They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength They shall mount up with wings and eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faith.
ISRAELI RESEARCH SHOWS PRAYER IS GOOD FOR THE BODY AS WELL AS THE SOUL
A new Israeli study has found that praying regularly can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 50%. The study, which was funded by the National Institute of Health in Washington, D.C., found that women, who have a significantly larger chance of developing forms of dementia, could stave off the disease through prayer. The findings confirm earlier studies that indicated religion can play a positive role. “We found that people with higher levels of spiritual well-being had a significantly slower progression of Alzheimer’s disease,” Yakir Kaufman, the head of the neuropsychiatric department at Herzog hospital in Jerusalem said.
The Israeli organization Melabev has ten centres serving about 600 Alzheimer’s patients for whom prayer is part of the daily routine. “If prayer is done in a centre or a religious facility, it is communal and there is a social aspect,” Susan Sachs, the director of public relations and development at Melabev said. “It gives hope and perspective, and for many people it helps retain their dignity. They’re doing something that they did all their lives.” Melabev provides an alternative to institutionalizing Alzheimer’s patients by providing a full day of activities. Sachs estimates there are 100,000 people suffering from the disease in Israel.
The centres provide them with laminated cards with the most popular prayers printed in large type, although many of the patients rely on memory, which also helps strengthen their cognitive function. While prayer has some cognitive elements, it strengthens emotional functioning even more. As the patients’ cognitive function declines, his or her emotional function may be strengthened, according to Leah Abramowitz, the head of the Institute for the Study of Aging at Melabev. She said that, “It’s like a baby who can feel his mother’s emotions and will start crying if she is angry or tense. It’s like the person who is fully blind having more acute hearing.”
Prayer can also lower stress levels – one of the risk factors for Alzheimer’s. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. As people live longer, there is more chance that they will develop dementia. Israel’s life expectancy – 80 years for men and 84.2 for women – is the world’s fourth-highest, exceeded only by Japan, Hong Kong and Switzerland. Professor Rivka Inzelberg of Tel Aviv University, who led the research, told a conference that the study indicated that 50% more women than men suffer memory impairments. She said “rituals, like prayer, are especially comforting to Alzheimer’s patients. Prayer is something that went into their long term memory many years ago. It is a ritual that is very comforting for them.”
Source: The Media Line
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Jesus said a lot about prayer and prayed constantly himself. Some examples:
‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who seeks finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? 10 Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11)
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. (John 15:7-8)
Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.” 13 But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” 14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted. (Luke 18:10-14)
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.
A pastor asked me to give him examples of prayer being answered that I had seen, so that request developed into this summary. Prayers get answered in many ways, not always immediately, but sometimes it is immediate. We need to trust God.
For 80 years I have loved it when we pray at home, personally or together. One night I was saying goodnight to a grandson, about 10 years old, who had a migraine headache. The Christian doctor had prescribed tablets to deal with it. I put my head on his head and prayed for him, led to say, “Infirmity get out in Jesus’ name.” I felt something happen. His migraines stopped and he has not needed the medication since.
Christian Heritage College Class
A student we prayed for one morning in our class went to her doctor that afternoon for a final check before having a growth removed from her womb. That afternoon her doctor could find no trace of the growth after checking with three ultrasound machines, so he cancelled the scheduled operation.
“My class at college laid hands on me and prayed for me,” she explained to her doctor. “I believe God healed me, and that’s why you can’t find the growth anymore.”
“I don’t know if God healed you,” he responded. “But I do know that you don’t need an operation.”
We often pray specifically for one another in home groups and see many prayers answered.
We prayed for a young lady who found it difficult to keep a job because she worked slowly. She then got a job as a helper in an old people’s nursing home. The matron kept her employed, even though she was slow, because she chatted a lot with the old people while caring for them and cleaning their room. They appreciated the extra time she spent with them.
A woman in our group had pain in her lower back. A nurse in our group was led to put her had on the lady’s back and simply pray, “L4 be healed, in Jesus’ name.” The pain left her Lumba 4 vertebrae area.
Hilary Mackerras (now in Glory) played piano in our home group when we were led to move it to Trinity College chapel where I taught. It became an interdenominational renewal fellowship at that time with anointed worship blessing many. My Renewal Journal began there and continues still – www.renewaljournal.com
“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 bread together among 30 people in their corrugated iron shed where I was the guest preacher. We prayed, as usual, a blessing on the bread and juice.
“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 and 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 prayed together.
We drove for over an hour in the 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, so heavy we saw it reported on international TV the next week.
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. He does.
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 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 Baptist 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. About 40 came to the first meeting. The team offered to pray for anyone who would like prayer. They prayed personally for 27 people. The next month when the team returned, all those 27 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 7 pm, 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. One man we prayed for later that night also became the leader of another house church. They keep praying, and God keeps moving on them.
We visited Elcho Island in the north where revival broke out and spread through Aboriginal communities all across northern Australia. We drove the 50k on dirt tracks to the north end of the island where a small community of 30 people prayed together every morning and evening. They prayed for revival. We joined them.
They had seen revival begin after aborigines on Elcho Island prayed desperately for revival amid increasing crime, drink and drugs. The night their pastor, Djiniyini Gondarra, returned from a holiday they met of 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 swept the South Pacific islands. I was blessed to see some.
