Unfortunately, the secular news outlets have not captured the magnitude of what I recently witnessed in Israel.
For the first time in nearly 2,000 years, something miraculous took place during my recent trip to Israel: 1,000 unsaved Jewish people gathered in Tel Aviv to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This was the most significant Jewish outreach since the book of Acts. Seats were filled to capacity. This was a very powerful event!
Men, women, and children listened intently as It’s Supernatural host Sid Roth presented his testimony while an interpreter spoke Russian to the non-English speaking audience. Joshua Aaron led the people in Hebrew worship songs.
The room seemed quiet and cold. At first, people were unresponsive.
Initially, there seemed to be a great resistance to the message. A few people were being very distracting, while others left the auditorium for a while and then came back.
Unlike in the United States, these events rarely ever take place in Israel. In fact, the last time someone stood up and gave his testimony to this many Jews at once, it was Peter in the book of Acts.
All of a sudden, something shifted in the atmosphere. As Sid Roth began to talk about the unconditional love of God; you could see people’s eyes opening and their hearts widening. As Sid went deeper into his testimony, people began to respond.
Then, the most supernatural thing began to happen: Roth stopped the testimony and began to share words of knowledge concerning physical aliments. As he prayed for those in attendance, hundreds stood up reporting that they had received instant physical healing. They were healed in their seats without the laying on of hands.
What they thought was a lecture on the supernatural became a powerful presentation of the Gospel of the kingdom of God.
The Scripture declares that the Jew requires a sign; this was evident in the responsiveness of the people to the power of God.
The time came to give the invitation to make Yeshua (Jesus) their Messiah and Lord. To my utter amazement, nearly everyone in the room stood up and prayed the prayer of repentance and salvation. Many people even stayed after for individual prayer. Local Messianic pastors will follow up and disciple those who made a decision to follow Jesus.
So, contrary to popular belief, God is moving in Israel. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is alive and well.
Miracles are happening in Israel!
Join us on our podcast each weekday for an interesting story, well told, from Charisma News. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.
God led Randy Clark into global revival ministries, particularly from the Toronto Blessing of January 1994. “The Lord said, ‘They’re not wanting you. They’re wanting Me.'”
Revival blessings continue to explode worldwide in evangelism, healing, miracles and signs and wonders as in the New Testament.
Randy Clark reads from his personal journal, recounting the events that lead up to the Toronto Blessing. Before revival comes, it starts with a group of people pressing hard after God, crying out for His presence to come.
Randy Clark wrote:
From the very beginning, the ministry that God gave me and my team has demonstrated that everyday Christians can operate in the supernatural. Today, the power of the Spirit is flowing everywhere from mission fields and shopping malls to grocery stores and even aboard airplanes.
Join me as I read from my personal journal on November 8, 2019, at Global Awakening School of Supernatural Ministry, recounting the events that led up to the Toronto Blessing. Up to that point, I had never journalled before in my life.
THE MEETING ON OCTOBER 27, 1993 IN MISSOURI, JUST WEEKS BEFORE THE TORONTO BLESSING (January 1994), WAS A VERY STRATEGIC TIME IN MY LIFE. MOVING IN THE POWER OF GOD WAS A DREAM COME TRUE. I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE ABLE TO PRAY FOR PEOPLE AND SEE HIS POWER COME ON THEM. THAT NIGHT WAS AWESOME. IT WAS LIKE WALKING IN ANOTHER DIMENSION. I ONLY HOPED THAT IT WOULD NOT BE A RARE OCCASION, BUT THAT GOD WOULD ALLOW ME TO VISIT THAT DIMENSION FREQUENTLY. I THOUGHT THAT WOULD BE HEAVEN.
Before revival comes, it starts with a group of people pressing hard after God, crying out for His presence to come. I believed God wanted to touch the leadership – the pastors and the wives – of our region. I prayed in general for the Spirit to fall on the meeting. The great theme of my prayer time beforehand was, “Come, Holy Spirit.”
The meeting was drenched in prayer ahead of time. At the meeting, I shared on “those who are thirsty may come to Jesus and drink” from John 7:37, 1 Corinthians 12:13, Revelation 21:6 and Acts 2:15. It was obvious that the Holy Spirit was at work among the pastors and their wives as well as many others who attended the meeting.
In total, I shared at the meeting for about 40 minutes telling a story of how God had come again into my ministry in a wonderful way and how He was touching people in my church. I also told a story about how far I had fallen from the work in the Spirit that had characterized my earlier ministry when I had first gotten involved with the Vineyard Church in Missouri and how I had repented of that to the church.
The first person I and a team member prayed for was a woman. She came and stood right in front of me. She was very hurt and nothing happened to her initially. She later finally broke through and was touched by God about two hours later.
The next people I and this team member prayed for at the meeting fell quickly to the floor under the power of the Holy Spirit. Some began to cry. Others, laugh. And others were just quietly ministered to.
Interestingly enough, I wrote of these occurrences in my journal: “I anticipate this may occur in my ministry in the future.” But I concluded: only time will tell if those were isolated sovereign incidents or whether they will be the beginning of a ministry of revival for the church.
The next two hours of the meeting were like stepping into another dimension, or like living in a dream. I kept thinking to myself, I need someone to pinch me to know this is really happening. (Be sure to watch the video to this point in which you will hear about some of the more notable incidents that are still deeply impressed upon my memory today.)
In the video, I recall a story from the 1980’s in which the whole choir at a Baptist church in southeast Missouri was being “wiped out” by the power of the Holy Spirit while they were singing a worship song. I point out how you could hear the wind—literally, “like a mighty rushing wind”—and the church service went until mid-afternoon. I will report how within a few weeks, every miracle you can think of that you would see in the New Testament—including raising the dead—happened.
My friend Happy watched the meeting happen for some time. He had gotten scared and hidden under a chair. At this point in the story, it’s important to know that “Happy was Mr. Control; he had to have everything figured out down to the last second.” But Happy finally approached me and said, “I’ve received things from you in the past. Now I want this. I want to drink.”
I began to pray for Happy. Happy began to bow his body backwards under the power of God and, instead of falling, Happy began to shuffle his feet backwards to keep from falling. This was not safe because the floor was covered by people who were “slain” in the Spirit. Before I and my team would begin to pray for someone, we had to find a place to position them so that when they would fall, they would not fall on someone. It was like “falling trees”!
