The Wall of Prayer Initiative
What is the Wall of Prayer Initiative, and how did it start?
- The Wall of Prayer is a strategic initiative to mobilize hundreds of churches across North America to start
praying our military forces and their families through the Global War on Terror, as they discern how they might
start ministering to the needs of the military.
- In 2007, Major, Canadian Forces, Michael Ward and his wife Leonore of the Military Christian Fellowship of
Canada were led by God to start praying for the Canadian Military Forces. Within a year, they had built a
prayer network of over 200 churches, Bible study groups, and lay organizations across Canada. On January 19,
2008, many of these intercessors gathered in front of the Parliament Building in Ottawa to pray for the
Canadian military, while others across Canada also prayed in churches, on military bases, and in homes. Retired
and serving military members, chaplains, pastors, civilians, parents and spouses of soldiers came as one to lay
their concerns before God on behalf of the Canadian Armed Forces.
- The Canadian initiative is spreading across North America and the Caribbean, with more than 400 individuals,
churches, and Christian organizations now participating. Under the leadership of the Association for Christian
Conferences, Teaching and Service (ACCTS), this intercessory prayer movement is a North American Prayer
Alliance, the spiritual analogy to NORAD, the joint Canada / US North American Air Defense Command.
What organizations are supporting this initiative?
- ACCTS, Christian Military Fellowship, Officer’s Christian Fellowship, the Military Missions Network, the
North American Region of the Association of Military Christian Fellowships, and others are supporting the
“Wall of Prayer” but the needs are great, and our numbers are few. The concept of operations, therefore, is to
mobilize the nation’s churches to stand in the gap with our military as they fight the Long War on Terror.
- The ministry needs of our service men and women and their families are exceeding the capacity of military
and Veteran’s Administration (VA) chaplains, and now require the combined resources of our nation’s churches,
the numerous para-church organizations which minister to the military, and the chaplains. In Ecclesiastes 4:12,
we read, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly
broken.” While the chaplains and para-church organizations have laid a foundation for the ministry needs of
the military, completing the Wall of Prayer Initiative will require 1,000 or more churches across the country to
serve as building blocks by becoming informed, intentional, and perennial prayer partners.
Why is the Wall of Prayer Initiative needed now?
- Our forces are engaged in irregular warfare against a non-traditional enemy, and they face improvised
explosive devices, suicide bombers, and combat operations in urban terrain on a daily basis. This new form of
combat is causing significantly increased Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, as well as
other horrific physical and psychological wounds. A DOD task force reviewing data on troops returning from
combat discovered that up to 49% of them experienced psychological symptoms from combat trauma, with the
greatest incidence among those who had been on repeated deployments, particularly in the Guard and Reserve.
- The Army recently disclosed that the 2008 suicide rate among active duty personnel was the highest since the
current system of record-keeping began in 1980. Moreover, the Army’s suicide rate has more than doubled
since 9/11, and now exceeds the civilian rate. The media recently reported that in 2008, the Marines had more
losses to suicide than to combat. The rate among veterans is even higher - a 2007 study by the National Institute
of Mental Health revealed that the suicide rate among veterans was more than double that of the civilian
population. Most authorities attribute these alarming statistics to the effects of combat trauma.
- Another matter of concern is the psychological effects upon family members, as hundreds of thousands of
children experience the deployment of a parent even as technology brings the horrors of war into their homes. A
smaller military force means more frequent deployments for most of our troops, which creates additional
pressures on the home front – according to Chaplain Scott Henry of the First Fighter wing at Langley AFB,
67% of junior enlisted marriages now require counseling, as these young couples who should be building their
relationships together are separated at a critical point in their married lives.
- Veterans are returning home from the current conflicts with Traumatic Brain Injury, lost or mangled limbs
from IEDs, and other catastrophic injuries. Modern medicine and the availability of rapid air transportation to
state of the art medical facilities mean that these wounded warriors can now survive such trauma. Survival,
however, means extensive recovery and rehabilitation in a Veteran’s Administration Hospital or another
military facility. According to the Boston Globe, the ratio of wounded in action to killed in action for our forces
in the Global War on Terror is 16:1 – in Vietnam it was 1:3. Clearly our wounded veterans need prayer support
as their numbers continue to grow, and VA chaplains are stretched to provide the necessary ministry.
- A smaller military also means fewer resources for the chaplains as they seek to meet the growing ministry
needs. Since chaplains deploy as much or more than those whom they serve, they now require additional
ministry themselves. The net result is less capacity for military ministry at a time when more is needed.
How can you help meet these needs?
- You can become a prayer partner simply by committing to pray for our military families on a regular and
intentional basis. We know from scripture that “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth
much.” (James 5:16b), and that, “. . . if two of you on earth agree about something, then you can pray for it.
And the thing you ask for will be done for you by my Father in heaven. This is true because if two or three
people come together in my name, l am there with them.” (Mt. 18:19-20)
- The ACCTS website (www.accts.org) has brochures and other information about the Wall of Prayer Initiative,
including a list of suggested prayer concerns. On the website there is a prayer map - as churches, Christian
organizations, and others commit to praying for our forces, we ask that they indicate their support by adding
their names to the map. This will help us track “construction” of the Wall, as well as let our prayer partners see
who is praying along side them. The materials on the website may be downloaded at no charge and distributed
as the Lord provides opportunities to spread the word about the Wall of Prayer.
- A corner stone of the Wall of Prayer Initiative will be the North America Association of Military Christian
Fellowships Regional “Helping Military Families” Conference at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park,
Colorado, August 17-21, 2009. This unique event features a concert by Steve Green, and keynote speakers Dr.
Myles Munroe of the Bahamas, Dr. Richard Blackaby, and Pastor Rob Parker of Canada addressing aspects of
prayer. There will also be roundtable discussions on military deployment led by MG (Ret.) Bob Dees,
Executive Director of the Military Ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, MG Doug Carver, Army Chief of
Chaplains, and BGen Dave Kettle, Chaplain General of the Canadian Forces. With their many years of
combined military ministry experience, these “Christian Soldiers” will provide a unique perspective on the
growing needs for ministry to, and prayer support of our Armed Forces and their families as they fight to
preserve our freedoms. A complementary series of afternoon workshops on Military Family Issues, Christian
Leadership, Military Ministry, and Prayer will equip you for more effective ministry to military families.
- More information about the Wall of Prayer and conference registration are available online at www.accts.org,
or by calling the ACCTS home office in Denver at 800-487-8108.
- Donations to help defray the cost of the conference are welcome, and can be made using the ACCTS website.