Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering (Hebrews 13:3).
It was just before dawn on a cold winter morning on the farm. I had just shifted a line of irrigation pipes in a crop of potatoes. My bare feet were encased in congealed, cold, numbing mud. My last task before breakfast was to start the irrigation pump. When I tried to kick start the motorbike my foot slipped off the kick starter and my big toe struck the metal foot peg. I felt nothing at the time but when I arrived at the pump I looked down and noticed lots of blood oozing through the mud on my feet! On closer inspection, I discovered that I had a very deep gash under my big toe. It was a really nasty injury which was surprising! I had not even felt it because my foot was so numb from the cold. It seems to me that just as I was oblivious to the serious damage done to my body, we can be unaware of the damage that is done daily to the body of Christ.
Every day followers of Jesus around the world are subjected to ridicule, persecution, abuse, torture, abduction and even death. In a recent statement, the International Society for Human Rights said that 80% of all religious freedom violations in the world are directed against Christians. Shockingly, it is estimated that every five minutes a follower of Jesus is put to death somewhere in the world simply because they have faith in Jesus. Some have gone as far as to say that the current levels of persecution against Christians are worse today than at any time in history! As followers of Jesus, we are spiritually connected to all of the other followers of Jesus around the globe. The Bible describes this union as just like being part of a body (1Co 12:12). Just as pain from an injury in one part of our physical bodies affects the rest of our body, so to the pain and suffering of one part of our spiritual body should affect the whole in some way. So why don’t we always feel their pain? Perhaps we do not feel the pain and suffering of our brothers and sisters around the world because we are numbed by complacency, indifference, apathy or just plain ignorance. I did not know that there was a problem with my toe until I went looking and noticed some disturbing signs. There are a number of organizations that help us be aware of what is happening for many of our brothers and sisters around the world; organizations such as the Barnabas Fund, the Voice of the Martyrs, or The Open Doors. When I found out that my foot was injured, I immediately took action to give aid to my injured member. The bible says that we should empathize with our suffering family to the point of actually considering ourselves to be in their shoes. Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. (Hebrews 13:3). The following websites can provide specific information about the scope and pain that the body that you and your church are a part of is experiencing worldwide and may assist in providing information as to how we can aid those parts of the body that are hurting.
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He then said: “Follow me.”
– Luke 9:58-59a
This church lets 225 homeless sleep on the pews
Lack of sleep is one of the most critical health issues for the homeless. An average of 225 homeless people seek safety and rest on the pews in the sanctuary of St. Boniface church in San Francisco every day, thanks to The Gubbio Project.
The Gubbio Project was co-founded in 2004 by community activists Shelly Roder and Father Louis Vitale as a non-denominational project of St. Boniface Neighborhood Center located in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood in response to the increasing numbers of homeless men and women in need of refuge from the streets.
“No questions are asked when our guests walk into the churches; in an effort to remove all barriers to entry, there are no sign-in sheets or intake forms. No one is ever turned away; all are welcomed, respected and treated with dignity,” the project’s website states.
While the church uses the front 1/3 of the sanctuary for church-goers to celebrate daily mass at 12:15 p.m., the Gubbio Project uses the back 2/3 of the sanctuary. “This sends a powerful message to our unhoused neighbors – they are in essence part of the community, not to be kicked out when those with homes come in to worship,” the non profit organization says. “It also sends a message to those attending mass – the community includes the tired, the poor, those with mental health issues and those who are wet, cold and dirty.”
In addition to a place to rest, the church offers warm blankets, socks, hygeine kits, and massage services.
Benin: high school boy defeats voodoo attacks in Jesus’ name. Voodoo priests sent talking birds to take Christian down.
Nestor got introduced to the gospel even when there wasn’t a single Christian church in his village of 1,400 people. Twenty years later, two churches were planted in Houndjohoundji in 2018. “People were begging for a church to open.”
By Michael Ashcraft —
Nestor Kouassi today in America.
Nestor Kouassi had seen the voodoo priests and witches do unutterable things: make statues move, bury people alive who later come out of the jungle, send bird spirits to kill enemies.
So when he accepted Jesus in 1997 and started what became a high-stakes spiritual battle with them in his town of Houndjohoundji, Benin, it was a fearful thing.
“A lot of people didn’t like it that we were calling with fire and praying all night,” Nestor says. “They threatened us that they would kill us. They made false accusations. Anything to get us in trouble.”
Nestor got introduced to the gospel even when there wasn’t a single Christian church in his village of 1,400 people. His nation, Benin, holds the dubious distinction of being the worldwide birthplace of voodoo. Even the name of his village was a satanic incantation.
People feared the voodoo lords, and Christianity couldn’t crack the town.
“We would mock him,” Nestor remembers. “People would insult him.”
Then his best friend, Cyrille, accepted Jesus to get cured of a nasty, prolonged stomach pain. Cyrille was a “rough man” who would steal and fight for nothing, so when Nestor saw an authentic change in him after two weeks, he became convinced.
“He completely changed,” he says. “I said, ‘If this guy can change, there must be a God. I want to get to know that God.’”
But Cyrille didn’t remember the “sinner’s prayer.” So they just read the Bible together 4-5 hours a day. After one week, Nestor was born again.
“Something happened in my life, and I knew that I knew that I knew that I had met the man Jesus,” Nestor recalls. “It felt like a liquid fire going through my soul, and all of my fears of witchcraft and voodoo disappeared and the river flowed from the inside.”
The nearest church was seven miles away. When they couldn’t attend service there, they devoured the Bible together. After two weeks, they were inspired to share their faith.
“We could not hide it anymore. We took to the streets and wanted to share with people our new discovery: Jesus of Nazareth, woo!” he recounts, relishing the memory.
“Our preaching was met with hostility like you’ve never seen before,” Nestor says. “What made them furious is that we would pray for people and they would get healed. People would say, ‘If you’re sick, go to the Jesus guys.’”
Another friend, Valentin, converted and the three friends read the word and ministered in the streets together. But nobody else dared cross the powers of the town and join their group, even though they viewed them favorably.
