Friday concluded five days of prayer and discussion for more than 9,000 evangelical church leaders from over 60 countries who assembled in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, for the World Prayer Assembly (WPA), a grand Evangelical event that kicked off Monday after four years of preparations.
The WPA, believed to be the world's largest Christian intercessory prayer event, reportedly received permission from the government of the predominantly Muslim country, and home to the world's largest Muslim population, to invite Christians from countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, Laos, Vietnam, Egypt, China, and even North Korea. The WPA events were held at the 11,000-seat Sentul International Convention Center in Jakarta and other venues.
Each day, participants were able to select from a dozen or more workshops and seminars addressing a variety of issues confronting the global church. All week, a 24-7 prayer room has been filled with people, sources said.
Thursday night, leaders were joined by other Indonesian Christians, all of whom together amounted to over 100,000, sources told CP, nearly making the 80,000-seat Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, where they assembled for a church service, burst at the seams. The evangelical leaders joined their prayers and minds to ponder the best ways of spreading the Gospel to the largest territory possible and instigate unity within Christianity itself, sources told The Christian Post.
"There is tremendous unity here. Even with such a diverse collection of leaders, there is an amazing sense of unity born out of a common humility and a recognition that God's agenda is the only one we're interested in," Bill McCoy, Prayer Director at The Seed Company, who led some of the prayer sessions, told CP via email. "Psalm 133 comes to mind: when brothers dwell together in unity, there the Lord commands the blessing."
The Seed Company was launched by Wycliffe Bible Translators in 1993 with a mandate to accelerate Bible translation. This week, it helped the WPA stream the transmission of events via 325 sites to an estimated five million people worldwide, another company representative told CP Friday.
"Part of God's glory filling the earth is hearing His voice in [their own] language," said Mark Kordic, Executive Development Representative at The Seed Company.
"The organizers' main focus was unity, [as in] in John 17:21, when Jesus prayed for unity," he said. The focus was "for that story to be revealed throughout the world. Organizers say prayer is the foundation to breaking down societal strongholds."
"What we want to provide here is opportunities for them (Indonesian evangelical Christians) to grow, for them to learn, for them to be resourced and trained up," Jason Mandryk, a team leader with the prayer ministry Operation World told TBN during one of the events.
Interestingly, the WPA 2012 took place against a background of religious persecution. Indonesia is home to nearly 205 million Muslims, which is 12.7 percent of the world's Muslim population. At the same time the country has a significant, nine-percent Christian minority. Reports frequently emerge about alleged persecution of churches in the country. Most recently, the election of a hard-line Islamic governor in the Aceh Province in April reportedly opened the way for a crackdown on the Christian community there, which soon saw 17 churches sealed shut.
However, Kordic of The Seed Company told CP he was impressed by the cooperation between the Indonesian government and the WPA organizers and church leaders, which led to the event's success. "In order for this to be carried out without an incident, there was favor between church leaders and government entities," Kordic said.
The groups of Christians present at the events would pray even for the members of the government who tend to be hostile toward the idea of Christianity and churches in Indonesia, he added. "The act of love of different churches in different provinces has impressed the government to see that, truly, the goal is spiritual enrichment."