God is Moving on Capital Hill
How did this YWAM base, prayer room, and David’s Tent got started
by Jason Hershey, director of YWAM DC
“God is up to something!”
Have you ever looked at the events surrounding your life and suddenly have that wide-eyed revelatory moment?
I’m Jason Hershey, the founder of David’s Tent DC and I recently had one of those. I want to be sure to give a report on what’s happening on Capitol Hill on January 1, 2020. A wild inter-generational convergence is happening in a synergy of prayer.
The Holy Spirit is raising up a second 24/7 prayer watch in DC, to harmonize with David’s Tent, which will begin at midnight, at the beginning of 2020. The location of this next watch is as significant as the National Mall has been to David’s Tent.
What if there was a physical address of real property that represented THE GAP,
(God’s Appointed Place) for intercession for the United States of America from Ezekiel 22:30?
If there was, perhaps this is it. 117 2nd Street NE, Washington DC 20002. The impact of how God has led, used, and encountered his people at this address since 1986 is beyond noteworthy. God’s unique story of 117 2nd Street NE, as it pertains to prayer is perhaps one of the most hopeful testimonies in Washington DC. Why would God provide for this house of prayer, and put watchman on these walls if He did not intend to answer those prayers?
Why would God do this if He did not have good plans of salvation for the USA?
According to city records, 117 2nd Street was built in 1890, 45 years before the Supreme Court across the street. Within that address are 5 condos.
Tom Hess, Dick Eastman, and Dick Simmons, three significant “fathers” in the prayer movement, have deep roots in 117 2nd Street, where God has woven their 3 stories together at this one address on Capitol Hill.
The Tom Hess years 1986-1992
Tom Hess, originally from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, first moved to the Washington DC region in 1977 living in Wheaton Maryland. During those first years in DC, he was working with Larry Tomczak and CJ Mahaney as part of the Take and Give (TAG) meetings that had mushroomed during the Jesus People Movement. These TAG meetings garnered up to 2000 youth and young adults every Tuesday night at “Christ Church” at 3855 Massachusetts Avenue NW. Tom worked with CJ for Jesus Rallies in Pennsylvania from 1973 – 1980. CJ had given Tom a prophetic word about moving to DC.
God eventually led Tom away from the TAG meetings, but he
stayed in the DC region hosting many national pastors’ gatherings from many denominations and mobilizing much prayer. 1980 was marked by “Washington for Jesus” with John Gimenez, to which Tom contributed. In 1982, Tom went to Israel and God delivered him from replacement theology during a time of fasting.
The next day he received a vision of a 24/7 house of prayer
in Jerusalem. This took place on the Mount of Olives, 100 meters from where Tom eventually would reside from 1987 until today. Based in DC, Tom began taking pastors on trips to Israel with him, always wondering when he would move there.
Back and forth, from DC to Israel, he’d go taking 3 trips a year. David DuPlessis, a friend of Tom Hess, was part of this dynamic and even entertained moving to Israel with Tom.
Tom also recalls the roots of his revelation of the Isaiah 19 highway starting in DC. At Washington Community Fellowship Church one Sunday morning at 907 Maryland Ave NE. Myron Augsburger was preaching on Isaiah 19. Myron pointed out that this prophecy has not yet been fulfilled, but that God would one day raise someone up that would begin to labor for that. The Holy Spirit came on Tom as he was sitting in a pew near the back, and he began to weep. The Isaiah 19 Hwy began to be downloaded into his heart in Washington DC. Tom has been fruitfully laboring all these years for the Isaiah 19 Highway, as a core tenant of his commission.
In 1986, Tom began renting and owning condos at 117 2nd Street NE. His ministry’s name was “Progressive Vision International.” The bottom Cond #1 in the front was the prayer room (“Capitol Hill House of Prayer”). At one time, Tom either rented or owned 3 condos in the building simultaneously.