The prayers of Nestor and his friends began to disrupt the voodoo power, he says. So the witches attacked them.
“They didn’t want real Christianity. It disturbed them,” Nestor says. “They wouldn’t be able to operate anymore. If we’re calling upon Jesus, there is a power struggle. The witches cannot operate when we are calling upon Jesus.”
The witches had a technique they called a “spiritual gun” and the victim target of their incantations would writhe in pain. But the gun didn’t work on Nestor and his buddies, he said.
The priests had a special “founder drum” that when they beat it and pronounced their incantations, lightning would strike the targeted victim even when there was no thunderstorm. Again, it didn’t work.
For six or seven years, the arm-wrestling match continued. Nestor was going to high school in the biggest town in the area nearby, Grand-popo. He would face off with the voodoo priests on weekends and vacations.
The voodoo festivals began to misfire. Things didn’t work. The supernatural tricks fizzled. The town was abuzz with the goings-on.
“People began to question the witches’ power,” he says. “They said, ‘These Jesus guys must have something.’ They were scared. They listened to us, they admired us, but joining us was a real problem.”
Tensions were rising and the threats were increasing. When the chief witch threatened Nestor’s mother with her son’s death, Nestor went to confront him. He found all the witches together in their afternoon gathering in the public place.
“They told us they would reduce us to nothing. I told them nothing would happen,” Nestor remembers.
“In this battle, you will definitely see Jesus,” he responded to their threats.
That night, Nestor did indeed confront demon spirits, but ultimately they could do him no harm.
“I saw the power of witchcraft. I was in my room at midnight. I closed my eyes. All of a sudden, I heard hundreds of birds flapping in the room. They were talking in human voices. They said, ‘Take him.’ I could feel people’s hands. They tried to lift me off my bed. But I became so heavy, they couldn’t. They tried and tried and they left,” Nestor says.
It was worse than Alfred Hitchcock’s famous horror movie, The Birds.
“I opened my eyes, got up, and said, ‘Whoa, what is going on? What is this?” Then they came back with the chief priest who said, ‘Who is this little boy that you can’t get him?’ The same birds flapping, the voices, they couldn’t take me,” he says.
“In the morning I felt like I was sick for weeks. I couldn’t eat. I went at 11:30 to my mom’s. On the way over, I met this witch. When he saw me, he was afraid. I just laughed.”
The next day at midnight, there was a great commotion in the village. The chief voodoo priest lost consciousness in his house.
Thirteen hours later, he was pronounced dead in the nearest hospital.
“That’s how the hostility finished,” Nestor says. “They called us ‘witches of Jesus.’ They said don’t try anything against them.”
Since those times, Nestor and his wife immigrated to America with student visas. Cyrille lives in Grand-popo and farms. Valentin is an accountant in a big company.
Twenty years later, two churches were planted in Houndjohoundji in 2018. “People were begging for a church to open.”
May God receive the glory for all He has done!
Michael Ashcraft was a missionary for 15 years during which he founded the Liceo Bilingue La Puerta Christian school in Guatemala. It was long enough for him to see firsthand enough witchcraft to believe his friend, Nestor, when he recounted his conflict with the voodoo lords.
In the Bible we see a vision for equality between men and women, both male and female bearing together the image of God.
And the story of the Bible plays that out in amazing ways. Even in the Old Testament, you see a woman like Miriam leading a whole nation in worship. You see a woman like Deborah leading a nation politically, making judgments, making decisions, and even leading her country to war.
You see that women didn’t require a man to be a kind of mediator between them and God. They could pray directly to God. They didn’t need a husband or a father to have a relationship with God. Now sometimes people say, “Yeah, but come on, in Genesis alright, women and men both bear the image of God, but doesn’t the Bible call women sort of “helpers”. Isn’t that word there in Genesis?”
The word that is translated there “helper” is the word ezer and it’s not a term of domination or subjugation because God uses that name ezer to describe himself in his relationship to us as human beings. God is our ezer. He is our helper. It’s a powerful, strong, amazing, not sexist image.
And then we come to the New Testament. We see that Jesus directly resists the sexism that he sees and observes around him. There’s a story in John’s gospel in chapter four where a woman is talking to Jesus and the male disciples come and they see this. They see Jesus one on one with the woman. It says they’re amazed, they’re horrified, they’re staggered. What? To see him just talking one on one to a woman. Jesus considered women to be worthy of theological instruction.
It was a woman called Martha who was the recipient of one of the most amazing doctrinal statements of the New Testament: “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live and they will never die.” Jesus just brought that to Martha.
And then you see this amazing pattern emerge as you read the New Testament where women sort of have this front row seat, and the extraordinary role of witnessing the core elements of the Christian faith. It’s Mary who is the primary witness to the incarnation, the virgin birth. It’s the women at the cross who are the primary witnesses to the crucifixion, to the atonement, to the cross of Jesus. The men have all disappeared apart from John. It’s women who were there witnessing the cross and then, of course, it is women who were first at the resurrection.
When you read the New Testament you see in the early church that women like Phoebe led the church in Rome. Women like Junia were considered to be outstanding by Paul among the apostles.
There are three verses which some people use to say that women should be subjugated.
In 1 Corinthians it talks about women being silent in church. Now how do we understand that? If you read the whole letter you see that in the same letter, the same author tells women how to prophecy when they prophesy in church, which meant speak publicly, and it says to have your head covered. That meant just modesty in those days. Don’t be showing off your body or your hair while you prophesy. So clearly, it didn’t mean women should never speak and be silent. It’s speaking to a specific group of women who were disrupting the services.
Another verse talks about men being the head of women. The Greek word is kephale and sometimes that has been taken to mean dominance or subjugation, but if you read the verse in context you see that God is the head of Christ. So if it means hierarchy, that doesn’t make sense of the Trinity. So whatever that kephale word means in terms of a relationship between a man and a woman in a marriage, it doesn’t mean domination. In fact, as we read anything about God’s kingdom, it is primarily about service, about love, about laying down our lives for one another.