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 many other spiritual gifts such as healings and speaking and singing what God revealed.
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 in their islands on their return. God moved powerfully in every meeting they held and in personal prayers.
The church leaders in one village on Simbo Island told me how their prayer teams of about 20 people always pray for the sick. The medical clinic on that island has no entries for anyone from that village, except for babies born, since they started praying like that.
I visited Vanuatu often from 2002 and saw many prayers answered and many revival movements. Here are just a few examples.
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 dramatically saved and transformed at their open-air rally. Those committed students went on missions to other South Pacific nations and to Australia with me. We saw large numbers saved, healed and filled with the Spirit.
At a church service in Port Vila, the capital, a nurse told how she had been on duty when parents brought in their young daughter who had been badly hit in a car accident, and showed no signs of life – the heart monitor registered zero. Leah was in the dispensary giving out medicines when she heard about the girl and she suddenly felt unusual boldness, so went to the girl and prayed for her, commanding her to live, in Jesus’ name. She prayed for almost an hour, and after an hour the monitor started beeping and the girl recovered.
A young man from Brisbane who joined me on many mission trips, prayed for a heathen chief’s son’s leg which was immediately healed. So I asked the lad if we could go to his village to pray for people. He checked with his dad and for the first time ever a mission team was invited to come to that ‘custom’ heathen village. Everyone that young man prayed for in that village reported that the pain left
Our revival team, on Pentecost Island, including the two of us from Australia, trekked for a week into mountain villages. We literally obeyed Luke 10 – most going with no extra shirt, no sandals, and no money. The trek began with a five-hour climb across the island from the western shore to a village on ridges by the sea on the eastern side. We prayed for people many times in each meeting. At one point I spat on the dirt floor, making mud to show what Jesus did once. The wife of the President of the Churches of Christ, then jumped up asking for prayer for her eyes, using the mud. Later she testified that the Lord told her to do that, and then she found she could read her small pocket Bible without glasses. So she read to us all. Meetings continued like that each night.
I heard the sound of angels singing about 3 am in a remote village. It sounded as though the village church was packed. The harmonies in high descant declared “For You are great and You do wondrous things. You are God alone” and then harmonies, without words until words again for worship “I will praise You O Lord my God with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name forevermore” with long, long harmonies on “forevermore”. Just worship. Pure, awesome and majestic. The team stayed two extra days there – everyone received prayer, and many people surrendered to the Lord both morning and night. Everyone repented, including us, as the Spirit moved on us all.
I was part of two teams from Kenmore Baptist Church (now Riverlife) in Fiji with Ric & Ann Benson, and Jesse and Cooky Padayache. Many were saved and healed. Jesse prayed with a sick man in the hospital, and then everyone in the ward asked for prayer. They were all discharged within a week.
I prayed for many people there then and also in other visits. At one revival meeting, everyone I prayed for said their pain had gone. Two partially blind boys told their parents that after prayer they could see clearly.
If my people who are called by my 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).
Doctors’ X-rays confirm divine healing of Cookie Padayachee’s brain tumour through prayer.
October 1989 X-ray – 1.5cm bone density cancer tumour surrounded by inflamed tissue.
September 1991 (straight after prayer healing) – tumour and inflamed brain cells completely gone.
Her husband Jesse prayed for her. He has seen many others healed through prayer also.
“We have to check this out because it is impossible. I have never seen anything like this before,” the doctor stammered.
With amazement and disbelief the Radiologist proclaimed that this was indeed a miracle. “I am a man of science, I don’t believe in God but I have to admit that there is definitely Someone up there taking care for you.”
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.
We have just returned from a very special and very emotional service. Tonight,Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke preached the Gospel for the last time on African soil after 50 years of powerful ministry. His wife, Anni and his children were with him on the platform. Our national directors and many ministry friends from all over the world were there to be a part of the historic moment. More than 1.7 million people attended the five days of meetings. Countless miracles took place and many thousands of salvations were recorded. I cannot imagine a more fitting way to celebrate 50 years of Evangelist Bonnke’s ministry than with one more massive harvest of souls in Africa. It was truly a remarkable and historic event. It will stand out in my memory as one of the most precious days in my life.
We faced an unusual level of resistance this week – such as I have not experienced in my time with the ministry. But the Lord spoke to us clearly that what we were experiencing was birthing pangs. Although this crusade was Evangelist Bonnke’s Farewell in Africa, it is really just the beginning of something new and wonderful. God has given me the vision for a “Decade of Double Harvest.” I believe that over the next decade, we will see another 75-million people won to Christ and tonight was the beginning. No wonder we are feeling the pangs of birth. I will share more specifics on this in the days to come, but for now it is enough to say we are on the threshold of “even greater” things. As Evangelist Bonnke has often said, “Nothing diminishes in God.”
This also marks the last crusade of the year. As we approach the end of one year and the beginning of another, I am so thankful for those of you that have stood with us so faithfully through your prayers and giving. Please continue to stand with us as we enter this new season of harvest. All hands are needed on deck. The best is yet to come. We love and appreciate each one of you.
Yours in the Gospel,
Evangelist Daniel Kolenda
Together with Reinhard Bonnke, Peter Vandenberg, and the whole CfaN Team
The number is staggering: 75,913,155. That’s how many people have come to Christ through the ministry of Reinhard Bonnke, as reported by his organization Christ for all Nations (CfaN).
