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.
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.
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.
Randy Clark, founding director of Global Awakening (globalawakening.com), leads short term missions in the power of the Spirit worldwide. His personal stories are in his books Lighting Fires and There Is More. The stories here in this article are stories of what happened through the ministry members on their teams and others who were blessed by their ministry. For over 20 years Randy has been leading teams and equipping people of faith to minister just as Jesus told us to, and as Jesus taught his followers to do.
Jesus was, of course, the world’s best at short term supernatural missions – constantly travelling, as Paul and his teams did later.
This article is reproduced from Chapter 10 of Randy Clark’s book Supernatural Missions (Global Awakening, 2012), “Power Evangelism in Short Term Mission Trips”. See bookstore on www.globalawakening.com
What is the place of short-term missions in the big picture of world evangelization? It is not meant to replace long-term mission efforts, but to be in cooperation with them. Those who go on short term mission trips and minister in the power of the Spirit often return home with a new passion for what God is doing in the earth. Such trips can also benefit the ongoing work in the field, by impacting large groups of people through evangelistic meetings, bringing impartation and refreshment to the host pastors and churches. By seeing what God does through short-term missions, we may engage in his overall plan in a strategic way.
The Effects of Short-Term Mission trips on team members
1.) The “Vicious Downward Spiral” is reversed
2.) Full-time missions service
3.) Connections are created between local churches and the host country leaders or churches
4.) Vision is created for International Ministry
The Effects of Short Term Mission trips on Receiving/Hosting Groups: Apostolic Impartation for Pastors A. Brazil
Power Evangelism in Short-term Missions
The Effects of Short-Term Mission trips on team members
1.) The “Vicious Downward Spiral” is reversed
Several years ago I ministered at a large Vineyard Church in Champaign, Illinois. I had known the pastor for many years and was shocked at the change of atmosphere in his church from the last time I had ministered there some years before. The church had continued to grow numerically, but there was a noticeable difference in the people’s expectation for God to move in their midst. I felt such a spirit of grief that I found it hard to speak.
Later, when I met with the Pastor Happy Leman and his staff, the executive pastor asked me a very important question. This question would change the way I looked at inviting people to come with me to minister in other countries. Prior to that time, I felt somewhat awkward inviting people to go with me, as if what I was doing was self-serving. But, after this question I have never felt that inviting someone to go with me to the nations was self-serving. The question was, “What do you do to keep your expectation for healing high?” The executive pastor continued, “Our doctrinal belief hasn’t changed since you first met us years ago. Then, what we believed doctrinally we expected to happen in our midst. However, since then, though our beliefs have not changed, our experience has not matched our beliefs. As a result our expectation has dropped. With the dropping of our expectation, our experience dropped, and we see less than before. Now, we are caught in a vicious cycle. Each year it seems like our experience is less, and our expectation drops even more.” He then asked the question, “What do you do to not get caught in this vicious cycle?”
I responded, “I have to go somewhere where there is an open heaven- where there are apostolic leaders who are getting a break through, and minister in that context for a couple of weeks twice a year. During that time I will see more healings than most pastors will see in a lifetime. This builds up my experience and causes my expectation for healing to remain high.” This is what I have been doing for 17 years, and it not only works for me. I see it affect the people who come with me as well. They have their faith raised for healing due to their experience of seeing so many people get healed and seeing God use them to bring healing to people.
I have had several pastors from various denominations come with me to the nations who were so discouraged that they were looking at the want ads in the paper. They felt like they couldn’t continue in ministry unless God refreshed them and touched them. They were “burned out”, discouraged and depressed. I watched these men be touched by the Holy Spirit and saw them experience a whole new zeal and energy for ministry. Depression was broken off. Hopelessness was replaced with faith that God would use them. One of these pastors was 60 years old when this happened to him. The years since then have been the most productive, most exciting and most fruitful of his entire 40+ years of ministry.
Why are short-term mission trips important? The kind I am talking about, the team is the ministry team. They gives words of knowledge and pray for the sick to be healed for hours every day. This is important for the creation of faith that God will use the team members. “This experience changed my life” is one of the most common responses we get on our evaluation forms.
2.) Full-time missions service
Two pastors who have taken more people with me to the nations are Tom Jones and Tom Hauser. When they first started going with me on short-term ministry trips to the nations, Tom Jones was pastoring one of the largest Church of God Cleveland, Tennessee churches in Florida. Tom Hauser was on staff as the Executive Pastor of one of the larger Vineyard Churches on the East Coast in North Carolina. Their churches developed not only a strong openness to the Holy Spirit but also a strong commitment to missions. Both of their churches would have several people leave their secular jobs and become missionaries after going with us on short-term ministry trips. Tom Jones had a total of 6 people become missionaries in 10 years. Tom Hauser had a total of 8 people become missionaries in 6 years. He has seen around 160 go on short-term mission trips. Also, his church helped establish two orphanages and plant 73 churches in Nepal, India, Costa Rica and the US. It is true that there could be other factors contributing to this outcome, such as the fact that both churches were deeply committed to renewal and the outpouring of the Spirit in Toronto. But, when you compare the percentage who went on trips to the percentage who didn’t go on trips in relationship to going into missions or other mercy type ministries, I believe the variable is sufficiently removed to give us a better indication of the effects of the trips.
This is not just true for my ministry trips. I have a spiritual father, Cleddie Keith, who was for many years in the Assemblies of God denomination, and who took people from his church on ministry trips with him. These trips were very similar to mine in that the people were expected to be the ministry team and pray for the people. He has taken several hundred on short-term mission trips. During the last 17 years since the beginning of the renewal, which he was very committed to, over 30 people have gone into missions or full-time ministry from his church.