In April/May of 1986, at 117 2nd Street, at a moment’s notice, God called Tom to a 40-day fast. Tom had to call people and cancel some lunch meetings! God had given him no forewarning. About ten days into those 40 days, Cindy Jacobs, also young in ministry, came to DC. They had, in hindsight, a historic meeting where they prophetically married “Prayer and Praise” under a Jewish Chuppah. At that time, those two camps of the prayer movement often pulled against each other. Tom views this event as part of the breakthrough preparing the way for what is now so commonly called “harp and bowl” musical worship and prayer together at the same time.
During this time, Cindy gave Tom a word. She said that he would see the answer to his fast written in the newspaper. Tom was a bit distrusting of the prophetic around that time. He had recently been significantly confused for two months by a false prophetic word about a young lady that he was supposed to marry, and then join the ministry with the one that gave him this prophetic word. He concluded that he would have lost his destiny and it would have been a total disaster if he would not have gotten free from the confusion of that sour prophetic word.
But Cindy’s word proved true! Just one hour after he finished his fast on May 27, 1986, Justice Warren Burger unexpectedly resigned from the Supreme Court. Tom remembered, “I was weeping, looking at the newspaper. The timing was so sovereign. This was a ‘chosen fast’ if there ever was one!” Pro-life Justice Rehnquist was promoted to become the chief, and pro-life Justice Scalia was appointed to the court at that time.
As Chief Justice during Roe v Wade in 1973, Burger was pro-choice. His vote and the court he led the way for legalized abortion on demand. Justice Rehnquist on the other hand, his successor, was one of two dissenting votes of Roe v Wade.
Tom’s fast was a breakthrough, beginning the long slow march toward a pro-life court in 2022 that would eventually overturn Roe v Wade. Chief Justice Burger was the first and last pro-choice Chief Justice. Since Tom’s fast in 1986, a pro-choice justice has never sat in the Chief Justice chair.
March 26, 1987, in the basement Condo#1 prayer room, Tom was worshipping the Lord and went into a trance. He had never had something like that happen before or since. “All of a sudden, I was experiencing bombs exploding, something like 9/11. It was like I went to pick up the telephone, but it was too late. And the Lord said that the Jewish people need to be warned that their destiny is in Israel. That they need to be warned that they need to go back to Israel. It was so strong.”
The Aliyah of Jews back to Israel was downloaded into Tom in this encounter. This also has become a core intercession of Tom’s life and the movement he leads.
Sid Roth told Tom he had to write a book encapsulating the message of this experience. That became Tom’s breakthrough book; Let My People Go. He started writing the book in Washington DC after that encounter in March of 1987 and finished it later that year in Israel.
Just as He finished writing the book, He was walking down the Mount of Olives past the house that would become his home. As he was walking by, a stranger said, “This place is available for rent.” Tom started renting it that year (1987) and has been living in it ever since. The view from his house is a straight shot, uninhibited view of the Eastern “Golden” Gate of the Temple Mount. Similar to 117 2nd Street and the Capitol Dome in DC, Tom has the best visual vantage point of the Eastern Gate that there is in all of Jerusalem.
Let My People Go has been a flagship book for Tom, with over 1.5 million copies printed in over 40 languages. It has provoked many to action. Many Jews have moved back to Israel as a result and many others have been led to pray for the restoration of the Jewish Nation in their Biblically Promised land. This encounter happened at 117 2nd Street!
Six months after renting his new home on the Mt of Olives, looking at the Eastern Gate, a family approached him about renting their large house, not too far away, on the Bethany side of the Mount of Olives. This is the exact proximity of where Jesus ascended into Heaven and will return. This became “The King’s House” of Jerusalem House of Prayer for All Nations (JHOPFAN).
Loren Cunningham founder of YWAM was with Tom at The King’s House within the first week of kicking off 24/7 prayer in April of 1988. They were still moving out old furniture and moving in. As a prophetic act of Intercession, Loren sparked a flame, that would in turn would light other candles and torches. Like a global candle lighting service spreading from that one flame, YWAMers literally took that flame to the ends of the earth as a prophetic act.
Since April 1988, JHOPFAN has been a continual 24/7/365 flame of prayer, praying for every nation, to the ends of the earth. 35 years and counting!