The German-born evangelist said on CfaN’s website. “I want not only to see a gigantic harvest of souls but to pass my burning torch to a new generation of evangelists.”
Bonnke, his wife Anni, and their young son moved to the tiny African nation of Lesotho in 1969. The couple spent seven years working there as missionaries. It wasn’t easy. Bonnke says it was during those difficult years that he started praying to see more souls saved across the African continent. He says God gave him a vision for “a continent washed in the blood of Jesus Christ.”
The early days in Lesotho (1974)
In 1974, Christ for All Nations was birthed, and since then more than 75 million people have accepted Christ through the ministry. All these years later, Bonnke says the vision still burns in his soul. “Whether I am eating or drinking, awake or asleep, the vision is ever-present. It never leaves me.”
Now, at 77, Bonnke is passing the torch to a new generation of evangelists as he prepares to retire after more than 40 years in ministry. Lead evangelist of CfaN, Daniel Kolenda, has been tapped to succeed Bonnke.
The preparations for the final crusade involved “500,000 counselors, 200,000 intercessors, a choir of over 23,000 and a security force of over 10,000,” said John Darku, CfaN’s African director. “There is great excitement from all the churches in the country, and we are expecting a spectacular harvest of people coming to Christ.”
Source: Christ for all Nations
Joel News International, March 15, 2017
Bonnke’s Lagos campaign drew a crowd of 1.6 million people (2000)
Ordinary Christians doing what Jesus told us to do.
A village comes for healing as one lady’s eyesight is restored
What would you do? Imagine you are kneeling ready to pray for a lady who is sitting in front of the entire village and you have just preached that Jesus is able to heal the sick, raise the dead and cleanse the leper.
It’s that heart stopping moment when everyone’s eyes are suddenly on you to be the earthly vessel though which Jesus is going to move to back up the message you have just preached….
The woman says she has pain in her leg and back and then that she can hardly see! I know what i would do if I’m totally honest! I would start with getting rid of the pain in the back and celebrate that one move before then going on next to the leg in order to build up my faith before attempting the eyes. Not our team member Steve (right). Here’s what he did….
As bold as a lion he goes straight for the eyes and here’s an extract from his healing journal of what happened next:-
* After preaching to villagers. I invited a 50-60 year old woman to the chair to demonstrate God’s healing power. She had very little vision and back & leg pain. I commanded sight to full restoration. No shift on 1st attempt. 2nd attempt – slight change. 3rd attempt – full sight regained!! She was then able to name individuals in the audience in semi darkness!!
Acts 4:13 – “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
One “touch” from Jesus is all it took
It was my privilege last week to lead the 2015 HOTS [Healing On The Streets – nice with Bath, England!] Bath India team into an adventure that resulted in numerous healing and miracles, salvations and 36 people baptised.
Yesterday I received a call from one team member saying that on their return to England, everyone they have been praying for has been encountering His Presence, and many are falling out under the power of the Holy Spirit – “I’m just not used to this kind of thing!” they said. I was able to explain that this is (should be) the normal Christian life.
Luke 6:19 “And all the people were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all.”
I hope you enjoy this latest newsletter and take the chance to connect with some of the equipping opportunities it offers.
Reviews: Healing by Francis MacNutt;
Power Healing by John Wimber & Kevin Springer;
Healing through Deliverance by Peter Horrobin; Healing in the Now by John Blacker; All Together in One Place by Harold Hunter & Peter Hocken (eds)
The cover photo shows Grant Shaw with Leah Waqa. Grant Shaw and I attended the Sunday service at the Upper Room church in Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu in the South Pacific. There Leah, a nurse, told how she had been dispensing medicines at the hospital that week when parents brought in their young daughter who had been badly hit in a car accident, and showed no signs of life – the monitor registered zero – no pulse. Leah felt unusual boldness, so commanded the girl to live, and prayed for her for an hour, mostly in tongues. After an hour the monitor started beeping and the girl recovered.
Grant joined me on Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. South Pentecost attracts tourists with its land diving – men jumping from high bamboo towers with vines attached to their ankles. Grant prayed for a jumper who had hurt his neck, and the neck crackled back into place. That young man and his father both gave their lives to the Lord right there in the village. Grant prayed for a son of the paramount chief of South Pentecost. He was healed from a painful leg and later he invited the team to come to his village to pray for the sick. No white people had been invited there to minister previously. More were healed there in Jesus’ name. The full account is in South Pacific Revivals by Geoff Waugh (2010).
Healing is a tough subject, especially if you or your loved ones are sick!
Attitudes to ‘the healing ministry’ and theologies about healing vary greatly. At one extreme lies the claim that everyone can and should be well, and if you have enough faith in God you will be healed; at the other extreme lies the claim that healing, if it occurs, now happens through medical science.
People at the first extreme tend to avoid medical help, trust in God alone for healing, and deny any ‘lying symptoms’. However, they usually acknowledge the importance of healthy food, exercise, rest and positive attitudes – which people at the other extreme also acknowledge.
The truth, I believe, doesn’t just stand somewhere in the middle, but in both. God heals. His healing power is always at work in us with every heartbeat, every breath. Life is his gift to us. Healthy living contributes to good health. Oranges and Vitamin C tablets promote health. So do healthy attitudes. So does prayer, and faith.