Then there’s another verse in 1 Timothy 2 that talks about women not teaching, not being permitted to teach or have authority. Now remember, we’ve already been taught by women like Martha, by women like Mary. We’ve already seen that women like Priscilla taught. We know that Phoebe taught. She was in authority in the Roman church.
Paul was writing that letter of 1 Timothy to the leader of the Ephesian church, Timothy. And the context there was the worship of the goddess Artemis where women dominated and subjugated men in that culture and it seems that as those women got converted it had crept into the Ephesian church. So Paul is helping Timothy to correct that specific pastoral situation. And most likely those women were saying, “Well Paul says that everyone has sinned in Adam, that we all sinned in Adam.” They just heard about this guy Adam who caused the world to sin and then the second Adam, Jesus, and Paul is saying, “Timothy, you need to explain to them that Eve was involved.” She actually sinned first.
I want to finish with a quote from one of my favourite apologists, Dorothy L. Sayers.
She writes this about Jesus:
“Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man – there never has been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, never flattered or coaxed or patronized; who never made arch jokes about them, never treated them either as “The women, God help us!” or “The ladies, God bless them!”; who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously; who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no axe to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unself-conscious. There is no act, no sermon, no parable in the whole Gospel that borrows its pungency from female perversity; nobody could possibly guess from the words and deeds of Jesus that there was anything “funny” about woman’s nature.”
This is my invitation for you to be included in our informal group of people committed to giving at least:
(1) one hour a day to worship and prayer. You may be doing that anyway so you may like to be included in our praying friends’ group.
(2) one hour a week devoted to worship and prayer in addition to church services!
You can inform me on firstname.lastname@example.org I hope to eventually post numbers involved to inspire us all. I’ve found it helpful and inspiring to add a brief Bible quote in red biro in my diary each day for the last 50 years, from my daily reading and prayer.
Here a few of my favourite Bible Prayers – you can pray as you read.
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Yourname. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earthas it is in heaven. Give us this day ourdaily bread. Andforgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, Butdeliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13)
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, And You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all.
Now therefore, our God, We thank You And praise Your glorious name. (1 Chronicles 29:11-13)
Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. 4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just [a]when You speak, And blameless when You judge.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. 6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice. 9 Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. 15 O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise. 16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise. (Psalm 51:1-17)
At Herrnhut, Zinzendorf visited all the adult members of the deeply divided community. He drew up a covenant calling upon them ‘to seek out and emphasize the points in which they agreed’ rather than stressing their differences. On 12 May 1727 they all signed an agreement to dedicate their lives, as he dedicated his, to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Moravian revival of 1727 was thus preceded and then sustained by extraordinary praying. A spirit of grace, unity and supplications grew among them.
On 16 July the Count poured out his soul in a prayer accompanied with a flood of tears. This prayer produced an extraordinary effect. The whole community began praying as never before.
On 22 July many of the community covenanted together on their own accord to meet often to pour out their hearts in prayer and hymns.
On 5 August the Count spent the whole night in prayer with about twelve or fourteen others following a large meeting for prayer at midnight where great emotion prevailed.
On Sunday, 10 August, Pastor Rothe, while leading the service at Herrnhut, was overwhelmed by the power of the Lord about noon. He sank down into the dust before God. So did the whole congregation. They continued till midnight in prayer and singing, weeping and praying.
On Wednesday, 13 August, the Holy Spirit was poured out on them all. Their prayers were answered in ways far beyond anyone’s expectations. Many of them decided to set aside certain times for continued earnest prayer.
On 26 August, twenty-four men and twenty-four women covenanted together to continue praying in intervals of one hour each, day and night, each hour allocated by lots to different people.
On 27 August, this new regulation began. Others joined the intercessors and the number involved increased to seventy-seven. They all carefully observed the hour which had been appointed for them. The intercessors had a weekly meeting where prayer needs were given to them.
The children, also touched powerfully by God, began a similar plan among themselves. Those who heard their infant supplications were deeply moved. The children’s prayers and supplications had a powerful effect on the whole community.
That astonishing prayer meeting beginning in 1727 went on for one hundred years. It was unique. Known as the Hourly Intercession, it involved relays of men and women in prayer without ceasing made to God. That prayer also led to action, especially evangelism. More than one hundred missionaries left that village community in the next twenty-five years, all constantly supported in prayer.
MIRACLE IN ISRAEL A leader of Yeshiva in Jaffa posted this message (translated into English). Jews do not print the holy name of God but use G-d or similar.
I observed the hand of G-d today with my own eyes. Now I know FOR SURE that there is a G-d! No one told it to me… I didn’t hear it from someone else…I saw this happen with my own eyes. I am an integral part of the iron dome operation. What we do here is an exact science and I cannot give many details of what we do. We knew that a missile was headed directly for Tel Aviv… aimed at one of the 3 big towers, a shopping centre in the middle of the city.
We sent up one missile to intercept it, and we missed. We sent a second one, and we missed. We sent a third one to intercept…and we missed. Something even remotely like this has only happened one other time ever that I am aware of. We are very exact and very good at what we do. We do not miss. So to miss 3 times is not possible. By this time, disaster was imminent. We alerted all of the emergency crews within and around Tel Aviv to evacuate, but by this time there was little that could be done. Their missile was only minutes from detonation. We began the procedure of sending off one final missile to try and intercept it just before it came down, but we knew that casualties would still be imminent.
Now, you must understand, our calculations based on physics and aerodynamics and weather (wind, atmosphere, humidity) are complete…there is NOTHING we don’t take into account. This is how it is able to work so precisely. But all of a sudden, as we were scrambling to do anything and everything we could to save Tel Aviv, all of a sudden OUT OF NOWHERE came up a huge wind…one that was not on the radar…one that DID NOT EXIST before…and blew the missile from over Tel Aviv all the way into the Sea and dropped it off exactly safely into the water where no one was injured! You must understand…there was NO WIND…and then there was A HUGE WIND. This is not a couple of inches of a “move” that any gentle breeze could influence…this is MILES.
