Chujoh Gisuke On Prayer In Korea
Translated by Rev. Mike Furey, Georgetown, IN, USA
Chapter Three From "The Reasons For The Prosperity Or Revival In
The Korean Church: How A Japanese Missionary Experienced It."
Authored By Gisuke Chujoh, A Japanese Evangelist of Chiba-ken, Narashino-shi, Saginuma-chome 4, 8-ban, 9-go, "The Reasons For The Prosperity Or Revival In The Korean Church: How A Japanese Missionary Experienced It." (Jordan Press: Tokyo, Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 7-26-24, November 11, 1989).
Translated by Michael Furey, pastor and amateur translator, Hanover, Indiana, USA beginning in November 1998.
All the transliterations of Korean personal and place names have been
provided by Ms. Youn-Woo Jeong, Assistant
Research Fellow at the Japanese Document Center of the Graduate Institute
for International and Area Studies at Seoul National University, Seoul,
South Korea. Her
email is email@example.com.
1. Prayer Is The Key To Revival (Jang-Whan Kim "Evangelistic Mission And Revival" The Korean Broadcasting Center, page nine)
"Thus, Peter was put into prison. The church offered up fervent prayers to God on his behalf." (Acts 12:5)
After asking pastors, elders, deacons, church members, and just about anybody, they gave back to me a definite answer: the number one reason given for the Korean Church revival was "prayer." In Japan and the West many books are published on the theology and theory of prayer, and beginning with the nature and mission of prayer, and its purpose, function (or efficacy) they teach very detailed and specifically about when to pray, where to pray, under what circumstances to pray......and etceteras etceteras. So, if you would ask them to tell about "prayer" they would state their points with well organized theory and with profound contents. But, prayer is not theory, it is action. We should not forget that [prayer] is a specific conversation with God, a relationship, and it is a responding to and fro, a respiration.
2. "Prayer" In Korea
<1> Early Morning Prayer Meetings
Several years ago someone said, "In Hawaii you wake up by the cry of an island bird, in Japan by the sound of a car engine, and in Korea by the sound of a church bell (a chime)." Nowadays, church chimes have come to be unable to ring because the number of churches in Korea have increased so much. Nevertheless, every morning, in the rural regions from 4:00 AM or 4:30 AM and in the cities from 4:30 AM or 5:00 AM early morning prayer groups are held in every church. If there were a church that did not hold [a prayer meeting], it would not be considered much of a Christian church. Even in newly developed churches that have only just started, even if there is only the pastor or a missionary by himself [or herself], a fervent early morning prayer meeting is held just like in the big churches.
What! Why do they hold early morning prayer groups? A Korean christian risks life and existence for his or her "faithfulness to Christ," that is, "to follow the example of Christ, or to receive training in Christ." Even though there have been all manner of hardships, suffering, pain, and loss, they live day to day putting out into the open an attitude of living with Christ in first place. Even if they ever get tired during the meeting and fall asleep, they attend the early morning prayer session. The ones who especially feel [tired and sleepy attend, that is], the young women even carrying babies on their backs ([actually] in Korea they hold them on their hips) attend, which would be an unthinkable spectacle in Japan. If for one minute or one second they feel ill in bed young Japanese women raised under modernization can't get up early. They even give orders (commands) from bed.
<Blessings And More Blessings In The Early Morning Prayer Meetings:>
-By worshipping God one can begin living the day.
-A person can not accomplish that alone, but with the family of God.
-One can go to church the body of Christ every morning.
-One can meet with the pastor, who is the shepherd and the representative of God, and can intermingle with him [or her] personally.
-One can pray and praise freely until satisfied.
-Through the pastor [we] hear God's word and can be taught, and through the word [we] are comforted, inspired, and given courage, hope, and strength.
-Getting up early and going to church is modest exercise and healthful.
<The Contents Of The Early Morning Prayer Meetings:>
- A time of praise and prayer for 10 to 15 minutes
- The recitation of the Apostles' Creed and different portions of scripture
- A message for thirty minutes from the pastor or the evangelist
As for the contents of the messages, many of the messages are expository sermons. At this point they study the Bible very carefully and deliberately. It is very different from the Japanese believers who go out to Bible study meetings and class at church school once a week and are satisfied with that. Each and every morning, they learn the Bible from pastors and evangelists who have advanced training and who risk their lives for the word of God. This is where the source of the revival lies.