We know that being healthy is good, not bad. We go to a doctor or we take medicine because that can help overcome sickness and restore health.
Most of us pray for healing, for others and for ourselves. We usually appreciate others praying for us. We pray for others in many different ways.
It may be the general ‘God bless them’ prayer or our wish for their well being. It may be the more specific ‘Heal them, please God’ or ‘Lord lay your healing hand on them’. It may be the still more specific prayer with a person as we lay our hand on them in Jesus’ name. It may be the even more specific prayer or command, led and anointed by the Holy Spirit, through various gifts of the Spirit including healing, miracles, faith, prophecy, words of knowledge or wisdom, discernment of spirits, or tongues and maybe interpretation.
And sometimes we don’t pray for healing, but it happens anyway!
More difficult to understand is when we do pray for healing, we do have faith, we ‘trust and obey’ and yet healing does not happen, as far as we can see. We have to acknowledge that we don’t ‘see’ very far yet. There is a mystery in healing, as there is in living. We don’t understand the mystery of life, nor do we understand a lot about eternal life.
However, we know that God gives life, and sustains life. We can learn more about how to co-operate with God, including learning how to pray more effectively, believe more truly, and love more fully.
Healing is complex. Most healing takes time, but intervention through prayer or medicine can speed up the process, sometimes dramatically. Healing also involves the whole being – spirit, soul and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). These are inter-related.
We are also learning more about blockages to healing such as unforgiveness, unbelief, unhappiness, and unwillingness to yield fully to God. These can be removed in a loving, caring environment.
One major discovery in charismatic renewal, and in similar ministries, has been the reality of God’s healing grace revealing the Father’s love, such as through compassionate prayer in Jesus’ name in the power of the Holy Spirit. This ministry of love and compassion increases everywhere now.
Those who live and worship in places or among people where there is love, compassion, forgiveness, faith, courage and support for one another are especially blessed, for all these facilitate healing. As we yield to the Spirit of God among us, these abound, and so does healing. This is part of the Lord’s purpose and commission for his church – to be a loving and healing community.
We believe that Jesus healed, especially in compassion for people. He commanded and taught his disciples to preach the good news about the reign of God, heal the sick and cast out evil spirits. Jesus is the same – yesterday, today and forever. His commission is the same still. We are learning again to humbly and courageously obey him in the power of his Spirit. There is more to learn and do yet.
This issue of the Renewal Journal aims to help you do that. David Lithgow, Jim Holbeck, John Blacker, Colin Warren, John Warlow and Spencer Colliver tell of their discoveries and understanding of healing. Sue Armstrong and Trevor Faggotter describe revival movements which also include healing through prayer.
The next issue of the Renewal Journal, Number 5 (95:1), looks at Signs and Wonders including an overview of their place in the church throughout history and their explosion in revival movements today. Subsequent issues are planned for topics such as worship, prayer and compassion. These take on new meaning and expression in renewal ministry.
The Renewal Journal will continue to carry articles on renewal and revival across all churches and in the community. Please pray as you read! May God bring healing to the land as we repent and believe the good news of God’s great grace.
Have you ever drifted off to sleep . . . and suddenly woke up totally HEALED? When you’re sitting in the presence of God, it can happen.
In fact, that’s exactly what took place on night 3 in our Great Gospel Campaign in Accra, Ghana.
It was one of those nights that is hard for me to describe. As always, our emphasis was on the preaching of the Gospel of salvation, to which many thousands responded.
But when the Gospel is proclaimed the inevitable result is miracles. Even though I hardly said anything about healing, the Holy Spirit loves to confirm the lordship of Jesus and manifest His Kingdom through supernatural demonstrations.
“And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.” (Mark 16:19-20)
And on this one particular night, we saw so many hearings: A man blind for ten years healed. A woman with an issue of blood healed. A deaf man healed. A lady threw her walking stick away. A woman took off her neck brace. I even danced with the woman who had been crippled.
But the most moving testimony came at the very end. A man, who had been deaf for almost two years, had just arrived in town by train. He had a long lay-over for his next connection so he unwittingly ventured into the city center (Independence Square, where our campaign was being held).
He was a Muslim. He had no intention of coming to a Gospel meeting. He could not understand anything that was going on anyway … so he laid down and went to sleep. (He was about to make a divine connection.)
When he woke up, to his utter amazement, he could hear! He came to the platform and stood before me trembling, overcome with emotion. He had a look of shock on his face. “My name is Mohammed,” he said, and he proceeded to tell me his story.
I asked him if he knew who had healed him and he said it is “The messenger of the Almighty God .. Jesus.” The whole thing was so raw and fresh. I could see he was struggling to come to terms with what he had just realized. “Jesus is, Jesus is … he is a God,” he said, as though the thought had just occurred to him.
He said, “Even the Koran says if you do not believe in Jesus Christ you are not a good Muslim.” He seemed to be trying to justify this to himself.
But I wanted to make it clear for the thousands watching this unfold. “Jesus is not just a messenger.” I said, “He is the SON of the living God. He is the Way, He is the Truth and He is the Life…”
He jumped up and down and shouted, “I thank God. I thank. God. I can hear. I can hear.” By the end of our conversation, he seemed to be settled and completely sure, but he desperately wanted to get the message to his wife.
