Story of Our Beginning
J. Mark Copeland, Director
WAS THE FIRST night of a new venture, and it was a small
beginning. I was escorted by two ladies down the
first floor hallway of Jamestown Commons Apartments, a
hotel-style residence providing quality independent living for the elderly and disabled. We were headed to one
of the apartments where we would have our first Friday night
meeting. Though not a resident, I had been invited in to
teach on the biblical ministry of intercessory prayer and to
help motivate and equip believers in effective prayer.
we made our way toward our meeting place, I was feeling a bit
pulled down by the fact that only these two ladies had chosen to
attend our first meeting. Of a quite different spirit, one
of them, Raylyn, said, "I believe that God is going
to use this group to touch the world." I remember
thinking with a tinge of sarcasm, "Woman, great is your
faith!" I admired Raylyn's spirit but wondered if a
small group of middle-aged, older, and disabled people meeting for "Bible
study and prayer" would be likely to have the motivation,
let alone the vision, to impact the world through prayer.
Seed of a Vision
how I was feeling at the time, I actually did take encouragement
from Raylyn's faith and vision. It was more, though, than HER vision
that encouraged me. The very circumstance by which this
venture was beginning had the fingerprints of God on it.
few days earlier, I had taken a friend named Susan out
shopping. (Susan was a new resident of Jamestown Commons
whom I had known for many years.) Our conversation broached the subject
of intercessory prayer. Susan said to me, as she had
before, that she wanted to be an intercessor. I encouraged
her to take steps toward becoming an intercessor by aiming to
spend at least an hour daily in focused prayer. To help
her with her prayer discipline, we spent an hour that night
practicing some prayer principles that Jesus outlined in the
Lord's Prayer. In a small way, I was seeking to mentor
Susan in prayer.
next day, Susan received a call from another resident asking if
I would be interested in leading a weekly meeting at the
apartments focused on Bible study and
intercessory prayer. As it turned out, this resident was
Raylyn, a committed intercessor of several decades. I
learned that Susan had previously given Raylyn a copy of my book titled After This
Manner, Pray (Bridge-Logos Publishing, Inc.) and that
Raylyn's perusal of the book led her to extend the
invitation. For me, this was more than a chance
call. I sensed that God had looked down upon me the night
before, seen my heart's desire to mentor others in prayer, and
gave me an open door to start right there in that complex.
the vision of the Advocates In Prayer website encompasses
individual intercessors and prayer groups around the world, the
discovery of that vision came through our weekly sessions at
Jamestown Commons. There were several steps in this
discovery. I'll list and comment on them briefly.
there was the realization of our purpose in prayer.
The focus on our teachings in the weekly sessions was the
partnership we have with God through prayer. John Wesley
states that "God does nothing but in answer to
prayer." Walter Wink extends this thought to say that
"History belongs to the intercessor." I sought
to communicate to those attending the meetings that God really
does want to use our prayers to change our
there was the reception of prophetic guidance for ministry. Several
months into the meetings, Russ and Kim Klein, a husband and wife
team whom God uses in prophetic ministry, were leading service
at the church I attended. I responded to the altar
invitation for prayer. Russ had a vision as I was
approaching him. He saw an old set of
blueprints being replaced with a new set. He sensed the
Lord saying that the time was at hand when God would reveal His
strategy for my ministry. It would not be a
conventional ministry limited to the institutional church.
It would still involve teaching and preaching God's Word, but it
would be through a channel with inroads into the secular and
there was the revelation of God's plan for the website ministry. Several
weeks after the prophetic word through Russ Klein, I asked the
group at Jamestown Commons to pray with me about the meaning of
this word. (Mine was just one of several prayer requests
that night.) About five minutes into our prayer time,
I had a sudden impression that someone in our prayer circle was
at that moment receiving revelation as to what the prophetic
word meant. At that very moment, my friend
Susan suddenly broke hands from the circle, threw her arms into
the air, and said, "Oh, I know what it is! Mark, God wants
you to start a website to share the teachings you've been giving
here about prayer and intercession. It is to be not just
in written form but in audio form as well. It will
expand the ministry here through the Internet."
had no trouble embracing Susan's "word of knowledge"
concerning a website ministry as a word from the Lord. I
had sensed it coming a moment before it was given. For the
next couple of weeks during evening exercise walks, I sensed the
vision coming together in my mind for the various components of
the website. Not only was it an unconventional form of
ministry, but it was one that truly has the capacity to enable
ordinary Christians to impact the world through prayer. In
short, it is an avenue to an effective prayer ministry with a
vision that is both global and practical.
is a global vision.
As I shared with the residents of Jamestown Commons, in order to
impact the world, you must have a way to connect with it.
The Internet is a powerful way to connect. It's not
without reason that the Internet is called the World Wide
Web. If we really believe that prayer is partnership with
God to change the world, we can "link hands in prayer
around the globe" with the help of a computer, a modem, and
a phone line. We can teach on effective prayer through the
website, bring together a circle of intercessors, invite people
to email their prayer requests, and link those needing prayer
with committed intercessors. Will it work? Ask
Jesus! He said, "Again, I tell you that
if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will
be done for you by my Father in heaven." (See Matthew
is a practical vision. We
don't have to buy television or radio time in expanding media
markets around the globe to impact the world through
prayer. With the help of technology, we can touch the
world through prayer from the comfort of our homes.
Consider the following:
the lives of people from other parts of the world requires
that we have a way to meet or establish communication with
them. A website ministry properly connected with major
search engines is accessible around the world and has the
potential of bringing people together.
with people from other countries would normally require a
long distance phone call or a letter. The phone call
can be expensive, and the letter can take a long time to get
to its destination. E-mail allows you to write a note
and send it through a phone line to someone in any part of
the world with nearly immediate delivery as though it were a
local telephone call.
people living in an independent living facility for the elderly
and disabled can enlist as prayer partners with a website
ministry and have a meaningful prayer ministry that will impact
the lives of people around the globe.
always involves labor pains. For me it was a year-long
process of learning a web design program, designing the site,
developing the components, scripting the teachings, and linking
to other online prayer ministries -- while working a
full-time job. At this writing, audio has yet to be
added. (A baby doesn't come out of the womb
talking!) I am encouraged, though, that what began as a
seed in Raylyn's statement of faith, Russ's prophetic vision,
and Susan's word of knowledge has taken shape and come to
shouldn't be overlooked that what has been birthed in the
Advocates In Prayer website is . . . a vision. A vision
has little effect on the world unless it is caught. My
prayer is that Christians around the world who know the power of
prayer and desire to impact their world through prayer will
catch the vision. Every time we touch one solitary life at
home or in another part of the world, we have begun to change
the world through prayer. What begins in smallness and
earnestness will assuredly end in God's kingdom advancing
throughout the earth.
you sense God calling you to take advantage of this particular
tool, I would encourage you to prayerfully consider connecting
with our Intercessors' Circle of prayer partners. May God
direct you as you seek to follow His leading.