- Praise and Prayer (The Lord's Prayer)
- Freestyle Prayer and Praise
In Korea, regardless of the size of the church large or small, there is always in any church a "prayer leader [literally, general]." This "general" not only prays at the Dawn Prayer Meetings but continues to pray at all hours. In a day's time on the average this person prays for five to seven hours.
<2> All Night Prayer Meetings -- My Experience At The Yo-Ui-Do Full Gospel Church [from here on transliterated as "Yoido"]
"Jesus went to the mountains and all through the night he prayed to God." (Luke 6:12)
When Peter was arrested and put in prison, the people of the early church prayed all night long at the house of Mary the mother of John who was called Mark (Acts 12:3-5).
In Korea all night prayer meetings are held in every church.
Regularly Scheduled All Night Prayer Meetings
Most churches continue in prayer beginning Friday at ten PM until the Saturday morning prayer meeting. Just recently, after careful consideration of the circumstances of different means of transportation, many churches have started having them from ten PM [Friday] until one or two AM Saturday.
<The Contents Of These Meetings>
The meetings run long and various methods are utilized. For example, special speakers are invited (the testimonies of those from other churches such as elders, exhorters, deacons, and the testimony and praise from special singers and musicians, and there are preachers, pioneer evangelists and local churches, and the testimonies of pastors and evangelists struggling in warfare [for Christ]. These meetings take place without chairpersons in charge or pastors and evangelists, but rather at the time of the promotion of the men's gospel meeting an elder or a deacon will hold the meeting and at the time of the promotion of the women's gospel meeting, an exhorter or deacon will hold the meeting and at the time of the promotion of the youth or student meetings, a youth will hold the meeting. But, the focus of it is the pastor's message and when they have a time of praise it goes along with the message. It's almost as if their beautiful voices of praise sound like a choir of angels.
The Freestyle All Night Prayer Meetings
When I first came to Korea it was December 1978. It was different from Japan and I was so terribly cold I was shivering. The church I was introduced to was The Korean Christ Baptist Seong-Duck [Holy Virtue] Church (Pastor Sang-Duck Bai).
When the revival meeting that night was over, they let me sleep in a side room (3 mats wide) near the pulpit area in the worship hall of Holy Virtue Church. In the dead of night about one, I was awakened by a voice calling my name. It was a voice saying, "Oh, Chu oh, Chu oh!" My name is "Chujoh" and from the time I was a child people called me "Chu, Chu." I jumped up, turned on the flashlight, looked around but saw nobody there. I supposed I was dreaming it and turned off the light and went back to lay down. Before too long again a voice was audible for me saying "Oh, Chu oh, Chu, oh!" It was not a dream, but a real voice. At that moment I was reminded about Samuel. Because the Spirit of fire was burning, called down by the church in prayer, I thought the voice of God was heard. But, at about 1:30 and then at 2:00 the voice saying "Oh, Chu oh, Chu oh!" was audible [again]. I got up I approached the direction of the voice without turning on the light. The voice could be heard coming from the direction of the worship hall. I opened the door of the worship hall and entered, as I sought to draw closer to the voice, two girls, one from junior high school and the other from senior high school, were kneeling down in front of the platform area and praying with all their hearts. When I go back in my mind to think about it, at that time my heart was lukewarm in faith and it makes me shiver [they were not actually saying my name but calling out "oh father" to the heavenly father which sounds like my name in Korean!!].
My very first night in Korea I experienced in the worship hall without a heater at 15 degrees below school girls weeping in tears, hot in prayer, sweating profusely and with their whole hearts as in desperation they prayed all night long and the sight of them like that straightened up my faith and made me brand new. All night prayer meetings such as this one were not just held in church halls, but in homes, prayer houses, on mountains, and every sort of place. The Lord Jesus prayed continuously for forty days and forty nights. Also, he prayed all night when he considered the hour important enough. (Luke 22:39-46). He taught not to faint but to always cry out and continue in prayer (Luke 18:1-8). Even the Old Testament teaches that Nehemiah continued both day and night in prayer before God (Nehemiah 1:6). For Korean christians the Bible was believed not just as [a bunch of] words but life indeed. For that reason they desperately sought to live just as it was written in the Bible.