So he boldly announced the name of the city where he lives and in his own words he said, “My wife is not watching this … but I persuade anybody who knows me and sees my face … that my name is Mohammed (he also shouted his last name) and you can tell my wife that Jesus is the Son of God. And tell her that I am healed. I am healed. I can hear. I can hear.”
I wish you could have seen the crowd. No football team has ever received such enthusiasm – they were jumping and dancing and shouting with joy unspeakable and full of glory. It is a moment I will never forget. YOU HELPED TO MAKE THAT MIRACLE MOMENT HAPPEN for that dear man. Your prayers and your financial support make you a key part of EVERY single miracle o salvation and healing in our meetings.
There are more men and women (just like Mohammed) who need to find out that Jesus is the SON of God; that He can save their souls; forgive their past; and heal their hurts.
Please ask the Lord what you should give and sow into this soul-winning soil … and make your next gift a personal act of obedience to His leading in your heart.
You have no idea just how much your prayers and gifts matter. But God does … and He sees and knows how to supply, bless and multiply every seed that you sow … according to His word.
(2 Cor 9:8-10)
The powerful revivals of the eighteenth century spread through Europe, especially England, and to North America. They became known as the Evangelical Revivals in England and the Great Awakening in America. They grew out of the outpouring of the Spirit of God on small communities of refugees which has suffered severe persecution in Europe.
No one present could tell exactly what happened on the Wednesday morning of the specially called Communion service. The glory of the Lord came upon them so powerfully that they hardly knew if they were on earth or in heaven. The Spirit of God moved powerfully on those three hundred refugees in Saxony in 1727. One of their historians wrote:
[Church history] abounds in records of special outpourings of the Holy Ghost, and verily the thirteenth of August, 1727, was a day of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We saw the hand of God and his wonders, and we were all under the cloud of our fathers baptized with their Spirit. The Holy Ghost came upon us and in those days great signs and wonders took place in our midst. From that time scarcely a day passed but what we beheld his almighty workings amongst us. A great hunger after the Word of God took possession of us so that we had to have three services every day, at 5.0 and 7.30 a.m. and 9.0 p.m. Every one desired above everything else that the Holy Spirit might have full control. Self love and self will, as well as all disobedience, disappeared and an overwhelming flood of grace swept us all out into the great ocean of Divine Love.
Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760), the benefactor and 27-year-old leader of that community, gave this account at a meeting in London in 1752:
We needed to come to the Communion with a sense of the loving nearness of the Saviour. This was the great comfort which has made this day a generation ago to be a festival, because on this day twenty-seven years ago the Congregation of Herrnhut, assembled for communion (at the Berthelsdorf church) were all dissatisfied with themselves. They had quit judging each other because they had become convinced, each one, of his lack of worth in the sight of God and each felt himself at this Communion to be in view of the noble countenance of the Saviour. …
In this view of the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, their hearts told them that he would be their patron and their priest who was at once changing their tears into oil of gladness and their misery into happiness. This firm confidence changed them in a single moment into a happy people which they are to this day, and into their happiness they have since led many thousands of others through the memory and help which the heavenly grace once given to themselves, so many thousand times confirmed to them since then.
Zinzendorf described it as “a sense of the nearness of Christ” given to everyone present, and also simultaneously to two members of their community working twenty miles away.
The Moravian brethren had grown from the work and martyrdom of the Bohemian Reformer, John Hus. They suffered centuries of persecution. Many had been killed, imprisoned, tortured or banished from their homeland. This group had fled for refuge to Germany where the young Christian nobleman, Count Zinzendorf, offered them asylum on his estates in Saxony. They named their new home Herrnhut, ‘the Lord’s Watch’. From there, after their baptism of fire, they became pioneering evangelists and missionaries.
Fifty years before the beginning of modern missions with William Carey, the Moravian Church had sent out over 100 missionaries. Their English missionary magazine, Periodical Accounts, inspired Carey. He threw a copy of the paper on a table at a Baptist meeting, saying, “See what the Moravians have done! Cannot we follow their example and in obedience to our Heavenly Master go out into the world, and preach the Gospel to the heathen?”
That missionary zeal began with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Zinzendorf observed: “The Saviour permitted to come upon us a Spirit of whom we had hitherto not had any experience or knowledge. … Hitherto we had been the leaders and helpers. Now the Holy Spirit himself took full control of everything and everybody.”
Converted in early childhood, at four years of age Zinzendorf composed and signed a covenant: “Dear Saviour, be mine, and I will be Thine.” His life motto was, “Jesus only”.
Zinzendorf learned the secret of prevailing prayer. He actively established prayer groups as a teenager, and on finishing college at Halle at sixteen he gave Professor Francke a list of seven praying societies he had established.
The disgruntled community at Herrnhut early in 1727 criticized one another. Heated controversies threatened to disrupt the community. The majority belonged to the ancient Moravian Church of the Brethren. Other believers attracted to Herrnhut included Lutherans, Reformed, and Anabaptists. They argued about predestination, holiness, and baptism.
Zinzendorf, pleaded for unity, love and repentance. 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 the ‘Brotherly Covenant’ dedicating their lives, as Zinzendorf had dedicated his, to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Moravian revival of 1727 was preceded and then sustained by extraordinary personal and communal, united prayer. A spirit of grace, unity, and supplications grew among them.
On 16 July Zinzendorf 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 prayers and hymns.
