Praying for Awakening in 2023
A conversation with Rick DuBose
Prayer is a hallmark of Pentecostal spirituality. As assistant general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, Rick DuBose provides leadership and direction to General Council-sponsored prayer initiatives. In this Q&A, DuBose talks about the value of prayer and the nature of the initiatives he leads.
Why is prayer an important part of Pentecostal spirituality?
Prayer is the portal through which we reach into heaven. It is God’s method for us to contact Him, to ask for help, and to gain His provision. Prayer is the way we go from the natural into the supernatural.
Do you think AG churches and ministers are devoting enough time and attention to prayer, both corporately and individually?
We can always do better, of course, but I’m excited for where we’re heading!
A few years ago, we tended to fill our schedules with stuff other than the spiritual. I’ve seen a shift more recently. Now we’re making prayer a priority. I’m seeing a hunger for something beyond what we’re humanly able to bring to the table.
As a guest speaker at churches, I’ve been surprised at how many times during the service I’ve seen worship leaders sense a shift in the spiritual atmosphere and go with it. They’re asking, “What is God doing at this moment?”
They’re responding to the shift with increased time at the altar. They are seeing the gifts of the Spirit manifest. It’s a little old-school in some ways, but it’s new to this generation.
The theme of the 2023 Assemblies of God Week of Prayer (Jan. 1–7) was “Awakening.” What kind of awakening should we pray for?
In U.S. history, we had the Great Awakening in the mid-18th century and the Second Great Awakening in the early 19th century. I want the early 21st century to experience the Greatest Awakening! To see that happen, we need to focus on four things:'
“We can make more of a difference through the power of prayer than through anything else we do.” — Rick DuBose
First, the Church’s prayer force. Paul says, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against … the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). We can make more of a difference through the power of prayer than through anything else we do.
Second, Bible-based discipleship. The goal of discipleship, Jesus told us, is “teaching [the nations] to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). Discipleship is Christlikeness.
Third, the value of children. The next generation is the key to us fulfilling the Great Commission. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).
There’s a moment in children’s lives when they suddenly have the ability to receive Jesus as Savior. Churches need to make the most of that moment. And they need to provide adults with the same opportunity to exercise childlike faith.
Finally, Holy Spirit manifestations. We see the Spirit’s gifts in operation throughout Scripture. When the Holy Spirit is allowed to operate in a local church, that church explodes in effectiveness.
So, I want to see an awakening characterized by a focus on prayer, discipleship, children, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. If we do those things, we’ll see more revival than we know what to do with.
The World Prayer Center opened in November 2022. What is its purpose? And what other initiatives are associated with it?
A couple years ago, I read Mark 9:14–29. Jesus, Peter, James, and John are coming down from the Mount of Transfiguration. In the valley, the nine other disciples are trying to cast out a demon unsuccessfully. So Jesus does it for them.
In verse 28, the disciples ask why they were unsuccessful. “This kind can come out only by prayer,” Jesus replies in verse 29. Notice, there are not four or three or even two options for success in this case. Prayer is the only option.
As I reflected on that story, I felt the Holy Spirit say to me, “The kind of demons America is dealing with are not going to come out with the kind of prayer the Church is praying today. You’ve got to take prayer to the next level. You need to establish a place of prayer where those next-level prayers can be prayed.”
And so was born the World Prayer Center (PrayerCenter.ag.org). It is designed to lead, train, and inspire a prayer movement in the Assemblies of God that will shift the spiritual atmosphere in America and throughout the world.
We invite people from all across the United States to visit and pray. We have an LED screen on the floor tied to Google Maps. You can bring up any location on Earth and pray for it. And we’ll sponsor prayer training in that place. We also want to raise up fully supported prayer missionaries.
Our ultimate goal is to connect prayer warriors and prayer centers in districts all over America. We want to coordinate our efforts so that we’re praying in agreement for the same outcomes.
We believe we can change America through prayer like nothing else we do. And not just America. We’re going to change the world through prayer.
Another initiative is School of the Spirit. Tell us about that.
School of the Spirit is a one-day event for ministers and church leaders led by evangelist Joe Oden, Dr. Carolyn Tennant, and me. It’s part revival, part seminar. Its focus is on manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
The day starts with Joe Oden sharing his testimony. God saved and called him into ministry during the 1990s revival at Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida. Joe was a drug addict and had been jailed a number of times, but God delivered him, and his testimony is powerful.
Then I teach about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, focusing on how they work in a congregational meeting, so we can flow with the Holy Spirit. If we do church the way God designed it, then it’s easy for Him to come alongside us as we worship.
Finally, Dr. Tennant talks about the fivefold ministry of Ephesians 4, especially the gift of prophecy. Her presentation on the latter is one of the best, most theologically sound sessions on that gift you’ll ever hear.
School of the Spirit is not just teaching, though. Each session includes time for participants to experience the gifts of the Spirit. People who have never really experienced the Spirit encounter Him dynamically during these sessions.
If you’d like to know about upcoming School of the Spirit events, which are usually hosted by districts, contact Joe Oden at email@example.com.
Donald G. Bloesch wrote The Struggle of Prayer. Many ministers have struggled in prayer since the pandemic rocked our world. What encouragement would you give them to pray through?
Do you remember the story in Daniel 10? Daniel prayed for 21 days, seemingly without effect. Then, an angel shows up and tells Daniel that his prayers were heard from Day One on, but spiritual warfare in the heavenlies delayed God’s response.
What would have happened if Daniel stopped praying on Day 17? Would the angels have stopped their warfare?
We don’t know, but I would encourage you with this lesson: Prayer is working, whether you see it working or not. So, go into your prayer closet and get alone with God. He promises that if you pray in private, He will bless you in public. But you have to continue to do your part.
This Q&A is based on Episode 302 of the Influence Podcast, “How to Pray and Why in 2023.” It has been edited for concision and clarity.
This article appeared in the winter 2023 issue of Influence magazine.
Influence Magazine & The Healthy Church Network
© 2023 Assemblies of God