<My Experience In The All Night Prayer Meetings:>
-- March 9, 1978, Seoul, The Yoido Full Gospel Central Church --
To the largest church in the world, the Full Gospel Central Church (Rev. Paul Yonggi Cho), I had come for the purpose of preaching at the all night prayer meeting starting at 10:30 PM. So far I had some twenty evangelism sessions in Korea, but I never had the opportunity to go [preach] in Yoido Full Gospel Church. I had just observed from the outside. But, at the end of November 1983 when the Japanese Korean Church Alliance Meeting was held in Korea, I was in the company of many people beginning with the Korean Christ Baptist Church, the former general meeting chairperson pastor Sang-Mo Lee of Non-Hyung Church, the seminary president of the Capital City Baptist Seminary, pastor Kap-Soo Kim, [and around the time of that Alliance meeting] I visited the Yoido Full Gospel Church to study and observe. At that time, I met Rev. Paul Yonggi Cho through the special arrangement of Mr. In-Sang Jang, the vice president of the Gospel Preaching International Exchange Society and for about one hour we had a time of prayer and conversation. This time upon the request of Rev. Cho I cut short a day at a meeting in the prayer houses and decided to take part in this meeting. This church is famous worldwide, and I suppose most people know it.
I arrived at the church at 9:40 PM. On the way, as wind, snow, and sleet came down hard, I was consulting with someone over whether the great assembly hall with a capacity of twenty thousand people would be empty, but I made my way and was surprised. In the garden in front of the church and on the road church buses were parking from all types of churches and different religious groups such as the Presbyterian Church, the Adventist Church, the Holiness Church, the Baptist Church ... all kinds of churches and groups were parking. Since the number of them all was too numerous it was almost impossible to count them. I was instantly surprised. What is this? Are there people from the Presbyterian group? Are people from different churches coming through this heavy snow to the all night prayer meeting even lining up church buses in a row with their pastors at the lead? What is the reason for this?
I remembered the account in the Gospel of John, chapter six and beginning with verse one. The people were gathering at the place where Jesus preached without change the word of God. That is, people gather where the love of God (agape) is. Furthermore, they gather because they want to be filled with the power of God and the Holy Spirit. We are always criticizing, separating, and splitting over minor denominational and sectarian differences. But, they have come to learn the necessity of [the phrase] "Cast off minor differences, connect on major similarities" as Zhou Enlai [Chou En-lai] the former premier of China once said.
From 9:40 PM until 10:30 PM as a preliminary to the meeting the moderator and interested persons prayed together that there might be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Then, lead by the moderator they went into the cathedral. The cathedral was packed out with people even in the aisles. They were even standing up in the back. It was overflowing with participants. From 10:00 PM praise and prayer was kept up and just as in the prayer houses they were on fire amid a zealous atmosphere. My mind was overwhelmed by the power of the Holy Spirit. There were ten thousand people plus several thousand more who could not get in to the cathedral, in the basement were 5,000 people, in several other rooms in the education wing divided into six rooms there were more who participated in the meeting by watching the TV.
I preached from 10:45 PM until 12:00 AM. In this church ,where meetings come plentiful, usually the first session of the meeting ends in one hour. Therefore, I had twenty to thirty minutes for the sermon, but because this meeting was a special all night prayer meeting I was able to preach longer. As for the contents of my sermon, I spoke on the subject "A Life With No Fear" from Isaiah chapter forty-three and verse one.
A General Summary Of It Goes As Follows.
I God is the creator of all things.
1. All creation comes from God, was made by God, and will return to God, (Romans 11:36).
2. Everyone of us live, move, and have our being in God, (Acts 17:28).
II Humanity has fear.
1. Because it has separated and broken off from God's hand of creation
2. Because it does not believe in the cross, resurrection, and second coming of God's son, Jesus Christ.
III God has completely removed fear from us.
