Characteristics of Prayer in the End Times
by Mike Bickle
Artists and Authors
Jesus is not coming back to a prayerless Church, but to one that is operating in close partnership with Him in intercession for the end-time harvest (Revelation 22:17). The Holy Spirit is on the move, raising up a worldwide prayer and worship movement throughout the whole Body of Christ. The outcome will include the gospel being preached to all nations in the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 24:14; Revelation 7:9, 14).
The end-time prayer and worship movement is rapidly growing in the nations as the Holy Spirit works to establish a culture of prayer in the Body of Christ before Jesus returns. Throughout the world He is raising up people with what I refer to as the “Anna calling” (Luke 2:37). The end-time Annas are radical believers who function as what I call “intercessory missionaries,” engaging in the work of intercession with worship as their full-time occupation.
King David, in the Psalms, and the prophet Isaiah gave us the most information about the end-time prayer and worship movement in terms of its earthly dimension, and the apostle John described it from a heavenly perspective in the book of Revelation. I will identify just seven of them, though there are many more.
The end-time prayer and worship movement will be God-centered, relational, continual, musical, global, missional, and intergenerational. I believe that the end-time prayer movement will express worship “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10) in a greater way than the worship-intercession model David established with the Levites in his generation.
1. The end-time prayer movement will be God-centered.
The premier distinction of the end-time prayer and worship movement will be the understanding of the supremacy of Jesus, particularly His majestic beauty as Bridegroom, King, and Judge. End-time worship songs will emphasize the majesty of the Lord. Prophesying about the end-time prayer and worship movement, Isaiah said:
They shall sing; for the majesty of the LORD they shall cry aloud . . . From the ends of the earth we have heard songs: “Glory to the righteous!“ (Isaiah 24:14, 16)
The songs will focus on the Lord’s majesty and bring “glory to the Lord, as the Righteous One.” Some translations clarify Isaiah 24:16 by translating the phrase “the righteous” as “the Righteous One” (see the NIV and the NASB). Through these songs worshipers will magnify the majesty of God.
Around the globe, people of all ages are catching a glimpse of the beauty, worth, and supremacy of Jesus and are responding in genuine love as they treasure and adore Him, giving a witness on the earth to His indescribable value.
The truth of Jesus’ worth and greatness must be declared in song and in prophetic proclamation, because it is the ultimate truth on which the whole created universe exists. The end-time prayer movement on earth will join the worship symphony in heaven, crying out, “Worthy is the Lamb!” (Revelation 5:12)
2. The end-time prayer movement will be relational.
The end-time prayer and worship movement will have a relational focus, which will be reflected in our singing of the wonders of God’s love for us and our response of love for Him. God is love, and He wants relationship with us—not because He is needy, but because He wants to share His love and to rule the earth in a deep partnership with His people. Love finds pleasure in relating to others and working closely with others.
Jesus desires to make us feel loved; He celebrates our dignity and value and wants us to do so too. He delights in us, in sharing His heart with us, and in relating to us. He wants to partner with us in the work that His Father has entrusted to Him. He is pleased when we love, honor, and magnify Him.
As King David did, we will sing songs about God’s love for us. We will also sing new songs about our destiny as kings and priests ruling the earth with Jesus forever. We will sing of our love for Jesus, thanking Him for mercy and asking Him for help in times when our love is weak. We will sing of His kindness and of the marvel that He takes pleasure in weak people and imparts His very own beauty to us (Isaiah 61:3; cf. Psalm 90:17; 149:4).
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD . . . to give them beauty for ashes. (Isaiah 61:2–3)
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us. (Psalm 90:17)
In tandem with the revelation of the Father’s heart of God is the understanding of Jesus as our Bridegroom-King and of the Body of Christ as His cherished Bride (Ephesians 5:29–32). Thus we will sing of the Father’s relating to us with tender mercy and of Jesus expressing His desire for His people as their Bridegroom (Isaiah 54:5; 62:5; Revelation 22:17).
Before the Lord returns, the Church will see themselves as a Bride crying out to her Bridegroom-King to come to her (Revelation 22:17, 20). Even now the Holy Spirit is emphasizing the Church’s identity as His cherished Bride.
Isaiah connected the revelation of Jesus as the Bridegroom with the end-time prayer movement that will continue night and day until the Lord returns to make Jerusalem a praise in the earth:
You shall be called Hephzibah . . . the LORD delights in you . . . as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. I have set watchmen [intercessors] on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. . . . till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth. (Isaiah 62:4–7)
He prophesied that in the end times God’s people would be called “Hephzibah,” which in Hebrew carries the meaning of the Lord’s delighting in His people.
The God who delights in us is the very One who will set intercessors in place to worship and pray 24/7 until Jesus returns (vv. 6–7). His Holy Spirit is moving right now to raise up a multitude of men and women—singers, preachers, evangelists, writers, marketplace leaders, intercessors, and so on—all over the world, who will proclaim that God delights in His people.