3.) Connections are created between local churches and the host country leaders or churches
People we took on our first few trips to Mozambique to work with Heidi and Rolland Baker of Iris Ministries, became a great blessing to their ministry. Many of these pastors and businessmen continued to provide support to their ministry. Terry Inman’s Assembly of God church in California has been supportive with finances and with people going to serve. Alan Hawkins, pastor of a Charismatic church in New Mexico, has made several trips to minister with Iris Ministries. Tom Hauser has made many trips and has sent several couples and individuals to work with Iris since his first trip to Mozambique. On our first trip, we had people from Australia and the United States with us. Two of the people came back as full time missionaries within one year of that first trip.
What I hadn’t expected though I should not have been surprised, was how my own interns and students from our school would be sent to help Heidi and Rolland. Will Hart and his wife Musy, were recently married when they led a trip for me to Mozambique. I received an email from Heidi. “Randy, will you give Will and Musy to me? I am in need of them!” I told her of course I would and that if they wanted to go, I would bless them. They went and spent three years serving Rolland and Heidi after Will had already spent three years serving me. In Mozambique, they would have their first two children, born at home without a doctor or midwife. They only had a book to read. Then Jean Nicole, another one of my interns, went and became a missionary with Heidi. He married another Iris missionary named Teisa. Today, they are working with Iris South Africa. On my last trip to Mozambique, I took Timothy, a young intern of mine. He is very bright and graduated first in his high school class. He loved our time in Mozambique and wants to move back there with his new wife. The two plan to help Heidi and Rolland as Timothy continues his theological studies.
One of the most exciting short-term ministry trips we do is to Brazil in July each year. It is called the Youth Power Invasion. Each year 125-200 youths from America, ages 13-29, join with several hundred youths from Brazil. We spend a week teaching the youth in the day about how to preach, heal the sick, receive words of knowledge, and lead ministry teams. At night the youth divide into 4 groups and go with me and other key leaders to conduct services for healing and impartation in the local churches. The second week our key speakers come home and the youth lead the teams. They often see up to 8,000 healings during those two weeks! Many of the young people are so impacted that they quit their careers or schooling to take two years to be trained at our Global School of Supernatural Ministry in Mechanicsburg, PA.
From my trips to Brazil, I know of many families that have continued to go to minister on their own in the country. From Tom Hauser’s church and Tom Jones’ church, several couples and individuals have gone as longer-term missionaries. From our Global School of Supernatural Ministry we have people who first went to Brazil with us that are now going back long term (five students from our current class and two from a former class including a 74 year old student.) The five students are going to southern Brazil to start a Global School of Supernatural Ministry and hope to have 5-10 other classmates join them next year. The older woman went to be a missionary with an Indian tribe that is in revival as a result of our team going to minister near the reservation where the Baileys work (see chapter 1). This tribe continues to reach out to the other tribes of the same dialect in the region.
Our ministry works with apostolic leaders around the world. When we first started the Global School of Supernatural Ministry, we sent out a letter to ask the apostolic leaders what they needed most. Their response was a school similar to ours that could be conducted in their country. Presently, many of our students between their 20’sto 70’s desiring to go and start ministry schools in Brazil, South Africa,Thailand, England, and India.
Others who went with us to Brazil have gone back to begin orphanages and to work in the favelas (slums) with the poor. Several others who first traveled with us are now taking their own teams into Brazil and other Latin American countries.
On one trip we took with us veterinarian Frank Pak and his wife Robbie to Ukraine. When I wasn’t able to continue coming into the country on a regular basis, the Pak’s picked up where I left off. They have made multiple trips to serve the church including medical trips, trips to work with drug addicts and trips to strengthen the pastors and churches. They now lead their own teams from the church they attend.
In 1996 I led my first team to Russia and continued for about three years to take large teams there. Russ Purcello, pastor of a large independent church in Tennessee, went with me. He had been involved in taking many mission trips to Honduras but had never felt a burden for Russia. However, when I shared about the trip, he felt he should go. Since his first trip, he has continued replicas of my meetings in almost every political region in Russia. God touched him so profoundly that for more than a decade, he and his church have been going into Russia to strengthen the young pastors and leaders. He has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into his efforts to strengthen the churches in Russia. After my initial three-year commitment to Russia, the door was opened wide for me to work more in Brazil. It was such a relief to see Pastor Purcello continue the much needed training and impartation to the leaders and pastors of Russia that I could no longer reach.
These stories are just some of the fruit from the connections between the local churches and the host church or leaders. Some of these missionaries have received substantial help including hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, that came through their continued connection with the pastors and wealthy businessmen that went with us. When they saw what was being done, for example by Iris Ministries in Mozambique, their hearts and wallets were opened to the Bakers and the work in Mozambique.
4.) Vision is created for International Ministry
Almost all of the people I have mentioned in the above paragraphs had no vision for international ministry or mission work when they first went with us to the nations. But, for the majority their first trip touched them so profoundly that they made several trips as finances could be raised, and some ended up either starting ministries that reached out to the world or to a local country. Most began these in the country they visited first or the one they visited most on short-term trips with us.
