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Jim Cymbala

“…there has never been a revival of religion so long as the order of service has been strictly followed.

…we are to be led by the Holy Spirit.” 


“The truth of the matter is that the devil is not terribly frightened of our human efforts and credential. But he knows his kingdom will be damaged when we lift up our hearts to God.”

~ Jim Cymbala, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, 56.

“If a person doesn’t have a growing sensitivity toward sin and doesn’t have a desire to become more like Christ, it’s questionable whether that person ever had an authentic conversion.”

~ Jim CymbalaSpirit Rising97.  

What Happens When the Church Prays?

Brooklyn Tabernacle's Jim Cymbala: Do we really believe God can draw anyone to Himself? . Image Info:

Brooklyn Tabernacle’s Jim Cymbala: Do we really believe God can draw anyone to Himself?

Have you ever considered the implications of Christ’s startling words when He tells His disciples in John 15:5 “Apart from Me you can do nothing”? Are we really so spiritually helpless that nothing can be accomplished without God?

My wife, Carol, and I made that discovery in the autumn of 1971 when the little inner-city New York church I was pastoring was struggling to keep the lights on. Carol and I had frankly admitted to each other that unless God broke through, the Brooklyn Tabernacle was doomed. We couldn’t finesse it along. We couldn’t organize, market and program our way out. The embarrassing truth was that sometimes I didn’t even want to show up for the service. And our weekly Tuesday night prayer meetings were sparsely attended and less than powerful.

We had to have a visitation of the Holy Spirit, or bust.

I remember praying, “Lord, I have no idea how to be a successful pastor. I haven’t been trained. All I know is that Carol and I are working in the middle of New York City, with people dying on every side, overdosing from heroin, consumed by materialism. If the Gospel is so powerful … .” I couldn’t finish the sentence.

Quietly but forcefully, I sensed God speaking: If you and your wife will lead My people to pray and call upon My name, you will never lack for something fresh to preach. I will supply all the money that’s needed, both for the church and for your family, and you will never have a building large enough to contain the crowds I will send in response.

I knew I had heard from God, even though I hadn’t experienced some strange vision, nothing sensational or peculiar. God was simply focusing on the only answer to our situation—or anybody else’s for that matter.

The next Sunday, I came back to the church and told the tiny congregation, “I really feel that I’ve heard from God about our church’s future. From this day on, the prayer meeting will be the barometer of our church. … If we call upon the Lord, He has promised in His Word to answer, to bring the unsaved to Himself, to pour out His Spirit among us. If we don’t call upon the Lord, He has promised nothing. No matter what I preach or what we claim to believe in our heads, the future will depend upon our times of prayer.”

In the weeks that followed, answers to prayer became noticeable. Unsaved relatives and total strangers began to show up. There were junkies, prostitutes and homosexuals. But lost lawyers, business types and bus drivers turned to the Lord there, too. We started to think of ourselves as a “Holy Ghost emergency room” where people in spiritual trauma could be rescued.

I knew that a lot of churches gave lip service to the idea that God can do anything. But we needed to have real faith that anyone who walked in, regardless of his or her problems, could become a trophy of God’s grace.

Breakthrough Prayer

The story of our church’s growing dependence on Christ is such a vivid reminder to me of how God uses praying believers to draw the lost to Himself.

For the rest of the article…

Jim Cymbala

Pastor and author, Jim Cymbala, in his book, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire put it this way:

“I have discovered an astonishing truth. God is attracted to weakness. He can’t resist those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need him” (p. 19).

Dave Butts has written a chapter in the short book, My House Shall Be a House of PrayerThe name of the chapter is, Prayerless Leaders = Prayerless Church. Butts began by describing the Brooklyn Tabernacle, the church built around prayer, pastored by Jim Cymbala:

Recently, when I I visited the Brooklyn Tabernacle’s Tuesday night prayer meeting (with more than 2,000 in attendance), it impressed me that the first three rows in the sanctuary were roped off. These rows were reserved for the leaders of the church. They were expected to be there–down front–and visible to the rest of the congregation. That was their place as leaders of prayer for the church

Brooklyn Tabernacle understands that godly leaders need to step out by faith in the direction that God lays out before then, and the people of God will follow–especially in the area of prayer. The local church will not become a house of prayer until its leaders become people of prayer. When prayer has its proper place in the life of the church leaders, it will move to a place of centrality in the rest of the church  (My House Shall Be a House of Prayercomplied and Edited by Jonathan L Graf and Lani C, Hinkle, 32).