From 1987 until 1992, Tom would live in Israel but spent a couple of months each year in DC. He mostly managed the House of Prayer at 117 2nd Street from afar. Eventually, he sold the DC Condos at 117 and poured all of his life into JHOPFAN, as he continues to do with his wife Kate.
Washington DC and 117 2nd Street NE was Tom Hess’s launchpad to His life’s call and vision in Israel.
With Tom gone, Dick Simmons with his late wife Barbara moved to DC in the 1990s and by Divine Providence landed smack dab in the same townhouse, only they took over the two floors above, where Tom had his house of prayer. Dick Simmons still lives and prays daily on the second and third floor and is literally, “The man upstairs” from what is now the ACPR prayer room. Barbara Simmons did a 40-day fast while residing there. The 40th day was Sept 11, 2001. Many conclude that her fast gave grace for the men to storm the cockpit and put that plane down in Pennsylvania rather than the believed target, the U.S. Capital. Talk about standing in the Gap!
The Dick and Barbara Simmons Years 1994-2020
Two years later, in 1994, Richard (Dick) and Barbara Simmons would purchase the front Condo#4 on the top level and move into 117 2nd Street NE as their primary residence. They moved to DC from Bellingham, Washington as full-time intercessors, with a call to stand in the gap for America. Their ministry, Men for Nations, had a distinctive call to raise up specifically men to pray, as an early morning prayer offensive. Earlier in life, Dick and Barbara’s intercessions were accredited both by the Lord and men as birthing David Wilkerson’s Teen Challenge and Pat Robinson’s Christian Broadcast Network (CBN)
In 1997, Dick thought his ship had come in as pertains to men’s prayer. Promise Keepers rallied a million men to DC for a day of prayer on the National Mall of DC called, “Stand in the Gap.” Dick hoped this would launch a million-man early morning prayer offensive, that the Lord had spoken to him was needed, to turn America back to God.
After that October gathering, all the men left DC. In Dick’s view, Promise Keepers fell short. “If Promise Keepers would have taken strong stands on tough issues, they would have turned America back to God,” he’d regularly say. His view was that Promise Keepers called men to be men of God in their homes, to rightfully strengthen their relationship with the Lord, their marriages, and their families. But, unfortunately, they fell short by failing to call men to be men of God in outward intercessory prayer and involved in the public sector of society.
Even with those sentiments, Dick always had many great things to say about that October gathering of men on the mall. But in 1997, Dick was significantly discouraged as all the men pulled out of DC and went back home again. “Stand in the Gap” proved to be a great letdown after it was all over. He put his condo up for sale and was ready to leave DC too.
Surprisingly, Bob Jones, who had an extraordinary prophetic gift, called him out of the blue. Jones knew nothing of the For Sale sign in front of 117, but he had a word for Dick. “Dick, God wants you to know that if you leave DC, He’d understand. But He wants you to know that if you leave DC, He’s going with you.” This meant God would leave DC if Dick did!
Dick hung up the phone and went outside and took down the For Sale sign out of the little front garden. Dick and Barbara stayed. Isaiah 62 says “Your land will be married.”
This was the Simmons; Married to the Land. Standing in the Gap.
In the last 10 years of Dick’s life, several people pressured him to sell his condo and move back to Washington State to retire with his family. He’d often recall this word by Bob Jones: “If I leave, God is leaving with me.” He received incredible offers over the years to purchase his condo from him. No offers were ever entertained. “If the devil can’t get you to quit, he’ll buy you out,” He would warn. Dick and Barbara would both live the rest of their lives at 117 2nd Street, both breathing their last here. Their lives were given to prayer and standing in the GAP, God’s Appointed Place, at 117.
A foundation, From the Father with Love, that knew Dick and Barbara, bought the front Condo#2 for their use. With 2 condos, the Simmons hosted Lou Engle in Condo#2, leading up to “The Call” in September 2000. “The Call” was a day of prayer attended by over 400,000 mostly youth and young adults on the National Mall.
At the very beginning of August 2001, the Holy Spirit led Barbara Simmons to start a 40-day fast. So strict was her fast, due to her age, many (including her husband) were trying to get her to ease up and eat a little. She kept saying, “No. My Jesus has called me to this. I have to do this for my Jesus.” She was faithful.