The Effects of Short Term Mission Trips upon the Receiving /Hosting Group
1. Apostolic Impartation for Pastors
Most of our International Ministry Trips are focused on encouraging, equipping and imparting to pastors and leaders who are related to national indigenous apostolic leaders. The exception is Mozambique where Rolland and Heidi Baker are not indigenous, although they are apostolic. (The reason I now use “ministry trips” rather than “mission trips” is because the implications of mission traditionally seem more paternal, when in reality, some of the places we work are far ahead of much of the Western Church.) I will be sharing what some of these leaders have told us regarding the value of our ministry trips to their leadership.
Brazil is where we have conducted most of our International Ministry Trips. We have averaged about 5 trips per year with about 70 days a year in Brazil by either myself or one of my colleagues in ministry. No other nation has received so much time and resources invested into it from our ministry.
Why have we made so many trips to Brazil? First, when I first went to Brazil, I had already made several trips to Argentina where I worked with Dr. Pablo Deiros and Dr. Carlos Mrarida of the Baptist denomination. Also, I had been working with Omar Cabrera Sr. in his denomination, Vision de Futuro. When I made my first trip to Brazil I told a friend, “I feel like the revival in Argentina has peaked and is diminishing in power. I feel like we are catching the beginning of the wave of revival in Brazil, and I want to ride it to its end.”
Second, I believe Brazil will be the number one missionary sending country in the world in this century. A few years ago, I heard C. Peter Wagner remark that Brazil is the country most in revival. I believe that wherever revival is the strongest is where you will see the most missionaries sent out. I wanted to have a part in this revival by equipping and focusing the revival upon the nations with an emphasis of sending forth missionaries.
Third, around 1999 I was in Toronto just after traveling to Sydney, Australia. While there I had worked with Pastor Frank Huston who was a great apostolic leader, especially for the Pacific area, and was also very prophetic. I was in a season of trying to determine from God what was next. I wanted to know if there was anything God wanted me to know. I had asked God to give Frank a prophecy for me in Sydney, but he did not have one. But, when I was in Toronto, Frank called me out and gave me this prophecy: “As God has used you in Toronto, in the near future God is going to use you to birth revival in six nations. Four of those nations your feet have ‘not touched yet.’” A few hours later, I met with delegations from Korea and Brazil inviting me to come to their countries. I definitely believe Brazil is one of those six nations.
Fourth, as I mentioned earlier, Brazil seems to be the land of my anointing. It is definitely the land of my greatest favor. I went there not knowing how to speak a word of Portuguese, not being part of a denominational heritage connected with the country, and not knowing a soul in Brazil. Today, 11 years later, I have spoken in more churches in Brazil than in the United States, including some of the largest in the nation: Pentecostal – Assemblies of God, Quadrangular Four Square), new denominations that are Pentecostal/Charismatic in nature, Methodist, Baptist, and Nazarene. Most of these churches are over 1,000 in average attendance and some have 8,000, 12,000, 30,000 and 60,000 in just one local church. What have the key leaders of these denominations and churches said to me about our trips? In what way were they beneficial to their churches?
1. Belem – Quadrangular
In Belem, located near the mouth of the Amazon in Northeast Brazil, we worked primarily with the Quadrangular denomination. I was invited by Pastor Josue Bengtson, who is over the Quadrangular Church in that region. They have a total of over 30,000 members among many churches in the city of Belem. His son, Paulo told me, “You are the first American that my father has invited back.” When I asked why, he told me that most Americans his father had invited were proud and boastful. But, our teams were humble. Paulo also told me that he believed their churches had grown rapidly recently due to two main reasons: their commitment to cells and the impact of our trips upon their leaders. He told us that our teams really encouraged their pastors and leadership with not only the teachings on equipping, but also the experiences of impartation that their leaders received through the Holy Spirit in our ministry.
2. Maua – Baptist
Pastor Silvio Galli is the pastor of the Living Waters Baptist Church in Maua, Brazil. When we first came to his church, it had about 300 members and was a small church down a dirt road. It was a traditional Baptist Church, but Pastor Galli was open and desperate for the power of the Holy Spirit. When we first ministered in his church, the Holy Spirit fell powerfully. There were many healings including some of the members of the staff. The church building was too small for the crowd. People were outside listening through the windows, in the hallways and were packed in to 140% capacity. Pastor Galli was very excited about what God was doing in his church.
Three years later we revisited this church. I was surprised when we pulled up to the church. It was not down the dirt road. It wasn’t the same little building that would barely seat 300. Instead, it was right on a main street in the city. The building seated about 1,500. They had multiple services to accommodate the 3,000 weekly attendance. He told me that the rapid growth had come because of two main reasons: one, the implementation of the cell system, and two, the impact of the Holy Spirit upon the congregation. This congregation had experienced a significant corporate impartation during our meetings. There were many healings and more continued after we left. They truly received an impartation to move in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Six years later we returned to the church. The church building had once again relocated to a building that would seat over 2,000 people. The church had grown to over 14,000 in 6 locations with 9,000 at the main congregation. Again, the power of God came mightily. Pastor Galli again told me that our last two visits to his church were significant in the rapid growth of the church. This time only ¼ of his church could come on each of the 4 nights due to the limitation of the building. On the third night, we had a noticeable increase in the miraculous. On this night blind eyes saw, deaf ears opened and tumors disappeared. One paralyzed person walked and talked after a stroke had taken both abilities away. A cast was cut off the arm of a woman who had been in excruciating pain. All the pain had left her after she heard a word of knowledge about her condition. Knees with no cartilage were healed, and pain from childhood polio left. Movement was restored to an ankle and many other things happened. The following night, a man who was paralyzed from the neck down from MS and couldn’t even move a finger, got out of the wheel chair and walked. There were so many healings. The pastor again told us that the three visits to his church were a major part of the reason for the phenomenal growth of the church.
