Current Revival in America’s largest University

Current Revival in America’s largest University

ASU
By George Otis, Jr.
President, The Sentinel Group
As of Fall 2018, every single nation on earth is represented at Arizona State University! Over 150 nations have someone on the ASU campus, while other nations are involved online – including North Korea and Antarctica! From this one place, Spirit-led believers have the potential to impact the entire family of nations, just as the apostles did on Pentecost!
In recent months, this huge university, the largest in the United States, has been in the grip of a bona fide spiritual awakening.
By our definition, formed over twenty years of monitoring transforming revival around the world, a true awakening means the work of God is comprehensive. This stands in contrast to a human campaign or initiative where results are typically confined to a single category or location within the community.
At ASU [Arizona State University], God’s sweep is as broad as it gets.
Not surprisingly, united prayer has proven to be a major factor behind these happy developments. After several tough years where campus ministries tended to go their own way, things took a pleasant turn in the fall of 2017. Instead of the usual two to three ministries coming together before God, prayer events at the local Campus Christian Center were rocking a three-fold increase in intercessory participants.
This past spring, fully a dozen ministries united behind a forty-day prayer focus where petitions were lifted day and night from a tent erected near the main campus square. The initiative was so fruitful, the ministries decided to continue the effort over the balance of the academic semester.
This fall, the tally of participating ministries and campus churches reached seventeen, as a fresh fifty-six-day campaign drew prodigals, atheists, Muslims, New Agers, and students suffering from depression. In addition to witnessing numerous conversions, healings, and deliverances, the intercessors also watched God begin to move among the University faculty and administration.
One of the more significant breakthroughs involved the school’s Interfaith Council of Religious Advisors. For years, the woman directing the council was motivated to establish ASU as a model of the global interfaith movement. Unfortunately, this highly syncretistic vision proved to be a major hindrance to the gospel. As time went by, her attitude toward Christians hardened, and ministries found their access to campus facilities severely limited.
Faced with this opposition, students and ministry leaders began to pray that God would either change this woman’s heart, or install someone more sympathetic.
It did not take God long to act. Within a period of weeks, this woman who had so vexed campus leaders disappeared from the Interfaith Council. None of the Christians on campus seemed to know where she had gone, or why. She was simply no longer there. Her replacement, a man even more hostile to the Christian cause, was similarly prayed out. Today, the council is headed by the son of a Baptist minister!
Even more dramatic has been the departure from the university of notorious atheist Lawrence Krauss. Virulently anti-Christian, the highly-paid professor routinely packed out Gammage Auditorium on campus by bringing in atheist luminaries such as Richard Dawkins and the late Stephen Hawking.
A theoretical physicist, Krauss founded the Origins Project in 2009 with the aim of placing the university at the forefront of the New Atheist Movement. By promoting hostile, anti-religious rhetoric and policies (“teaching Creationism to youth is child abuse”), Krauss bullied Christian students and faculty into silence.
During the worst of Krauss’s campaign, God assured one late-night intercessor that the professor would be brought low, and that the backbone of the atheist movement on campus would be broken.
Given Krauss’s fame and tenure, this prospect was almost unimaginable.
And yet, on Oct. 21, 2018, Lawrence Krauss announced his resignation after being stripped of his role as an academic chair and as the Director of the Origins Project. This action came in the wake of an impending termination procedure urged by the dean of ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
According to ASU provost, Mark Searle, action was taken because the physicist “violated the school’s sexual harassment policy and code of ethics.” In a July 31 letter to Krauss, Searle told the professor his behavior was “unprofessional, reflects a failure of leadership, and is extremely disappointing.”
As for the Origins Project itself, the university newspaper notes that “sources point to a very different future for the project.” The initiative has already lost its name.
With Krauss out of the picture at ASU, Christian faculty in both the arts and sciences are again raising their flag.
A March 2019 conference on Science and Faith will allow students to engage faculty in six fields, an approach being lauded by the university president. As one professor’s official profile declares: “Through his work he intends to glorify God, from whom all good things come.”
Transforming winds have also been coursing through the university’s athletic department. Just last month, over 100 Christian student athletes attended an all-sport gathering in the men’s football facility that featured worship, prayer, and inspirational messages.
Many athletes were touched at this student-led event as the room was charged with the Spirit of God. One of them, star wide receiver N’Keal Harry — whom many analysts peg as a top-15 pick in the upcoming NFL draft — gave his heart to Christ and is devouring the Word. He is arguably the most popular personality on the ASU campus.
And Harry is but one of an estimated twenty to thirty football players who have turned their lives over to Jesus in recent months. The wrestling team has also been impacted through the open witness of Austyn Harris and All-American Josh Shields, and encouraging reports are coming in from athletes associated with hockey, lacrosse, gymnastics, track, swimming, and volleyball.
Dorm and Greek life are likewise feeling the impact of the Gospel. As one knowledgeable source told me, “Before this year, it was hard to find any Christians in the Honors dorms. Now, it seems like they are everywhere!” Better yet, they are uniting in prayer that God’s purposes will be realized in the lives of these elite students.
So much more could be said, but I’ll leave you with the observation one student athlete shared with me earlier this month: “The identity of ASU is being flipped.”
As of Fall 2018, every single nation on earth is represented at Arizona State University! Over 150 nations have someone on the ASU campus, while other nations are involved online – including North Korea and Antarctica! From this one place, Spirit-led believers have the potential to impact the entire family of nations, just as the apostles did on Pentecost!
Here is how you can be a part.
First, we need people who will partner with us to supply transformation video libraries to the dorms and athletic teams at ASU. There is great interest in these stories, and I believe they will inspire students to embrace even more of God.
Second, we believe God has called us to document this unfolding story on film so it can stir up faith on other campuses. We began this effort during a short visit to the ASU campus two weeks ago, but we want to return in late January to film a much larger set of interviews and events that are being arranged.
This story has already stirred audiences in several states. Just last week, I was able to share highlights with campus ministers from all the Ivy League schools plus Stanford University. This coming May, these leaders will join us on a revival exposure tour to see more of God’s handiwork in the Fiji Islands.
We need approximately $25,000 for these undertakings. If you can make a year-end gift to the ministry on Giving Tuesday (November 27), this will allow us to capture and transmit this glorious story to thousands.
Finally, please continue to pray for us as we complete other important research, training, and media projects. It is our heart’s desire to offer up some much-needed good news in this dark and uncivil hour.
Warmly,

The Windowsill of Heaven

The Windowsill of Heaven

Every morning, lean thine arms awhile
Upon the windowsill of heaven,
And gaze upon thy Lord.
Then, with the vision in thy heart,
Turn strong to meet thy day.

Poem by Thomas Blake 

In the early days of his ministry, Dr. Theodore F. Adams vacationed in Wisconsin where he attended an outdoor vesper service led by an Episcopal rector who recited the verse above. Dr Adams never forgot those words. He committed them to memory.

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From 1936-1968 Dr. Adams served as senior pastor of Richmond’s First Baptist Church. During that time he referred to this verse countless times as one of his favourites. He even had desktop placards made and sent to every member of the church.

Many readers are aware that the beautiful stained glass windows surrounding the FBC Sanctuary were part of a renovation project initiated by Dr. Adams in the late 1940s, but they may be unaware of the message he left in one of the windows by which we remember him today.

In the commission of the windows’ refurbishment, Dr. Adams’ goal was twofold. The larger windows that surround the balcony were to portray the significant events in the life of Jesus, while those below were to demonstrate how followers could live out Jesus’ lessons in modern times. Each upper window correlates to the one below it and is interpreted there for modern understanding. Each window is also accompanied by a scripture passage – except one.

There are two windows in the church picturing Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, one in the Chapel and one in the Sanctuary. The Chapel window’s focus is on prayer, but the story in the Sanctuary’s window shows Jesus, having been strengthened by prayer, telling Peter, James, and John, “Behold, the hour is at hand—Rise, let us be going.” The light shining on Jesus comes from heaven and affirms Jesus’ declaration that, “Thy will, not mine, be done.”

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The Garden of Gethsemane 

Bathed in sunlight in the corollary window below kneels a lone figure, praying the very poem that begins, “Every morning, lean thine arms upon the windowsill of heaven.” These verses are not found in the Bible, but send the message that made such a marked impression on Dr. Adams’ life that he was determined it be memorialized in this window.

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The Windowsill of Heaven

Could he have guessed that with each reading, those who remembered him would also see him reciting it before a congregation of First Baptist Church members, even today?

In writing about Dr. Adams, Dr. W. Randall Lolley, former pastor of FBC Greensboro, NC, says that Dr. Adams was a man, “who truly perceived the earth as the ‘windowsill of heaven.’ Every person he met, every event he enjoyed, every experience he knew worked ‘inside/out’ rather than ‘outside/in.’”

May we put into practice these words so dear to Dr. Adams.

Source: First Things First, the online magazine of Richmond’s First Baptist Church

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How I Learned to Pray for the Lost

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How I Learned to Pray for the LostPDF
You could print this 2-page PDF and fold it.

Selected from ‘How I Learned to Pray for the Lost’, Back to the Bible pamphlet.
The author is anonymous.

The letter accompanying this testimony says in part: This is the result of my search for effective ways of praying for the unsaved. I have found it to produce amazing results in a very short time. After more than 20 years of fruitless praying, it seemed that there was no possible chance for my loved ones to ever return to the faith. But after only a few weeks of the type of praying that I have outlined here I have seen them studying the Bible by the hour and attending every church service possible. Also, their whole attitude toward Christianity has changed, and all resistance seems to be gone. I have taken my place of authority in Christ and am using it against the enemy. I have not looked at myself to see if I am fit or not; I have just taken my place and have prayed that the Holy Spirit may do His convicting work. If each and every member of the Body of Christ would do this, what a change would be made in this world.

Mark 10,27 possible with God

Perhaps because the salvation of some seemed to me to be an impossibility, the first verse that was given to me was Mark 10:27: “With God all things are possible.”

