What is : The Korean UK Prayer Mission
The UK Prayer Mission is a group based in Surrey whose aim is to bring South Korean Christian's on a prayer pilgrimage to visit churches in the UK. Pilgrim's of Prayer usually come in teams of 12 and stay at one church throughout their stay, sleeping in the church and praying on a rota through the night interceding for the church, its leaders and congregation, and praying for the spiritual revival of the the UK church and country as a whole.
The National Director of the UK Prayer Mission is Namjin Kim. He travel's widely speaking about the UK Prayer Mission in both the UK, South Korea and the USA.
However the story behind why the South Korean's want to come to the UK on pilgrimage is fascinating and one that legend has grown up around.
How it came to be:
Today's Christian church in South Korea numbers over 20 million. The largest denomination there is the Presbyterian church which has a membership of over 10 million! However we must remember Evangelical Christianity within South Korea is only a hundred years old!
Within South Korea there are many churches with congregations numbering the 1000's; one of those is KwangMyung Presbyterian Church in central Seoul. It is from this church that Namjin and his wife Sungeun were sent out as missionaries to the UK. Namjin calls himself a "reverse missionary", because he came to the UK which was the country that sent the first missionaries to Korea with the Gospel!
KwangMyung Presbyterian Church was established in 1992 by Nam Soo Choi, (pictured left) an evangelical Presbyterian Pastor. He planted the new house church with just a handful of believers. However, he called those believers to meet regularly at various times of the day and night to pray - calling upon God to move in their community. When it came to a day when they were going to hold a service, they met early in the morning before the service and prayed for hours asking that God would pour out His Spirit upon the preaching of the Word - and that the preached Word would again be blessed with signs following. When it came to the time for the service to begin Pastor Choi and half of those praying would go out to meet and greet people and leave the others praying in the back room for salvation to visit the house. And it did!
Today KwangMyung Presbyterian Church is one of the largest Evangelical Presbyterian churches in South Korea, with a membership of around 10,000 people. It has many congregations and pastors plus it supports more than 30 missionaries worldwide. Its driving passion is prayer and world mission.
It is this church that is behind that is behind the UK Prayer Mission.
Ash and Embers:
In 2009 Pastor Choi woke up having had a dream of the camp fire that had gone out. As he looked he saw that actually there were some embers still aglow under the pile of ash and charcoal. He heard the voice of God instruct him to fan into flame the embers of the fire which were the churches of the UK. As a praying man he called upon the church to pray for their 'mother church' - the UK; and he decided to come on a personal pilgrimage to England and Wales to visit some of the churches who had sent missionaries to Korea in the mid 1800's.
During that visit he saw churches in decline, some which had that had been turned into wine bars, businesses and even temples of other religions. He was horrified.
When he returned to Seoul he called upon his church to pray with urgency for the UK and when he preached he told them of his dream of the campfire, the ash and the embers; he told them that God had gifted the Korean church with a burden of prayer and that some of them had to make pilgrimage to the UK to pray for the spiritual revival of the churches. That in going they would in fact be like fresh wood upon the fire so that when it was fanned there would be fresh tinder to burn. And come they did!
In 2010 he sent a small number of praying pilgrims to visit churches in the UK to pray for revival within them. This has now become an annual pilgrimage.
UK Prayer Mission:
Since 2010 thousands of prayer warriors from Korea have come on a pilgrimage to the UK to pray. Throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland evangelical Korean's come for between 5-7 days to sleep on church floors, to pray through the night and visit to other churches in the area to pray for the spiritual revival of that church, churches and the area. And their four-fold prayer is amazing:
- They pray for the UK Church that it might grow and prosper and once again grow a generation of Christians on fire for God and with that same Victorian spirit of mission that the early missionaries had.
- They pray that God would bless Church leaders, their work and ministry; that they would prosper and be fruitful in ministry.
- They bless UK pulpits that God's Spirit of power and authority would flow out from the open gates of heaven, through the preached Word of God and through the mouths and lives of the preachers - to bless the hearers, the fellowships and congregations - and therefore the communities in which the churches are founded; and it would be like a mighty pent up flood from heaven.
- ...that revival would once again visit our land and church baptisteries would once again be regularly filled and used; that some of those new Christians baptised would be the missionaries of tomorrow who would take the gospel to the nations.
Amen to that!
That is what the UK Prayer Mission is about.