I told Happy not to walk out from under the Spirit’s power but to stand and fall. But, not to back up to keep from falling. I prayed again, and Happy fell under the power of God. After about 15 minutes, Happy came up and said,”I want another drink.” Happy was prayed for again, and he began to shuffle backwards under the power of God again.
I and a team member pushed Happy up and continued to pray for a few seconds. Happy fell on the floor under the power of God again. This time Happy began to double up with his knees to his chest and his feet sticking up in the air, as he began to belly laugh. It was quite the sight! You couldn’t help but laugh in the natural at what God was doing in their midst. It was funny, because Happy who was “Mr. Control” had now given God the control.
Then I felt led by the Holy Spirit to kneel down beside Happy as Happy was laying on the floor, laughing. I said, “God, take control of Happy. He wants to control, and I ask that you take control of Happy.” When I prayed this, Happy stopped belly laughing and quickly grabbed his shirt at his belly button area. Happy was gripping his shirt and his hands were clenched. I knew by an unction of Holy Spirit this was a stronghold of the enemy in Happy’s life. Then I and my team member prayed for the power of God to totally take Happy and for the stronghold to be broken.
Slowly Happy’s grip began to loosen and he began to relax his hands. Then I began to pray, “Lord, birth Your work in Happy. This [grabbing of Happy’s shirt at his belly button area and not laughing] is breach. Turn it around, and let it be born.” Very soon, there was a breakthrough in Happy. The joy and laughter returned, and he was once again laughing and enjoying the refreshment of the Holy Spirit.
After about 30 minutes, Happy came up to me again and asked for another drink. I prayed for Happy again and within seconds, Happy fell under the power of God again; enjoying the Lord’s presence. At this point in the story, it’s important to realize that simultaneously others were receiving prayer and being touched by the Holy Spirit as well.
Happy later helped start two of the Vineyard churches in the Midwest. So there’s a history between Happy and me. In fact, the most powerful touch from God that I ever had was when Happy blew on me at his church in 1999 when I thought I was going to die. (You’ll want to watch the rest of the video to hear more stories like Happy’s.)
This meeting was just a foretaste of a new move of supernatural Christianity characterized by signs, wonders and healing miracles that God ignited around the globe and that He caused to transpire in my and my team’s four decades of ministry that followed.
P.S. I believe the events that led up to the Toronto Blessing are a prophetic sign to the culture that God can use everybody. Over the years, I and my team have developed two conferences that provide a solid foundation in living a supernatural lifestyle. It’s my heart that people everywhere will be empowered to see a fresh revival come to their spheres of influence.
Randy is the founder and President of Global Awakening and author of books on healing, impartation, and revival history. He spends his time writing, traveling, speaking at events, and hanging out with his children and grandkids. His life’s message is: “God will use anyone who’s willing to take a risk in faith.”
We have just returned from a very special and very emotional service. Tonight,Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke preached the Gospel for the last time on African soil after 50 years of powerful ministry. His wife, Anni and his children were with him on the platform. Our national directors and many ministry friends from all over the world were there to be a part of the historic moment. More than 1.7 million people attended the five days of meetings. Countless miracles took place and many thousands of salvations were recorded. I cannot imagine a more fitting way to celebrate 50 years of Evangelist Bonnke’s ministry than with one more massive harvest of souls in Africa. It was truly a remarkable and historic event. It will stand out in my memory as one of the most precious days in my life.
We faced an unusual level of resistance this week – such as I have not experienced in my time with the ministry. But the Lord spoke to us clearly that what we were experiencing was birthing pangs. Although this crusade was Evangelist Bonnke’s Farewell in Africa, it is really just the beginning of something new and wonderful. God has given me the vision for a “Decade of Double Harvest.” I believe that over the next decade, we will see another 75-million people won to Christ and tonight was the beginning. No wonder we are feeling the pangs of birth. I will share more specifics on this in the days to come, but for now it is enough to say we are on the threshold of “even greater” things. As Evangelist Bonnke has often said, “Nothing diminishes in God.”
This also marks the last crusade of the year. As we approach the end of one year and the beginning of another, I am so thankful for those of you that have stood with us so faithfully through your prayers and giving. Please continue to stand with us as we enter this new season of harvest. All hands are needed on deck. The best is yet to come. We love and appreciate each one of you.
Yours in the Gospel,
Evangelist Daniel Kolenda
Together with Reinhard Bonnke, Peter Vandenberg, and the whole CfaN Team
The number is staggering: 75,913,155. That’s how many people have come to Christ through the ministry of Reinhard Bonnke, as reported by his organization Christ for all Nations (CfaN).
The German-born evangelist said on CfaN’s website. “I want not only to see a gigantic harvest of souls but to pass my burning torch to a new generation of evangelists.”
Bonnke, his wife Anni, and their young son moved to the tiny African nation of Lesotho in 1969. The couple spent seven years working there as missionaries. It wasn’t easy. Bonnke says it was during those difficult years that he started praying to see more souls saved across the African continent. He says God gave him a vision for “a continent washed in the blood of Jesus Christ.”
The early days in Lesotho (1974)
In 1974, Christ for All Nations was birthed, and since then more than 75 million people have accepted Christ through the ministry. All these years later, Bonnke says the vision still burns in his soul. “Whether I am eating or drinking, awake or asleep, the vision is ever-present. It never leaves me.”
Now, at 77, Bonnke is passing the torch to a new generation of evangelists as he prepares to retire after more than 40 years in ministry. Lead evangelist of CfaN, Daniel Kolenda, has been tapped to succeed Bonnke.
The preparations for the final crusade involved “500,000 counselors, 200,000 intercessors, a choir of over 23,000 and a security force of over 10,000,” said John Darku, CfaN’s African director. “There is great excitement from all the churches in the country, and we are expecting a spectacular harvest of people coming to Christ.”
Source: Christ for all Nations
Joel News International, March 15, 2017
Bonnke’s Lagos campaign drew a crowd of 1.6 million people (2000)
Iran: The country where Christianity is growing fastest
This may come as a surprise to many, but Christianity is growing faster in the Islamic Republic of Iran than in any other country in the world. Tens of thousands of Muslims are abandoning their faith and are beginning to follow Jesus.
