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Prayers Arise in the GC23 Marketplace

The AG World Prayer Center hosted the first of eight prayer experience services in the middle of the General Council exhibit hall on Tuesday morning.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Joe Oden, the national director of Prayer and Evangelism for the Assemblies of God, took prayer literally into the marketplace by holding the first of eight prayer services in the middle of the exhibit hall at the 2023 General Council (GC23) on Tuesday morning, with the Holy Spirit making Himself evident in a powerful way.

As Oden took mic in hand and began sharing about the purpose of the AG World Prayer Center (WPC) in Springfield, Missouri, he pointed to a large interactive video map behind him and announced prayer for California.

Although some might imagine the prayers would be in hushed tones, the service took on more of an evangelistic aura as Oden and prayer missionaries sought God, asking the Holy Spirit to change lives and transform the state into a Christian state.

But that was just the beginning. From there Oden and his missionary prayer team prayed for pastor after pastor, drawn by the sound of fervent and powerful prayers.

Pastors — often with their spouses and even families — from Ohio, Florida, New Mexico, California, North Carolina, Illinois, Mississippi, Arizona, Indiana, Alabama, Arkansas, and even Ethiopia came forward for prayer. As they gave their names and their church’s locations, the map zeroed in on their actual church building and the prayers began.

Numerous pastors and their spouses fell under the power of the Spirit in the middle of the exhibit hall. Tears flowed and spoken prayers and tongues melded into a fluent appeal to God for revival and awakening in communities and churches along with seeking an anointing on ministers’ lives and ministry. Many were drawn to the sound of the service, with those passing by often pausing to observe and even pray for a few moments as it was evident the Spirit was moving.


Brian and Cindy Johnson, who pastor Bethel Church in Grass Valley, California, were pleased with the event.

“Everything is effected by prayer,” Brian says. “Being able to bring up the location on the screen, well they say a picture is worth a thousand words, I think this has kind of the same spiritual principle.”

“Everything we do is birthed out of a spirit of prayer,” says Cindy, looking around at the many ministry exhibits. “If we don’t include prayer here, we miss the point of what causes ministries to thrive.”

In addition to prayer experience services being in the exhibit hall once a day, a prayer experience service will also be held in the WPC’s 300-seat prayer room, located in the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Hall B131.

“The prayer room is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day of General Council,” Oden says. “In it we have a huge 600-square-foot foam-backed floor map of the world that we encourage guests to prayer walk on, whether seeking God for the world or a specific region, country, or state.”

Oden, who was joined by his wife, Trisha, and prayer missionaries during the event felt this first “live service” in the exhibit hall was telling.

“The tone I felt through this service was that there are many pastors who have come to General Council and are hungry for an impartation to go back to their communities to see revival and awakening — that was the request of nearly every pastor we prayed over this morning,” Joe Oden says.

Oden compared this desire for revival and awakening to the founding of the Assemblies of God and how God used William Seymore to bring revival — not through his fluency of his speech, but through his passion for Christ and revival.

“What pastors are asking for and praying for harkens back to the very DNA of our Movement,” Oden says.


Nine prayer missionaries, all who are currently itinerating, are also on-site assisting Oden in the GC23 booth and prayer room.

Jami Patterson who attends Hope City Church in Baltimore, says God called her to be a prayer missionary following hearing Oden speak at School of Urban Missions ECHO Conference in Dallas in 2022. Having graduated with a master’s in Evangelism and Church Planting from Liberty University in 2020, Patterson says this opportunity meets her passion as a prayer warrior and watchman.

“This is a season in America where we really need to come back to prayer,” she says. “Throughout the U.S. denominations are contracting as they are allowing their doctrine to be washed. However, every church in the AG should be excited that our leadership isn’t allowing that to happen and they’re placing prayer in the center of our attention.”

Benjamin Pitman and his wife, Brooke, are also at GC23 as prayer missionaries. The couple attend First Assembly in Panama City, Florida. Benjamin, originally from Australia, felt called into the ministry and came to the U.S. in 2008 to attend Summit International School of Ministry through Times Square Church. However, after a decade of ministry, he felt there was something missing — a piece that he couldn’t seem to fill.

“Up until this time, I never considered myself an intercessor,” he says. “But when Joe called us and told Brooke and me about what he was doing and the need for prayer missionaries, we both knew right away that this was what was missing – this filled in that missing piece.”

Kaitlyn and Chris Martin who attend Terrell First AG in Texas, also knew upon Oden’s inquiry that this was what God was calling them to.

“God gave me a hunger for the Word and going after Him,” Kaitlyn says. “My prayer is for God’s desires to be my desires and He’s given us both a genuine love for people and a love for the lost.”

In observing the Odens and the prayer missionaries in action, it is clear to see their passion to see the Holy Spirit work in and through the lives of ministers and to see God bring an awakening and revival to America. Their work will begin in earnest as, once budgets are raised, missionaries will begin going out in teams of four to six to prepare the way for evangelistic outreaches. Considered the leading edge of these evangelistic events, the prayer missionaries’ purpose will be to “till the ground” with 10-day prayer “sieges” over communities, praying for the Holy Spirit to prepare hearts and draw them to Christ through the upcoming ministry event.

Prayer Experience service times for the remainder of the week are as follows: Wednesday through Friday, 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the prayer room; and 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Friday in the booth. Times and locations are also posted in the booth and prayer room.

Dan Van Veen

Dan Van Veen is news editor of AG News. Prior to transitioning to AG News in 2001, Van Veen served as managing editor of AG U.S. Missions American Horizon magazine for five years. He attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, where he and his wife, Lori, teach preschool Sunday School and 4- and 5-year-old Rainbows boys and girls on Wednesdays.