On the last day of the fast, the Simmons were leaving 117, to walk to the Senate office building cafeteria for Barbara to break the fast with some light soup. From the top of their stairs, they noticed smoke rising in the distance, in the sky beyond the Senate Chamber of the Capitol Building. They also noticed the offices were evacuating. Something was happening!
Going back inside, they turned on the TV to learn of the Twin Towers attack in NYC and all that transpired on Sept 11, 2001. The smoke they saw was from the plane that hit the Pentagon.
One of the planes that day was taken down in Pennsylvania by some courageous passengers. A book, Let’s Roll, was written by the wife of one of those who stormed the cockpit. As the investigation of Sept 11 was released, it was understood that the plane that was taken down in PA was meant for the Capitol Building.
If that plane would have hit the Capitol, chances are the explosion would have taken out Dick and Barbara too. They quite literally were, “in the gap,” praying for God’s mercy on America. Many believe that it was Barbara’s fast that gave grace to those men to put that plane down in Pennsylvania, to their own peril. Dick would say that Sept 11 was a full legislative day on the hill. If that plane would have hit the Capitol, an already dark day would have been exponentially worse, as much of the USA leadership would have also lost their lives. We honor Barbara and the Holy Spirit for another chosen fast at 117 2nd Street NE.
James Joseph (Joe) Ferguson, who owned and lived in the back basement Condo#3 at that time, tragically lost his life that day in the plane that hit the Pentagon. Men For Nations was able to buy that condo, expanding their footprint to 3 condos in the building. Condo#3 became a bunkhouse for many to stay with Dick and Barbara while in DC.
So much has been birthed at 117 2nd Street.
- Dick Simmons hosted Lou Engle’s community when they first planted Justice House of Prayer (JHOPDC) in 2006.
- Dan Cummins stayed at 117 in 2012, as he was launching into in DC, in what now has become “Capitol Worships.”
- Antioch Church DC had some genesis moments in this building.
- Dia Sup Hahn’s “Prayer Surge Now” began while he lived at 117 with Dick Simmons.
- And David’s Tent DC… but we’ll get to that in a moment.
While at the YWAM base in Kona HI in 2011, to intercede for the launching of the Circuit Riders movement led by Brian Brennt and Andy Byrd, Jason Hershey received a word. A young lady he didn’t know approached him to share a dream from the night before. In the dream, Jason was in an upstairs room with an older man in DC warring in prayer over maps of the nations. In the dream, the old man and Jason called this upstairs room of intense intercession the War Room.
Immediately, Jason knew it was about Dick Simmons. There was no other older man in DC, other than Dick, who would war in the Spirit like that (the movie “War Room” wouldn’t come out for another four years, in 2015). Back in DC, Jason told Dick about the dream. Dick named his upstairs prayer room the War Room from that time forward. He fittingly died in that War Room, as one who fought the good fight of faith to the very end.
Dick Eastman and Every Home for Christ. 2015 – Present.
March 25, 2014 began the next chapter at 117. The Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) put the God-fearing, pro-life business of Hobby Lobby in an impossible position. By law, they would be bankrupt from federal fines if they did not provide abortive contraceptives to their employees. Holding to the fear of the Lord in one hand and saving their business with the other, Hobby Lobby fought this law all the way to the Supreme Court—and won.
Hobby Lobby was a significant financial partner of Every Home for Christ, based in Colorado Springs. Dick Eastman, president of EHC and friend of the Green family (Hobby Lobby) came to DC to support them in intercessory prayer during the Supreme Court oral argument. Everyone kept instructing him to “Go to Dick’s Place,” meaning Dick Simmons’ place at 117 2nd Street NE.
Connecting the Dots
Dick Eastman reached out to Dick Simmons and they had a prayer meeting in the living room in Condo#4 that night for the Hobby Lobby case. Over the next day, Dick Eastman spent some time with Dick Simmons. At one point, Simmons asked Eastman to come up to the War Room and pray a dedication prayer, specifically dedicating its new name, War Room, from that girl’s dream in 2011.