Experts say the ongoing political crisis and economic challenges are fueling widespread anger against the regime. Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani is promising to resolve the country’s economic, social and political problems after days of protests gripped the Islamic nation last month. At least 21 people died in clashes with police, and over 1,000 were arrested.
Mike Ansari says political turmoil is creating unique opportunities to share the love of Christ. “Many Iranian Christians have turned to us asking what it is they need to do,” Ansari wrote in an email. Ansari is the president of Heart4Iran Ministries, which is bringing 86 different ministries together with the goal of serving and blessing the people of Iran. He says with all the negative news about Iran, it is easy to miss the big and often untold story of what is really happening inside the Islamic nation. “God is at work in Iran. Jesus is building His church, the Spirit is transforming lives and the gospel is on the move.”
Today 4 satellite TV channels are broadcasting continuous Christian broadcasting into Iran.
Mohabat TV is the media arm of Heart4Iran Ministries. In 2006, Mohabat TV became the first 24-hour Farsi Christian satellite TV channel to beam gospel programs into Iran. Today, it is one of 4 satellite TV channels broadcasting continuous Christian programming. “Christian satellite TV broadcasts into Iran have played a vital role in the success of the underground house church movement,” Ansari wrote. “The significance of media strategy is that it by-passes security measures set by the government and reaches the people of Iran through their TV set or on their smart devices. According to World Mission, the house church movement in Iran is one of the fastest-growing churches in the world. It is the lifeline of Christianity inside this country.”
Recently 20 Iranians, many of whom accepted Christ watching Mohabat TV, traveled to an undisclosed location to get baptized. CBN News was granted exclusive access to the celebrations.
Recently 20 Iranians, many of whom accepted Christ watching Mohabat TV, traveled to an undisclosed location to get baptized. CBN News was granted exclusive access to the celebrations.
Ansari, an Iranian by birth, sat down with CBN News correspondent George Thomas for an exclusive look at the church inside Iran.
Why is the house church movement in Iran growing so fast?
“The church is growing because the people of Iran are disillusioned with Islam and they are looking for answers to life. They are not finding answers in the traditional forms of state religion or the faith of their ancestors. They are looking for new answers, they are not happy and satisfied where they are spiritually. It seems that a large number of these people are actually having dreams and visions about a shining man dressed in white far before we are out there telling them about Jesus.”
Is there a specific area of Iranian society that Jesus is touching more than others?
“The demographic that is responding to the gospel the most is the younger generation, who are very tech-savvy. These are people, anywhere from 18 to 30 years of age. They are online, they are following the world’s pop culture, they are very much plugged in and they are looking for answers. They want to belong to a larger purpose and meaning in life, and they are finding that in Jesus.”
The 1979 Islamic Revolution was supposed to usher in this great Islamic revival. Did that ever materialize?
“After almost 40 years of the Islamic regime, the average Iranian is realizing that Islam is bankrupt and Islam is not able to answer to their social, daily lives and the dilemmas they are dealing with. Iran is facing a host of crises, from drug addiction to depression to suicide to sexually transmitted diseases to human trafficking.”
Almost 40 years into the Islamic Revolution the average Iranian is realizing that Islam is bankrupt.
How bad is persecution against those who decide to abandon Islam and embrace Christianity?
“Iran is listed in Open Doors’ top 10 of most persecuted countries. The reality of Iranian Christians is that they cannot go out on the street and share their new faith with people. They cannot celebrate anywhere publicly, and they are constantly in fear of retaliation from the authorities. Becoming a Christian in Iran, especially if you are from an Islamic background, is illegal and is punishable by the legal code in the country. This is why we want people around the world to continue lifting up the persecuted church in Iran.”
You recently commissioned an extensive survey inside the country to find out how many people are watching programs on Mohabat TV. What did the survey results show?
“We had no idea that so many Iranian youth are following our programs. It appears that roughly about 16 million Iranians within the last 12 months have viewed one or more of our programs on satellite TV and also on their mobile devices. That roughly translates to about 20 percent of Iran’s population and that is an overwhelming number.”
Mohabat TV produced a map showing all the locations Iranians are calling the show from.
How many people call in to your channel and how many have accepted Christ since you launched the network?
“It is a rough estimate that within the last 11 years we’ve been able to connect with over one million Iranians through our call center. These are people who have contacted us wanting to know more about Christianity. These are people who have either become Christians or have had dreams or visions, and wanted to find out more about Jesus. Or people who have become Christians and they want to find out how to grow in their new faith and how to be discipled or how to start a house church in the country. In 2016, our call center processed about 700 contacts per day, which resulted in about 93 decisions for Christ per day. That’s roughly about three people every hour that confessed their faith in Jesus.”
Is satellite TV still the most important evangelism tool to reach Iranians with the gospel or is social media becoming even more important?
“In 2013 and 2014 when the Iranian Green Revolution took place, we realized the importance of Twitter. That was a glimpse into what was coming. In 2017, we realized that social media has fully arrived in the Middle East, especially in a country like Iran where especially the youth are actively using social media on their mobile devices. In addition, the numbers we’ve been getting through our survey is additional validation that this is a sound strategy for ministries to start focusing on.”
Source: George Thomas, CBN
Source: Joel News International – # 1067 | January 26, 2018
Iran: Fastest-growing church has no buildings
For the last few years, researchers have credited the underground church in Iran as the fastest-growing Christian church in the world.
It has unique characteristics that defy comparison with churches in America and Europe, and in the opinion of some who know it well, the church in the West could learn by studying it.
The fastest-growing church in the world has taken root in one of the most unexpected and radicalized nations on earth, according to ‘Sheep Among Wolves’, an outstanding two-hour documentary about the revival that has taken place inside Iran. The Iranian awakening is a rapidly reproducing discipleship movement that owns no property or buildings, has no central leadership, and is predominantly led by women.
‘The movement is predominantly led by women’
The documentary was produced by Frontier Alliance International (FAI), which supports disciple-making teams targeting the ‘unreached’ and ‘unengaged’ within the 10/40 Window. There is a mass exodus leaving Islam for Christianity within Iran, according to FAI.
“What if I told you Islam is dead?” one unidentified Iranian church leader says in the film. “Many of the ruling class still follow Islam because that’s where the high paying jobs are, but the majority of the ordinary people love God and recognize that Islam is the problem. What if I told you the best evangelist for Jesus was the Ayatollah Khomeini? The ayatollahs brought the true face of Islam to light and people discovered it was a lie, a deception.”