It was nothing other than the hand of G-d! I saw it with my very own eyes! The wind was not there before and it was not there after. It didn’t come from somewhere, it came from NOWHERE. And after it moved the missile to the sea, it disappeared! So, after seeing this, I can no longer deny the existence of G-d. I put a tallit (prayer shawl) on right after this, and I took upon myself to keep Shabbat. Yesterday was my first Shabbat to keep and it was the best Shabbat of my life.
This is from a friend’s friend who lives in Israel. Our God is an awesome God. He is the God of Israel. He is the God of the universe. There is nothing He cannot do. – Ruth Web
USA: The Whatcom Story: how day and night prayer impacted a community.
Almost every significant move of God in history was preceded by fervent, united prayer. This inspired Christians in Whatcom county on the north-west coast of the United States to establish a ‘canopy of day and night prayer’ over their region. The results are astonishing.
“One night I was in church and I heard a prophecy that God would move by his Spirit over the native north-west tribes of the United States,” recalls Viola Riebe of the Hoh River Nation. “It would be like a tsunami, gaining in power, moving from the natives to other churches.” For Riebe this was a hopeful prophecy, as back in 1700 a giant earthquake in the area generated a tsunami that almost devastated her native tribe. She felt God wanted to turn the negative past into a positive future.
In 2008 a house of prayer was launched in Bellingham, the county’s seat, a community of 90,000 people. This Light of the World Prayer Center (LOWPC) included native American believers and Christians from other churches. Together they established a day and night prayer watch, similar to the Moravians in Herrnhut.
The Spirit of the Moravians
“What God has been doing in Whatcom county is linked to this town in Germany,” says Jason Hubbard, director of the LOWPC. “God led me to visit Herrnhut, home of Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians. I learned their amazing story of awakening into prayer and missions. The passion of these Moravian believers was ‘to win for the Lamb who was slain the due reward of his suffering’.* Inspired by their example, we wanted to be a modern-day expression of this powerful movement of united prayer and missions.”
* This quote has been attributed to missionaries Johann Leonhard Dober and David Nitschmann, two young Moravian Brethren from Herrnhut, Germany. When God called them in 1732 to minister to the African slaves on the islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix in the Danish West Indies, they were willing to sell themselves to a slave owner if that was the only way to reach the slaves. As their ship pulled away from the docks, it is said that they called out to their loved ones on shore, “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!”
Whatcom county could certainly use a change in the spiritual atmosphere. “Over the last several decades we have seen tragic church splits among God’s people, an increase of witchcraft and sexual immorality, pastors who have fallen,” says Hubbard. “However, since day and night prayer has been established in a simple way, senior pastors are gathering monthly to build spiritual friendships and seek God for the county.”
“This is an unbelievable blessing,” says Grant Fishbook, pastor of Christ the King. “Trust has been built over time as the message sunk in that we’re not each other’s competition. Our competitor is the devil, but we are family and on the same team. We love each other and want to live that out. Now the pastors text and call each other for encouragement and drink coffee together, because there’s a genuine interest in what’s happening with each part of the family. They ask: How are you doing, how can I pray, how can I support you?”
“When we exalt Christ, it brings us together,” says Shawn Cunningham, pastor of Hilcrest Chapel. “We have seen a growth and increasing unity among churches in Whatcom county and that has come through the power of prayer. Prayer by nature unifies God’s people.”
Alvin Vandergriend, church prayer coordinator of the 3rd Christian Reformed Church, agrees. “A canopy of prayer is a covering of God’s providential blessing over a territory. Prayer is where we access God’s resource and heart, where he empowers us to fulfil his mission. For all the years I’ve been involved in ministry, I’ve never seen pastors come together like now in Whatcom county – in the numbers they are coming together, the prayer that happens there, and the encouragement they give each other. It is quite amazing.”
In Whatcom county 80 pastors out of a hundred are now praying consistently together. This includes the native, Hispanic and Korean churches, it’s a truly multi-cultural expression of the Body of Christ. Pastors have also been sharing their pulpits and holding joint community services with thousands of people coming together.
Phenominal church growth: 10,000 salvations, 80 church plants
The unity also led to an explosion of church plants – 80 church plants in a decade – with 10,000 first-time salvations of people who were baptized in water. This is a phenominal church growth in what has historically been one of the least churched areas in the United States.
The 15,000 member strong Hispanic community experiences a real revival. Ivan Montenegro, church planter with the Hispanic Church, reports: “Every day we see people come to Christ. We started 11 new churches and baptized at least 1,500 people, which is a 10% growth. If you ask me: ‘How come?’ all I can say is: it’s the fire of God through prayer. Every church in our area is growing.”
Churches also developed a county-wide men’s ministry. These men come from 40 different churches and see their lives transformed through the gospel and prayer. Raul Chaves, Men’s pastor at Band of Brothers, says: “Healing is taking place in these men and their families. They become the men God intended them to be. And it’s all about prayer. We pray before, during and after everything we do.”
Cleaning up the city
“We can corporately serve the community and those in need,” says Jo Fletcher, director of NWCF/SOS. “When the police told us that they don’t have the manpower to clean up the graffiti in the city, we mobilized five churches and 500 people to get the job done. It was a great opportunity to make a difference for people who have been vandalized, to experience the love of Christ.”
Impact on students and children
Focusing prayer on college campuses also paid off. At Western Washington University 70 professors began to connect and pray together. On Friday nights 600 students are seeking God for their campus. “It boggles my mind that wherever I turn I see students praying and reading the Bible,” says professor Paul Chen. “In three to four years the Christian presence on our campus will have increased.”
Ekklesia pastor Brian McSwan reports that 35 youth pastors meet together on a monthly basis, and every Wednesday night young adults gather downtown to pray. Around 700 kids now participate each week in Good News Clubs in Whatcom county, with 60 percent of them unchurched.