The next Scripture verse had occupied my attention for some time, but it took on a new meaning: “(for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) casting down imaginations [speculations] and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4,5). This shows the mighty power of our spiritual weapons. We must pray that all of this will be accomplished in the ones for whom we are concerned; that is, that the works of the enemy will be torn down.

2-corinthians-10_4-5

Finally I was given the solid foundations for my prayers – the basis of redemption. In reality, Christ’s redemption purchased all mankind, so that we may say that each one is actually God’s purchased possession, although still held by the enemy. We must, through the prayer of faith, claim and take for God in the name of the Lord Jesus that which is rightfully His. This is not meant to imply that, because all persons have been purchased by God through redemption, they are automatically saved. They must believe and accept the gospel for themselves; our intercession enables them to do this.

To pray in the name of the Lord Jesus is to ask for, or to claim, the things which the blood of Christ has secured. Therefore, each individual for whom prayer is made should be claimed by name as God’s purchased possession, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and on the basis of His shed blood.

We should claim the tearing down of all the works of Satan, such as false doctrine, unbelief, atheistic teaching and hatred, which the enemy may have built up in their thinking. We must pray that their very thoughts will be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

With the authority of the name of the Lord Jesus, we must claim their deliverance from the power and persuasion of the Evil One and from the love of the world and the lust of the flesh.  We should also pray that their conscience maybe convicted, that God may bring them to the point of repentance and that they may listen and believe as they hear the Word of God. Our prayer must be that God’s will and purposes may be accomplished in and through them.

Intercession must be persistent – not to persuade God, for redemption is by God, but because of the enemy. Our prayer and resistance are against the enemy – the awful powers and rulers of darkness. It is our duty before God to fight for the souls for whom Christ died. Just as some must preach to them the good news of redemption, others must fight the powers of darkness on their behalf through prayer.

We will find that as we pray, the Holy Spirit will give new directions. Note that “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing” (John 6:63) and that “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor. 3:6). Therefore we must constantly seek the motivation of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, in our faith, in our prayer and in our testimony.

It is most important also that we confess our own sins and have them forgiven. The enemy will use every possible means to silence our intercession and to block our attack against him. We must not only understand our enemy, our authority in Christ and how to use our spiritual weapons, but also how to wear the armour that God has provided for our protection. Thus equipped and protected, we need not have any fear. But let us always remember that we have no power and no authority other than that of Christ.

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Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ (2 Cor. 2:14).

He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).

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See also: How I Learned to Pray for the Sick


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How I Learned to Pray for the Sick

Prayer for healing

How I Learned to Pray for the Sick

This is a result of my search for effective ways of praying for the sick. I found it produced results after persisting in hope and faith.  At first it was mostly in hope. I know that God answers prayer, but we don’t always know how. Gradually my faith grew as I persisted in faith, believing that God answers prayer and that God heals. The tide changed and waves of healing blessings flowed more fully.

When I was young, we prayed for the sick in general terms, such as “Please God, heal Mr or Mrs So-and-so. Amen.”  Generally the people we prayed for seemed to improve and sometimes we saw rapid improvement.

Then I discovered intimacy with God and the power of his Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, in new ways. Jesus told us to seek this: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13). We all need to ask, seek and knock, and Jesus promises that we will receive, find and have the door opened (Matthew 7:7-8).

Mt 7,7 A S K

So my journey in praying for others, including praying for the sick, began to change as I allowed the Holy Spirit to guide me more fully. Instead of praying the same old way, “Please God, heal that sick person,” I began praying the way I was led by the Spirit.

As I read about Jesus and his disciples, I realized that they rarely or never prayed this way, “Please God heal that sick person.” Mostly they commanded healing, and Jesus’ followers always did so in Jesus’ name. Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth, and we have authority as we serve him and pray in his name, on his behalf.

That gradually opened new horizons for me! I began listening more to the still, small voice in my mind and heart, and found I was praying with more authority, in Jesus’ name. Increasingly I found myself led to pray, “Be healed, in Jesus’ name.

As I persisted, the Holy Spirit quietly prompted me to take authority over attacks against the person. Sometimes (not automatically and not always) I was led to pray something like “Infirmity, get out in Jesus’ name.

Increasingly I found more people reported that pain had gone or that they felt significantly improved. So then I realized that it helped to ask the person being prayed for how they felt. If some pain remained, I was often led to pray for them again, sometimes more than once more.

As first I was reluctant to ask how the person felt, in case there was little or no improvement! Then, gradually I realized that asking how they felt actually gave more opportunity to pray more if that was needed. When we persisted, we often saw improvement right there and then. A simple way to check is to ask, “How much pain do you have on a sale of 10 to 1?”

Blockages

Many blockages in my thinking stopped me from praying with authority. Here are a few.

  1. Not good enough. That can stop us. We think we’re not good enough for God to work in and through us. “No one is good but One, that is, God” (Mark 10:18). If you wait till you’re perfect, you’ll be in heaven! Confess sin quickly and gratefully move on, because the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, goes on cleansing us from all sin (1 John 1:7).
  2. Fear of failure.  What if the person is not healed? That is a common blockage because sometimes there is no evidence of immediate healing. I began saying, “We’ll keep on trusting God for more healing, however it may come.” As we persisted in faith, there seemed to be more healing, more often.
  3. No healing gift. There are many gifts of healings (1 Corinthians 12:9), and some people have a gift of faith for healing – they just expect it. I think I had more hope than faith. But we can all pray for healing, even if we don’t have healing gifts. 
  4. Disappointment. We all experience disappointment sometimes when we pray for healing. Healing does not always happen, or it may be slow in coming. But we can persist, just as we do with medical treatments. We persist till healing comes.
  5. No leading. What if you have no leading on how to pray? That happens at times. You can still pray in faith, knowing God hears and will answer in his way and in his time.

What helped me to overcome blockages?

God’s Word helped me most. The more I read about Jesus and his followers the more my faith grew. God’s Spirit speaks his word into our hearts and lives. We believe it and act on it.

John 6,63

Listening more for the leading of God’s Spirit helped me enormously. Note that “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing” (John 6:63) and that “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor. 3:6). Often, a ‘hunch’ turned out to be a ‘leading’.

One night I prayed for a young relative who had been getting migraines. Medications had helped, but migraines persisted. I had a hunch we were dealing with an attack, so I was led to gently place my hand on his head and pray, “Affliction, get out in Jesus’ name.” I felt it go, and my young relative felt fine and has not needed medication for that since then. We don’t always ‘feel’ something, but we can pray in faith.

Why lay on hands?

Why do we lay hands on the sick to pray for them? It’s biblical. See Mark 6:5; 7:32; 10:16; 16:18; Luke 4:40; 13:13; Acts 28:8. It’s also a natural way to express care and concern.  All parents know that touch brings comfort when a child is hurt.

Biblical passages taught me to persist. Here are some: Matthew 7:7-11; Luke 11:5-10; 18:1-8; 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Jesus occasionally prayed/commanded for healing more than once, as for the blind man at Bethsaida (Mark 8:22-25) and the wild man of Gadarra (Luke 8:26-39).

Ultimate healing and the only total healing is in heaven. Meanwhile, in this broken world we can show compassion and care in many ways, including praying for healing. I know the pain of praying for a loved one’s healing, who died. Sometimes the healing is not here, but hereafter.

Sometimes God may surprise you, as you persist in simple faith. A nurse in one of our prayer groups was led to place her hand on a lady’s back and pray, “L4 be healed, in Jesus’ name.” The pain left immediately. Apparently the problem was in the lumbar (L4 region) of the spine.

A doctor, and my college class, once prayed for and laid hands on a lady student who was scheduled for an operation to remove a growth in her abdomen. Later that same day her specialist could find no growth, so they cancelled the operation.

Recently we prayed as a small group for a man with diabetes problems. When he had a blood test it registered normal, so he testified in church and gave thanks to God.

Healing is not always so quick. But it’s always a blessing to pray for one another. Sometimes it helps to pray in a believing group where those praying contribute their different spiritual gifts and insights. You can pray in the Spirit and often receive the Spirit’s leading on how to pray with authority in Jesus’ name.

Many people discover that God is real and personal, and they believe in him because someone prayed for their healing. We pray – God heals.

I pray that you will find peace and joy as you pray in faith for others, led and empowered by God’s Spirit. Just bless them in Jesus’name.

HEALING BLOGS

 

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Principles of Revival from History by Andrew Staggs