Efforts by the ayatollahs to destroy Christianity have backfired, but have served to refine and purify the church. “What persecution did was destroy the churches that were only about converts,” the Iranian church leader noted. “Converts run away from persecution, but disciples are willing to die for the Lord in persecution.”
‘What if I told you Islam is dead?’
Often a disciple-making movement begins the first moment someone comes into contact with an unbeliever. “Everything is founded on prayer. We find people of peace through prayer. We even find locations through prayer,” the Iranian church leader noted. “Jesus has gone faster than us. He has come in their dreams or he’s come miraculously in their lives. When we hear this, we know that Jesus has gone ahead of us.”
Their emphasis is not planting churches; it is making disciples. “If you plant churches, you might make disciples. But if you make disciples, you will plant churches,” the Iranian church leader said. “It is obedience-based discipleship based on the authority of Scripture. Every time you read the Scripture, you must obey it. This is how people become conformed to the image of Christ and sanctified. They are not just reading the Bible for information. They are reading the Bible to get transformed.”
About 55% of the disciple-makers are women, according to the film.
In 1901, when Australia took the Federation census, 96.1% of Australians said that they were Christian. Fast forward to 1916, and in this most recent census, 52.2% of the nation declared they were Christian. During the last census period, we lost 10% and if that decline rate only steadied (didn’t increase as it has been doing) then within 7 years (2 census periods) we would be at 32%. These figures don’t represent the percentage of our population that has a living vibrant relationship with Jesus, but they certainly represent how open we are, as a nation, to the gospel. About 7-9% of the population attend a church regularly which would be a closer representation of those who have a relationship with God.
But there is hope…
Despite it looking like a dark day for Christianity in Australia, there have been times when God has moved in a way that changed major cities. Today, there are towns across this nation that are seeing the same glimmer of hope – a greatly reduced attrition rate in Christianity in opposition to the national average and other towns around them. If we can learn the lessons from these historical moves of God and the regional towns where God is still moving, and if we can harness it in other parts of our nation, then we believe there is great potential to not only slow down the attrition rate of Christianity but to turn it around.
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. (Isaiah 60:1-2)
The two major historical moves in our history occurred in 1902 & 1959.
First, we look at the 1902 Great Melbourne Revival and the impact it had on Melbourne and Australia. In the next section, we look at the national revival and city transformation that happened through Billy Graham’s ministry in 1959. Then if we couple these lessons with modern data we can form the foundation for a strategy to see our nation come back to Jesus. A strategy that is God-inspired, biblical, proven and contemporary with what God is doing across the globe in our day.
1902 – The Great Melbourne Revival
In 1902, the Great Melbourne Revival  changed the landscape of Christianity in this corner of the world. In the 1890s’ many of the Melbourne churches united and invited Dwight L Moody to come and hold an evangelistic campaign. DL Moody had been a significant evangelist and leader in the 1857-1859 Second Great Awakening.
Over 200 churches (about 80%) of the churches gathered and prayed for the upcoming campaign. The prayer meetings started years in advance and by the time the campaign began the local churches had held over 16000 prayer meetings. Also, the churches had door knocked the entire city of Melbourne at least twice, with a personal invitation to the meetings. DL Moody couldn’t come as he passed away in 1899, but his spiritual protégé, RA Torrey came. On the weekend of the first meeting over 8000 gathered in the Great Exhibition Hall. The campaign ran over a few months on each Sunday. The population of Melbourne at the time was 500k. By the last Sunday, they had 250k people turn out to hear the word of God preached. That is 50% of the city. By the end, 50 evangelists led simultaneous meetings in 42 halls and sports fields all across Melbourne.
The fruit of the revival
The revival started in Melbourne and then travelled up the coast and ended up seeing major percentages of the Pacific Islands converted, even to this day most of the islands are Christian and some have attributed it to the 1902 revival.
Directly after the campaign, crime dropped to zero per cent and even 12 months later the police were still bored as there was no crime in the city. Pubs closed, and picture theatres were emptied. That campaign changed the social and cultural landscape of Melbourne.
Keys to revival
When looking back at the event, three things have been attributed to the transformation to three things
Missional unity in churches. The churches not only organised the event together, but they worked together to door knock the entire city at least twice
An immense amount of prayer. In lead up to the event, 16000 prayer meetings were held.
The Gospel. At the centre of the activity was a gospel event. It wasn’t about the event, it was about Jesus, but God used the event to mobilise the Body with prayer and outreach.
1959 – A time of national revival
In 1959, Billy Graham came to Australia and New Zealand to spend 4 months touring and preaching the gospel. He did 114 meetings in 106 days . This tour became known as the greatest moment of revival history in our nation. To this day, I often meet men and women who were saved in that campaign and are still serving the Lord.
Billy Graham was invited out by Anglican Archbishop Howard Mowell, who rallied churches and believers for 6 years in the lead up to the gospel campaign. During the campaign over 146k across Australia made a commitment for Jesus.
Preparing the way
In lead up to this rally, over 40 000 individuals signed up to pray for the event. In Sydney, 600 of the 650 churches worked together to door knock around 400 000 homes with a spiritual survey. Over 8000 counselors (45k nationally) were trained to disciple the new believers. In Sydney, 150k people turned out on the last night and over 56k decisions for Jesus were made. Some churches reported 75% and 94% retention of the new believers.
These numbers are great for Sydney, however across Australia and New Zealand over 3 million (out of a total population of 10 million) turned out to hear the gospel, face to face, and even many more heard it across radio and TV. Almost 2% of the nation publicly admitted to deciding to follow Jesus.
God moved and on top of the multitude of decisions, judges, mayors and politicians are reported to have said that Sydney was a different place. On top of these reports, there was actual city-transformation that had measurable results.
I do not pray for these alone, but also for those whowill believe in Me through their word;that they all may be one, asYou, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.And theglory which You gave Me I have given them,that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me;that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me (John 17:20-23)
The fruit of the revival
Directly after the campaign, the crime increase rate dropped to half. This remained that way for 3 years. Alcohol sales dropped by 10% the following year. Pubs closed down, ex-nuptial births decreased and businesses reported an unusual amount of bad debts being paid off. That gospel campaign changed the social and cultural landscape of our nation, but in particular, Sydney.