3. Joinville – Quadrangular
We visited Joinville in the south of Brazil, where we ministered to the Quadrangular denominational leaders. The main overseer was so discouraged that if the Holy Spirit didn’t come powerfully upon the other pastors during our meeting, he was going to resign his position. He didn’t resign because we had a wonderful visitation of the Holy Spirit. On one of the nights, a man came with such horrible neuropathy that he couldn’t lift his feet from the floor but could only shuffle his feet with the aid of a walker. While he was being healed that night and began to walk, his doctor told me, “I am his doctor. He can’t do that. He hasn’t been able to walk without a walker or pick up his feet in years!” Another man was healed of a substantial heart problem. Deaf ears were opened and blind eyes were healed.
Just as importantly the pastors and leaders experienced a powerful impartation and left the meetings encouraged by this fresh visitation of the Holy Spirit. Some received gifts of healing and greater faith for operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Manaus is a city in northern Brazil located 1,000 miles into the Rain Forest. We first ministered there in September 2001 with Pastor Rene Terre Nova. He was one of Cesar Castellanos’ original 12 in the G-12 movement. Outside of our ministry and the ministry of Heidi Baker, he does not allow anyone to speak that is not in the G-12 movement. We have made 3 or 4 visits to his church over the last 11 years. As I mentioned earlier, his church was disfellowshiped by the Baptist denomination after the Holy Spirit visited it with healing and manifestations. When the church left the Baptist denomination, it had an average attendance of 700. As of our first visit, it had grown to 25,000 in only 7 years.
I will never forget that first visit about a decade ago. At the time I had only seen a few deaf people healed in my whole lifetime. However, in one night we experienced an amazing outpouring of the Holy Spirit connected with a manifestation of nature. The building did not have walls yet. We began to see rain falling and wind blowing inside the building even though this was not happening outside! Within a few minutes, we had 8 deaf people hearing. On our second visit we had over 40 deaf people healed. The church had grown to 40,000 in one congregation. This time the walls were built, but the main doors had not been installed. Once again the rain and the wind only occurring inside the building were supernatural signs of the visitation of God. Wind blew chairs down in the building when there was no wind outside the building. On our last trip, we had a lot of angelic activity. We saw about 9,000 people healed the last night. The church had now grown to 60,000.
The associate pastor, Aaron, told us that the people of the church had nicknamed our teams, “The Wonderworkers.” They could not believe the people who traveled with me were not professional healers who traveled with me everywhere we went. This was even after I had specifically told them that only about 1/10 of the ministry team were ministers. The other 9/10 were people just like them who had paid to come and pray for the sick and minister in Jesus’ name.
5. Sao Paulo
I want to end this section on Brazil with the first place we went in Brazil. It was a pastors meeting for about 1,200 pastors and pastoras (female pastors) in the state of Sao Paulo. I taught for three days. The meetings were very powerful. Our team of 11 was small in comparison to what they would later become (30-200 with an average of around 70). No one on my team was a pastor. On the second day, I lost control of the meetings. So many people were being healed during the sermon on healing that the noise from the excitement of the crowd was drowning out my voice. Even with proper sound amplification, people were unable to hear me.
The last day, I emphasized that we were passing the baton to the Brazilians to do the ministry during ministry time and that they would be the ones to give words of knowledge. My team would only be coaching tonight. After a time of impartation, they were released to minister themselves the things our team had been doing.
During that trip Pastor Dirceu had been overseeing setting up special meetings for the Quadrangular denomination. The next time I visited, he told me that the few days with our team were the most impacting on the Quadrangular denomination that he had seen in his life. He told me, “Your ministry has impacted our pastors more than anyone else’s we have brought to Brazil.” I asked him, “Why? How were we different?” He responded, “It isn’t that you are more anointed than others. We have brought some of the most famous ministers in the world to minister to our pastors. They are powerful men of God who preach powerfully. But, when they left, we were the same. When you came, you told us how you moved in the gifts of the Spirit. You explained to us how to receive words of knowledge. You told us we would be able to do so. You told us God would impart these gifts to us, and when you prayed for us, He did.” Pastor Dirceu also told me that he had heard of many testimonies of pastors who had gone back to their respective churches and had seen many healings, whereas before they had seen few if any when they prayed. He said, “When you and your team left, we were different.”
B. Mozambique – Pastors’ Conferences
Next to Brazil, there probably isn’t another country that I have been so committed to serving as Mozambique. For many years we sent two teams a year to Mozambique. I knew that my job description, given to me by God in Toronto, was to be a “Fire Lighter, Vision Caster, and a Bridge Builder.” When I was leaving Mozambique after my first visit and was about to make my first visit to Brazil, Heidi said to me. “Randy, when you get to Brazil, don’t forget us. Tell the Brazilians about us. They already speak the language, and it is easier for them to adjust to the culture than for westerners. Tell them this is not the Macedonian Call- this is the Mozambican call.” I was faithful and during my first years of visits to Brazil, I would often use illustrations about Rolland and Heidi. God used this to open the door for Rolland and Heidi to visit some of the greatest churches in Brazil.
Short-term ministry trips are one way of cross-pollinating between different streams in the revival. Casting a vision for Mozambique and building a bridge between Mozambique and Brazil has been one of my primary goals on these ministry trips. It isn’t enough for me to be used by God to “light the fire” of revival in countries. I am to also cast vision for God’s purposes and build a bridge between networks, denominations, countries, and mission sending and mission receiving countries. I am to communicate the truth that missions follows revival, and that missions is one of the greatest evidences of true revival.