Pregnancy clinics and foster care
The churches in Whatcom county are also contending for life. “We believe that God is a god of adoption and a father to the fatherless,” explains Jason Hubbard. “We’ve been praying for women at the pregnancy clinic to find hope for their future. We’ve been praying for the number of adoptions to increase in Whatcom county. We are also praying for God to end abortion.”
Christie Tucker, counselor at the Whatcom Pregnancy Clinic, confirms the effects of prayer at the crisis pregnancy clinic. “We have women who came in adamant to have an abortion. We say little, we just love them and pray. As we’re praying we see their hearts transform, and women go from thinking that abortion is their only option to realizing that they want and love their child. Our abortion numbers have consistently dropped over the last 10 years.”
Prayer for women at risk
Lani Swanson of Skookum House
Christians also turned their hearts to the foster care system. “At the World Prayer Center we pray deliberately and strategically about the needs of foster kids, foster parents and the social workers working with them,” says Ray Deck III, director of Skookum Kids. “As a result, the number of available foster homes here in Whatcom county has doubled in the last three years.”
Lani Swanson, family sphere coordinator at the LOWPC, introduces us to the Skookum House, a 72-hour emergency foster care home, run by a hundred volunteers. This six-bed facility is the first place that children come to when they’ve been taken out of their home because of an emergency situation. “When the social workers bring them here, they’re probably experiencing the biggest trauma in their life, and we can be there for them with love, prayer and a cup of cool water.”
Women at risk and homeless people
A local rescue home, birthed in prayer, has seen the restoration of dozens of trafficked women, with 30 coming to salvation. Aaron Newcomb, founder of Engedi Refuge, says: “We are attempting to do something that we are incapable of doing ourselves. Only God is capable of healing someone’s heart and past. In our long-term program we have seen over 90% of the women who came for help not return to any form of sex trafficking. Normally a program like ours has a 15-20% success rate. God is actually healing and restoring their lives in an incredible way.”
Shannon Williamson is director of the Drop-in Center, a shelter where Christians provide a bed and food to the homeless. She explains that combining worship and intercession with hands-on ministry is powerful. “We are under a canopy of day and night prayer. We minister first before the Lord, and then we go out and serve and minister in the community.”
Shannon Williamson giving a Bible study in the homeless shelter
The Light of the World Prayer Center also consistently ‘surrounds’ business people with prayer. Business owners fellowship and partner together with the aim to see their businesses become a force for change in the community. “We have a strong business team,” says Strategic Teams leader Jeremy Schweder. “Several businesses we’ve been praying for last year had breakthrough years where they’ve prospered in incredible ways.” This is confirmed by Wes Herman, founder of Woods Coffee. “We’ve seen amazing growth. We’re now building stores 20 and 21. I believe that the things that are happening here are no accident. It’s a fruit of prayer.”
The vision is spreading
In Whatcom county the principles of exalting Jesus in day and night prayer and worship, unity among the local churches, and together loving and serving the community, brings transformation. Because it’s such a workable strategy, it is spreading like wildfire to other communities and cities. So far 12 other cities in America and cities in Indonesia, the Czech Republic, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates have adopted the prayer strategy and are also beginning to see transformation.
In February 2019 Jason Hubbard, Whatcom county’s prayer director, was appointed as executive coordinator of the International Prayer Council, a global network of prayer movements. This will help to spread the vision.
Attitude: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14
Boldness: The Lord is my light and my
salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of
whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1
Courage: That was
the true Light which gives light to everyone coming into the world. John 1:9
Discernment: And this I pray, that your love may abound still
more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the
things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense Philippians 1:9-10
whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, Colossians 3:23
Friendliness: A man who has friends must
himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer
than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under
compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7
Humility: Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but
in humility regard others as better than yourselves. … Let the same
mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
Initiative: Little children, let us love, not in word
or speech, but in truth and action. 1
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will
say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4
Knowledge: An intelligent mind acquires knowledge, and the
ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
Listening: Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to advice. Proverbs 12:15
not be children in your thinking; … but in thinking be adults. 1 Corinthians 14:20
shall love your neighbour as yourself.” Mark 12:31; Leviticus 19:18
the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that
you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
Perseverance: And let
us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we
do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9
Quiet: A fool gives full vent to anger, but the wise quietly holds it back. Proverbs 29:11
Respect:Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above
yourselves. Romans 12:10
make every effort
to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to
knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to
perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual
affection, love. 2 Peter 1:5-7
Thankfulness: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures for ever. 1 Chronicles 176:34
Understanding: The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives
understanding to the simple. Psalm
Victory: For by You I can run against a troop, By my
God I can leap over a wall. Psalm 18:29
Wisdom: But the
wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to
yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without
hypocrisy. James 1:5; 3:17
eXcellence: So you will find favour and good repute in the sight of God and of people. Proverbs 3:4
no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in
word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12
Zeal: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2
We’ve heard of the Toronto Blessing and the Pensacola Revival. Now we’re hearing of unusual revival spreading across the South of the USA. This article was featured in the November 2018 issue of Charisma.
North America has hosted many great revivals over the last few centuries. Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield led the First Great Awakening in the colonial United States in the 1730s and 1740s. In the early 1800s, the Cane Ridge Revival in Kentucky kicked off the Second Great Awakening. People came from around the world to witness the Holy Spirit’s power at Azusa Street Revival of 1906. And in the 1990s, thousands flocked to the Toronto Blessing and the Brownsville Revival.
Now, mere miles from the site of the original Cane Ridge Revival, seeds are being planted for the next great move of God—and maybe even a Third Great Awakening. Earlier this year, traveling evangelist Rick Curry visited Mt. Carmel Christian Church in Paris, Kentucky. The church was founded in 1818 by a man denounced by his former church for attending the original Cane Ridge revival. Curry was invited to preach at Mt. Carmel’s 200th-anniversary celebration, which happened to fall on Pentecost Sunday. During his message, revival broke out and hasn’t subsided since.
But this Kentucky city isn’t the only one experiencing revival. In fact, it’s just one example of an insatiable hunger for God’s presence breaking out in cities and towns across America.
