President of Intercessors for Africa
Emeka Nwankpa addressing the IPMI 2005 Prayer Summit. More photos
Emeka Nwankpa is the founder of Intercessors for Africa, a national movement with a purpose of bringing unity among God’s ministers and people in fulfilling the basic task — reaching the world with the message of the Gospel and making disciples of all nations. In every move of God, ministers are expected to offer leadership to God’s people.
In carefully examining the church in Africa, it can be observed that instead of spiritual unity and leadership roles manifesting and growing, there are denominational walls. The church has been weakened by racism, tribalism, idolatrous foundations, ancestral worship, and the spirit of colonialism and oppression. The lack of proper training, discipleship, and orientation into God’s global prophetic plans and purposes have “frustrated,” as it were, God in Africa and made Him look weak.
The first step in fulfilling the task is to learn how to pray together. Prayer breaks down walls more than any activity. Matters of culture, tradition and even doctrinal disagreements take a back seat when a group of leaders pray together. Building of corporate unity, leadership and ministry actually begin at the place of praying together. The most important resources that exist in any city are its key spiritual leaders. By joining forces, their effectiveness can be increased exponentially.
Emeka says intercession is important because the Lord does things in answer to prayer. The Lord’s Prayer is an intercessory prayer to bring God’s will to pass on earth and establish His purposes. It seeks to deal with anything that interrupts or obstructs what God wants to do. Intercession is important because when sin is committed by a person, a people, or a nation, the only thing that puts them back in right relationship with God is repentance. That is intercession. “Repentance is the first alphabet in intercession,” Emeka says. This is what Moses and Daniel did on behalf of their people.
The Lord’s Prayer is a “ground plan, the layout” for effective intercession. Another way to pray effectively is to find a scriptural incident or promise that describes your situation. Pray that back to God. When we pray, we should be fervent, and we must give God time to answer the prayer. Some prayers may take years to come to pass. “It takes time before the censors in heaven (Revelation 5:8) are filled,” Emeka says.
The church in Nigeria prayed 18 years before an important event came to pass. In 1973 Nigeria broke diplomatic relations with Israel. Realizing how important it is that a nation stands with Israel, the church in Nigeria sought God, and relations were restored years later. Certain types of prayers require that one walk in the office of a prophet, such as in spiritual warfare where God works specially through the prophet. In the battle of Amelek when Moses’ arms were uplifted, then the war went well with Israel. The battle was really in the heavenlies.
Prayer Changes Things
Emeka says that the world has not understood that prayer is the most effective way to change things. This is because the change is so gradual. The world is interested in results. Prayer produces incremental results, and unless you are involved in the prayer effort, you may not notice it. In between the prayer and the results there are many things happening, but the world will see only the result. God works gradually.
Emeke shares one example on the power of prayer. During the South Africa political transition, it took a Christian professor from Kenya to intervene and sort things out. During the negotiations for the leadership of the country between Mandela and Buthelezi, South African Michael Cassidy was leading a national prayer effort in a stadium in Pretoria. Because of the volatility of the situation, had not God intervened and Buthelezi agreed to participate in the elections, there would have been untold bloodshed, Emeka says. The world had tried every manner of diplomacy with leaders from around the world, but it took the prayer of God’s people to change the course of history.
Emeka says one of the prayer needs is for peace on the continent. Africa has been ravaged by war for many years. Also pray that God gives a solution to the AIDS epidemic. It may seem like an impossible problem for man, but not with God.
Build Leaders for Africa
Emeka gave his life to Jesus Christ on the 14th of October during a morning service in the Protestant Chapel at the University of Ife after a message by the university chaplain. Just two days earlier, a young lady had witnessed to him and throughout the weekend. As he thought about what she said, Emeka came under increasing conviction. He gave his life to the Lord. He had received a definite call from the Lord in November 1973 as he was praying, and the confirmation came in different ways out of the mouths of quite a few people.
He joined the Evangelical Christian Union and in 1976 became its president. Pastor S.G. Elton, a British Missionary who lived in Nigeria for 50 years, discipled Emeka and his wife for 11 years. Emeka was ordained for the ministry in 1981 by the laying on of hands by his mentor, Pastor Elton.
After receiving his law degree in 1977, Emeka eventually left his legal practice when the Lord called him into the ministry. As the coordinating secretary for the Christian Students Social movement from 1977-1981, Emeka worked with others to establish Intercessors for Nigeria, a national network of intercessors praying for the nation and its leader. He also worked with other Christians from across the continent of Africa to establish Intercessors for Africa and became the coordinator. In 1997 while attending an Africa Prayer Convocation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, “the Lord spoke to me about the need to train servant-leaders for our nations in Africa,” he says.
This call led to the establishment of the Sundoulos African Leadership Training Program. They have now begun the process of recruiting resource persons from across the continent to train servant leaders who would serve the people and apply biblical dynamics to government and all levels of public life. Emeka has continued his work in the prayer movement, working with the International Fellowship of Intercessors, and the International Christian Chamber of Commerce.
(Adopted from the 700 Club)