1. Beira – Heidi and key leaders – “thousands of churches and millions of people.”
During my first visit to Mozambique, I preached at three pastors meetings arranged by Rolland and Heidi Baker in Maputo, Beira and Chimoio. I do not like ministering in Mozambique. The primary reason is that I don’t feel needed there and feel intimidated by my translators who often have raised the dead. Rolland and Heidi have encouraged me to continue coming because of the importance of the connection between our ministries. When Heidi visited Toronto for her second time, I was ministering there. As I was preaching, she ran to the front and knelt to pray in response to the message. I knew her name and said to her, “Heidi, God wants to know- do you want the nation of Mozambique?” To which she responded, “Yes!!!” I then said to her, “God is going to give you the nation of Mozambique. You will see the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, and the dead be raised.”
The Spirit of God hit her very powerfully immediately following my prophecy to her. Then she heard God speak to her, “Hundreds of churches and thousands of people.” She replied, “How, God? How can this be? My husband Rolland and I have started four churches in seventeen years and it has almost killed us.” God spoke to Heidi a few other things during those seven days and nights as the experience continued. He told her to gather 12 men together and prophesy over them everything that I had prophesied to her, which she did. In just a couple of years, they started over 200 hundred churches. When I visited her for the first time at their Beira base, the Spirit once again fell upon her as well as Rolland and the main leaders who were present. I could tell by the look on the people’s faces that this was not normal for Heidi in Mozambique, though it was normal for her when she visited the Church in the Western world. This time, she went into a vision and saw ships coming with food and supplies and heard the Lord say, “Thousands of churches and millions of people.” She told me that this was easier to believe than the first word of hundreds of churches and thousands of people. Because God had fulfilled the first word, Heidi now had faith for Him to fulfill the second word. These types of experiences are of great value to apostolic leaders in other countries. It helps establish them in the purposes of God and gives them faith to attempt what was given to them in a prophecy or vision.
2. Chimoio – Mountain Vision
We left Beira and went to Chimoio. When we arrived, Heidi preached the first message. Her message was powerful. Everyone was lying on the ground, prostrated in prayer. I could find no room to lie down, since the floor was covered with the bodies of the saints in prayer. I leaned up against a wall and began to pray. I was very much aware of the fact that I was going to be translated from English into Portuguese and from Portuguese to the local dialect. I began to pray, “Oh Lord, I have not come half way around the world to give a teaching. God I must hear from you. What do you want to say to these people? Oh God, I want to see; I want to see; I want to see into the spiritual realm; I want to see!” Suddenly, I thought I might have seen something. I said, “God, what was that? Did I just see something?” I had had a brief mental picture in my mind’s eye, like a daydream picture. I thought I 218
had seen a man standing on a mountain looking over a great amount of land. He was asking the Lord, “Lord, do you want me to go into this land?” I had an impression that the answer was “yes.”
I have never been a seer, and mental pictures were not something I had much experience with. After the meeting I asked Supresa, one of the key leaders of Iris Ministries, to translate as I interviewed Johnny, who had raised the dead. Supresa would soon begin to raise the dead, and has since raised several of them. On the way I asked Supresa if he had open visions, where he wouldn’t see anything except what God was showing him. He told me he did. This intimidated me more.
That night while I was preaching, I gave an invitation for men who had been on a mountain asking God if they were to go into this land to come forward for prayer. About seven men came forward. A few of them were key leaders in the movement, and another two had actually been on a mountain a few days earlier fasting and praying. During this time these two men had seen a vision of a ball of fire moving through the sky and hovering over Chimoio. They heard God tell them to go to this building (the one we were meeting in) and there they would find their overseers. These men eventually became powerful leaders in Iris’ ministry.
In addition, Heidi told me later that she had been praying for months asking God who was to go into the Muslim northern provinces of Mozambique. God gave her the answer that night. Sometime later, I found out that this story was on the webpage of the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship. It was called, “The Mountain Vision.” How funny! What started out as a very weak “I thought I might have seen something,” was now called the “Mountain Vision.”
3. Pemba – Mrs. Tanuecki
During another trip to minister in Mozambique with Heidi, she invited me to a pastors conference. After preaching and ministering I was once again very much troubled by what seemed to me my own inadequacy. I went to Heidi and told her that I didn’t want to come back to Mozambique. I said, “You don’t need me here. These people are more powerful than I am. They pray better, and they can communicate the gospel better than I can to their fellow Mozambicans. They are raising the dead; what can I do for them?
Heidi stopped me and pointed to a woman in the crowd named Mrs. Tanuecki. She told me, “That woman over there has been involved in raising several people from the dead, but when you touched her and prayed for her, God took her into a trance. She is still in the trance. We do need you to come with your teams to Mozambique. You carry a special grace, a special anointing.”
Later that day, Heidi had four people pray for me, all of whom had raised the dead, and a few of them had raised three or four from the dead. It was a humbling experience, but one for which I was very grateful. I want to receive an impartation for raising the dead.
As with the section on Brazil, I want to end this one on Mozambique with my very first night in Mozambique and the fruit of that meeting. I was exhausted by the time I arrived. Heidi said, “You might want to rest for half an hour to an hour. Tonight, I want to take you to the dump where we minister to people and then into the city. I also want you to lead devotions with my staff before we leave.”
