Skip to main content
Pastor Kwon Do Lee and members of his church pray for someone

When your church plant wanted to reach out to their community in New York City, they started by praying—and watched God move in powerful ways.

Manhattan Vertical Church is a Resonate Global Mission partner church plant that you support in New York City’s bustling Manhattan borough. In Manhattan, you might be surrounded by crowds of people as you walk down the street, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to connect with people. People are in a hurry, wearing headphones, or engrossed in their phones.

That’s part of the reason why Pastor Kwon Do Lee, who planted Manhattan Vertical Church, and his church members were finding it difficult to meet people and build relationships with them. They wanted to invite more people to be part of their church, but they weren’t sure where to start.

So, they decided to start with prayer.

Members of Manhattan Vertical Church praying outside


This wasn’t just about changing the words of a prayer during worship on Sunday—the church members wanted to build stronger prayer lives. They started gathering at noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays in person to pray together for their neighborhood. For those who couldn’t get away from work, school, or other commitments during that time, they took time to pray wherever they were.

“When we prayed together, we prayed for the revival of Manhattan rather than our own personal prayer requests,” said Kwon Do.

I felt a change in the spiritual climate of the entire church. The power of the Holy Spirit is that he leads us to where God's heart is. We wanted to bring people into the church, but God led us out.

While they were praying for transformation in Manhattan, Kwon Do noticed a shift in their own community first.

“I felt a change in the spiritual climate of the entire church,” he said. “The power of the Holy Spirit is that he leads us to where God's heart is. We wanted to bring people into the church, but God led us out.”

Members of Manhattan Vertical Church talking to people in Central Park

After a few months of gathering to pray together during the week, members felt the Holy Spirit leading them to go out and pray on the streets. So, they went out and started praying as they walked through Central Park, through Koreatown, and down other busy blocks.

Then, they felt the Holy Spirit prompting them to connect with people. As they walked and prayed, they made an effort to start conversations with people, get to know them, and share about their own faith.

“Many of the people we met were lonely and tired of the intense competition they felt living in Manhattan. We realized that what they really needed was the true peace in Jesus,” said Kwon Do.

They met one man who regularly plays trumpet in Central Park. He had never been to church, but after getting the number of someone from the church, he reached out one day to ask when they’d be by again—he wanted to sing with them! As he got to know members of the church and learned more about the good news of the gospel, he decided to follow Jesus.

The practice of intentionally praying for their New York City community changed this church! Prayer changed their hearts first, and also helped them learn about their community and joining God on mission. While most of the people who are part of the church are Korean, the church now feels convicted to reach people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. 

“We learned that God’s ideas are much bigger than ours,” said Kwon Do.