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Andrew Staggs is the Dean of the School of Ministries at Christian Heritage College, Brisbane.
Staggs Andrew
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Here is a paper that I wrote many years ago about the amazing way that God moves in His people, His church and His world.
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I hope that it helps you position yourself under God to receive His favour and love at a completely new level.
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INTRODUCTION
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Much has been written about the revivals and awakenings that have taken place in the Church over many centuries. It is clear that there are a number of revival principles that constantly recur including persistent prayer; powerful preaching and testimony; and a deep awareness of the presence and holiness of God leading to a strong sense of conviction of sin and repentance followed by extreme joy when peace with God is received (Davies, 1992, p 217). This essay will illustrate from revival history these and other principles and explore the nature and potency of revival.
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WHAT IS REVIVAL?
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It is important to define in more detail what is meant by the term revival as this will determine which events are included as illustrations in the essay. Davies (1992, p 15) proposes a working definition of revival as
A sovereign outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon a group of Christians resulting in their spiritual reviving and quickening, and issuing in the awakening of spiritual concern in outsiders or formal church members; an immediate, or, at other times, a more long-term, effect will be efforts to extend the influence of the Kingdom of God both intensively in the society in which the Church is placed, and extensively in the spread of the gospel to more remote parts of the world.
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Waugh (1998, p xxii) quotes Arthur Wallis definition of revival as
A divine intervention in the normal course of spiritual things. It is God revealing Himself to man in awesome holiness and irresistible power. It is such a manifest working of God that human personalities are overshadowed and human programs abandoned. It is man retiring into the background because God has taken the field. It is the Lord…working in extraordinary power on saint and sinner…Revival must of necessity make an impact on the community and this is one means by which we may distinguish it from the more usual operations of the Holy Spirit.
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Edwards (1997, p 28) proposes the following definition:
A true Holy Spirit revival is a remarkable increase in the spiritual life of a large number of God’s people, accompanied by an awesome awareness of the presence of God, intensity in prayer and praise, a deep conviction of sin with a passionate longing for holiness and unusual effectiveness in evangelism, leading to the salvation of many unbelievers.
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Revival is necessary to counteract spiritual decline and to create spiritual momentum (Wallis, 1956, p 13). In revival the church dormant becomes the church militant. For example, as the nineteenth century dawned America was again morally bankrupt. Eight years of war had drained the nation’s vitality leaving a dark cloud of spiritual indifference and moral degradation. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church circulated a pastoral letter declaring they were filled with concern and awful dread at the conditions of the nation. They expressed the solemn conviction that the eternal God has a controversy with this nation. This concern prompted fervent prayer that precipitated a national spiritual awakening beginning on the east coast around 1800 and spreading to the western frontier (Hyatt, 1998, p 121).
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Charles Haddon Spurgeon experienced a continual revival in his church in London for many years in the middle of last century and he was convinced that a true revival is to be looked for in the church of God. In other words revival begins with the church and spills over into the world. It always begins by getting Christians right first, which is very painful.
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Revival will always vitalise God’s people … but revival is not always welcome. For many the price is too high. There is no cheap grace in revival. It entails the repudiation of self-satisfied complacency. Revival turns careless living into vital concern…exchanges self-indulgence for self-denial. Yet, revival is not a miraculous visitation falling on an unprepared people like a bolt out of the blue. It comes when God’s people earnestly want revival and are willing to pay the price (Pratney, 1984, p 17).
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Preaching at the Keswick Convention in 1922, Douglas Brown, who was used in a revival the year before, rightly maintained that “revival” is a church word; it has to do with God’s people. You cannot revive the world; the world is dead to trespasses and sins; you cannot revive a corpse. But you can revitalise where there is life… (Edwards, 1997, p 27).
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Evan Roberts made the same claim in Wales in 1904: “My mission is first to the churches.” When the churches are aroused to their duty, men of the world will be swept into the Kingdom. A whole church on its knees is irresistible. Revival always brings the church to its knees. Rhys Bevan Jones who preached in Wales throughout 1904 declared that if ever there was a slogan for that revival it was this: “Bend the church and save the people” (ibid).
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A revival usually results in an unusual sense of spiritual interest or concern and it can first manifest itself as a deep concern on the part of professing Christians regarding the shallowness and superficiality of their spiritual lives. They become profoundly conscious of their poverty of their relationship with God, the standard of their moral lives and their service for Christ (Davies, 1992, p 19).
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This can also be demonstrated in the Brownsville revival in 1995. Stephen Hill (1997, p 74) noted that as in the revivals of old, people fell to their knees, prostrate or backward on the ground, weeping and wailing and crying out to God: John (Kilpatrick) and I prayed for individuals, and I realised that repentance was on the hearts of these people. I heard them cry out to God about their lukewarmness and stale Christianity, confessing their sins, and wanting desperately to get right with God. It seemed that everyone in that sanctuary desired a renewed relationship with their Lord Jesus Christ.
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Revival is not primarily to give the church power, though it certainly does this, but give it life. There is a world of difference. In one sense the church had no history before Pentecost. In Acts 2 the church was not restored to where it ought to have been and from where it had fallen, but it was the starting-point of the new covenant church. The Acts story certainly describes the effects of a community saturated with God. A revival is the spring of Christianity – the renovation of life and gladness … it is the season in which young converts burst into existence and beautiful activity … the whole landscape teems with living promises of abundant harvest of righteousness and peace… it is the jubilee of holiness (Jenkins in Hill, 1997, p xxx).
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When a group of God’s people are revived there is an inevitable effect on those in the immediate neighbourhood. They see that something has happened, make enquiries, and are then told by those who have been revived. This is what happened on the day of Pentecost, and is what has often happened in subsequent times of revival. For example:
1. Wales, 1904, 100 000 conversions
2. Argentina, 1951, 300 000 conversions
3. Pensacola, 1995, 100 000 conversions
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Revival is remarkable, large, effective and, above all, it is something that God brings about. It is quite impossible for man to create revival. Though men may prepare and pray for it, revival is the work of the sovereign God. Commenting on Acts 2:1, when the day of Pentecost came, Wallis in Edwards (1997, p 29) claims every genuine revival is clearly stamped with the hallmark of divine sovereignty, and in no way is this more clearly seen than in the time factor. The moment for the first outpouring of the Spirit was not determined by the believers in the upper room but by God, who had foreshadowed it centuries before in those wonderful types of the Old Testament.
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The suddenness is a typical feature of revival. What happened in the time of Hezekiah was done so quickly and the same was true 700 years later when, on the day of Pentecost, suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind… (Acts 2:2). No matter how long people have been praying for it or expecting it when it comes it is always a surprise.
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When God came to the north of Korea in January 1907 it was on the Monday following a particularly formal and weary Sunday. In revival things happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Meetings are lengthened, crowds gather, and sermons have to be preached, not because it is all arranged in advance, but because God is at work. At
Herrnhut in 1727, Zinzendorf acknowledged, hitherto we had been the leaders and helpers. Now the Holy Spirit himself took full control of everything and everybody (Edwards, 1997, p 30).
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PERSISTENT PRAYER
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God longs to work afresh in the affairs of His people and bring them back to the knowledge of Himself and relationship with Him (Waugh, 1999, p 11). To illustrate, God gave a promise at the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem in 2 Chronicles 7:14 – 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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land (NIV).
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He has kept this promise and the history of Israel gives many examples. This verse speaks of the need for God’s people to humble themselves and pray and seek God’s face and turn from their wicked ways, thus emphasising the paramount need for prayer. As God’s people truly seek his face, humbling themselves before him and acknowledging their complete dependence on him, earnest and urgent in expressing their wholehearted desire for his presence and blessing together with their determination, like Jacob (Gen 32: 26), not to give up until he answers, he will hear. They will find that He reveals to them their secret sins which up to that time they have cheerfully committed and tolerated, but which now become hateful to them as they have a glimpse of how He views them.
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Orr (1993, p 13) quotes Pierson who said, there has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer. Joel 2: 15-17 is a vital passage to apprehend for revival – blow the trumpet in Zion … Here is a community of people of God called to pray for revival, and it clearly involved a radical alteration of their regular program. The first hint of revival is frequently a stirring in the life of prayer in the church. King Hezekiah set the example for the people by his own commitment to God in prayer.
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Commenting on the prayer that preceded the revival in Shotts in 1630, one writer remarked that while God sometimes works without His people, he never refuses to work with them (Edwards, 1997, p 85).
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The first hint of revival is frequently a stirring in the life of prayer in the church and this can be well documented from history. In the case of the First Great Awakening there were Christian leaders such as Cotton Mather (1663-1728) who over the course of his life spent hundreds of days in prayer and fasting for revival, even though he did not live to see the answer to his prayers, at least not in his own church.
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George Whitfield attributed much of the blessing which attended his ministry and that of others to a daily prayer meeting which he and his friends began in October 1737. Jonathan Edward’s preaching derived its power from his prayer life. He would spend whole days and weeks in prayer and it was not unusual for him to spend eighteen hours in prayer prior to preaching a single sermon. The result was a revival that not only transformed the moral and spiritual character of his community but also that of an entire nation (Hyatt, 1998, p 116).
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The Moravian church was renewed at Herrnhut in August 1727 and this was preceded by nearly a century of prayer for renewal by the persecuted remnants of the Unity of Brethren in Bohemia and Moravia from whom the refugees at Herrnhut had come. The twenty-four hour prayer watch which soon became a distinctive feature of the Moravians and which continued for another hundred years provided much of the moving power which sent the Moravian missionaries to all corners of the globe.
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In the 1740s John Erskine of Edinburgh published a pamphlet encouraging people to pray for Scotland and elsewhere. Over in America the challenge was picked up by Jonathan Edwards who wrote 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.
For forty years John Erskine orchestrated what became a Concert of Prayer through voluminous correspondence around the world. In the face of apparent social, political and moral deterioration he persisted. In 1781 in Cornwall the heavens opened at last and across the country prayer meetings were networking for revival. A passion for evangelism rose and converts were being won – not through regular services of the churches but at the prayer meetings! Whole denominations doubled, tripled, and quadrupled in the next few years. It swept from England to Wales, Scotland, United States, Canada and to some Third World countries.
Matthew Henry wrote, “When God intends great mercy for His people He first sets them praying” (Robinson, 1993, p 8).
The prayer movement had a tremendous impact but waned until the middle of the 19th century. Then God started something in Canada and the necessity to pray was picked up in New York. A quiet man called Jeremiah Lanphier had been appointed by the Dutch reformed Church as a missionary to the central business district. He called a prayer meeting in the city to be held at noon each Wednesday. Its first meeting was on 23 September 1859 and eventually five men turned up. Two weeks later they decided to move to a daily schedule of prayer. Within six months 10 000 men were gathering to pray and that movement spread across America. Within two years there were one million new believers added to the church. The movement swept out to touch England, Scotland Wales and Ulster. It was estimated that 100 000 converts directly resulted from prayer movements in Ireland. It has also been estimated that during the years 1859-60 some 1 150 000 people were added to the church wherever concerts of prayer were in operation (ibid, p 10).
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In describing how revival comes, believers can never overlook the part that urgent prayer and confident expectation play. There must be, especially among the leaders, the determination that God will come, that He must come. William Bramwell is typical of this. A powerful Weslyan preacher towards the end of the eighteenth century and the first twenty years of the nineteenth, Bramwell was on the Dewsbury preaching circuit and longing for God to come in revival. He had been praying fervently for this when God gave him the assurance that the revival, which actually broke out in 1792, would come (Edwards, 1997, p 75).
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It is said of David Morgan that for ten years before 1858 he never prayed in public without praying for revival. The revival that came to England in 1859 and particularly to the preaching Charles Haddon Spurgeon can be traced back six years to the prayers of his London congregation. It is not always clear when prayer meetings are part of the revival itself or are preceding it. But the distinction does not matter too much. Prayer is both the cause and result of the coming of the Spirit in revival (ibid, p 78).
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Commenting on the Welsh revival in 1904, RB Jones looked back to the latter years of the previous century. From 1897 many younger ministers were meeting together to pray for revival. One minister recalled that on a Saturday evening when his sermon preparation was finished he spent time in prayer and there would come upon him such a power as would crush (him) to tears and agonising praying (Edwards, 1997, p 77).
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Pandita Ramabai opened a home for girls in India. In this endeavour she was totally dependent on God’s provision and prayer was truly her lifeline. In January 1905, she began to speak about the need to seek God for revival. Before long, 550 people, mostly women and girls, were meeting twice daily, praying for revival and for an enduement of power. On June 30 Ramabai was teaching the girls from John 8 when suddenly the Holy Spirit fell as in the book of Acts. Everyone in the room began to weep and pray aloud. The revival had begun. Pandita Ramabai left her imprint on her generation and surely deserves to be recognised as the mother of the Pentecostal movement in India.
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Prayer seems to have been the foremost activity at the Azusa Mission. One participant said, “The whole place was steeped in prayer. William Seymour spent much of his time behind the pulpit with his head inside the top shoe box praying. Seymour was consumed with a passionate desire for God.” Seymour said, “Before I met Parham, such a hunger to have more of God was in my heart that I prayed for five hours a day for two and a half years. I got to Los Angeles and there the hunger was not less but more. I prayed, God, what can I do? The Spirit said, Pray more. …I increased my hours of prayer to seven, and prayed to God to give what Parham preached, the real Holy Ghost and fire with tongues with love and power of God like the apostles had” (Hyatt, 1998, p 156).
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The event that preceded Azusa Street by five years and actually precipitated the revival in Los Angeles began at the outset of the century in a student atmosphere. It was in a Bible School in Topeka, Kansas, where Charles Parham’s students searched the scriptures and where the Holy Spirit came on a student during a prayer and study vigil.
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Along with the growing acceptance of their movement, Pentecostals were, at the same time, experiencing a loss of spiritual vitality that always accompanies the onslaught of institutionalisation. The 1930s and 40s have been described as a time when the depth of worship and the operation of the gifts of Spirit, so much evident in earlier decades, were not so prominent. Many were concerned to the point that systematic times of prayer and fasting were instituted to pray for spiritual renewal and revival. The answer to their prayers began with the advent of the Healing revival which began in 1946 and the Latter Rain Revival which began in 1947 (Hyatt, 19 98, p 183).
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The ministries of William Branham and Oral Roberts signalled the beginning of a significant era of healing evangelism. Almost immediately a host of other evangelists began reporting miraculous healings and other supernatural phenomena in their meetings, These included AA Allen, Jack Coe, TL Osborn, William Freeman, WV Grant, Kenneth Hagin and many other evangelists. In 1947, after a seven month season of focussed prayer and fasting, Oral Roberts received inner assurance that it was time for God’s call to be fulfilled – to take God’s healing power to his generation. Many remarkable miracles occurred and Roberts eventually became the most prominent healing evangelist of that era.
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Before God began the revival that swept across Borneo in the 1970’s he had been preparing the ground by giving the missionaries the burden to pray. Ravenshill (1958, p 155) states that for this sin-hungry age we need a prayer-hungry church…prayer does business with God. Prayer creates a hunger for souls; hunger for souls creates prayer.
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Cho (in McClung, 1986, p 99) states that before 1980 individual revival movements took place with such prominent figures as Billy Graham and Oral Roberts. More recently it appears that the individual revival movements have abated and revivals have burst forth in the local church. In Korea, where the church has grown from almost zero to a projected 50% of the entire population in this century alone, Pastor Paul Yonggi Cho attributes his church’s conversion rate of 12 000 people per month as primarily due to ceaseless prayer (Robinson, 1993, p 5).
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A dramatic revival took place at Whittier Christian High School in Los Angeles from 1987 to 1989. It had been preceded by fifteen years of secret prayer for revival by the mother of one of the students who had attended in the early 1970’s and by four parent/teacher prayer groups who were similarly praying through the early part of 1987. The revival spread to some of the other colleges in the area and to two campuses on the other side of the United States. A prayer movement for God to send out 100 000 missionaries in this generation has grown out of the awakening.
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The Toronto Blessing erupted in January 1994 and by 1997 attendance had reached the two million mark. Even though the leaders of this revival consider evangelism to be their second priority – after the renewal of the Church and individual believers – over 25 000 conversions have occurred of which 8-10 000 are first time decisions (ibid, p 210).
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The lost of the Apostle Paul’s day were the same as the lost of today. Paul desperately wanted them to be set free. This same burden for the lost is at the heart of the Brownsville revival (Hill, 1997, p 12). One obvious characteristic of the Pensacola revival is its intense evangelistic emphasis. The meetings are obviously geared towards getting those who are unsaved or backslidden to the front during the altar service. Since its beginning in June 1995 it is estimated that two million people have visited the revival with over 100 000 making decisions for Christ (Hyatt, 1998, p 211).
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John Kilpatrick, pastor of the Brownsville Assemblies of God church in Pensacola, Florida highlights the value of prayer in revival when he reflects on the powerful moves of God in peoples lives: I see the scenes replayed week after week, and service after service. Each time, I realise that in a very real way, they are the fruit of a seven-year journey in prayer, and of two and a half years of fervent corporate intercession by the church (Waugh, 1998, p 137). Stephen Hill (1997, p 2) notes that it was a deep-rooted motivation to do the ministry God had given that caused Kilpatrick to rise up for over two years, take hold of the horns of the altar, grab them firmly, and scream out, “Dear God, send revival to our church. Revive us, oh God!’ He also notes (p 5) the ministry of Lyla Terhune and the intercessors who spend time in the back prayer room during the revival services agonising over the souls of the lost. They can be found weeping and wailing, often travailing as a woman giving birth, not for themselves but for the salvation of others. They do not flinch at the thought of waging heated spiritual warfare during this revival.
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Derek Prince notes in Hill (1997, p xxii) that Tuesday night is prayer night at the Pensacola revival. The seventeen hundred people present represented quite a large turn-out by most standards of prayer meetings … one distinctive feature was the presence of ten or more banners, each one representing some major theme of prayer. People focussed their prayer on a theme by gathering around that particular banner. There was none of what I would call ‘shotgun praying’, rather it was very directed.
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There have always been pockets of believers, sprinkled throughout the land – earnestly seeking God – motivated by a desperate desire for revival. God has always had His remnant. They took hold of the horns of the altar. The darkness of night was pierced by their agonising pleas for a visitation from God. Their white-hot prayers lit up the sky just as lightning displaces utter blackness (Hill, 1997, p xviii). I know not what course others may take; but as for me, GIVE ME REVIVAL in my soul and in my church and in my nation – or GIVE ME DEATH! (Ravenshill, 1958, p 161).
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POWERFUL PREACHING AND TESTIMONY
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The second consistent principle of revival is powerful, urgent, relevant Christ-centred preaching.
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On the day of Pentecost the 120 disciples were filled with the Spirit and immediately began to speak in various languages about the wonderful works of God. This was followed by Peter’s preaching which was accompanied by such spiritual power that 3 000 were convicted and converted (Acts 2). The work continued and spread as the Christians preached publicly and testified personally to the great saving acts in Jesus Christ.
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Often in revivals, an individual or a small group, have experienced powerful awakening and renewal as they have waited on God in prayer and then their personal testimony and public proclamation have been the means of communicating that blessing to other believers as well as awakening and converting non-believers.
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True revival is a revival of gospel preaching (Edwards, 1997, p 101). Powerful, urgent,
relevant Christ-centred communication of the gospel emphasising the holiness and grace of God and the need for personal response is a hallmark of revival. It is often because the preachers themselves have been revived and quickened, and the content of their preaching as well as their method of presentation bear evidence to what has happened.
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Davies (1992, p 222) notes that preachers in revival are never flippant. They know they are the servants of the Most High God and they are aware of their awesome responsibility and of the seriousness of the task. They have a sense of the awfulness of men dying without Christ and are extremely concerned to communicate the gospel faithfully. They have an urgent desire to bring men and women to repentance and faith before it is too late. Preachers in revival are concerned to make the truth plain and to show each person its relevance for them. They are also conscious to avoid superficial and therefore false conversions.
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The description of Duncan Campbell as a preacher shows how seriously revival preachers took their task: There was nothing complicated about Duncan’s preaching. It was fearless and uncompromising. He exposed sin in its ugliness and dwelt at length on the consequences of living and dying without Christ. With a penetrating gaze on the congregation and perspiration streaming down his face he set before men and women the way of death. It was a solemn thought to him that the eternity of his hearers might turn upon his faithfulness. He was standing before his fellow men in Christ’s stead and could be neither perfunctory or formal. His words were not just a repetition of accumulated ideas but the expression of his whole being. He gave the impression of preaching with his entire personality, not merely his voice (Edwards, 1997, p 103).
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In revival Christ, and the blood of the cross particularly, is central to the preaching. Perhaps this is why many records of revival refer to the special blessings experienced at communion services when the blood of Christ is preached both from the Word and through the bread and wine. At Cambuslang in 1742 the presence of God was so real at the communion service held on 11 July that it was agreed they must celebrate it again, and very soon. Untypically for the Scottish Presbyterians, they arranged another service for 15 August and this was attended by some 20,000 people! Though only a few thousand were allowed to participate, hundreds were converted.
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In the eighteenth century Whitefield and Wesley found that the preaching of the cross was hated, just as it is hated now. But thousands found in the blood of Christ justification, redemption, propitiation, peace, reconciliation and cleansing, whether or not they understood all those terms.
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Joseph Kemp returned from a visit to Wales in 1905 and reported to his congregation at Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh that the dominating note of the Walsh revival was ‘redemption through the Blood.’ Whenever we hear or read that the Spirit is at work we can assess the genuineness of the work by how central the blood of Christ is to the preaching and the worship. And if the cross is central in the preaching and the worship then it will be central in the lives of the converts (Edwards, 1997, p 108).
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Jonathan Edwards complained, in 1733, that the young people, especially, were very careless and were not interested in listening to what God had to say through their parents or through the ministers of the gospel. But when the Spirit of God came in revival, ‘The young people declared themselves convinced by what they heard from the pulpit, and were willing of themselves to comply with the counsel that had been given; and it was immediately, and I suppose, almost universally, complied with.’ Submission to leadership is a biblical condition of worship and it runs tight through both Old and New Testaments. The description of the Christians in the Acts of the Apostles was that they were dedicated to the apostles’ teaching (Acts 2:42). And when revival comes, one of its hallmarks is not independency, but a holy dependence upon Scripture and a respect for those whose task it is to explain and apply it (Edwards, 1997, p 111).
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The twin activities of public preaching and personal testimony provide the ideal combination which has so often been the way that awakening and revival have spread. Even when the preaching has been limited to ‘properly ordained ministers’ the witness of ‘ordinary Christians’ has been a major factor in the spread of revival. It is the emphasis upon living, vital and urgent preaching, together with the people’s confidence in Scripture and love for it, that produces such a powerful force in revival. Revival never begins with those who deny or despise the authority of the Word, and if people who do deny Scripture are effectively influenced by the revival it will always change their theology of the Bible.
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At times of revival there has been a paramount need for sound teaching and instruction. When those who are revived are themselves soundly taught in the truth of God’s Word, they can properly interpret their own experience, adequately proclaim the truth to others, and also correctly instruct new converts. When this is not the case or when they fail to properly instruct new converts of the revival there is a strong possibility that there will be dangerous extremes of belief and practice and that the whole movement of revival will not produce lasting fruit. In the case of the Welsh Revival of 1904 many believe that Evan Roberts’ neglect of preaching and instruction was the cause of the revival’s failure to achieve its full potential (Evans in Davies, 1992, p 223).
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One commentator on the eighteenth-century Awakening rightly claims that the uninhibited and compelling urge to preach the Gospel was the basic characteristic of all the personalities involved, whatever other gifts they might have: Both Harris and Wesley had keen organising ability, both William Williams and Charles Wesley had unsurpassed genius to write hymns, Whitfield’s compassionate heart and breadth of vision well-nigh encircled the globe, and Rowland’s communion seasons were heavenly, but each felt deeply the absolute priority and unique authority of preaching in the power of the Holy Spirit (Edwards, 1997, 104).
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DEEP AWARENESS OF THE PRESENCE AND HOLINESS OF GOD
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Another key principle of revival is the deep awareness of the presence and holiness of God leading to a strong sense of conviction of sin and repentance followed by extreme joy when peace with God is received.
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In Israel’s time, under God’s judgement, people awakened to a realisation of better days and linked this back to their previous relationship with him. Prayer went up in agony for deliverance and God raised up another leader and another restoration. Right relationship to the righteous standards of the Word of God was also confirmed by Charles Finney who succinctly defined revival as nothing more or less than a new beginning of obedience to the Word of God (Pratney, 1984, p 19).
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There is an observable connection in the history of awakenings between revival and holiness. An overwhelming sense of the holiness of God frequently characterises revivals bringing with it a crushing sense of personal and often corporate sin and guilt. The repentance which is produced in revival is a deep, radical, complete abhorrence of sin and turning away from it, with a heartfelt desire to have done with it completely. Sin is seen for what it really is, as God sees it, and it continues to be hateful to the young convert. Holiness is seen as beautiful and infinitely desirable. The new Christian longs after holiness, seeing it as a characteristic of his God.
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Waugh (1998, p 136) quotes Kilpatrick regarding the Brownsville revival – corporate businessmen in expensive suits kneel and weep uncontrollably as they repent of secret sins … drug addicts and prostitutes fall to the floor on their faces beside them, to lie prostrate before God as they confess Jesus as Lord … souls who come to Christ, confessing their sins.
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Revival is always a revival of holiness. And it begins with a terrible conviction of sin. It is often the form that the conviction of sin takes that troubles those who read of revival. Sometimes the experience is crushing. People weep uncontrollably. There is no such thing as a revival without tears of conviction and sorrow. In January 1907 God was moving in a powerful way in North Korea and a Western missionary recalled one particular scene: As the prayer continued a spirit of heaviness and sorrow for sin came down upon the audience. Over on one side someone began to weep and in a moment the whole audience was weeping. Man after man would rise, confess his sins, break down and weep, and then throw himself to the floor and beat the floor with his fists in perfect agony of conviction … sometimes after a confession the whole audience would break out in audible prayer and the effect of that audience of hundreds of men praying together in audible prayer was something indescribable. Again, after another confession, they would break out in uncontrollable weeping, and we would all weep, we could not help it. And so the meeting went on until 2 am, with confession and weeping and praying (Edwards, 1997, p 115). Scenes like these are typical of almost every recorded revival. There is no revival without deep, uncomfortable and humbling conviction of sin.
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In some mines in Wales in 1904 the work came to a standstill because the pit ponies could no longer understand the orders that were given to them; the hauliers, classed as the worst group of men in the pits, proverbial for their profanity and cruelty, were no longer cursing their commands and the ponies were confused (Edwards, 1997, p 187).
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A revival usually results in an unusual sense of spiritual interest or concern and it can first manifest itself as a deep concern on the part of professing Christians regarding the shallowness and superficiality of their spiritual lives. They become profoundly conscious of their poverty of their relationship with God, the standard of their moral lives and their service for Christ (Davies, 1992, p 19).
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Revival rectifies the impoverished spiritual conditions of people, some of which are outlined in an internet bulletin from www.highwayman.net/prayernet titled A27 Evidences of the Need for a Fresh Visitation of the Spirit. A sample includes – we need revival:
1. When we would rather make money than give money;
2. When we make little effort to witness to the lost;
3. When we seldom think thoughts of eternity;
4. When we know truth in our heads that we are not practicing in our lives
5. When we are more concerned about what others think about us than what God thinks about us.
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The full list has been reproduced and is available in the Appendix. Revival will always vitalise God’s people. In the revival in Kentucky in the late 1700s sleep and physical comforts seemed to be forgotten as things eternal gripped the hearts and minds of the people…cries of distress over sin soon gave way to shouts of joy arising out of assurance of salvation (Hyatt, 1998, p 123).
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The deep, uncomfortable and humbling conviction of sin can be demonstrated in the Brownsville revival in 1995. Stephen Hill (1997, p 74) noted that as in the revivals of old, people fell to their knees, prostrate or backward on the ground, weeping and wailing and crying out to God. John (Kilpatrick) and I prayed for individuals, and I realised that repentance was on the hearts of these people. I heard them cry out to God about their lukewarmness and stale Christianity, confessing their sins, and wanting desperately to get right with God. It seemed that everyone in that sanctuary desired a renewed relationship with their Lord Jesus Christ.
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OTHER REVIVAL PRINCIPLES
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There has been much written and spoken of about the dynamics and principles of revival. Nine outstanding characteristics of the major revivals have been articulated by Fischer (in Pratney, 1984, p 19) as follows:
1. They occurred in times of moral darkness and national depression
2. Each began in the heart of a consecrated servant of God who became the energizing power behind it
3. Each revival rested on the Word of God and most were the result of proclaiming God’s Word with power
4. All resulted in a return to the worship of God
5. Each witnessed the destruction of idols where they existed
6. In each revival there was a recorded separation from sin
7. In every revival the people returned to obeying God’s laws
8. There was a restoration of great joy and gladness
9. Each revival was followed by a period of national prosperity
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Revival brings vitality to God’s Church and His people. A principle of revival is that it brings results. There is an increase in evangelism, mission, social action and the increased involvement of the laity. A revival always has an effect upon the nation. Edwin Orr (in Edwards, 1997, p 185) claims that the evangelical awakening in the eighteenth century saved Britain from the revolutionary experience that ravaged the continent of Europe at that time. Wesley, the English evangelist, defeated Volataire, the French philosopher and Deist.
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2 Kings 18: 7-8 notes the success of King Hezekiah during the revival – And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. From watchtower to fortified city, he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory (NIV). The nation was sufficiently strong to throw off its slavery; the revival gave the people of Judah moral and military fibre and it was this that led Hezekiah to make a bid to secure spiritual unity in the nation after 200 years of warfare between the north and south. The revival was also a time of his brilliant engineering.
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There are also hindrances to revival which the believer needs to be aware of. Some of these have been outlined in Waugh (1999, p 9) and include pride (when Christians become proud of their great revival); exalting self over God; prejudice (when Christians lose the spirit of brotherly love); exhaustion; self-reliance (when dependence on the Spirit in replaced by human effort); conflict (when there is continued opposition of the >old school’ combined with a bad spirit in the >new’ school); and neglecting missions.
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CONCLUSION
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The life of a believer of prayer, striving for holiness, and wholehearted evangelism must all go on as if the future of the Church depended on them. At the same time believers should long for the community to be saturated with God, should talk of the great acts of God in revival, and should pray to continually remind God that a special occasion is needed for this generation.
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When the prophet Micah looked around him he could find little to encourage him in the nation. An honest assessment convinced him that the forces of evil were gaining ground. In spite of this, or perhaps because of this, Micah set out his own position:
But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD,
I wait for God my Saviour; my God will hear me
Micah 7:7 (NIV).
 