Dick Eastman was also a pioneer of 24/7 prayer in the USA. Some of his long 24/7 prayer history includes helping start the National Prayer Committee and National Day of Prayer. He also started a 24/7 house of prayer of young adults in Sacramento, CA in the 1970’s called The Prayer Corp. He’s always had the reputation of being a man of prayer. This house of prayer in Sacramento and his reputation of prayer even connected him with Tom Hess in 1986 when they dedicated the basement prayer room to the Lord.
As Eastman ascended the steps up to the War Room with Simmons, he began to pray a prayer of dedication over the room. Eastman was suddenly by the thought, “I feel like I’ve been here before.” After praying, he asked Simmons about Tom Hess. Simmons confirmed the connection. Tom Hess was indeed a previous of the basement condo of the same building. The dots finally got connected! Dick Simmons and Tom Hess, both asked Dick Eastman to dedicate prayer rooms in the same building—1986 in the basement and 2014 on the top floor!
There was a problem though. Simmons explained to Eastman, the basement condo was occupied. With jealousy for God’s house and the former dedicated, Eastman essentially bought her out.
Eastman and EHC saw the guideposts from God. They got involved in prayer in Washington DC as part of a call to initiate evangelistic efforts in the USA.
In 2015, the prayer room was restored in the basement becoming the American Center for Prayer and Revival (ACPR) named by Dick Eastman. Dick Simmons still lived upstairs. Over the next several years EHC bought Condo#2 (from From the Father with Love Foundation), Condo#3 (from Men for Nations), and eventually bought Condo#4 from Dick Simmons’ estate in 2021. EHC also purchased the basement condo at 101 2nd Street NE, on the corner of the same block, to assist with housing for the ACPR staff.
Today, four of the five condos at 117 2nd Street NE are owned by EHC and stewarded in partnership with Davids Tent DC. Condo#5 has been owned by the former Ambassador of Religious Liberty, Sam Brownback of Kansas, since 2003 when he was in the US Senate. He is the best in-house neighbor a house of prayer could ask for. He was a faithful friend of Dick Simmons. In addition, he is supportive of the ACPR and all the prayerful people that come through this building.
In 2015, the ACPR started hosting prayer immediately as the basement condo was purchased. As an inaugural prayer season, Jason Hershey hosted 40 nights of prayer 10 pm – Midnight during a fast in the summer of 2015. These 40 days of fasting and prayer were the breakthrough for David’s Tent DC to go 365 days a year, starting later that fall.
David’s Tent DC and YWAM DC led by Jason Hershey have stewarded prayer in the building for EHC since 2015. Currently, Jason Hershey works with Jesse Engle from EHC to give oversight of operations at the ACPR.
For such a time as this:
As staff with the David’s Tent DC community, Wayne and Jenese Garland became the first residential directors of the ACPR 2016 – 2020. They grew the prayer room from just a couple watches a week to finally the vigilant 24/7/365, January 1, 2020.
Three months after taking the ACPR to 24/7 they passed the torch to Melody Royal who continued the work from April of 2020 until July of 2021. Cortney Post has been the residential director since then.
How do we pray?
Do you remember how Solomon asked for wisdom and got a whole kitchen sink of blessings as well? The foundational prayer of this new 24/7 lamp will be
Ephesians 1:17, that the Lord will fill America with the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1:17 is a core answer to the Ephesians 1:17 prayer for revelation. “Jesus is before all things and in Him all things hold together.”
As a convenient reminder, the address of the ACPR is 117 2nd Street. It’s all about the revelation of Jesus!
Meanwhile, David’s Tent keeps on blazing.
Whenever you come to DC, be sure to stop by the ACPR AND David’s Tent on the National Mall to pray with us. David’s Tent is open to all at all hours. The ACPR, though now going 24/7, will have private prayer hours at times where it won’t be open to the public. If you feel called to join the on-the-ground staff team in DC for either or both of these places of worship and prayer, short-term or long, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s all keep the 40-year prayer watch alive in our Father’s House on Capitol Hill.