I was exhausted and didn’t feel like leading devotions for the staff. When we met I asked them, “Why are you here? Tell me your story.” I was shocked to hear that every one of them had been touched either in Toronto, or by someone from Toronto who was carrying the anointing. They were from Israel, England, Canada, United States, and Australia. I began to realize how impacting the Toronto Blessing was upon missions, at least in Mozambique.
While in Maputo I interviewed many people. I remember interviewing the only nurse on the base. At that time there weren’t any doctors on the base and this nurse was working long hours. She was a pretty blond from England, but she was exhausted. She was planning to go back to England in the near future after having fulfilled her commitment. A few days later, I preached a message called “Spend and Be Spent” from 2 Corinthians 12:11. At the conclusion I saw this nurse come forward weeping, touched by the Holy Spirit. She committed that day to stay longer in Mozambique.
Also, I learned quite some time later that on that same day, there was a person on our team from Nebraska named Betty. She too had heard God speak to her about coming back and helping Heidi. She would later return and serve as Heidi’s personal assistant and in other positions for some time. She had no special training or cross-cultural education. She did, however, have a heart that had been touched by the Holy Spirit. Our short-term ministry team had not only impacted the missionaries working in Maputo; the missionaries, in turn, had impacted our team. Those who came to “refresh others” had themselves “been refreshed.”
On my next trip to Mozambique, I was surprised to see several of the people who I met on my first trip who also had been visiting for their first time. They had returned to become part of the crucial leadership team. One man, Steve Lazar, was an educator from Australia. He would begin a school for Iris that would become the #1 rated primary school in Mozambique. Also, from that first trip, several couples from my team would go back as full time missionaries to work with Rolland and Heidi.
I would like to conclude with a strategy God gave me to help Rolland and Heidi. I believed that I was to take the pastors of the largest churches I had relationship with to Mozambique with me. And, I knew that I was to not only invite pastors, but also very successful businessmen. I wouldn’t have to say anything about helping Rolland and Heidi, and I knew that Rolland and Heidi wouldn’t either. I knew that when these pastors and businessmen saw what God was doing through Rolland and Heidi and saw their hearts, they would begin to help them. I had heard God correctly. These people would become some of the strongest financial supporters of their ministry.
C. Russia – Moscow – Pastor’s Conferences
Years ago, I was attending a conference in Kansas City when I heard Terry Law share about his experiences in Russia. At this meeting an offering would be taken up for Bibles for China. In this one offering, $1,000,000 was raised. I had an impression that one day I would lead my worship team to Russia and they would sing in Russian. My church was just getting started and had less than 100 people in it at the time. A few years later, I had an impression from the Lord, “Ask me for $100,000.” I knew it wasn’t for me personally, but I did not know what it was for. I didn’t need to know to obey. I began asking the Lord for $100,000 dollars. This was around 1994.
On Sunday January 1, 1995, I was preaching and told my church, “We are to go to Russia.” I told them that we were to take the anointing that had fallen in our church in 1993 and in Toronto in 1994 to Russia. I said, “I need the worship team to go with me. I now know what the $100,000 is for. We are going to do a Catch the Fire conference in Russia. Begin raising the money, and if you can’t raise enough, I will help you. Oh, another thing- you can’t sing in English. You have to learn Russian and I don’t have a clue how this will happen!”
About a week later I was conducting meetings in Melbourne, Florida where another revival had broken out when I went to preach. This one lasted six nights a week for about eight months. While there, a young man in his early 20’s named Keith Major asked me to pray for him. I asked him, “For what?” He said, “About going back to Russia. My wife and I were among the leaders of one of the first churches started after the wall came down. That is where we met and got married. I want to go back, but don’t know what to do.” I said, “I will pray for you, but could you and your wife eat with me after the meeting?” He said they could.
During our 3:00 a.m. meal, I asked his wife Iwona, “What did you do in Russia?” She replied, “I taught English speaking people how to speak Russian.” Long story short, I asked them to move into the parsonage of my church and to spend time training my team how to sing phonetically in Russian. I also asked her to translate our songs into Russian. This took about a year, but eventually the team and I made it to Moscow, ready to do the first Catch The Fire – Moscow. 222
1. Models for new forms of worship
The Berlin Wall hadn’t been down for long when we first went in the fall of 1995 for our “spying out the land” meetings. Then, we returned in the spring of 1996 with a full team of musicians. I hadn’t any idea how far behind the Russian Protestant churches were at this time. It was like stepping back into what I imagined the American church worship experience looked like in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Many of the songs were American songs that had been translated into Russian. The worship was led by someone who was more of a “song leader” than a worship leader. And, the instruments consisted of a piano and nothing else.
On our “spy out the land” trip, a Russian leader told me, “We Russians are not like you Americans. We will not fall down, we will not laugh, nor will we become drunk in the Spirit.”
The time had come for our meeting and the musicians were on stage. The Izmaillovo Hotel Civic Center was filled to capacity- 1,000 pastors, church planters and worship leaders had come. The $100,000 required now had grown to $130,000 for this event due to inflation. My worship leaders Bob and Kathleen Balassi, my associate worship leader Gary Shelton, the whole worship team and some special musicians from Nashville had all come to help us. In addition to the keyboards, two acoustic guitars, an electric guitar, a bass guitar, asaxophone, a flute, a harmonica and drums were the wonderful vocals of people who once sang in bars with their own bands. We also had a voice major who was so good that she had received a college scholarship and even sang in the Sistine Chapel in Rome for the Pope.