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REFERENCES
Davies, R.E. 1992. I Will Pour Out My Spirit: A History and Theology of Revivals and Evangelical Awakenings. Tunbridge Wells: Monarch Publications.
Edwards, Brian H. 1997. Revival! A People Saturated With God. County Durham: Evangelical Press.
Hill, Stephen. 1997. The Pursuit of Holiness. Lake Mary, Florida: Creation House.
Hyatt, Eddie L. 1998. 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity: A 21st Century Look at Church History from a Pentecostal/Charismatic Perspective. Dallas, Texas: Hyatt International Ministries Inc.
McClung, L Grant Jnr. 1986. Azuza Street and Beyond: Pentecostal Missions and Church Growth in the Twentieth Century. South Plainfield, New Jersey: Bridge Publishing Co.
Orr, J. Edwin. ‘Prayer and Revival’. Renewal Journal: Revival. Vol 1, Number 1. Summer 1993. pp 13- 18.
Pratney, Winkie. 1984. Revival: Principles to Change the World. Springdale: Whitaker House.
Ravenshill, Leonard. 1959. Why Revival Tarries. Tonbridge: Sovereign World.
Robinson, Stuart. ‘Praying the Price’. Renewal Journal: Revival. Vol 1, Number 1. Summer 1993. pp 5-12.
Wallis, Arthur. 1956. In The Day of Thy Power. Christian Literature Crusade.
Waugh, Geoff. 1998. Flashpoints of Revival: History’s Mighty Revivals. Shippensburg, PA: Revival Press.
Waugh, Geoff. 1999. Class Notes for PB110 Renewal History. Mansfield: COC School of Ministries.
 