At New Life Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, pastor Mike Fehlauer says an incredible move of God has taken place since he and his staff decided to “get out of God’s way and give the Holy Spirit room to work.” Since June, New Life has seen more than 300 baptisms, numerous salvations, and physical and emotional healings and deliverance.
Christ Fellowship Church in Dawsonville, Georgia, has experienced revival since February under lead pastor Todd Smith. This charismatic church of 350 people has witnessed more than 865 baptisms. Smith says people have travelled hundreds—even thousands—of miles just to “walk into the baptismal waters and feel the presence of the Lord.” As a result, many have been miraculously healed and delivered from addictions and emotional scars.
Even the U.S. military base at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, is feeling the Spirit’s fire. The Baptist Press reports that chaplains have seen “an incredible hunger for God,” with nearly 2,000 soldiers giving their lives to Christ since March. In Greeneville, Tennessee, a tent revival led by evangelist D.R. Harrison has lasted over five months and led to hundreds of salvations.
Pat Schatzline, an Assemblies of God minister and travelling evangelist who has studied revivals and written books on the need for spiritual renewal, says these revivals show the church is on the cusp of breakthrough.
“It is the embryonic stages of the Third Great Awakening,” Schatzline says. “… I believe that with all my heart.”
Baptisms in Georgia
The Dawsonville revival began when God gave Schatzline a vision of a mysterious pastor. Schatzline didn’t know who the man was, but he could see he was wracked with despair, sitting alone in a dark room. Hundreds of miles away, pastor Smith was doing just that, crying out to God and looking for a sign that he should continue to lead Christ Fellowship Church.
“If You don’t move, I’m done,” Smith said.
Smith got his sign when Schatzline reached out through a mutual friend. Schatzline gave Smith a message: God is coming to Christ Fellowship Church, and He is going to restore the promise He gave you eight years ago.
Then Smith received a prophetic vision of his own. He saw the church’s baptistry—the baptism pool was full, and a strip of fire appeared on top of the water. Shortly after, Smith says, God “sat down in our building and rocked our world.” Christ Fellowship hasn’t been the same since, attracting visitors from South Carolina, Minnesota and even California.
“The presence of God and the outpouring of the Holy Ghost have just erupted here,” Smith says.
Prior to the revival, Christ Fellowship conducted only a handful of baptisms each month. But since February, more than 40 people often experience water baptism in a single service, pushing the services well past midnight. One Sunday night, 114 people were baptized. Such high numbers of baptisms didn’t start immediately. But Smith says they quickly multiplied as the power of God manifested and people hungered for healing.
“The fame of his name and what He was doing in those waters began to spread,” Smith says. “When we would give the invitation, you would see 30 or 40 people run to the front to get baptized. The power of God was violent in the water. People would thrash around. Fire confronts what is going on in their lives. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen. And it has nothing to do with us as a church or any personalities involved. It’s simply God’s presence and His power.”
Some are calling the meetings a “baptism revival,” a term Don Allen, lead pastor of The Church at War Hill, says he’s never heard before. But after preaching several times at Christ Fellowship, Allen’s seen it for himself.
In the baptismal waters, numerous individuals have been healed of longtime physical ailments. Smith says the church is careful to record and follow up on them with health-care professionals so as not to minimize God’s glory.
One example is Amanda Boan, an 11-year-old who shunned foot surgery to remove an extra bone in her foot that caused her foot to twist to the side, leaving her with great pain and a limited ability to run. Boan was baptized during a Sunday-night service and continued to believe for her healing. At a service soon afterward, Boan went up to the altar and experienced instant healing: “It was like my foot was tight and then it was loosened.”
She could place her foot flat on the floor and run around the church without pain. Doctors confirmed she no longer needed surgery.
Amy Ransom also received healing. For almost three decades, Ransom suffered debilitating migraine headaches that also affected her financially due to the out-of-pocket medication costs. During a Sunday-night service, Ransom knew after fasting and praying she had been healed.
“I have gone from having daily migraines for 28 years to none,” Ransom says.
And Donna Posey, a longtime Christ Fellowship member, says God healed her of bone loss in her mouth during the second revival service in February. The condition had lingered for years, and because she didn’t have enough bone to support her dentures, implant surgery was her only option. After fervent prayer for the affected area, Posey visited her dentist, who confirmed 30 percent bone gain in her mouth. Posey says her dentist “looked at my X-ray and asked me if I believed in miracles.”
But healings and deliverance aren’t all this move of God has produced. It has had a profound spiritual effect on other churches in the region.
“We’re watching people from all faiths come here and receive what the Holy Spirit has for them,” Allen says. “Not only are we seeing salvations and miracles, but we’re seeing reconciliation among the churches here, the body of Christ really working together. You are literally seeing the miracle of unity. Our church has seen renewed prayer exponentially. Our people are now interceding for Todd’s church and for others. It’s amazing.”
Renewal in Kentucky
After the Cane Ridge Revival sparked the Second Great Awakening, revival spread across the American frontier. Now Mt. Carmel Christian Church has become the site of a new revival.
After Curry preached at Mt. Carmel’s 200th anniversary celebration, he says, the altars were filled at the conclusion of the first service in May. The meetings became so popular they had to be moved to a bigger facility, nearby River of Life Ministries in Paris, and the house is packed three nights a week.
“As worship filled the old sanctuary, we heard a remarkable sound,” Curry says. “It sounded as if every person in the sanctuary started simultaneously stomping their feet on the old wooden floors. I felt quickened in my spirit that it was the sound of the Lord coming upon the land. The sound of jubilant breakthrough resonated from the hearts of the people in that service, and it was as though we all knew revival was being birthed.”
Ministers from throughout Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Oklahoma and New Jersey have reportedly visited the revival in Paris.
“We have seen hundreds, a thousand come to the altar,” Curry says. “People have been saved, delivered and many are returning to the Lord, surrendering their yielding hearts. We have seen many miracles and healings that are really stunning in this stage of the revival. We have seen pastors and leaders repenting, weeping and laughing in an outpouring of the refreshing.”