1. God has redeemed us (Isaiah 43:1)
2. God has called our name (Isaiah 43:1, 45:4)
3. God has made us as "my own possession" (Isaiah 43:1)
I gave the sermon as outlined above. Of course, along the way we sang a praise song in Korean a couple times and also we had as much as two times when we prayed together. When you preach more than an hour the audience gets tired and sleepy. To arouse the spirit of the audience and get them to listen with joy, faith, and vision, during the course of the sermon, you must assess the spiritual condition of the audience and deal with it accordingly. At this task Korean revivalists (evangelists) are very skillful.
When I went to Korea, before I knew it, I ended up naturally being guided by such [revivalists]. Of course, I think that the influence of the interpreter Mr. Sang-Duck Bai (Pe) was enormous. After the sermon, we had a time of prayer until 12:30. During the prayer I left the cathedral, went back to the speaker's waiting room and had fellowship with an elder of this church, the head of the Japan Gospel Preaching Society Mr. Si-Han Im (Imu), the director of general affairs and various other persons. I left the church at 1:00 AM.
Then I returned to the home of Mr. In-Sang Jang (Chyan) and until 3:00 AM I had a very profitable time of discussing things across many fields including faith, religion, politics, and economics.
<3>The Prayer Houses -- My Experience At The Tai-Baik Prayer House [Tai-Baik is a city name.]
In the two thousand years of the history of Christianity, whenever the church has apostatized and secularized people have sought for the genuine thing and entered mountains to pray. What developed from there are "the monasteries." However, they are different from escapist and mystical type monasteries; in Korea they are "prayer temples or prayer houses." They say currently there are one hundred such places. Here we can see the motivational power of the revival of the Korean Church. This is peculiar to and unique in the christian churches of Korea and one does not see this form in other countries.
The Development Of Prayer Houses
The Lord Jesus went up to a mountain by himself and prayed to God the Father all night long (Matthew 14:33, Mark 1:35, Luke 6:12). They began from the idea of wanting to imitate the Lord Jesus, get close to him, and wanting a heart like the heart of the Lord Jesus. In Korea they had [prayer houses] before the Second World War, but what began taking shape as the modern prayer house [started] around 1947-1948, and they began at Yong-Moon-San, next many prayer houses were made at Sam-Gak-San [literally, three corner mountain] in Seoul. In recent times, with the O-San-Ri Prayer House at Yoido Full Gospel Church at the lead, there are prayer houses managed by different denominations and sects, church run prayer houses, and privately managed prayer houses.
The O-San-Ri Prayer House was established in 1973 as "a prayer mountain" of the Yoido Full Gospel Church. In 1982 a temple with a ten thousand seat capacity was completed. Each day four meetings are held here, and each week more than twenty ministers are assigned to lead each of the three to four thousand visitors. Also, there are even lodging facilities with a capacity for two thousand long term visitors, and for those who wish to pray in private there are one hundred and fifty small prayer rooms. Each day scheduled buses make a number of round trips at no cost (there is an offering) between the Yoido Full Gospel Church and the O-San-Ri Prayer Temple. The following is written in my book, "Love And Decision," (pages 45-46) about my experience when I went to the O-San-Ri Prayer Temple on December 9, 1978 (a Saturday). "The Yoido Full Gospel Church is the largest church in the world in modernity. No, wait! It is the largest church in the history of Christianity. What! Why are so many people assembling like this? What is the reason for this? What is the secret? On December 9, 1978 I went to O-San-Ri to find that out. This O-San-Ri Prayer Temple is a worship hall where about one thousand people sit and can pray together, and here four times per day scheduled meetings take place all year long. In this worship hall there are even people bringing in blankets and futons and keep in prayer fasting for any number of days. Besides that, there are meeting places for about fifty and a large number of rooms where several people can continue on in prayer. Otherwise, there are a large number of berm style prayer rooms, where they have dug a hole into the slope of the mountain [the berm style is the To-Woo-style called Ki-Do-Gool in Korean which means something like "prayer sub," which denotes a place you might bend into to enter and where you pray and submit your heart].
I went in one and prayed, I felt the presence of God deeply and was inspired. The width of it was one tatami mat, its girth was fortified with concrete, a door was attached to the entrance. Of course, there was no electricity. At night there was total darkness. That's why people came in with candles and flashlights. Inside them there were people following the example of the Lord Jesus and many who prayed and fasted forty days and forty nights, and even now there are people praying [in them].