During the first song, the Russians sat there as the team sang the song once through in English. The Russians had no expression and showed no joy. But, when the second time through the English words were pulled off the overhead, the Russian words were put up and the team switched into Russian, the place exploded. At once the Russians rose to their feet, learning the new contemporary worship songs. People shouted, twirled, waved, fell down, got drunk, shook and did many other things. They were not like us Americans. They were more abandoned to this new instrument-filled experience of worship! You could see people taking their video cameras, looking up at the words, and then down to the guitar necks to get the chord progressions. A year later we went back to do a larger event. We had worked on getting the music onto a CD recording to give to them. But, it was already too late. We were told that those songs had gone all over the country. Another fruit of this event relating to worship was what happened to one famous Russian Rock and Roll singer who was newly saved. He had laid his guitar down, not seeing a way it could be used in church. When he saw our team worship, God called him to become a worship leader. He immediately was catapulted into being one of the most famous worship leaders in the former Soviet Union. He would later work with a church in Ukraine.
2. Models for small groups
We also taught about small groups at this meeting. We encouraged them to consider small groups as a way of discipling the new converts. This was an important part of the fruitfulness of our ministry there.
3. Models for Philosophy of Ministry
While there, we emphasized a new kind of leadership- servant leadership, which exemplified humility rather than an authoritarian model. I was very much aware of the typical image many people had of American evangelists who were loud, braggadocios and proud. I have tried to offer a different model wherever we have gone in the world.
4. Impartation – Boris and Oleg and the South African Church Planter
The most important thing that happened at the Catch the Fire – Moscow was the experience of impartation that so many of the pastors experienced. Later, I would learn of two close friends from Ukraine that had come to this meeting: Boris, who was the Rabbi for the largest messianic Jewish congregation in the world in Kiev, Ukraine, and Oleg, who had become the bishop of the protestant churches in Nikolaev, Ukraine. Both men had become overwhelmed by the mighty presence of the Holy Spirit and had returned in the “power of the Spirit” to their cities. I later would meet them and hear their stories, visit their congregation and minister with them many times.
Also, a year after Catch the Fire – Moscow, I met many young pastors who had received gifts of healing at our meeting. They told me many testimonies of healings, miracles, blind eyes that saw and deaf ears that heard. They were very excited and very grateful.
Almost 14 years later, I was ministering for a South African apostle, Nevel Norton. While in his church ministering to his network of pastors, I met a South African pastor, Hugo V. Niekerk, who was touched at the Catch the Fire – Moscow 1996 while he was a missionary. He had since planted over 200 churches in Russia. He told me how powerfully he had been touched in that meeting and how it had impacted his ministry and his faith. Only heaven really knows the fruit of such meetings.
This was also the meeting during which Russ Purcello was touched. Through him, we have been able to continue to impact churches across Russia. As I shared earlier, he continued to go back every year offering other cities what he had seen us do in Moscow. This American pastor has been used to powerfully affect the Protestant Church in Russia.
D. India – Pastor’s Conferences
Krishnagiri–pastor who prayed for woman in a coma, and pastor who promised healing.
In January-February of 2010, I led a team to Bangalore and Krishnagiri, India. Bangalore was predominantly Hindu, but Krishnagiri had a strong Muslim presence. A young apostolic leader named Ravi invited us to come. The focus of the first meeting was equipping about 2,000 pastors. The second meeting had about 600 pastors, but also had a small crusade with 5,000-9,000 people. We decided to expend most of our money on the pastors’ meetings rather than on a larger crusade. There were many spectacular healings, miracles and salvations. No one had ever conducted a healing crusade in this city. A Hindu school with 700 students and teachers were curious and sent a delegate to the meeting asking if we would send someone from our team to tell them about Christianity. A small team was sent, and they prayed for many who were healed. All the students, teachers, and administrators prayed the sinner’s prayer to receive Jesus and some were filled with the Holy Spirit. Afterwards they were concerned about how they would be persecuted by family for accepting Jesus.
The same day, three Muslim women came to the pastors’ meeting, which was held in a public hall. They sat outside the hall, but because the doors were open for ventilation, they could hear everything. At the lunch break, the mother and her sister came and asked to be set free from demonic problems. The daughter, who looked to be in her 20’s and wearing a Berka allowing only her eyes to be seen, had leg problems. The mother was set free from the demonic attack and the daughter’s legs were healed. That night the husband/father came with them to the healing meeting. He was one of the first healed through a word of knowledge. When the invitation for salvation was given, this Muslim family was among the very first to come forward to confess heir sins and commit their lives to Jesus Christ. I have since heard that they are on fire for God and telling others about the great healing power in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. And, God is using them to heal many, including key leaders in the Muslim community.
One pastor at our meetings went straight from the impartation service to a woman in another city who had been in a coma for about a year. When he laid hands on her and prayed, she came out of the coma. Another pastor that week had promised a Hindu teenager who was crippled in his legs that if he would go to the meeting, he would be healed. The boy went with the pastor, but was not healed at the crusade. The pastor was beside himself, since he had promised healing and did not want to be a poor testimony to the Gospel. He didn’t know how to explain the lack of healing to the family. However, when the boy woke up the next day, he could walk. During those 4 days in Krishnagiri, the blind saw, the deaf heard, the lame walked, the terminally ill were healed. The pastors were greatly encouraged.
A few months after these meetings, the apostolic leader from Bangalore and Krishnagiri came to our headquarters and told us about the fruit that continued to happen. The pastors were not seeing many healings before the event, but they were now occurring regularly. Two people had been raised from the dead and over 90 Muslims, including several leaders, had been saved after being healed. Greater prosperity had come to the city in the form of job opportunities offered by the government. Even the land was impacted, as mangos began to grow once again after many years of little to no growth.