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APPENDIX
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27 Evidences of the Need for a Fresh Visitation of the Spirit.
We need revival:
1. When we would rather make money than give money;
2. When we make little effort to witness to the lost;
3. When we seldom think thoughts of eternity;
4. When we know truth in our heads that we are not practicing in our lives
5. When we are more concerned about what others think about us than what God thinks about us.
6. When we do not love Him as we once did.
7. When earthly interests and occupations are more important to us than eternal ones.
8. When we would rather watch TV and read secular books and magazines than read the Bible and pray.
9. When we have little or no desire for prayer.
10. When our Christianity is joyless and passionless.
11. When we have time for sports, recreation, and entertainment, but not for Bible study and prayer.
12. When we do not tremble at the Word of God.
13. When we are more concerned about our jobs and careers than about the Kingdom of Christ and the salivation of the lost.
14. When Christian husbands and wives are not praying together.
15. When our children are growing up to adopt world values, secular philosophies and ungodly lifestyles.
16. When we watch things on TV and movies that we would not show in church.
17. When our prayers lack fervency.
18. When our hearts are cold and our eyes are dry.
19. When our singing is half-hearted and worship lifeless.
20. When we aren’t seeing regular evidence of the supernatural power of God
21. When we are bored with worship.
22. When we are making little or no difference in the secular world around us.
23. When we are unmoved b y the thought of our neighbours, business associates and acquaintances going to hell.
24. When we have ceased to weep and mourn and grieve over our sin.
25. When we aren’t exercising faith and believing God for the impossible.
26. When the fire has gone out in our hearts, our marriages and our church.
27. When we are blind to the extent of our need and don’t thinks we need revival.
(Source: www.highwayman.net/prayernet 11 May 1999)