I have found that people are best motivated to sustain night-and-day intercession when they understand that God delights in them as a bridegroom delights in his bride (vv. 4–5).
In fact, one reason people burn out in intercession and ministry to others is that they lack the intimacy with God that comes from encountering Jesus as their Bridegroom-God who delights in His relationship with them. In other words, the revelation of the Church as Jesus’ cherished Bride is essential to keeping our hearts alive through the years as we diligently do the work of the kingdom.
3. The end-time prayer movement (worship element) will be continual (Isaiah 62:6–7; Luke 18:7–8).
As the worship order around God’s throne in heaven is continual, so worship on earth will be continual in many nations before Jesus returns. Isaiah prophesied of a time just before the Lord returns when He would set intercessors in place who would never be silent, day or night. Isaiah referred to them as watchmen “who remind the Lord.”
On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen [intercessors]; all day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the LORD, take no rest for yourselves; and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth. (Isaiah 62:6–7, NASB)
Isaiah described prayer ministries that would continue 24/7 until the time when Jerusalem becomes a praise in the earth—that is, when Jesus returns to reign from Jerusalem.
Jeremiah prophesied the Lord’s reign in Jerusalem when he decreed, “At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the LORD” (Jeremiah 3:17). And Jesus spoke of Jerusalem as “the city of the great King” (Matthew 5:35), anticipating the day when He would dwell there among His people, ruling the nations in partnership with them after He returned to earth.
Only one generation will see the fulfillment of God’s promise to appoint watchmen–intercessors to pray “all day and all night” on Jerusalem’s walls. Do you understand the significance of this promise?
God will sovereignly appoint and place intercessors in prayer ministries who will not stop praying for Jerusalem until Jesus returns. In ministries in Jerusalem and around the world believers are taking hold of this prophetic promise and standing on the wall of intercession to cry out for the salvation of Jerusalem and the nations. Perhaps you will be one of them!
Jesus made reference to the prophecy given by Isaiah when He spoke of those who would pray day and night and whose prayers would result in the release of justice (Luke 18:1–8). Jesus connected the call to continual prayer to the timing of His second coming (vv. 7–8). Also notice that in Luke 18:1, Jesus started His parable with “then,” tying it back to what He had just taught about the end times in Luke 17:22–36.
Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart. “Shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him . . .? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes [second coming], will He really find faith on the earth?'”(Luke 18:1, 7–8)
In place of the word avenge in verses 7 and 8, many Bible translations use the phrase “bring about justice.” Jesus connected night-and-day prayer to God’s releasing justice on earth, especially in the generation in which the Son of Man comes back.
In verse 8, Jesus posed an important question about finding faith on earth. He was not asking if there would be believers on earth who had faith to become born again. He was asking if there would be people with the faith to agree with Him in bringing about justice through night-and-day prayer.
The Spirit is raising up many leaders in the Body of Christ who have faith (agreement with God) to work for justice in a way that flows from praying night and day for it. Most often, 24/7 prayer will arise from many local churches working together across a city or region.
I don’t believe the Lord is calling most individual local churches to start 24/7 prayer ministries on their own; rather, He is calling them to build a culture of prayer in their churches and to work with other ministries to see 24/7 prayer and worship set up in their cities. In other words, unless the Lord specifically calls you to start 24/7 prayer in your congregation, it is best to participate in the collective effort of many local churches.
See the continuation of this article in the blog post “Global Worship and Prayer in the End Times,” available now.
Get grounded before Christ’s second coming and go deep with anointed teachings from Mike Bickle, Stuart Greaves, Dana Candler, David Sliker, and special guests Francis Chan and Chris Reed at the RETURN conference, September 16–18, in Kansas City and online. Join a thriving community as we prepare for the great harvest and end-time revival while steadying our hearts to thrive under rising pressures. RETURN is a truly interactive experience, both in person and online. You can participate from anywhere, joining prayer and prophetic ministry, healing prayer, and engaging in friendship and family. There are also four unique tracks, with associated breakout sessions: Prayer, Promise, Power, and Worship. Register today for this not-to-be-missed event!
Mike Bickle is the founder of the International House of Prayer, an evangelical missions organization based on 24/7 prayer with worship. He is also the founder of International House of Prayer University, which includes full-time ministry, music, and media schools.
Mike’s teaching emphasizes growing in passion for Jesus through intimacy with God, doing evangelism and missions work from the place of night-and-day prayer, and the end times. He is the author of several books, including Growing in Prayer, Passion for Jesus, God’s Answer to the Growing Crisis, Growing in the Prophetic, and Prayers to Strengthen Your Inner Man. Mike and his wife, Diane, have two married sons and six grandchildren.