Repentance in Texas
Fehlauer says Jesus has always been the focus of New Life Church’s kingdom purpose. The multi-campus church grew from 650 to nearly 3,000 members since he took over as lead pastor in 2011.
But he admits something had been missing from the South Texas church’s services.
“I believe that Jesus has always been at the centre of what we’ve done, but I think our bandwidth was too narrow as far as the anointing and the presence of God is concerned,” Fehlauer says. “We weren’t giving Him time or enough room to do what He really wants to do here. God directed me to preach about the presence of the Lord and the hunger for Him. It’s His words, not mine, and I would say unequivocally that one of the biggest reasons we’re seeing this is that these people are hungry for more than the status quo. Since we started this, the presence of the Holy Spirit has been thick, and the expectancy for God to move has been very strong.”
At the first meeting, Fehlauer says more than 100 people responded to the altar call for repentance and salvation, and 10 people were baptized. The next week, another 100-plus people came forward. Soon after, many individuals expressed to church staff their desire to be baptized.
“Most of these people who come to our church are new Christians, and they don’t have any point of reference for any of this,” Fehlauer says. “But these people are spontaneously running to the altar because they’re desperate for everything God has for them. I’m talking about real Acts 2:38 repentance, when Peter said to repent and be baptized and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. People addicted to pornography and some to drugs have come to ask for forgiveness, and they have experienced deliverance and healing. We’ve had men come clean about adulterous affairs. It’s inspiring to see them repent of the hurt they’ve caused others.”
Fehlauer recalled the testimony of one woman from another church in Corpus Christi who visited New Life this summer. After one service, she approached a wife of one of the pastors. She told the pastor’s wife she had visited a couple of Brownsville Revival meetings in Pensacola, Florida, in 1995. The woman said she hadn’t experienced the Holy Spirit’s presence like that again—until now.
New Life’s executive pastor, Dan Goodson, 59, lived through the Jesus Movement in the 1970s. He also spent 12 years as the COO at Joyce Meyer Ministries and several years as the executive pastor at Destiny Church in St. Louis. But he says he’s never seen a hunger for Christ like the one New Life is experiencing.
“It’s really incredible how authentic this is. It’s not man-made,” Goodson says. “People are coming to the altar and just laying their burdens down. We’ve had people come to the altar, and they don’t know why they’re even coming because they’re unsaved. They’re wanting to get water-baptized because they are hungry for something they’ve never had. That’s how heavy the Holy Spirit has been in our services.”
Third Great Awakening
Schatzline, who has preached multiple services at Dawsonville, says what’s happening in Georgia, Texas and Kentucky is “a sovereign move of God.”
“Unfortunately, many churches have learned structure, systems and ambience,” Schatzline says. “They remove one-third of the Trinity—the Holy Spirit—and one-third from 100 is 66.6. That is the spirit of the Antichrist. What I think these pockets of revival are proving is that God is going to do things differently than many people think. It’s happening on the backroads and not the crossroads. It may sound like an odd term, but I feel like God is kissing the faithful—the ones who are pressed in, the ones who still believe. Those are people who have stuck to the core values of fasting, prayer and preaching the cross, and the results are now visibly manifesting in these churches.”
Allen agrees with Schatzline’s assessment of revival.
“I have personally begun to study the significant movements of the Great Awakenings,” Allen says. “When prayer increases and people repent to God and each other, that’s when the Spirit moves and great things happen.”
Curry says he has little doubt that a Third Great Awakening is on the horizon.
“I truly believe this is the seedbed of awakening,” Curry says. “I believe America’s greatest awakening lies ahead of us and not behind us. I believe that transforming revival will come to this nation soon.”
Shawn A. Akers is a content development editor for Charisma Media.
“Can I take some bread home?” asked a tattooed young man at our communion service in the slums of Nairobi in Kenya, East Africa. God’s Spirit had prompted me to buy a few loaves of bread, bottles of drink and plastic glasses for the congregation.
We shared real drink and two loaves of bread together among 30 people in their corrugated iron shed where I was the guest preacher.
“It’s your bread,” I answered. “You decide.” He quickly shoved a handful of bread into his pocket. Then most of the others did the same. Two weeks later, Frank, the young pastor, emailed me: “I’ve visited the slum homes of those people and they are still eating that bread. It’s still fresh.” Apparently God multiplied it.
Frank and his wife Linda then offered free bread and drink each Saturday for hungry, skinny slum people, usually catering for about 50 people. Sometimes many more turned up but they always had plenty. Apparently God kept multiplying it as needed.
A young pastor in Ghana in West Africa invited me to hold meetings there. So I arrived with three others from Brisbane during our college break in July, forgetting it was monsoon time in Ghana. We flew into a deluge of rain on a Monday. Our hosts planned night meetings in the market from Tuesday, with morning teaching in a local church.
“Can we hold the night rallies in the church?” I suggested.
“Oh, no,” they said. “Only church people go there. Meetings in the market attract the crowds.”
“What about the rain?” I asked.
“God sent you, so he’ll do something,” they responded, full of faith.
We drove for over an hour in pouring rain from Accra, the capital, to the town of Suhum in the hills for our first meeting on Tuesday night. The heavy rain had flooded the power station there so the whole town was in darkness. We prayed earnestly, asking God to take over.
Within 15 minutes the rain stopped, the town lit up with power, and we began. Those excited Africans sang and danced for over two hours, attracting hundreds to the service. All that week we had clear skies and large crowds. Church teams prayed for hundreds of people. Many were saved. Many were healed. One man testified, “I came to this meeting blind, but while you were singing I found I could see.”
Heavy monsoon rains began again the day after our meetings ended.
A friend of mine worked with the United Nations in Nepal. He loved to help and support pastors and leaders there. We visited him many times and I spoke at pastors and leaders meetings in Kathmandu, in West Nepal and in East Nepal. Some of those pastors walked for two or three days across the high ranges just to attend.
