Intro: The Prayer Gathering at the War Memorial Stadium
An encouraging story from the early days of Favor that exhibits this core idea of prayer is the radical Prayer Gathering at War Memorial Stadium. The ministry was growing exponentially and impacting more and more of the culture of Gulu and other rural areas of Uganda, but the team knew there seemed to still be this wall of darkness. Despite the crowded prayer houses and revivals, there was a sense among leadership that it was still not enough to push back the enemy of the land.
As our founder prayed for guidance, she felt the Holy Spirit remind her of this old, abandoned stadium. It had been used as a war memorial stadium, which was literally a graveyard for British and Acholi soldiers during colonial wars. It’s no bigger than a football field and surrounded by a stone wall.
As she prayed, the Lord continued to prompt her to arrange a prayer gathering that could unite the whole city and nation. This would have been the first time the grounds would be used by the government for prayer. And, at first, when Favor asked permission to use the stadium, they were denied, but the team didn’t relent. Through prayer, the ministry was able receive permission to hold the meeting there.
Carole said, “I knew a revival of prayer was needed! Not only of prayer, but united repentant prayer coupled with the authority of God’s Word … This is what we began praying and fasting for across Gulu.” They planned for a three-day prayer meeting set for the December of 2005 in this war memorial stadium. Radio stations were contacted to spread the news of the gathering across the broadcast frequencies. Word spread like wildfire. Well-known prayer leaders and political leaders agreed to join the effort. The day finally approached and over 1,000 people gathered inside this humble stadium to join in intense, radical, united prayer. It was a turning point for war-torn Uganda!
As a result, many significant stories of radical transformation followed. It seemed to be a water shed moment for Northern Uganda. Pastors reported that they sensed heaven opening in a new way. Government officials called and testified of a strong sense that the spiritual climate over the area had changed. Some even openly admitted that this prayer gathering paved the way to the end of the war. Miracles were occurring in local churches. It even led to inaugurating the month of January as the month of prayer.
As is evident, prayer will never be replaced by any highly structured organization or lucrative financial plan. Heavenly power will always be funneled through humble, submitted prayer.
Ongoing Prayer and Worship Sustains the Transformation
We see the Kingdom come every day only because we pray – individually and corporately. Our Houses of Prayer in Gulu, Uganda and in Juba, South Sudan, were our first operational centers -before offices, schools, radio, or leadership training facilities. Prayer comes first because nothing else comes after.
The House of Prayer ministry team fulfills a wide range of community and staff functions. The activities of our Houses of Prayer (HOP) enable Christian influence to permeate all other aspects of these societies in order to pave the way for restoration and sustainable transformation by grounding entire communities in the truth and values of Christ.
“Prayer is the language of the poor.” - Carole Ward
Some impactful responsibilities the HOP teams fulfill:
- Lead noon hour prayer for the whole city every weekday,
- Lead evening and event prayer, healing, and teaching services,
- Provide a neutral, stationary ground for guest speakers,
- Provide a 24/7 prayer covering for new believers, including those leaving physical threats,
- Serve Favor staff with worship and morning devotions every weekday,
- Launch local and rural outreaches,
- Coordinate pastors’ fellowships, government trainings, and more community unity initiatives,
- Launches large-scale prayer mobilization events like public all-night prayer, National Prayer Gatherings, and more,
- Develops leaders’ gifts in ministry, from preaching to administration to worship in a corporate anointing serving the front lines daily.
Through these activities and more, hundreds of believers from communities near and far come to hear from God. The Word of God is preached by many voices that sound like their own. National leadership is crucial in order to connect and lead the community to apply the Word together. God frequently brings miracles and answers prayers very specifically. Many people discover Jesus’ love for the first time in these houses of prayer in Gulu and Juba, and more from the outreaches that are operated from them.