individuals interested in being part of OGR 2012 can visit www.revivalandreformation.org and click on “Operation Global Rain” to register for the event. Daily topic sheets will also soon be available on the Web site so that local members, prayer leaders, and pastors can lead out in effective group prayer times. Each group is encouraged to set aside one hour each day to pray together. Individuals are encouraged to pray by themselves or with a few friends if they are not near a participating church. Participants should keep in mind Jesus’ words in Acts 1:8: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witness to Me.”
During the hour of prayer each day, short sentence prayers are encouraged so each person can pray more than once. This helps to keep the meeting focused and avoids potentially wearisome prayers. Ellen White says: “[Many] prayers are long and mechanical. They weary the angels and the people who listen to them. Our prayers should be short and right to the point. Let the long, tiresome petitions be left for the closet, if any have such to offer. Let the Spirit of God into your hearts, and it will sweep away all dry formality.”1
The prayer times should be based on the Word of God. They can begin with praise by praying through a psalm or another biblical passage of praise. When we pray for an individual’s salvation, it’s helpful to claim promises such as Jeremiah 24:7.
“Our prayers should be saturated with the Word of God,” says Page, now the GC Ministerial Association secretary. “We want to be sure that we are praying according to His will.”
He adds, “We are hoping and praying that every church, church plant, small group, and individual will join in a united effort to pray for the Holy Spirit. We know that only through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power will we be empowered to reach this world with Jesus’ love so He can come very soon.”
Ellen White emphasized the same need: “A chain of earnest, praying believers should encircle the world. Let all pray in humility. A few neighbors may meet together to pray for the Holy Spirit. Let those who cannot leave home gather in their children and unite in learning to pray together. They may claim the promise of the Savior: ‘Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.’ ” 2
Every Prayer Matters
World church president Ted N. C. Wilson, leading the worldwide Revival and Reformation initiative, describes heaven as “anxiously waiting for God’s people to awake and seek the blessing of God’s Spirit. God’s promise, ‘Ask and you shall receive,’ is sure,” Wilson says. “He will answer prayers for the outpouring of His Spirit. The finishing of God’s work will not come only because of more effort or different methods. It is the power of God’s Spirit working in the lives of His people that will effectively enlighten the world with the glory of God so that Jesus can return.”
Each and every member’s prayers are needed in this important work. Every earnest prayer for the Holy Spirit will be answered with power because God is not waiting for the condition of the world to get worse, but for His people to seek Him unitedly.
To join others seeking God’s Spirit in their lives during the 10 days of prayer, January 4-14, 2012, go to www. revivalandreformation.org and click on “Operation Global Rain.”
1 Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 71.
2 Ellen G. White, in Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Jan. 3, 1907.
Janet Page is associate secretary for prayer, pastoral spouses, and families for the General Conference Ministerial Association, and writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A.