Their churches are saturated in prayer. I prayed in their “Power House”, the upstairs prayer rooms of their church in Kathmandu. Those small upper rooms, open 24 hours a day, had many people going there to fast and pray, sometimes for many days.
We saw God’s Spirit move beautifully and powerfully in those meetings. Many were filled with the Spirit and healed. I heard a young man from one of their church bands praying eloquently in beautiful English – but he cannot speak English. They pray for one another with strong faith, expecting God to save, heal, deliver and anoint them.
The dedication of those Christians impressed me. Most of them have been imprisoned for their faith many times. One young pastor conducted a Christian wedding which infuriated relatives so they complained to the police and he spent a month in prison for disturbing the peace. Our host had been severely beaten while in prison. Two young evangelists were shot to death when we were there. They had returned from Bible College in India and were accused of spying. God gives those Christians amazing peace and joy amid the persecution, just as in the Book of The Acts.
Our team visited Grace Bible College in New Delhi founded by Dr Paul Pilai. Paul had stayed in our home in Brisbane when he visited Australia. He was converted after a young Christian girl prayed for his healing while he was very ill in hospital and he recovered miraculously.
He told us how his students and teams started new churches in villages and towns. They often faced angry opposition. One fanatical group burned their meeting tent and attacked them, hitting them with clubs, trying to kill them. They broke Paul’s arm and burned the tent. Suddenly some handsome Indian men surrounded Paul’s team and miraculously moved them away to a safe place nearby. The team could see their burning tent in the distance. Those angels told Paul that God would send him back there. A few years later they were invited back and started a church there in a home.
Grace Bible College, the largest in India with around 600 students, trains people to evangelize and plant churches, especially among unreached peoples. Their graduates often face persecution and some have been martyrs. What a humbling privilege it was to pray with the staff there and speak to the crowded hall full of such committed students.
I taught on revival at a seminary in Manilla in the sweltering heat of the Philippines. An assignment I gave my M.Th. students was to report on revival and miracles. One pastor, who was also a police inspector, reported that a church he visited sent groups of young people to sing and speak at hospitals and nursing homes.
One of those teams held monthly meetings in a mental hospital. The staff said that their patients may not understand much, but those patients did enjoy the singing. Over 40 came to the first meeting. The team offered to pray for anyone who would like prayer. They prayed personally for 26 people. The next month when the team returned, all those 26 had been discharged and sent home.
I visited China with a student from college. His parents worked there. The woman pastor evangelist of a house church invited us to her church in a high-rise unit. The young man who met us at the gate could speak English.
He feared that the security guard might ask awkward questions, but as we walked in around 7pm, the guard had his back to us, talking to someone else. When we left after midnight, the guard was gone, probably sleeping.
Around 30 people sat on the floor and sang softly in worship. We spoke and then found that no one would leave until we had prayed for them personally. That took a while! They were happy to slip away one-by-one, just as they had come. Most were new Christians who believed because a Christian prayed for their healing. They believed in prayer and miracles just as in the Book of The Acts. Their simple, strong faith and humility moved and challenged me deeply.
We visited Elcho Island in the north where revival broke out and spread through Aboriginal communities all across northern Australia. We invited a team from Elcho Island for a Pentecost weekend in Brisbane. Two dozen came! They told us about the revival and prayed for people after each meeting that weekend, just sitting on the carpeted platform floor, aboriginal style.
That revival began after aborigines on Elcho Island prayed desperately for revival amid increasing crime, drink and drugs. The night their pastor, Djiniyini Gondarra (photo), returned from a holiday they met for Bible Study and prayer in his home. God’s Spirit fell on them as they united for the closing prayer. That prayer and ministry went all night. People were filled with the Spirit, discovered many spiritual gifts, and saw healings and reconciliations. Everywhere their teams went they saw God moving on the people in local revivals.
South Pacific Islands
Many revival movements have swept the South Pacific islands. I saw some. God’s Spirit fell on the Law School of the University of the South Pacific just after Easter 2002. The Law School is in Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu. Many law students were saved and transformed at their open-air rally.
Those committed students went on missions to other South Pacific nations and to Australia. Now they are lawyers and leaders. A president of their Christian Fellowship became a Member of Parliament in Fiji.
Some of those teams came with me to Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. God has been moving there in unusual ways for a hundred years. Vanuatu people first evangelized the island, one becoming a martyr. A wife of the highest ranking chief returned to life after she died and told them that she had seen God and they should leave their heathen ways and become Christians. Many revival teams have served God there in local revivals. Large numbers repent, are filled with the Spirit, and receive many spiritual gifts including revelations, words of knowledge about hidden magic or sins, and deliverance and healings.
God poured out his Spirit on children and youth in the Western Solomon Islands from Easter 2003. They loved to sing and pray daily in the church after school. God gave them visions, revelations, words of knowledge about hidden sins and bad relationships and they received many other spiritual gifts such as healings and speaking and singing what God revealed.
God revealed to a young boy the name of a man who stole a chain saw from the timber mill. A church member had been wrongly accused of that crime and sacked. He was reinstated after the man who stole it was confronted and confessed.
A mother asked me what it meant when her young boy had a vision of Jesus with one foot in heaven and one foot on the earth. I immediately remembered Matthew 28:18 – All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
We saw God touch around 1,000 youths at a National Christian Youth Convention in 2006. One night at the convention they responded, running to the front of the open-air meeting. For half-an-hour their worship team sang “He is Lord” while we prayed for them. They fell like dominoes. Many testified to healings, visions and revelations. One young man returned to his village that night and found his mother ill, so laid hands on her and prayed for her. She was healed. His brother then asked for prayer and he too was healed. The young man had never done that before. A whole group from the Kariki Islands, further west, saw revival begin in their islands on their return. God moved powerfully in every meeting they held and in their personal prayers.
I discovered that we Westerners are often too busy to pray, too worldly to listen to God, too proud to repent, and too unbelieving to see revival. We Christians – called by the name of Christ – need to take God’s promise seriously:
If my people who are called by name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
You can do that right now – at your computer or with your phone. You could take time right now to pray and seek God, to pray and obey.