On 5 August Zinzendorf 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 Johann Rothe, a Pietist friend of Zinzendorf and minister of the Berthelsdorf parish church, was overwhelmed by the Spirit 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 at the specially arranged communion service in the Berthelsdorf church. 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 Tuesday 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 Wednesday, 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 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 lasted a century. 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 100 missionaries left that village community in the next twenty-five years, all constantly supported in prayer.
One result of their baptism in the Holy Spirit was a joyful assurance of their pardon and salvation. This made a strong impact on people in many countries, including the Wesleys. Their prayers and witness profoundly affected the eighteenth-century evangelical awakening. Back to top
1735 – January: New England, North America (Jonathan Edwards)
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), the preacher and scholar who later became a President of Princeton University, was a prominent leader in a revival movement which came to be called the Great Awakening as it spread through the communities of New England and the pioneering settlements in America. Converts to Christianity reached 50,000 out of a total of 250,000 colonists. Early in 1735, an unusually powerful move of God’s Spirit brought revival to Northampton, which then spread through New England in the north-east of America. Edwards noted that
a great and earnest concern about the great things of religion and the eternal world, became universal in all parts of the town, and among persons of all degrees and all ages; the noise among the dry bones waxed louder and louder; all other talk but about spiritual and eternal things, was soon thrown by….
The minds of people were wonderfully taken off from the world; it was treated among us as a thing of very little consequence. They seemed to follow their worldly business, more as a part of their duty, than from any disposition they had to it….
And the work of conversion was carried on in a most astonishing manner, and increased more and more; souls did as it were come by flocks to Jesus Christ. From day to day, for many months together, might be seen evident instances of sinners brought out of darkness into marvellous light … with a new song of praise to God in their mouths…
Our public assemblies were then beautiful: the congregation was alive in God’s service, every one earnestly intent on the public worship, every hearer eager to drink in the words of the minister as they came from his mouth; the assembly in general were, from time to time, in tears while the word was preached; some weeping with sorrow and distress, others with joy and love, others with pity and concern for the souls of their neighbours….
Those amongst us who had been formerly converted, were greatly enlivened, and renewed with fresh and extraordinary incomes of the Spirit of God; though some much more than others, according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Many who before had laboured under difficulties about their own state, had now their doubts removed by more satisfying experience, and more clear discoveries of God’s love.
Describing the characteristics of the revival, Edwards said that it gave people
an extraordinary sense of the awful majesty, greatness and holiness of God, so as sometimes to overwhelm soul and body; a sense of the piercing, all seeing eye of God, so as sometimes to take away the bodily strength; and an extraordinary view of the infinite terribleness of the wrath of God, together with a sense of the ineffable misery of sinners exposed to this wrath. … and … longings after more love to Christ, and greater conformity to him; especially longing after these two things, to be more perfect in humility and adoration. The flesh and the heart seem often to cry out, lying low before God and adoring him with greater love and humility. … The person felt a great delight in singing praises to God and Jesus Christ, and longing that this present life may be as it were one continued song of praise to God. … Together with living by faith to a great degree, there was a constant and extraordinary distrust of our own strength and wisdom; a great dependence on God for his help … and being restrained from the most horrid sins. Back to top
1739 – January: London, England (John Wesley, George Whitefield)
When the New England revival was strongest, George Whitefield (1714-1770) in England and Howell Harris (1714-1773) in Wales were both converted at 21 in 1735. Both ignited revival fires, seeing thousands converted and communities changed. By 1736 Harris began forming his converts into societies and by 1739 there were nearly thirty such societies. Whitefield travelled extensively, visiting Georgia in 1738 (the first of seven journeys to America), then ministering powerfully with Howell Harris in Wales 1739 and with Jonathan Edwards in New England in 1740, all in his early twenties.
At the end of 1735, John Wesley (1703-1791) sailed to Georgia, an American colony. A company of Moravian immigrants travelled on that vessel. During a storm they faced the danger of shipwreck. John Wesley wrote in his journal for Sunday 25 January 1736:
At seven I went to the Germans. I had long before observed the great seriousness of their behaviour. Of their humility they had given a continual proof by performing those servile offices for the other passengers which none of the English would undertake; for which they desired and would receive no pay, saying, “It was good for their proud hearts,” and “their loving Saviour had done more for them.” And every day had given them occasion of showing a meekness, which no injury could move. If they were pushed, struck or thrown down, they rose again and went away; but no complaint was found in their mouth. Here was now an opportunity of trying whether they were delivered from the spirit of fear, as well as from that of pride, anger and revenge. In the midst of the Psalm wherewith their service began, the sea broke over, split the main sail in pieces, covered the ship and poured in between the decks, as if the great deep had already swallowed us up. A terrible screaming began among the English. The Germans calmly sung on. I asked one of them afterwards: “Were you not afraid?” He answered, “I thank God, no.” I asked: “But were not your women and children afraid?” He replied mildly: “No, our women and children are not afraid to die.”
Back in England in 1738 after John Wesley’s brief and frustrating missionary career, the Wesleys were challenged by the Moravian missionary Peter Bohler. In March 1738 John Wesley wrote:
Saturday 4 March I found my brother at Oxford, recovering from his pleurisy; and with him Peter Bohler, by whom (in the hand of the great God) I was, on Sunday the 5th, clearly convinced of unbelief, of the want of that faith whereby alone we are saved.