Students ignite charismatic movement

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Global: How God used Catholic students to ignite a charismatic movement

Fifty years ago, Catholic Charismatics as a group didn’t exist. Today, there are around 120 million of them. Their emergence began when the Holy Spirit came to a dozen Catholic students in a Pennsylvania forest in February 1967.

They were from Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University, out to enjoy a spiritual weekend retreat at a place called The Ark & The Dove. The theme of the retreat was the person and the work of the Holy Spirit. Retreat leaders had assigned each of the students coming to first read David Wilkerson’s The Cross and the Switchblade – a miracle-filled story of a young Pentecostal pastor leading violent New York City gang members to the Lord.

As she read it, Patti Mansfield (then Gallagher) found herself asking, “Why isn’t the Holy Spirit doing these dramatic things in my life?” That led her to pray, “Lord, as a Catholic, I believe I’ve already received Your Spirit in baptism and confirmation. But if it’s possible for Your Spirit to do more in my life than He’s done till now, I want it.”

‘My spiritual life felt powerless and pedestrian. It was like I was pushing a car uphill.’

It first hit David Mangan, though, after he listened to a teaching that weekend that the Holy Spirit could still bring tongues and power like dynamite. Mangan wanted both – the tongues and the dynamite – and asked the Lord for it because his Christianity felt powerless and pedestrian. “My spiritual life could not be described as dynamite,” he said. “It was limping along. The way I describe it, it was like I was pushing a car uphill.” As for what he was hearing about the gift of tongues, he was so intrigued, “I wrote in my notebook, ‘I want to hear someone speak in tongues – me.’ I realized I did that because I don’t know how much I would’ve believed it if it was someone else.”
 
Mangan received a powerful answer as he sought the Lord alone that weekend in a chapel located on the upper floor of The Ark & The Dove, a location that’s become known now as the Upper Room. That’s the same name used for the place where the Holy Spirit fell in the Book of Acts on the disciples after Jesus had ascended to heaven. 

‘I lost all sense of time. I was lost in Christ and happy to be so.’

“The presence of God was so thick, so powerful, you could cut it with a knife,” Mangan said of the atmosphere in that room. “It’s the most intense experience I’ve ever had in my life. Time meant nothing to me. I had no idea if it was two minutes or two hours; it made no difference. I was lost in Christ, and happy to be so.”
 
And he got his dynamite. “There were all these electrical explosions going on in my body,” Mangan described. Then he began to speak in tongues. The overwhelming feeling caused him to run and ask the retreat leaders if it was really possible. They said it is a valid experience which happened throughout history to a lot of saints. The experience infused him with a new dynamism and power in his spiritual life – or as he puts it, “It was like somebody told me that the car I’d been pushing uphill had a motor and now I had the key.”

2

Shortly thereafter, Patty Mansfield had her own Holy Spirit encounter as she was in the same chapel and His Presence came upon her. “As I knelt in that chapel, I actually began to tremble with this sense of, ‘My gosh, this is God and He’s holy!’” she said. Mansfield soon found herself prostrate, flat on her face. “And as I was lying there, I felt immersed in the love of God. I realized that if I could experience the love, the goodness, the sweetness, the mercy of God like that, anyone could.”

‘What happened to you? You look different! Your face is glowing!’

When right after her experience Mansfield encountered two young ladies, they said: “What happened to you? You look different! Your face is glowing!” She was so excited by what was happening, that she dragged the young ladies right up to the Upper Room so they, too, could experience what she just had. About a dozen ended up with her and David Mangan in the chapel.

As Mansfield describes it in her book As By a New Pentecost, like before, a heavenly Presence filled the Upper Room. “As we were kneeling, some were weeping, others were laughing for joy. Again others, like myself, felt like our bodies were on fire. My hands and my arms were tingling. Others, like David, knew that they wanted to praise God, but it wasn’t going to come out in English.”

‘He said: You’re praying in Arabic! I was astounded. I had no idea.’

At a prayer meeting soon after, a student of French was sitting next to Mangan when he started to pray in tongues. “David, I didn’t know you spoke French,” she said. He said: “Oh, I don’t speak French. I only studied Latin and German.” She told him he was praising God for streams of living water and thanking the Lord for the Divine Child who had come. Later, seeking confirmation, Mangan visited a linguist, who asked the young man to pray. After a few minutes, he jumped up with a look of shock on his face. “You are speaking Middle French!” The linguist asked Mangan to pray for him some more. “When we finished, he turned around and said, ‘Now you’re praying in Arabic!’ And I was astounded. I had no idea.”

In the months and years that followed, by word of mouth, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal spread from the The Ark & The Dove and Duquesne University across the world. Holy Spirit-baptized Catholics and non-Catholics gathered in interdenominational gatherings where their differences and conflicts melted away, and all that mattered was that they were one in the Spirit.

‘The charismatic movement is a current of grace.’
 
“Now we share this new alive faith in the Spirit and a personal relationship with Christ, I’ve seen many walls come down,” Mark Nehrbas, a Catholic Charismatic who frequently worships with non-Catholics said. Another one, Deacon Darrell Wentworth, points out how Jesus preached in John 17 that such unity is essential for the world to believe. “We need to love one another and be a bold witness for God, so that the world can see that the Father loves everybody.”
 
Pope Francis has encouraged the Charismatic Renewal, calling it ‘a current of grace’, and urged the Charismatics to bless the entire Church with what they have.

Source: Patti Mansfield and David Mangan, interviewed by Paul Strand, summarized by Joel News International, # 1031 | April 5, 2017

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Transforming your city – example of Juarez, Mexico

The crime rate fell by 93% within 18 months.
Even the United Nations cannot understand how this happened!

TRANSFORMING YOUR CITY – THE EXAMPLE OF JUAREZ, MEXICO

p1Recently in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 140 ministry leaders and public officials were electrified to hear the testimony of Pastor Poncho Murguia. Poncho after leading a large and successful mega church for years was instructed by the Lord to “leave everything” and to go to a city park in his native Juarez, Mexico in order to fast and pray for three weeks over the city. During that process, he learned for the first time to really love and understand his city and then to “adopt” the city. Eventually 4000 other believers in Jesus joined him in a movement of transformational prayer and action that has changed Juarez from “the murder capital of the world” with violence 25 times as much as any on other city on earth, to one of the safest of Mexico’s cities.

At the height of the violence that swept the city which had become the site of a prolonged turf battle between drug cartels, 20-30 people were being assassinated by “sicarios”, hit men paid an average of $50 to kill anyone. They killed a young man just as he was being married to his fiancee in a church and freely machine-gunned peace-loving people who were having dinner in restaurants. There were also an average of 10-15 kidnappings per day and if loved ones did not pay the ransom that was demanded, their family member would have his ears or fingers amputated first and if there was still no payment, he or she would be killed and buried under the floor of the “safehouse” that served as their prison.

