Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams: Apostle of strategic prayer [Artice]

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On Sunday, 12th May 2024, the beloved Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams (‘Papa’), Presiding Archbishop and General Overseer of United Denominations of Action Chapel International, turned 67 years old. To God be the glory for how far He has brought this great servant of His from the miry clay to the hilltop (Psalm 40:2).

The Scriptures are replete with men and women of unique spiritual abilities. Mention David, and warrior, leader, and psalmist will come to mind. Cite the name of Joshua, and you will hear a military leader. Mention Abraham, and you will hear the father of the Jewish people. God gives grace to individuals to do what they could not ordinarily do.

In the same breath, when you mention Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams, intercessory prayer, faith, and pastor come to the fore. Since he started his ministry over four decades ago, he has been synonymous with these qualities.

1. God can turn around a hardened sinner to become a light to other people.
Duncan-Williams grew up as a wayward young man who was deeply influenced by the devil. He used to be involved in all manner of debauchery. One day, demons attacked him and moved him to burn his fingers, leading to a 4-month hospitalisation at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, where Christian evangelists shared the gospel with him, and he became born again. The man who was seated in darkness came to know the light and started sharing his testimony of how God redeemed him.

Each one of us is born sinful. David said, “In sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). Paul was on his way to Damascus to persecute believers when Christ appeared to him and turned him into a preacher (Acts 9). Just as the Archbishop was saved by grace through faith, anyone who comes to Christ regardless of their sin will not be cast away. There is no sinner beyond the reach of Christ’s blood.

2. There is no greatness without struggles.
When the Archbishop became born again, he enrolled Archbishop Benson Idahosa’s All Nations for Christ Bible Institute International (ANFCBII) to be equipped for gospel ministry. After two years, he returned to Ghana but faced many rejections and discouragements because he was not well known. He started as an evangelist, preaching from place to place. When he turned to other ministries to work with them, he was turned down, with the excuse that evangelists were volatile in their ways.

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Great men and women understand that success in life comes with a price. They pursue what burns hot in their hearts, not necessarily chasing after greatness. They traverse the uncertain road of denial, discouragement, and rejection that can only lead to greatness if they don’t give up.

3. Believe in what God has given you and use it to His glory.
The Archbishop started by preaching on campuses and organising revival meetings. During one of those revival meetings, he was directed by God to start a church. He resisted, doubting his ability to pastor and teach the saints. Initially, he handled deliverance and power ministry, while colleagues handled teaching. This led to some of his flock being taken away. Later, he decided to teach himself and flourished, much to the admiration of those he relied on to help him.

This lesson teaches us to believe in our calling. God equips those He calls. When God called Moses, who complained about his speech, God put His words in his mouth (Exodus 3). We must rely on God’s power to do His work, irrespective of our inadequacies.

4. God can use one man to pioneer His work in a nation.
Many accounts of Christian history in Ghana regard the Archbishop as the father of the Charismatic Movement. He played an instrumental role in establishing one of the first charismatic churches, holding revival meetings, and doing evangelist work on tertiary campuses. Bishop Dag Heward-Mills recounted that the Archbishop suffered humiliation, including being shaved due to his ministry work, but he wore a cap to church to continue his mission.

God uses selected individuals for unique roles. John the Baptist was called by God to pioneer the preaching of the gospel to herald the coming of the redeemer, Jesus Christ (Matthew 3). John suffered many persecutions and was eventually beheaded. Similarly, the Archbishop fought spiritual battles in Ghana and prevailed. God can use anyone He chooses for His special work in any nation.

5. Prayer can birth wonders in our lives.
Lacking education, the Archbishop turned to God in fasting and fervent prayers. His ministry of strategic intercessory prayer was born in those days and has since impacted many nations around the world. He has held numerous international prayer summits in many locations around the world. He noted, “It is through prayer that we destroy the kingdom of darkness and enforce t

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he judgement written that the Gates of Hell shall not prevail – Prayer Moves God.”

Men and women who move mountains are prayerful. John Wesley, Leonard Ravenhill, Paul, and Jesus Christ are examples of praying men. The Queen of Scotland feared John Knox’s prayers more than all the assembled armies of England. We must be mean and women of fervent prayers that can move the hand of God.

6. Ministry leaders must mentor aspiring ministers.
The Archbishop has mentored many ministers and leaders, including heads of state and business leaders. Since he started without mentors in Ghana, Archbishop Benson Idahosa of Nigeria became his mentor, and he has become an exemplary role model. Notable among those he has nurtured are Pastor Eastwood Anaba of Fountain Gate Chapel and Bishop Dag Heward-Mills of Lighthouse Chapel. He has many sons and daughters who look up to him.

As the Lord lifts us, we must lift others. Barnabas nurtured John Mark after he was rejected by Paul. He later became profitable for Paul in his later years in ministry (Acts 15; 2 Timothy 4:11). We must mentor and guide the next generation to do the work of God, just like the Archbishop has done.

7. God can transform a nobody into a global influencer.
The Archbishop’s influence extends beyond Ghana. Despite personal, marital, and ministry challenges, he has emerged strong. Hale has been celebrated by New African Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans (2012), and the first non-American to pray at a U.S. Presidential Inauguration. God has lifted him in the eyes of men.

The same God who lifted Archbishop Duncan-Williams can lift anyone who yields to Him. Apostle Peter said that those who are humble will be lifted by the Lord (1 Peter 5:5-6). We celebrate the Archbishop for his journey from hopelessness to a hopeful saint propagating the gospel of Christ.

The Archbishop was an ordinary man who came to saving faith and served God diligently. His life testifies to God’s transformative power. We can learn from him and rely on the same God to turn our lives around.

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