May 2012


House of Prayer Message

Still Stirs Audiences

A Classic Message by Jim Cymbala

Pastor Jim Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle in Brooklyn, NY, preached a sermon at a praise gathering in Indianapolis in 1994 that is considered one of the most powerful messages delivered on prayer in the last few decades.

In this message, he declares that Jesus did not call His house to be one of preaching or worship – but a house of prayer. He challenges believers to get serious about prayer if there is to be hope for a fresh move of God in our churches and nation.

He also shares a redeeming story of his daughter returning home as an immediate answer to the prayers of his congregation. As people cried out to God for his wayward daughter, that very night God woke her up and moved in her heart to repent and return home. The very next day, as she knelt before her father and wept over her rebellion, she asked, “Who was praying for me?” The evidence of the Spirit’s conviction in her heart was so profound, and she knew it was in answer to prayer.

You can order this popular DVD from or view it on online (click here).This is a great resource to share with your prayer team and pastors. It will inspire them to pray with hope and faith!

A Unique Prayer Meeting

Cymbala leads a Tuesday night prayer gathering at the Brooklyn Tabernacle that often draws more than 2,000 people to what he considers the most important gathering of the week. Many churches have taken teams of people to Brooklyn just to visit this prayer gathering and be inspired toward greater corporate prayer.

He is also part of the leadership team of the 6:4 Fellowship, which hosts one-day gatherings for pastors and leaders – with a call to return to the centrality of the Word and prayer. Prayer First is co-sponsoring one of these events in Bloomington, MN, on October 18. More information is below.

Looking Ahead: A Day with Jim Cymbala

Prayer First and Converge Worldwide are co-sponsoring a day for pastors, spouses, and ministry leaders with Jim Cymbala, Daniel Henderson, and the 6:4 Fellowship. Mark your calendars for Thursday, October 18, in the Minneapolis, MN, area.You will be encouraged to deepen your ministry focus on prayer and the ministry of the Word.

Plan to Stay for Dinner!

We will also host a special dinner for pastors with Converge President Jerry Sheveland on the evening of October 18.

More information will be coming, but registration for the conference is open at





“Will we settle for the status quo, or will we reach out for what God can supernaturally do through us?”

(Jim Cymbala)

If we call upon the Lord, He has promised in His Word to answer, to bring the unsaved to Himself, to pour out His Spirit among us…No matter what I preach or what we claim to believe in our heads, the future will depend upon our times of prayer.

This is the engine that drives the church

(Jim Cymbala, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire).

Life Action Ministries has been hosting Revival Forums since 1989. The panelists at the 2011 Moody Pastors’ Conference included the following well known speakers and authors:

  • Richard Owen Roberts, founder of International Awakening Ministries
  • Jim Cymbala, pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle
  • Steve Canfield, revivalist for Life Action Ministries
  • Colin Hansen, editor for The Gospel Coalition and editor-at-large for Christianity Today

Byron Paulus, president of Life Action, moderated the panel. “The difficulty and disasters within our country have encompassed more than just tornados, but a growing interest in revival among Christian leaders is resulting in hunger for God to manifest His presence in great spiritual power.”

Nearly three hundred pastors gathered to hear the speakers share from their own experiences relating to personal revival, and their continued passion for a widespread move of God in revival and awakening.

The speakers represented a broad spectrum of theological persuasion, yet they reflected a common understanding of the need and hope for a fresh move of God’s Spirit in our day. Each panelist shared what they described as functional substitutes for an authentic work of the Spirit in local churches and among believers in general.

A pastor from Uganda shared how the revived believers there are praying for revival in America. These believers feel that the Lord will send it, either through desperation or devastation, but the choice of how we obtain it is up to us. If we don’t become desperate on our own, then we are asking for devastation to turn us back to God.

Sounds like a great conference on revival!


March 2018
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