Twenty percent or 300,000 people left the city; 30% of the businesses closed. The cartels made lists of police officers and systematically assassinated them one by one to terrorize and exact concessions. The smell of blood filled the streets. Such overwhelming violence that the police and even the army could not control finally drove the pastors of the city’s churches together in prayer. They humbled themselves before the Lord, taking responsibility for the situation since they had been occupying themselves with their own congregations and “building their own kingdoms” without a real love and concern for the whole city. As they underwent this process together, God demonstrated His presence and the crime rate fell by 93% within 18 months. Even the United Nations cannot understand how this happened!

p2Other wonderful transformations happened and as they “adopted” the “sicarios”, many of these vicious hit men came to Christ and were discipled to serve Him back in their own towns across Mexico. Poncho challenged the Church and ministry leaders to tackle problems in our communities that the government and police are not being effective in fixing. The church he said spent too much time studying the Bible when God wants us to “be the Bible” to our needy city. Those who heard Poncho’s testimony were deeply challenged to apply what we learned. Many went home determined to see a transformational movement happen in their communities.

Source: International Prayer Council

See Transformation of Cuidad, Juarez, Mexico

Watch video: May who transformed murder capital of the world

Podcast with Poncho Murguia – Part 1:

Podcast with Poncho Murguia – Part 2:

See also:

Video1: Transformation in Juarez, Mexico
Video2:Transformation in Juarez, Mexico
In 5 years kidnapping down by 100%, extortions down by 90%, & homicides down by 80%

We often forget to do things God’s way!

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, 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)

 

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Revival in the Middle East

THE GREAT UNDERGROUND REVIVAL IN THE MIDDLE EAST

By J. D. King,  author, speaker and director of the World Revival Network.

A face

Many Middle-Eastern Christians publicly acknowledge the fact that dreams actively facilitated them coming into a saving knowledge of Jesus. For example, Nabeel Qureshi is a former devout Muslim. He became a believer in part through a visionary experience. When recounting his conversion he writes,

“I asked God to reveal himself to me in truth, through dreams and visions. All those things, combined with actually reading the Bible, are what drove me forward to the point of accepting Christ.”

When asked about his conversion to Christianity from Islam, Pastor Naeem Fazal of Mosaic Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, mentioned several things that impacted him. He pointed out things like friendship with a knowledgeable Christian as well as reading the Bible. However, it was a particular supernatural encounter that brought him into a moment of crisis. Having a visionary experience one night, Fazal had an encounter that forever shifted the course of his life.

“It looked like a figure made up with light—solid, yet transparent. It was an experience like no other. The peace I felt from this presence was so powerful, so aggressive … and [He] introduced Himself to me and said, ‘I’m Jesus; your life is not your own.’ The next morning my life changed forever.”

Fazal acknowledges that he is not unique in this experience. He notes that “the majority of the [Muslim] conversion stories I hear seem to involve dreams and visions inspired by the Holy Spirit in which Christ is supernaturally revealed.

Joel Rosenberg’s Insights Into The Middle-Eastern Revival

More Muslims have committed to follow Christ in the last 10 years than in the last 15 centuries of Islam. In spite of great difficulty and turmoil, Christianity is unquestionably expanding throughout the Islamic world. God is up to something amazing in a region that many have thought was unreachable. 

Joel Rosenberg, an Evangelical researcher, author, and resident of Israel has documented the recent upsurge of Christianity in the Middle-East. Through first-hand reconnaissance, coupled with reports from Arabic nationals, Rosenberg demonstrates that Christianity is rising rapidly in the world of Islam.

Admittedly some of the following statistics have shifted in the aftermath of the Isis and other violent demonstrations against Christians. Those who follow Jesus have been slaughtered and have experienced severe persecution in this region. Nevertheless, Joel Rosenberg’s observations provide a window into many amazing developments.

Some of the particulars can certainly be debated, but in many of the Mediterranean nations, Christianity is making extraordinary inroads. Though the subsequent conversion figures are impossible to confirm, even in their imprecision, they provide a snapshot of what’s transpiring in the Middle East.

Sudan

A number of reports suggest that increasing numbers of Christ-followers are emerging in the brutal, war-torn nation of Sudan. Here, in the Nile river valley – along the Islamic strongholds of Northern Africa – It is being noted that

“One million Sudanese have turned to Christ since the year 2000—not in spite of persecution, war, and genocide, but because of them…the estimated total number of believers in the country is more than 5.5 million.”

Many are convinced that the great brutalities that this nation has encountered are becoming a catalyst for the expansion and growth of Christianity. Rather than inhibiting the Church, the war is actually propelling it.

Pakistan

Pakistan is typically not identified as a nation experiencing a move of God, but apparently they’re beginning to see one spark within their contentious borders.Christianity’s Middle-Eastern expansion is particularly evident in this unexpected place. Rosenberg acknowledges that,

“Senior Pakistani Christian leaders tell me there is a ‘conversion explosion’ going on in their country.There are now an estimated 2.5 million to 3 million born-again Pakistani believers worshiping Jesus Christ. Whole towns and villages along the Afghan-Pakistani border are…converting to Christianity.”

This Islamic country is not alone, many others in this region are having similar things take place.

Egypt

Reliable reports suggest that there is also a great revival erupting in the land of Egypt. Rosenberg declares that, “Ministry leaders in Egypt estimate there are more than 2.5 million followers of Jesus Christ in their country. Many of these are Muslim converts.”

Undoubtedly, the severe persecutions and disruptions related to the “Arab Spring” have affected the lives of Christians throughout this nation, but the faithful have remained strong. Martyrdom invites outsiders to examine the claims of those willing to die for Jesus. It is believed that many amazing things are taking place in Egypt.

Iran

Surprisingly, the contentious nation of Iran is also beginning to encounter the rising flames of awakening. Violent Islamic Fundamentalism has not been able to impede the advancement of the Gospel in this fierce Persian nation. Reflecting on this reality, Rosenberg writes,

“At the time of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, there were only about five hundred known Muslim converts to Jesus inside the country. By 2000, a survey of Christian demographic trends reported that there were two hundred twenty thousand Christians inside Iran, of which between four and twenty thousand were Muslim converts. And according to Iranian Christian leaders I interviewed, the number of Christ-followers inside their country shot dramatically higher between 2000 and 2008.”

Yes, you read that right. Christianity went from 500 people to 220,000 in 21 years. Contrary to what many Americans think, Christianity is quietly advancing behind the scenes in some of the most unlikely places around the globe.

Saudi Arabia

Reports continue to come in. A strikingly similar stirring is also taking place in Saudi Arabia – unquestionably the epicenter of world Islam. One wouldn’t expect the growth of Christianity in Mecca, but it is happening. Summarizing some of what he has heard, Joel Rosenberg reports that “Arab Christian leaders estimated there were more than one hundred thousand Saudi Muslim background believers in 2005, and they believe the numbers are even higher today.”[6] Saudi Arabia is being quickened by the Spirit of the Lord. It seems to be positioned to experience significant growth in the decades to come.

Iraq

Christianity is also quietly advancing in the turbulent nation of Iraq. Again, it needs to be noted that these numbers precede the vicious emergence of Isis and the aftermath of the Arab Spring. Multitudes of Christians have been martyred since these figures were originally reported. Yet, even the fact that Muslims felt compelled to quell its advancement suggests that Christianity’s influence has been growing.

“Before 2003, senior Iraqi Christian leaders tell me, there were only about four to six hundred known born-again followers of Jesus Christ in the entire country, despite an estimated seven hundred fifty thousand nominal Christians in historic Iraqi churches. By the end of 2008, Iraqi Christian leaders estimated that there were more than seventy thousand born-again Iraqi believers.”

As many are aware, the expansion of Christianity has been greatly hindered more recently in Iraq. Don’t be mistaken, this martyrdom and brutality will ultimately give way to more Christians in the land once known as Babylon.

Algeria

The whole Islamic world is currently shaking. We have already discussed some of the amazing advancements that are taking place in several of Arabic nations. These are where the greatest signs of revival are evident. Nevertheless, on a lesser level, other Islamic nations are also experiencing a tremendous stirring within their borders. One of these is Algeria. Rosenberg recounts the recent upsurge in Algeria, noting that:

more than eighty thousand Muslims have become followers of Christ in recent years…The surge of Christianity has become so alarming to Islamic clerics that in March of 2006, Algerian officials passed a law banning Muslims from becoming Christians or even learning about Christianity, and forbidding Christians from meeting together without a license from the government.”

Algeria is beginning to come alive with the gospel like much of Northern Africa.

Jordan

 Another ancient Middle-Eastern locale where Christianity is beginning to take root is along the borders the eastern bank of the Jordan River. The Islamic land of Jordan is also experiencing the grace and wonder of Jesus. Reflecting on what is transpiring in this nation, Rosenberg noted the following:

“God has been reviving the Jordanian Church in the last four decades, and particularly in the past few years. Conservative estimates say the number of believers in the country is now between five and ten thousand. The head of one major Jordanian ministry, however, believes there may be as many as fifty thousand believers in the country.”

Jordan is also experiencing the salvation of Jesus Christ.

Other Islamic Nations

Almost every Islamic nation has been experiencing a significant upsurge of Christianity over the last twenty years. Though the numbers aren’t equally high, all are experiencing the impact on some level. Here are some of the other reports.

While in the nation of Morocco it has been claimed that “between 20,000 and 40,000 Muslims have become Christ-followers.” Rosenberg suggests that, “The number of Afghan believers is now between 20,000 and 30,000.” In Kazakhstan “there are more than fifteen thousand Kazakh Christians, and more than one hundred thousand Christians of all ethnicities.” Reflecting on Lebanon, Rosenberg suggests that, “there are about ten thousand truly born-again followers of Jesus Christ today.” Reports suggest there were no Muslim background Christians in Syria fifty years ago, but today “there are between four and five thousand born-again believers in the country.”

Rosenberg’s figures suggest that there are over 13 million Christians in Islamic countries and a majority of them are from a Muslim background.