We have made two short-term mission trips to Phenom Phen, Cambodia. Both were to pray for the pastors and leaders that the apostolic leader, Sophal Ung, had gathered together from all over Cambodia. The second trip also included pastors from Vietnam. There were many who were healed and who received impartations that equipped them to see more healings and more success in their own ministries. Sophal and his wife Debra are very excited about the fruit of those meetings. They continue to invite us back, hoping our schedule will allow another visit with them.
In 1995 I prayed and prophesied over a Baptist pastor in Norway named Leif Hetland. During the prayer, I told him, “I see you in a dark place. All around you is darkness, but behind you is light. And, I see a multitude of people following you out of the darkness into the light.” The power of the Holy Spirit knocked him to the floor where he shook for 2 ½ to 3 hours. He got up and by the next week was operating in many gifts he never had before. Every person he prayed for was healed. However, he didn’t yet understand the prophecy I gave him. The next year he had his neck and back broken. While recuperating from the injury in traction, he was meditating on the prophecy and realized he was not to remain a Baptist pastor but was to go to unreached people groups. Since then he has led 850,000 people to the Lord in Islamic countries as of March, 2010. This has been done by conducting healing meetings as many Muslims believe in Jesus because of the healings they see. Also, Leif has started over 2,000 Lighthouses of Love in these countries, which focus on healing, deliverance and restoration of lives. God is using him throughout the Western Hemisphere, Africa, Asia, Middle East and Europe. Great healing miracles take place in his ministry even as he endures serious pain from his own injuries. The anointing that led him to the nations has resulted in him being away from his wife and four children for up to 200+ days a year. He even has had threats against his life including several by the Taliban. However, nothing has prevented him from continuing to preach the Gospel and heal the sick.
Juan Aguilar is an apostolic leader in Mexico City. I took two short-term missions teams with me to minister to his leaders. On each trip the power of God came upon the pastors and leaders. During the first trip, several key leaders in the Baptist denomination were powerfully touched and began to see much more of the power of God in their ministries. Also, many other pastors from diverse denominations and apostolic streams were empowered.
In 2009, I took a very small team to Queretaro, Mexico to minister in another apostolic network of pastors. We taught them how to receive words of knowledge and how to pray for the sick out of a place of dependence on the Holy Spirit. We had a special time of impartation for over 1,000 pastors and leaders. Then, we had a service where we prayed specifically for the terminally ill, blind, deaf and/or crippled. The day after I left, they did it again and saw many healings, some miracles and 11 blind people healed. The pastors were so excited because there had previously been very little healing in their ministries. They exclaimed, “We did receive an impartation!”
One of the miracles that occurred at this event was the healing of a woman who had cancer resulting in a urostomy bag for her urine. She was accompanied by her daughter, who had cancer in her breast. Both women were healed of their cancer and the woman no longer needed a urostomy. Somehow, her organ was reconstructed and was working normally. She was able to go to the bathroom normally before she left the building instead of the urine flowing into the bag.
During this meeting a Baptist pastor came up to me at the end of the meeting and asked to be prayed for by the laying on of hands. I prayed for him and his wife. They fell down, but there did not initially appear to be a strong anointing. They were resting quietly on the floor without much trembling or shaking. However, the longer he was on the floor the stronger the anointing became. About an hour later, I saw him being helped from the building by two men since he was unable to walk. He shook the whole next day, and it was quite noticeable to all who were there. The following day, now two days after the impartation, he ministered in his 10,000 member Baptist Church. He was helped to the pulpit by two deacons. As they tried to help him, the Holy Spirit knocked all three of them to the floor. He was going to pray for the church to receive an anointing, but before he could say, “anointing,” the Spirit came upon him and his church. When this happened over three-fourths of the 8,000 people in attendance fell to the floor or shook under the power of God. And many other manifestations of the Holy Spirit occurred that day in his church. The early service didn’t end until about 4:30 p.m.
H. Argentina – Story of Baptist Church Planter out of Del Centro Baptist Church, Marcello Diaz
About 15 years ago, I went to Buenos Aires, Argentina. While there I ministered at a large pastors’ meeting in a Baptist Church- La Iglesia Evangélica Bautista del Centro. This church was the first Baptist Church in Argentina. At this conference one young pastor, Marcelo Diaz, had been prayed for several times. Near midnight he came to me and asked for one more prayer. When I prayed for him, the power of God knocked him to the floor. I sensed an urgency to tell him to pray for everyone in his new church that he was starting in the area. When he did this the next day, everyone he prayed for was healed, including a woman dying of cancer. The community named this new church plant the “Healing Church”. Today, it is one of the largest churches in that area of the city.
The most important aspect of the short-term mission trips that our ministry has is the impartation pastors receive, the encouragement that God can and will use them for healing, and the activation of the gifts of the Spirit in their lives and ministries.
I am grateful to know that I am not only leading short-term ministry trips into many countries, but also are so many other pastors who first traveled with me and are now taking teams themselves into many countries. Our network, the Apostolic Network of Global Awakening is only 4 years old, yet already, we are in 1/3 of the countries of the world. Not only are pastors who traveled with me taking teams into the world, but so are itinerate ministers. There has been a real multiplication of effect and a multiplication of countries we are reaching every year. We, or someone in our apostolic network, are taking short-term ministry trips to almost 50 countries a year where people are healed, delivered and empowered to more effectively reach their communities in the power of the Holy Spirit.