When I asked her through pastor Jai-Duck Kim of the Moom-San Baptist Church with whom I had come, "How and why did you come to the prayer house? What is your purpose here?," she had ridden a bus more than six hours now by the coast of the East Sea (the Sea of Japan) and she arrived at the prayer temple two hours ago (10 PM), and now at the prayer temple ["sub"] hole she will fast and pray for one week. Her purpose for praying, she said, was that her husband might experience the full salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ and she prays hard for her two children's entrance to higher education, and that they might hear the will of God... so with these thoughts she had asked her husband, received a week off and came to pray. She does the work of a farmer putting her entire strength and being into it in the spring, summer, and fall, then at last when the time she can rest comes, she doesn't go to the hot springs or on trips but she comes to the prayer temple by herself to pray for a week and this kind of attitude we can see is the motivational force of the Korean church revival. In this prayer temple, no, wait in any of the several hundred prayer temples in Korea there are tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of people like this woman."
The Contents Of The Prayer Temple Meetings:
So far I had the privilege of serving at ten prayer houses. At almost every prayer house I preached four times per day for a total of fourteen times from Monday night to Friday morning. But, at some prayer houses I held their services with two people and the other speaker was a Korean, and in some prayer houses there were situations [where I preached] one to two times as my time schedule allowed.
Since what happened at "The Tai-Baik Temple" from March 5, 1984 (Monday) to the morning of March 8 (Friday) is written in my journal, I would like to introduce it. At the prayer temple I was able to find out "what they said," "what they saw," "what they felt," "what they experienced," and "what they were taught."
The First Day March 4, 1978 (Sunday)
So far, beginning with Korea, I had gone often to foreign countries
for evangelistic trips, but I had never once ever departed on Sunday because
Sunday is the Lord's Day and as a holy day I have attended services giving
my full concentration to the church. Just this once after completely
finishing up the business of the Lord on the Lord's Day I decided to head
for the Kimpo Airport in Seoul on a night flight which was unavoidably
considered from the perspective of the date, time, and expenses.
After the worship service in church I finished up several meetings, some business etc. entirely and had a farewell prayer after 4:10 with deacon Haraguchi and his family of four (five in all) who stayed and served at the church till the end. Then I went to the station in the car of the aforementioned deacon. After that I went by rail to Narita Airport, at 7:25 PM I boarded the departing Pan-American plane, at 9:40 PM I arrived at Kimpo Airport. It was my first time flying at night in Korea, since it was Sunday, when I saw the city streets of Seoul from the skies over the airport, it looked like the neon lights of crosses from "thousands and ten thousands" of churches. It was truly impressive, it felt like I was getting a glimpse into the boldness of the Korean Christians and into their faithfulness towards the Lord.
As I went through the procedures for entering their country and passed through customs I was welcomed by a total of twelve persons, the chair of the Korean International Missionary Exchange Society (I.G.M.), pastor Kap-Soo Kim, the assistant chair and pastor Sang-Duck Bai, another assistant chair Mr. In-Sang Jang and his wife, the rest of them were some women including four deacons from the Holy Virtue Church. I was taught by the Korean Christians who acted faithfully and believed the word of the Lord to "entertain angels." In Japan we have started getting too in used to foreigners. I fully realized that we need to give careful thought to this, always have fresh feelings, and live with the Lord's will as our will.
After I rode in the car to Kimpo Airport for about fifty minutes, I spent the night in a small room behind the Bible Church worship hall. At that time I was deep in prayer, talking and fellowshipping until late into the night passed twelve with some church members. I went to sleep at 12:30 AM on the fifth (of March). There was no bath or shower.
The Second Day March 5, 1984 (Monday)
I was awakened by the voices of women praying in the worship hall at 4:30 in the morning. I thought that here I would see the real Korean church. Everyone prayed all day and all night. It was not only the large churches, ones that were just started, even the small churches were the same way. They just believed in an omnipotent God, turned it all over to him and kept praying. They left whatever the results might be all to God. Amen.
