SAGU not only has a rich spiritual heritage, but a long history of strong leaders who listened to God’s direction. SAGU President Emeritus Delmer Guynes was a pillar of faith in a time when SAGU needed guidance. Now, he calls upon Christians to be pillars of faith, interceding for Jerusalem.
Under Guynes’ leadership, SAGU rebounded from a period of low enrollment and financial difficulty and achieved record enrollment. Dr. Guynes initiated the distance education program and established an accredited graduate program, the Harrison School of Graduate Studies. The Sheaffer Full Life Center, Regents Apartments, Kendrick and Guynes dormitories were constructed during his tenure. It was during his presidency that Southwestern Assemblies of God College was renamed Southwestern Assemblies of God University with the addition of graduate degree programs.
Dr. and Mrs. Guynes played a significant role in re-establishing the university’s intercessory prayer and missions emphasis. During his first presidency beginning in 1982, he began a prayer emphasis to encourage churches from SAGU's region to pray for China and its growing church.
The Guyneses returned to China in late 1984 to continue their ministry endeavors. In 1989, they returned to SAGU as missionaries-in-residence. In 1990, Dr. Guynes was asked to serve as president a second time. Several years later, he, with his wife and daughter, stopped in Israel following one of their many visits to Africa.
During a visit to Abraham's burial cave in Hebron, a rabbinical school in the cave caught Dr. Guynes’s eye. It was at that moment that God began to burden him for rabbinical students in Israel and around the world. He began the Jerusalem Prayer Watch with a focus on these rabbinical schools and Messianic congregations around the world.
“I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.” –Isaiah 62: 6-7 (NIV)
Jerusalem was leveled in A.D. 70 by Titus and thereafter again and again. Israel was re-established as a nation in 1948 and immediately named Jerusalem its capitol. However, Jerusalem was not fully liberated and brought under Jewish control until the Six-Day War in 1967.
Jerusalem is mentioned more than 225 times in the Old Testament and 75 times in the New Testament. Jewish tradition, along with a significant amount of supportive evidence, maintains that the environs of Jerusalem were the site of the Garden of Eden, and that Adam and Eve are buried in the cave of Machpelah at Hebron, together with Abraham, Sarah and other patriarchs.
Because Israel plays such a vital role in the redemptive purpose of God for the world, Guynes began a structured effort to arouse concern for the nation and to encourage intercessory prayer for Jerusalem's role in the coming kingdom. Through monthly newsletters, Guynes appeals to Assemblies of God Churches to cover this growing congregation in prayer.
Guynes shared, “This prayer emphasis focuses on the nation of Israel, and the city of Jerusalem, but more specifically upon a spiritual movement among Jews called the Messianic Movement. While in earlier years Jews coming to faith in Jesus identified with the Church, these believing Jews today tend to identify with the nation of Israel, rather than the Church.”
"In doing so, it seems to me that they are uniquely preparing Israel for a role in the Millennial kingdom soon to come."
Because Israel plays such a vital role in the ultimate redemptive plan of God, Guynes began a structured effort to arouse concern for the nation and to encourage intercessory prayer for the Kingdom to come. Through monthly newsletters, Guynes appeals to Assemblies of God churches to cover this growing congregation in prayer.
He continued, “These Messianic congregations have a unique role to play in bringing Israel to Biblical restoration and spiritual transformation. These congregations may experience some very difficult days ahead as they prepare Israel and the world for the promised Kingdom of God on earth.”
Guynes concludes one of his newsletters with this:
“It is to His Church, His Ecclesia, His Body and His Bride, who shares all of His redemptive inheritance, that Jesus assigns the task of unrelentingly reminding God of His covenant and prophetic promises to Jerusalem and Israel. Only the Church with Kingdom Keys can “loose” on earth that which has been “loosed” in heaven, and that certainly involves Jerusalem.
In the context of the persistent widow petitioning the unjust judge in Luke 18:1-7, Jesus concludes the parable with a prophetic question: ‘When the Son of Man comes will He find faith on the earth?’ Only a faithful Church who prays Jerusalem through her darkest hour holds the answer to that question.”