Immediately it struck into my mind, “Leave off preaching. How can you preach to others, who have not faith yourself?” I asked Bohler whether he thought I should leave it off or not. He answered, “By no means.” I asked, “But what can I preach?” He said, “Preach faith till you have it; and then, because you have it, you will preach faith.”
Monday, 6 March I began preaching this new doctrine, though my soul started back from the work. The first person to whom I offered salvation by faith alone was a prisoner under sentence of death. His name was Clifford. Peter Bohler had many times desired me to speak to him before. But I could not prevail on myself so to do; being still a zealous assertor of the impossibility of a death bed repentance.
Both John and Charles were converted in May 1738, Charles first, and John three days later
on Wednesday 24 May. He wrote his famous testimony in his Journal:
In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me, that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.
Later that year John Wesley visited the Moravian community at Herrnhut. He admired their
zeal and love for the Lord, and he prayed that their kind of Christianity, full of the Holy Spirit, would spread through the earth. Back in England he preached evangelically, gathered
converts into religious societies (which were nicknamed Methodists because of his methodical procedures), and continued to relate warmly with the Moravians. Evangelical revival fires began to stir in England and burst into flame the following year.
1739 saw astonishing expansion of revival in England. On the evening of 1 January the Wesleys and Whitefield (recently back from America) and four others from their former Holy Club at Oxford University, along with 60 others, met in London for prayer and a love feast. The Spirit of God moved powerfully on them all. Many fell down, overwhelmed. The meeting went all night and they realised they had been empowered in a fresh visitation from God.
Mr Hall, Kinchin, Ingham, Whitefield, Hitchins, and my brother Charles were present at our lovefeast in Fetter Lane, with about sixty of our brethren. About three in the morning, as we were continuing instant in prayer, the power of God came mightily upon us, insomuch that many cried out for exceeding joy, and many fell to the ground. As soon as we were recovered a little from that awe and amazement at the presence of his majesty, we broke out with one voice, “We praise Thee, O God, we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.”
This Pentecost on New Year’s Day launched the revival known later as the Great Awakening. Revival spread rapidly. In February 1739 Whitefield started preaching to the Kingswood coal miners in the open fields near Bristol because many churches opposed him, accusing him and other evangelicals of ‘enthusiasm’. In February about 200 attended. By March 20,000 attended. Whitefield invited Wesley to take over then and so in April Wesley reluctantly began his famous open-air preaching, which continued for 50 years.
He described that first weekend in his Journal:
Saturday, 31 March In the evening I reached Bristol, and met Mr Whitefield. I could scarce reconcile myself at first to this strange way of preaching in the fields, of which he set me an example on Sunday; having been all my life (till very lately) so tenacious of every point relating to decency and order, that I should have thought the saving of souls almost a sin if it had not been done in a church.
Sunday, 1 April In the evening, I begun expounding our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount (one pretty remarkable precedent of field preaching) to a little society in Nicholas Street.
Monday, 2 April At four in the afternoon I submitted to be more vile, and proclaimed in the highways the glad tidings of salvation, speaking from a little eminence in a ground adjoining to the city, to almost three thousand people. The scripture on which I spoke was “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor.”
Sometimes strange manifestations accompanied revival preaching. Wesley wrote in his Journal of 26 April 1739 that during his preaching at Newgate, Bristol, “One, and another, and another sunk to the earth; they dropped on every side as thunderstruck.”
He returned to London in June reporting on the amazing move of God’s Spirit with many conversions and many people falling prostrate, a phenomenon he never encouraged. Features of this revival were enthusiastic singing, powerful preaching, and the gathering of converts into small societies called weekly Class Meetings.
Initially, leaders such as George Whitefield criticized some manifestations in Wesley’s meetings, but this changed. Wesley wrote on 7 July 1739:
I had opportunity to talk with Mr Whitefield about those outward signs which had so often accompanied the inward work of God. I found his objections were chiefly grounded on gross misrepresentations of matter of fact. But the next day he had opportunity of informing himself better: for no sooner had he begun (in the application of his sermon) to invite all sinners to believe in Christ, than four persons sank down, close to him, almost in the same moment. One of them lay without either sense or motion; a second trembled exceedingly; the third had strong convulsions all over his body, but made no noise, unless by groans; the fourth, equally convulsed, called upon God, with strong cried and tears. From this time, I trust, we shall all suffer God to carry on His own work in the way that pleaseth Him.
Both John Wesley and George Whitefield continued preaching outdoors as well as in churches which welcomed them. Whitefield’s seven visits to America continued to fan the flames of revival there.
Revival caught fire in Scotland also. After returning again from America in 1741, Whitefield visited Glasgow. Two ministers in villages nearby invited him to return in 1742 because revival had already begun in their area. Conversions and prayer groups multiplied. Whitefield preached there at Cambuslang about four miles from Glasgow. The opening meetings on a Sunday saw the great crowds on the hillside gripped with conviction, repentance and weeping more than he had seen elsewhere. The next weekend 20,000 gathered on the Saturday and up to 50,000 on the Sunday for the quarterly communion. The visit was charged with Pentecostal power which even amazed Whitefield. Back to top
1745 – August: Crossweeksung, North America (David Brainerd)
Jonathan Edwards published the journal of David Brainerd (1718-1747), a missionary to the North American Indians from 1743 to his death at 29 in 1747. Brainerd tells of revival breaking out among Indians at Crossweeksung in August 1745 when the power of God seemed to come like a rushing mighty wind. The Indians were overwhelmed by God. The revival had greatest impact when Brainerd emphasised the compassion of the Saviour, the provisions of the gospel, and the free offer of divine grace. Idolatry was abandoned, marriages repaired, drunkenness practically disappeared, honesty and repayments of debts prevailed. Money once wasted on excessive drinking was used for family and communal needs. Their communities were filled with love.