The 1959 “Southern Cross Crusade” truly was a momentous occasion for Jesus, in our nation. There has not been a move like it in the last 70 years, but there were keys we could learn from the 1959 revival.
Keys to revival
When looking back at the event, three things have been attributed to the transformation
Missional unity in churches. The churches not only organized the event together, but they worked together to door knock around 400k homes with a spiritual survey
An immense amount of prayer. In lead up to the event, 40000 individuals committed to pray.
The Gospel. At the centre of the activity was a gospel event. It wasn’t about the event, it was about Jesus and His gospel, but God used the event to mobilize the Body with prayer and outreach.
1 – Renshaw, W. F., 2014. Torrey-Alexander: Revival comes to Melbourne. In: Marvellous Melbourne and Spiritual Power. Acorn Press, pp. 42-49.
2 – Faase, K., n.d. Lessons from the 1959 Billy Graham crusade. [Online] Available at: https://www.crossover.org.au/revitalised-in-witness-the-lessons-from-the-billy-graham-crusades-of-1959-pt-3/ [Accessed 2019]
Army Chaplain Jose Rondon believes “there is nothing more exhilarating in life than seeing people come to Christ.” In the last six months, Rondon has experienced that exhilaration with more than 1,400 professions of faith — something one could describe as a spiritual awakening — at Fort Leonard Wood, his place of ministry.
Because of his reputation for being intentional in his ministry, many have come to hear Rondon share the Gospel on Sundays.
“We have seen 1,459 soldiers come to Christ since March of this year (2018),” Rondon said. “God is doing great things at Fort Leonard Wood among the hundreds of soldiers who have come to know Christ personally.”
Retired Major General Doug Carver, executive director of chaplaincy for the North American Mission Board, says what is happening at Fort Leonard Wood is not an exception. Right now there are reportedly 1,348 military chaplains in the Southern Baptist Convention at work.
“Our troops, who are increasingly hungry for truth and relevancy in their lives, are finding a faith that works through a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ,” Carver said. “The current spiritual awakening at Fort Leonard Wood is indicative of a great move of God taking place within the Armed Services today.”
Consider the following, Carver reported:
— More than 2,000 troops gathered in Doughboy Stadium at Fort Benning, Ga. this past Easter to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
— Army chaplains are currently baptizing an average of 70 soldiers every basic combat training cycle at Fort Jackson, S.C.
— The U.S. Air Force Chaplaincy recently rolled out a new program called FaithWorks, which is a collection of evidence-based programs and materials promoting spiritual resilience for airmen and their families.
— The military has built more chapels since 9/11 than any other period of American history except for World War II.
In the past two years, Southern Baptist military chaplains have reported there have been tens of thousands of professions of faith and thousands of baptisms.
“Historically, God has often used the military as a catalyst for revival,” Carver said. “Many attribute the spread of Christianity in the first century to Roman soldiers deployed throughout the Roman Empire. The Lord is answering our prayers for revival within our military communities. I’ve prayed for over 40 years for our troops and their families to experience the reality of Jesus Christ in a new and fresh way.”
Chaplain Rondon has been intentional with his words and with how he treats his fellow soldiers. So when a staff sergeant first approached Rondon and asked to speak with him, the chaplain knew the sergeant wasn’t asking for words of wisdom but for listening ears.
“To be intentional is to be faithful to Christ and obedient to His Great Commission,” Rondon said. “But we will not succeed in making disciples until the lost make the first step to follow Christ as their Savior. To be intentional not only means to preach Christ’s Word in the chapel, but to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit to share His message of reconciliation if, and when, the time fits.”
So, Rondon listened to the staff sergeant, and then he prayed with him to receive Jesus Christ as his Savior. Rondon did the same thing when another senior non-commissioned officer asked for the chance to talk to him about spiritual matters. This soldier-leader also asked Jesus Christ into his heart.
“My two soldiers and friends from our current battalion at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri came to Christ because their lives were in need of the Savior,” he said. “All of us at some point need to be a listening ear, to help others to start trusting and believing in anything again, especially when our wounds are so deep that we lose respect for many around us.
“They talked to me about their lives because they respected me and noticed I really cared for our soldiers like I always do during my pastoral rounds. I invited them both to a meal. God always opens great doors like this when we listen to people without interrupting. We show them how much we care by being there for them whenever they need it most.”
In both conversations, a chaplain and a sergeant spoke about their lives.
“Instead of asking them whether or not they knew they were going to heaven if they died today, I simply said, ‘I see that you need Christ in your life. He can not only help you to deal with the challenges of daily living, but He can also save you from an eternal death because of your sins,’” Rondon said. “They both agreed they needed Christ to come into their lives forever and to have His presence to deal with life from that moment on.” — Baptist Press
Jesus said a lot about prayer and prayed constantly himself. Some examples:
‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who seeks finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? 10 Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11)
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. (John 15:7-8)
Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.” 13 But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” 14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted. (Luke 18:10-14)
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Yourname. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earthas it is in heaven. Give us this day ourdaily bread. Andforgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, Butdeliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
A pastor asked me to give him examples of prayer being answered that I had seen, so that request developed into this summary. Prayers get answered in many ways, not always immediately, but sometimes it is immediate. We need to trust God.
For 80 years I have loved it when we pray at home, personally or together. One night I was saying goodnight to a grandson, about 10 years old, who had a migraine headache. The Christian doctor had prescribed tablets to deal with it. I put my head on his head and prayed for him, led to say, “Infirmity get out in Jesus’ name.” I felt something happen. His migraines stopped and he has not needed the medication since.
Christian Heritage College Class
A student we prayed for one morning in our class went to her doctor that afternoon for a final check before having a growth removed from her womb. That afternoon her doctor could find no trace of the growth after checking with three ultrasound machines, so he cancelled the scheduled operation.
“My class at college laid hands on me and prayed for me,” she explained to her doctor. “I believe God healed me, and that’s why you can’t find the growth anymore.”
“I don’t know if God healed you,” he responded. “But I do know that you don’t need an operation.”
We often pray specifically for one another in home groups and see many prayers answered.
We prayed for a young lady who found it difficult to keep a job because she worked slowly. She then got a job as a helper in an old people’s nursing home. The matron kept her employed, even though she was slow, because she chatted a lot with the old people while caring for them and cleaning their room. They appreciated the extra time she spent with them.