I got up at 4:45, washed my face, and went to the sanctuary ten minutes later and after the five o' clock prayer meeting I preached for forty minutes. The scripture was The Gospel Of Luke 18:1-8. I spoke on the importance of continuing in prayer without losing hope no matter what. Next, we had a time of prayer for thirty minutes. In the meeting eight people were in attendance. The number of people indeed was small but I knew this was the base supporting this church and it was its cornerstone. When I went to Korea without fail many pastors came out to meet me. At 10:00 AM Rev. Pu-Yo, a Baptist pastor, came (by car from Seoul five hours away). He was a fine teacher who gave pastoral care for a long period of forty years. I went with him to the prayer house, even now as a truly wonderful experience I still remember in my heart the things I learned in prayer.
At 11:30 AM twelve to thirteen persons came to Virtue Church, had a time of prayer, got on a bus driven by pastor Bai (pronounced "Pe" in Japanese) and headed for the Tai-Baik Prayer Temple. By car from Seoul it took six to seven hours. On the bus it seemed truly like heaven because it was overflowing with voices of great and beautiful praise and prayer. Christians overcame the boundaries of language and customs and became one heart and mind because of the cross of Christ. Hallelujah! Amen!
Though it was the first part of March in the mountains the snow piled up to fifty to sixty centimeters. The temperature was past ten degrees below, there were frozen places on the road that were dangerous, but we were preserved by God and arrived at the prayer temple that evening.
In this prayer temple, a Methodist elder was chairman of the board of trustees, his wife the temple director, and their son was pastor (thirty years old, the parents had two children). In particular the temple director was given the gift of divine healing; she had healed many people so far and had performed miracles of God. At first glance she is an average woman. Though she may be very quiet, yet she is filled with love. When she just gets up behind the pulpit she is completely transformed, fiery words proceed from her, her prayers flow, she makes people listen and grabs their attention. After that she leads prayer with a laying on of hands on one (or two people) after another. A line of people seeking prayer continues for two hundred to three hundred people. No matter how long it takes she will keep on going with the laying on of hands for healing until the end, accompanied by love, faith, and hope. This will last for about two hours.
So far I have been to Korea twenty times on missionary tours and have meet people with various gifts [of the Spirit]. Since then I have come to fully realize the size, the extent, and the depth of God's gifts. I used to think there was one way to pray and lay on hands for healing, but there are a number of methods. For example, the director of the Tai-Baik Prayer Temple prays laying hands on the eyes. Pastor Ki-Dong Kim of the Korean Baptist Sacred Music Assembly prays pressing both hands on the head. Pastor Paul Cho of the world's largest church, the Yoido Full Gospel Church, only prays from the pulpit. There are various other methods. God taught all these to these people. We ourselves do not need to imitate anyone but need to be taught and led directly out of [our] fervent relationship with God.
Finally the time came for "The International Prayer Assembly" to begin. I was the speaker. Invitations were already out to many churches for this meeting.
You might think since the new year begins in March in Korea, people couldn't get out too easily. Nevertheless, in a prayer temple with a three hundred person capacity there were three hundred and twenty persons in attendance this evening. Among them there were forty pastors and evangelists. In addition, there were followers, pastors, and evangelists of every kind of denomination. The meetings at the prayer temple went four times in one day.
The first meeting from 4:30 AM till 6:30 AM.
The second meeting from 10:00 AM till 1:00 PM.
The third meeting from 3:00 PM till 5:30 PM.
The fourth meeting from 7:00 PM till 10:00 PM (or without time limitations).
When I went to the sanctuary at seven, everyone was already in prayer and praise. Although outside it was nearly twenty degrees below zero, in the sanctuary they were praying and praising while sweating since it was nearly thirty degrees hotter inside. Even though there were no stoves in use to heat the place, the people assembled together had taken off their coats and were praying while sweating profusely.
Then a time of praise and prayer lasted for an hour and thirty minutes from 6:50 PM to 8:20 PM. When I began [my] sermon it was 8:20 PM. I spoke till ten on the theme of "Entrust Yourself To God's Omnipotent Hand" from the text in Isaiah 43:1. Afterwards, there was another time of prayer and praise and it was over at 11:00 PM. What a meeting it was, lasting more than four hours.
This was an average meeting for a Korean prayer temple. After the meeting, in the pastor's room and in the reception room forty pastors and evangelists came together and had fellowship until twelve midnight. Next, we returned to our rooms (five person rooms) and retired at 12:50 AM on March 6. To Page 2 of [Koreans] Offer Up Fervent Prayer