Other Observers 

There are other evidences of a notable transformation taking place. For example, Journalist George Thomas notes that,

A Christian revival is touching the northernmost reaches of Africa. In a region once hostile to the gospel, now tens of thousands of Muslims are following Jesus. As the sun sets over the Mediterranean Sea, Muslims across Northern Africa are converting to faith in Jesus Christ in record numbers… What experts say is that there is a profound move of God in the predominantly Muslim nations of Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia.”

Tino Qahoush, a researcher and filmmaker, has been traveling to various parts of this region to document the Christian revival that has been taking place. Reflecting on what he observed, he noted the following,

“What God is doing in North Africa, all the way from actually Mauritanian to Libya is unprecedented in the history of missions. I have the privilege of recording testimonies and listening to firsthand stories of men and women, of all ages.”

Jayson Casper, a journalist with Christianity Today, also pointed out some astounding growth that’s taking place in the Arabian Peninsula. He writes,

“Today the Pew Research Center numbers Christians in the Arabian Peninsula at 2.3 million – more Christians than nearly 100 countries can claim. The Gulf Christian Fellowship, an umbrella group, estimates 3.5 million…United Arab Emirates Christian population…[is] 13 percent, according to Pew. Among other Gulf states, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar each about 14 percent Christian, while Oman is about 6 percent. Even Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest cities (Mecca and Medina), is 4 percent Christian…”

One of the best examples of the expansion of Christianity within Muslim lands is through the work of Heidi and Roland Baker. Along with their church plants and trained workers from Iris Ministries, the Bakers have made an extraordinary impact on the brutal nation of Mozambique. The province that they currently operate in was entirely Muslim before their arrival, but a little over ten years later those figures have changed drastically. Kelly Head from Christ For The Nations writes,

“The Bakers are now based full-time in Pemba, Mozambique, in an area where Heidi says was once called a ‘graveyard to missionaries.’ But recently the government announced publicly that it’s no longer a Muslim providence; now it’s a Christian providence.”

The abrupt changes to the once Muslim Africa are something even the Islamic clerics are beginning to acknowledge. In December 2001, Sheikh Ahmad al Qataani, the president of The Companions Lighthouse for the Science of Islamic Law in Libya, appeared on a live interview on Al-Jazeera satellite television. He declared the following:

“Islam used to represent, as you previously mentioned, Africa’s main religion and there were 30 African languages that used to be written in Arabic script. The number of Muslims in Africa has diminished to 316 million, half of whom are Arabs in North Africa. So in the section of Africa that we are talking about, the non Arab section, the number of Muslims does not exceed 150 million people. When we realize that the entire population of Africa is one billion people, we see that the number of Muslims has diminished greatly from what it was in the beginning of the last century…As to how that happened, well, there are now 1.5 million churches whose congregations account for 46 million people. In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Everyday, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Ever year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity. These numbers are very large indeed.”

It is obvious from these and other reports that Christianity is advancing.

Source: World Revival Network

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Revival Breaks Out in China’s Government Approved Churches

CBN News traveled to southern China and obtained exclusive, never-before-seen images, from inside these churches.

When God Shows Up in a Communist Church

It’s Thursday evening in Fujian Province, southeast China. Scores of men and women are dancing, waving flags, blowing shofars, singing and worshipping God.

1 chinese-woman-blowing-shofar
Chinese woman blowing Shofar

You might think these images come from a charismatic service in the United States. But they’re not. This is communist, and officially still atheist China.

And what Duan Huilai says is remarkable about this scene is that it’s happening in an officially government-controlled congregation known as Three-Self Church.

Duan and his wife have witnessed this move first-hand. Both are evangelists and have for several years criss-crossed the Chinese countryside documenting the Holy Spirit’s move among Three-Self Churches.

“Dramatic changes are happening,” Duan told CBN News. “God is moving in a powerful way inside these Three-Self Churches.”

2 Pastor-Duan-Huilai
Pastor Duan Huilai

“The most amazing thing is that the Lord is raising up God-loving people in these churches — so many brothers and sisters who love God deeply and want to serve Him,” Duan said.

Signs and Wonders Now Allowed

Pastor Duan says what is happening today in Beijing and in other parts of China as it relates to the powerful move of God amongst the Three-Self Churches is quite remarkable considering where the church has been in the last 30 years.

“Every sermon that the pastor preached back then had to be vetted by the government authorities. Young people were never allowed to attend these churches so you’d only see old people, mostly women,” Duan said. “Preaching about the power of the Holy Spirit was forbidden. You couldn’t talk about end times or preach repentance.”

Topics on healings, miracles, signs and wonders were out of the question. Not anymore.

3 screenshot-www.youtube.com-2016-02-09-06-08-28

“Nowadays people have accepted these topics,” Duan said.

Two main types of churches exist in China: registered and unregistered. Registered congregations, also known as Three-Self Churches, are government-approved.

Unregistered, sometimes called underground or house churches, operate outside government control, and for decades faced intense persecution. And with that persecution came tremendous growth.

4 screenshot-www.youtube.com-2016-02-09-06-06-58

Three-Self Churches on the other hand never experienced that kind of explosive growth. Until now.

“Now there’s big revivals happening in the Three-Self Churches,” Dr. Zhao Xiao told CBN News from his offices on the outskirts of China’s capital city.

Communist Encounters Christ

Zhao is one of China’s foremost experts on Christianity. A former Communist Party member and atheist, Zhao converted after reading the Bible.

“If you go to Haidian Church, you’ll find yourself in a more than 100-meter line trying to get inside and worship. In Shenzhen, there is usually an average of 500 people being baptized each Sunday!” he shared.

Decades ago, the Chinese government had a law that said that young men and women below the age of 18 could not attend Three-Self Churches. Zhao says those rules have been loosened in recent years.

5 screenshot-www.youtube.com-2016-02-09-06-11-37

“There’s an increasing proportion of them in churches now — more young male believers, professionals, mainstream celebrities, especially in the big cities, that are attending the church unlike the past when it was mainly the elderly who attended.”

Love Camp

Back at the Thursday night meeting in Fujian Province, folks have gathered for a four-day event affectionately called “Love Camp”

“Love Camp aims to help the believer grow in their faith walk and get closer to God,” Sun Rengui told CBN News one evening.

Sun is a pastor and leads the camp. He says the idea came 12 years ago when he says the Holy Spirit one day showed up while he was preaching at the Three-Self Church he pastors here.

“We were in the middle of the service; suddenly everyone at the church felt the Holy Spirit anointing fall. Some couldn’t stand straight, others fell down. Some were dizzy and nauseous. When the worship began, people started crying. After the service, some were being healed. I saw demons being chased away from people’s bodies.”

6 screenshot-www.youtube.com-2016-02-09-06-13-36

Pastor Sun says his church had never experienced anything like it.

“We were seeing something unprecedented. We had no theological training in the move of the Holy Spirit. This was completely new for us,” he said.

Word quickly spread.

“We were one of the first churches to experience this in the area.  Soon, leaders from other churches came to us and were eager to receive the Holy Spirit. Later they also started witnessing the Holy Spirit’s move as well,” Pastor Sun said.

But it wasn’t without controversy.

“People doubted if this was real. There was even conflict among my church staff,” Sun said. “But as time passed, more people accepted the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Transformed Lives

Twelve years later, Pastor Sun says the impact of the Holy Spirit’s move is seen in the transformed lives of church members.

“Our cell groups are expanding, more people are attending church, and more people are going outside the church walls into society to share the Gospel.”

The church runs two orphanages and two elderly care centers, and twice a year puts on the Love Camp.

7 screenshot-www.youtube.com-2016-02-09-06-15-00

“We have four goals in this camp: to evangelize people, strengthen the family, disciple believers and encourage other Three-Self Churches to embrace the power of the Holy Spirit.”

For Pastor Duan and his wife, this is evidence that God is doing something special in the world’s most populous nation.

“I was speaking in Shandong, Henan and Zhejiang recently. Around 8,000 people joined the meeting. Last Christmas, I was speaking at a Three-Self Church in Yuhuan and I was amazed there were 12,000 people,” Duan exclaimed with joy.

They, Dr. Zhao and countless others say they feel honored to play a part in helping more Chinese turn to Jesus Christ.

“The number of Christians in China is growing rapidly. It means Christ is starting to play an active role in China’s society and that’s good in many ways,” Zhao said.

8 screenshot-www.youtube.com-2016-02-09-06-17-17

by Duke Taber

Source: Viral Believer

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More Posts on China – from Mission Blogs:
Asia’s Maturing Church (David Wang)
China – The Spirit told us what to do (Carl Lawrence)
China – Revival in China (Dennis Balcombe)
China – House Churches (Barbara Nield)
China – New Wave of Revival
China – Chinese turning to Christianity

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BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

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Atheist Author Recognizes Global Faith Revival

ATHEIST AUTHOR RECOGNIZES

GLOBAL FAITH REVIVAL

Brazil

As author Adrian Wooldridge travelled the world researching the impact religion is having.  It struck him that religious observance is increasing worldwide, with the exception only of Europe.

“Something happened from the 1970s and now the world is again moving towards a faith revival” he said. The Jesus movement and Pentecostal/charismatic revivals of the 1960s and ’70s, may have had something to do with that. Pentecostalism, he concluded, will be the major form of 21st century Christianity. China, Guatemala, Nigeria, Kenya and various Latin American countries were the biggest hotspots.

“The sort of religion that is on the rise is the emotive, assertive charismatic religion,” he said. “It’s compelling Catholicism in Latin America to change. There’s a physical surprise when you go to Guatemala and see how vibrant the charismatic and Pentecostal movements are. It is the same thing in Lagos and Nairobi. I went into my research underestimating the power and vitality of religion.”

What also struck him were the 443,000 full-time Christian missionaries worldwide plus 1.6 million Christians a year who go on short-term missions. Wooldridge sees Christianity remaining the world’s largest religion.

Wooldridge a confessing atheist, said that he now had more respect, and felt more warmth towards religion.” This was partly because of the people I came across who were doing such amazing work to help the poor. But where are the atheists doing anything like that?”

Source: Intercessors Network

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