A woman in our group had pain in her lower back. A nurse in our group was led to put her had on the lady’s back and simply pray, “L4 be healed, in Jesus’ name.” The pain left her Lumba 4 vertebrae area.
Hilary Mackerras (now in Glory) played piano in our home group when we were led to move it to Trinity College chapel where I taught. It became an interdenominational renewal fellowship at that time with anointed worship blessing many. My Renewal Journal began there and continues still – www.renewaljournal.com
“Can I take some bread home?” asked a tattooed young man at our communion service in the slums of Nairobi in Kenya, East Africa. God’s Spirit had prompted me to buy a few loaves of bread, bottles of drink, and plastic glasses for the congregation. We shared real drink and bread together among 30 people in their corrugated iron shed where I was the guest preacher. We prayed, as usual, a blessing on the bread and juice.
“It’s your bread,” I answered. “You decide.” He quickly shoved a handful of bread into his pocket. Then most of the others did the same. Two weeks later, Frank, the young pastor, emailed me: “I’ve visited the slum homes of those people and they are still eating that bread. It’s still fresh.” Apparently God multiplied it.
Frank and his wife Linda then offered free bread and drink each Saturday for hungry, skinny slum people, usually catering for about 50 people. Sometimes many more turned up and they always had plenty. Apparently God kept multiplying it as needed.
A young pastor in Ghana in West Africa invited me to hold meetings there. So I arrived with three others from Brisbane during our college break in July, forgetting it was monsoon time in Ghana. We flew into a deluge of rain on a Monday. Our hosts planned night meetings in the market from Tuesday, with morning teaching in a local church.
“Can we hold the night rallies in the church?” I suggested. “Oh, no,” they said. “Only church people go there. Meetings in the market attract the crowds.”
“What about the rain?” I asked. “God sent you, so he’ll do something,” they responded, full of faith. We prayed together.
We drove for over an hour in the pouring rain from Accra, the capital, to the town of Suhum in the hills for our first meeting on Tuesday night. The heavy rain had flooded the power station there so the whole town was in darkness. We prayed earnestly, asking God to take over.
Within 15 minutes the rain stopped, the town lit up with power, and we began. Those excited Africans sang and danced for over two hours, attracting hundreds to the service. All that week we had clear skies and large crowds. Church teams prayed for hundreds of people. Many were saved. Many were healed. One man testified, “I came to this meeting blind, but while you were singing I found I could see.”
Heavy monsoon rains began again the day after our meetings ended, so heavy we saw it reported on international TV the next week.
A friend of mine worked with the United Nations in Nepal. He loved to help and support pastors and leaders there. We visited him many times and I spoke at pastors and leaders meetings in Kathmandu, in West Nepal and in East Nepal. Some of those pastors walked for two or three days across the high ranges just to attend.
Their churches are saturated in prayer. I prayed in their “Power House”, the upstairs prayer rooms of their church in Kathmandu. Those small upper rooms, open 24 hours a day, had many people going there to fast and pray, sometimes for many days.
We saw God’s Spirit move beautifully and powerfully in those meetings. Many were filled with the Spirit and healed. I heard a young man from one of their church bands praying eloquently in beautiful English – but he cannot speak English. They pray for one another with strong faith, expecting God to save, heal, deliver and anoint them. He does.
Our team visited Grace Bible College in New Delhi founded by Dr Paul Pilai. Paul had stayed in our home in Brisbane when he visited Australia. He was converted after a young Christian girl prayed for his healing while he was very ill in hospital and he recovered miraculously.
He told us how his students and teams started new churches in villages and towns. They often faced angry opposition. One fanatical group burned their meeting tent and attacked them, hitting them with clubs, trying to kill them. They broke Paul’s arm and burned the tent. Suddenly handsome Indian men surrounded Paul’s team and miraculously moved them away to a safe place nearby. The team could see their burning tent in the distance. Those angels told Paul that God would send him back there. A few years later they were invited back and started a church there in a home.
Grace Bible College, the largest in India with around 600 students, trains people to evangelize and plant churches, especially among unreached peoples. Their graduates often face persecution and some have been martyrs. What a humbling privilege it was to pray with the staff there and speak to the crowded hall full of such committed students.
I taught on revival at a seminary in Manilla in the sweltering heat of the Philippines. An assignment I gave my M.Th. students was to report on revival and miracles. One Baptist pastor, who was also a police inspector, reported that a church he visited sent groups of young people to sing and speak at hospitals and nursing homes.
One of those teams held monthly meetings in a mental hospital. The staff said that their patients may not understand much, but those patients did enjoy the singing. About 40 came to the first meeting. The team offered to pray for anyone who would like prayer. They prayed personally for 27 people. The next month when the team returned, all those 27 had been discharged and sent home.
I visited China with a student from college. His parents worked there. The woman pastor-evangelist of a house church invited us to her church in a high-rise unit. The young man who met us at the gate could speak English. He feared that the security guard might ask awkward questions, but as we walked in around 7 pm, the guard had his back to us, talking to someone else. When we left after midnight, the guard was gone, probably sleeping.
Around 30 people sat on the floor and sang softly in worship. We spoke and then found that no one would leave until we had prayed for them personally. That took a while! They were happy to slip away one-by-one, just as they had come. Most were new Christians who believed because a Christian prayed for their healing. They believed in prayer and miracles just as in the Book of The Acts. Their simple, strong faith and humility moved and challenged me deeply. One man we prayed for later that night also became the leader of another house church. They keep praying, and God keeps moving on them.
We visited Elcho Island in the north where revival broke out and spread through Aboriginal communities all across northern Australia. We drove the 50k on dirt tracks to the north end of the island where a small community of 30 people prayed together every morning and evening. They prayed for revival. We joined them.
They had seen revival begin after aborigines on Elcho Island prayed desperately for revival amid increasing crime, drink and drugs. The night their pastor, Djiniyini Gondarra, returned from a holiday they met of Bible Study and prayer in his home. God’s Spirit fell on them as they united for the closing prayer. That prayer and ministry went all night. People were filled with the Spirit, discovered many spiritual gifts, and saw healings and reconciliations. Everywhere their teams went they saw God moving on the people in local revivals.
South Pacific Islands
Many revival movements swept the South Pacific islands. I was blessed to see some.