Part of his journal for Thursday 8 August reads:
The power of God seemed to descend on the assembly “like a rushing mighty wind” and with an astonishing energy bore all down before it. I stood amazed at the influence that seized the audience almost universally and could compare it to nothing more aptly than the irresistible force of a mighty torrent… Almost all persons of all ages were bowed down with concern together and scarce was able to withstand the shock of astonishing operation.
On November 20, he described the revival at Crossweeksung in his general comments about that year in which he had ridden his horse more than 3,000 miles to reach Indian tribes in New England:
I might now justly make many remarks on a work of grace so very remarkable as this has been in divers respects; but shall confine myself to a few general hints only.
1. It is remarkable that God began this work among the Indians at a time when I had least hope and, to my apprehension, the least rational prospect of seeing a work of grace propagated amongst them. …
2. It is remarkable how God providentially, and in a manner almost unaccountable, called these Indians together to be instructed in the great things that concerned their souls; how He seized their minds with the most solemn and weighty concern for their eternal salvation, as fast as they came to the place where His Word was preached…
3. It is likewise remarkable how God preserved these poor ignorant Indians from being prejudiced against me and the truths I taught them…
4. Nor is it less wonderful how God was pleased to provide a remedy for my want of skill and freedom in the Indian language by remarkably fitting my interpreter for, and assisting him in, the performance of his work…
5. It is further remarkable that God has carried on His work here by such means, and in such manner, as tended to obviate and leave no room for those prejudices and objections that have often been raised against such a work … [because] this great awakening, this surprising concern, was never excited by any harangues of terror, but always appeared most remarkable when I insisted upon the compassions of a dying Saviour, the plentiful provisions of the gospel, and the free offers of divine grace to needy distressed sinners.
6. The effects of this work have likewise been very remarkable. … Their pagan notions and idolatrous practices seem to be entirely abandoned in these parts. They are regulated and appear regularly disposed in the affairs of marriage. They seem generally divorced from drunkenness … although before it was common for some or other of them to be drunk almost every day. … A principle of honesty and justice appears in many of them, and they seem concerned to discharge their old debts. … Their manner of living is much more decent and comfortable than formerly, having now the benefit of that money which they used to consume upon strong drink. Love seems to reign among them, especially those who have given evidence of a saving change. Back to top
1781 – December: Cornwall, England
Forty years after the Great Awakening began the fires of revival had died out in many places. Concerned leaders called the church to pray.
Jonathan Edwards in America had written a treatise called, ‘A Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of God’s People in Extraordinary Prayer for the Revival of Religion and the Advancement of Christ’s Kingdom on Earth‘. It was reprinted in both England and Scotland and circulated widely.
John Erskine of Edinburgh persisted in urging prayer for revival through extensive correspondence around the world. He instigated widespread combined churches monthly prayer meetings for revival called Concerts of Prayer.
An example of the prayer movement was the effect in Cornwall in the 1780s. On Sunday, Christmas Day 1781, at St. Just Church in Cornwall, at 3 a.m., intercessors met to sing and ray. The Spirit moved among them and they prayed until 9 a.m. and regathered on Christmas evening. By March 1782 they were praying each evening until midnight.
Two years later in 1784, when 83 year old John Wesley visited that area, he wrote, “This country is all on fire and the flame is spreading from village to village.”
The chapel which George Whitefield had built decades previously in Tottenham Court Road, London, had to be enlarged to seat 5,000 people, the largest in the world at that time. Baptist churches in North Hampton, Leicester, and the Midlands, set aside regular nights for prayer for revival. Methodists and Anglicans joined them. Converts were being won at the prayer meetings. Some were held at 5 a.m., some at midnight. Some unbelievers were drawn by dreams and visions. Some came to scoff but were thrown to the ground under the power of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes there was noise and confusion; sometimes stillness and solemnity. But always there was that ceaseless outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Whole denominations doubled, tripled and quadrupled in the next few years. The number of dissenting churches increased from 27 in 1739 to 900 in 1800, 5,000 by 1810 and 10,000 by 1820. It swept out from England to Wales, Scotland, United States, Canada, and to some Third World countries.
That eighteenth century revival of holiness brought about a spiritual awakening in England and America, established the Methodists with 140,000 members by the end of the century, and renewed other churches and Christians. It impacted the nation with social change and created the climate for political reform such as the abolition of slavery through the reforms of William Wilberforce, William Buxton and others. John Howard and Elizabeth Fry led prison reform. Florence Nightingale founded modern nursing. Ashley Cooper, the Earl of Shaftesbury, reformed labour conditions.
The movement grew. William Carey, Andrew Fuller, John Sutcliffe and other leaders began the Union of Prayer, calling Christians to pray together regularly for revival. By 1792, the year after John Wesley died, this Second Great Awakening (1792 1830) began to sweep Great Britain and America.