More than 30 years ago, Assistant General Superintendent Rick DuBose received a vision that has impacted his prayer life ever since and has also inspired the creation of the Assemblies of God World Prayer Center in Springfield, Missouri.
DuBose says that in his study of the Bible, he noticed that in Mark 9:28,29, where the disciples couldn’t cast an evil spirit out of a boy, Jesus says it was only by prayer that “this kind” of spirit could be cast out.
“In the Greek, the word Jesus used for prayer in this instance refers to a place of prayer, a prayer group, an altar, or meeting place,” DuBose says. “It’s a different level of prayer.” Then several months ago, it struck him — the U.S. Assemblies of God didn’t have a “place” of prayer, where people could gather to pray specifically for the Assemblies of God as well as other life-, or potentially, world-changing needs. The idea of a World Prayer Center was born.
Since that time, and with the approval of the Executive Presbytery, the idea has been steadily moving into the realm of reality. DuBose connected with AG evangelist Joe Oden, known for his passion to reach the lost and dedication to prayer, to lead the center as national prayer and evangelism director beginning in mid-April as a U.S. missionary, with plans to fully open the World Prayer Center this summer.
Oden says that God really began preparing him for this position in 2018 when he came to pray at the AG national office for three days and again during the COVID lockdown.
“All throughout COVID, I was hit with Acts 1:14 — how the apostles devoted themselves to prayer,” Oden says. “That verse jumped off the page to me . . . I started studying the prayers of the Apostles . . . prayer defined the Apostles and every miracle was connected with prayer.”
Although a person of prayer since his salvation during the Brownsville Revival, Oden says he was about to go in another direction with his life when God stopped him in his tracks. Assistant General Superintendent Rick DuBose, who Oden ministered with in North Texas, called to offer him the job at the new World Prayer Center.
“The grace and peace of God fell on me like a blanket,” Oden says, “and I accepted the position that day.”
As Oden is relocating to southwest Missouri, key features for the World Prayer Center are still being prepared, including a 20-foot by 30-foot LED map featuring an image of the world being constructed of dance floor-strength material in order for people to be able to walk on it. A highlight is that the LED map/floor will also be linked to Google Maps.
“We will be able to control what part of the world appears on the map with Google Maps,” DuBose says. “If we want to pray for the world, that image can be displayed; if for a certain country, then that country’s image; if for a district, community, or even an individual church, we will be able to display that image on the LED floor and have a prayer walk around or even on that location.”
The center also has a large flat stone prayer wall for individuals following corporate times of prayer, where individuals can pray for personal needs, write their prayer requests on a slip of paper, place the slip of paper into the cracks in the wall, and also pull out someone else’s request and pray for that need.
“In addition to developing an internet presence where people from around the world can pray as well as request prayer,” says DuBose, “we are working with our districts to have each district take one week of the year and have one church a day, Monday through Saturday, from that district come to the prayer center to pray over the needs of the world, the country, their community and church, and the Assemblies of God.”
However, Oden says the prayer center is not going to be a static ministry. In addition to the district participation, his goal is to raise up 100 prayer missionaries that will create a prayer “furnace” in Springfield, lifting up in prayer everything from another great awakening to a prayer canopy over the entire Movement.
“Out of those prayer missionaries, we want to send four to six of them out to a local church or a region to equip the church 10 days before an evangelist arrives, praying 24-7,” Oden says. “Then I will come in to do relational and power evangelism training, followed by encounter services in that local church.” Oden plans to train other evangelists to hold the services as well.
With fundraising in progress, upgrades to the center continuing, and staff being assembled, DuBose believes that the World Prayer Center will be set to begin its ministry in earnest sometime this summer while they continue work on coordinating district and church participation and Oden builds his team.
Until then, the center is hosting organized prayer time for AG employees at 6:30 a.m., organized general prayer times at 11:30 a.m. and evening prayer for the Ukraine at 6 p.m. weekdays.