God poured out his Spirit on children and youth in the Western Solomon Islands from Easter 2003. They loved to sing and pray daily in the church after school. God gave them visions, revelations, words of knowledge about hidden sins and bad relationships and many other spiritual gifts such as healings and speaking and singing what God revealed.
We saw God touch around 1,000 youths at a National Christian Youth Convention in 2006. One night at the convention they responded, running to the front of the open-air meeting. For half-an-hour their worship team sang “He is Lord” while we prayed for them. They fell like dominoes. Many testified to healings, visions and revelations. One young man returned to his village that night and found his mother ill, so laid hands on her and prayed for her. She was healed. His brother then asked for prayer and he too was healed. The young man had never done that before.
A whole group from the Kariki Islands, further west, saw revival in their islands on their return. God moved powerfully in every meeting they held and in personal prayers.
The church leaders in one village on Simbo Island told me how their prayer teams of about 20 people always pray for the sick. The medical clinic on that island has no entries for anyone from that village, except for babies born, since they started praying like that.
I visited Vanuatu often from 2002 and saw many prayers answered and many revival movements. Here are just a few examples.
God’s Spirit fell on the Law School of the University of the South Pacific just after Easter 2002. The Law School is in Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu. Many law students were dramatically saved and transformed at their open-air rally. Those committed students went on missions to other South Pacific nations and to Australia with me. We saw large numbers saved, healed and filled with the Spirit.
At a church service in Port Vila, the capital, a nurse told how she had been on duty when parents brought in their young daughter who had been badly hit in a car accident, and showed no signs of life – the heart monitor registered zero. Leah was in the dispensary giving out medicines when she heard about the girl and she suddenly felt unusual boldness, so went to the girl and prayed for her, commanding her to live, in Jesus’ name. She prayed for almost an hour, and after an hour the monitor started beeping and the girl recovered.
A young man from Brisbane who joined me on many mission trips, prayed for a heathen chief’s son’s leg which was immediately healed. So I asked the lad if we could go to his village to pray for people. He checked with his dad and for the first time ever a mission team was invited to come to that ‘custom’ heathen village. Everyone that young man prayed for in that village reported that the pain left
Our revival team, on Pentecost Island, including the two of us from Australia, trekked for a week into mountain villages. We literally obeyed Luke 10 – most going with no extra shirt, no sandals, and no money. The trek began with a five-hour climb across the island from the western shore to a village on ridges by the sea on the eastern side. We prayed for people many times in each meeting. At one point I spat on the dirt floor, making mud to show what Jesus did once. The wife of the President of the Churches of Christ, then jumped up asking for prayer for her eyes, using the mud. Later she testified that the Lord told her to do that, and then she found she could read her small pocket Bible without glasses. So she read to us all. Meetings continued like that each night.
I heard the sound of angels singing about 3 am in a remote village. It sounded as though the village church was packed. The harmonies in high descant declared “For You are great and You do wondrous things. You are God alone” and then harmonies, without words until words again for worship “I will praise You O Lord my God with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name forevermore” with long, long harmonies on “forevermore”. Just worship. Pure, awesome and majestic. The team stayed two extra days there – everyone received prayer, and many people surrendered to the Lord both morning and night. Everyone repented, including us, as the Spirit moved on us all.
I was part of two teams from Kenmore Baptist Church (now Riverlife) in Fiji with Ric & Ann Benson, and Jesse and Cooky Padayache. Many were saved and healed. Jesse prayed with a sick man in the hospital, and then everyone in the ward asked for prayer. They were all discharged within a week.
I prayed for many people there then and also in other visits. At one revival meeting, everyone I prayed for said their pain had gone. Two partially blind boys told their parents that after prayer they could see clearly.
If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Benin: high school boy defeats voodoo attacks in Jesus’ name. Voodoo priests sent talking birds to take Christian down.
Nestor got introduced to the gospel even when there wasn’t a single Christian church in his village of 1,400 people. Twenty years later, two churches were planted in Houndjohoundji in 2018. “People were begging for a church to open.”
By Michael Ashcraft —
Nestor Kouassi today in America.
Nestor Kouassi had seen the voodoo priests and witches do unutterable things: make statues move, bury people alive who later come out of the jungle, send bird spirits to kill enemies.
So when he accepted Jesus in 1997 and started what became a high-stakes spiritual battle with them in his town of Houndjohoundji, Benin, it was a fearful thing.
“A lot of people didn’t like it that we were calling with fire and praying all night,” Nestor says. “They threatened us that they would kill us. They made false accusations. Anything to get us in trouble.”
Nestor got introduced to the gospel even when there wasn’t a single Christian church in his village of 1,400 people. His nation, Benin, holds the dubious distinction of being the worldwide birthplace of voodoo. Even the name of his village was a satanic incantation.
People feared the voodoo lords, and Christianity couldn’t crack the town.
“We would mock him,” Nestor remembers. “People would insult him.”
Then his best friend, Cyrille, accepted Jesus to get cured of a nasty, prolonged stomach pain. Cyrille was a “rough man” who would steal and fight for nothing, so when Nestor saw an authentic change in him after two weeks, he became convinced.
“He completely changed,” he says. “I said, ‘If this guy can change, there must be a God. I want to get to know that God.’”
But Cyrille didn’t remember the “sinner’s prayer.” So they just read the Bible together 4-5 hours a day. After one week, Nestor was born again.
“Something happened in my life, and I knew that I knew that I knew that I had met the man Jesus,” Nestor recalls. “It felt like a liquid fire going through my soul, and all of my fears of witchcraft and voodoo disappeared and the river flowed from the inside.”
The nearest church was seven miles away. When they couldn’t attend service there, they devoured the Bible together. After two weeks, they were inspired to share their faith.
“We could not hide it anymore. We took to the streets and wanted to share with people our new discovery: Jesus of Nazareth, woo!” he recounts, relishing the memory.
“Our preaching was met with hostility like you’ve never seen before,” Nestor says. “What made them furious is that we would pray for people and they would get healed. People would say, ‘If you’re sick, go to the Jesus guys.’”
Another friend, Valentin, converted and the three friends read the word and ministered in the streets together. But nobody else dared cross the powers of the town and join their group, even though they viewed them favorably.
The prayers of Nestor and his friends began to disrupt the voodoo power, he says. So the witches attacked them.
“They didn’t want real Christianity. It disturbed them,” Nestor says. “They wouldn’t be able to operate anymore. If we’re calling upon Jesus, there is a power struggle. The witches cannot operate when we are calling upon Jesus.”
