World Prayer Center to open this weekend Evangelical movement incorporates technology

September 18, 1998|By DALLAS MORNING NEWS

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The people at the World Prayer Center describe their sleek new building as a base for waging spiritual warfare.

"Missionaries are the ground troops," says the Rev. Joseph TTC Thompson, director of the World Prayer Center, a new $5.5 million building endorsed by an array of evangelical groups. "Prayer is the air war in our battle."

The World Prayer Center, officially opening this weekend, is expected to become the nerve center of an emerging worldwide prayer movement. Using phone, fax and Internet, evangelicals are trying to link 50 million Christians in 120 nations in targeted prayer.

Most of their work is focused in an area of the world called the 10/40 Window, a belt defined by the latitudinal degrees stretching across North Africa, the Middle East, India and Asia where, evangelicals say, 95 percent of the world's "unreached" people live.

Organizers hope to spread the Christian gospel to every person in this area by the year 2000.

"It's a kind of spiritual technology," said Margaret Poloma, a religion sociologist who studies prayer at the University of Akron. "Americans are great at pulling things together into programs and using technology, and that's what this represents."

World Prayer Center organizers, however, believe their cause is divinely inspired.

Location is a major reason. The building is in Colorado Springs, a postcard-pretty city of 350,000, often referred to as the "Vatican of evangelical Christianity." Since the late 1980s, dozens of ministries, including James Dobson's influential Focus on the Family, have moved here.

As they constructed the 55,000-square-foot center, builders placed more than 200 foreign Bibles in the building's foundation so visitors "walk on God's word."

Pub Date: 9/18/98

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