The witches had a technique they called a “spiritual gun” and the victim target of their incantations would writhe in pain. But the gun didn’t work on Nestor and his buddies, he said.
The priests had a special “founder drum” that when they beat it and pronounced their incantations, lightning would strike the targeted victim even when there was no thunderstorm. Again, it didn’t work.
For six or seven years, the arm-wrestling match continued. Nestor was going to high school in the biggest town in the area nearby, Grand-popo. He would face off with the voodoo priests on weekends and vacations.
The voodoo festivals began to misfire. Things didn’t work. The supernatural tricks fizzled. The town was abuzz with the goings-on.
“People began to question the witches’ power,” he says. “They said, ‘These Jesus guys must have something.’ They were scared. They listened to us, they admired us, but joining us was a real problem.”
Tensions were rising and the threats were increasing. When the chief witch threatened Nestor’s mother with her son’s death, Nestor went to confront him. He found all the witches together in their afternoon gathering in the public place.
“They told us they would reduce us to nothing. I told them nothing would happen,” Nestor remembers.
“In this battle, you will definitely see Jesus,” he responded to their threats.
That night, Nestor did indeed confront demon spirits, but ultimately they could do him no harm.
“I saw the power of witchcraft. I was in my room at midnight. I closed my eyes. All of a sudden, I heard hundreds of birds flapping in the room. They were talking in human voices. They said, ‘Take him.’ I could feel people’s hands. They tried to lift me off my bed. But I became so heavy, they couldn’t. They tried and tried and they left,” Nestor says.
It was worse than Alfred Hitchcock’s famous horror movie, The Birds.
“I opened my eyes, got up, and said, ‘Whoa, what is going on? What is this?” Then they came back with the chief priest who said, ‘Who is this little boy that you can’t get him?’ The same birds flapping, the voices, they couldn’t take me,” he says.
“In the morning I felt like I was sick for weeks. I couldn’t eat. I went at 11:30 to my mom’s. On the way over, I met this witch. When he saw me, he was afraid. I just laughed.”
The next day at midnight, there was a great commotion in the village. The chief voodoo priest lost consciousness in his house.
Thirteen hours later, he was pronounced dead in the nearest hospital.
“That’s how the hostility finished,” Nestor says. “They called us ‘witches of Jesus.’ They said don’t try anything against them.”
Since those times, Nestor and his wife immigrated to America with student visas. Cyrille lives in Grand-popo and farms. Valentin is an accountant in a big company.
Twenty years later, two churches were planted in Houndjohoundji in 2018. “People were begging for a church to open.”
May God receive the glory for all He has done!
Michael Ashcraft was a missionary for 15 years during which he founded the Liceo Bilingue La Puerta Christian school in Guatemala. It was long enough for him to see firsthand enough witchcraft to believe his friend, Nestor, when he recounted his conflict with the voodoo lords.
USA: The Whatcom Story: how day and night prayer impacted a community.
Almost every significant move of God in history was preceded by fervent, united prayer. This inspired Christians in Whatcom county on the north-west coast of the United States to establish a ‘canopy of day and night prayer’ over their region. The results are astonishing.
“One night I was in church and I heard a prophecy that God would move by his Spirit over the native north-west tribes of the United States,” recalls Viola Riebe of the Hoh River Nation. “It would be like a tsunami, gaining in power, moving from the natives to other churches.” For Riebe this was a hopeful prophecy, as back in 1700 a giant earthquake in the area generated a tsunami that almost devastated her native tribe. She felt God wanted to turn the negative past into a positive future.
In 2008 a house of prayer was launched in Bellingham, the county’s seat, a community of 90,000 people. This Light of the World Prayer Center (LOWPC) included native American believers and Christians from other churches. Together they established a day and night prayer watch, similar to the Moravians in Herrnhut.
The Spirit of the Moravians
“What God has been doing in Whatcom county is linked to this town in Germany,” says Jason Hubbard, director of the LOWPC. “God led me to visit Herrnhut, home of Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians. I learned their amazing story of awakening into prayer and missions. The passion of these Moravian believers was ‘to win for the Lamb who was slain the due reward of his suffering’.* Inspired by their example, we wanted to be a modern-day expression of this powerful movement of united prayer and missions.”
* This quote has been attributed to missionaries Johann Leonhard Dober and David Nitschmann, two young Moravian Brethren from Herrnhut, Germany. When God called them in 1732 to minister to the African slaves on the islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix in the Danish West Indies, they were willing to sell themselves to a slave owner if that was the only way to reach the slaves. As their ship pulled away from the docks, it is said that they called out to their loved ones on shore, “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!”
Whatcom county could certainly use a change in the spiritual atmosphere. “Over the last several decades we have seen tragic church splits among God’s people, an increase of witchcraft and sexual immorality, pastors who have fallen,” says Hubbard. “However, since day and night prayer has been established in a simple way, senior pastors are gathering monthly to build spiritual friendships and seek God for the county.”
“This is an unbelievable blessing,” says Grant Fishbook, pastor of Christ the King. “Trust has been built over time as the message sunk in that we’re not each other’s competition. Our competitor is the devil, but we are family and on the same team. We love each other and want to live that out. Now the pastors text and call each other for encouragement and drink coffee together, because there’s a genuine interest in what’s happening with each part of the family. They ask: How are you doing, how can I pray, how can I support you?”
“When we exalt Christ, it brings us together,” says Shawn Cunningham, pastor of Hilcrest Chapel. “We have seen a growth and increasing unity among churches in Whatcom county and that has come through the power of prayer. Prayer by nature unifies God’s people.”
Alvin Vandergriend, church prayer coordinator of the 3rd Christian Reformed Church, agrees. “A canopy of prayer is a covering of God’s providential blessing over a territory. Prayer is where we access God’s resource and heart, where he empowers us to fulfil his mission. For all the years I’ve been involved in ministry, I’ve never seen pastors come together like now in Whatcom county – in the numbers they are coming together, the prayer that happens there, and the encouragement they give each other. It is quite amazing.”
In Whatcom county 80 pastors out of a hundred are now praying consistently together. This includes the native, Hispanic and Korean churches, it’s a truly multi-cultural expression of the Body of Christ. Pastors have also been sharing their pulpits and holding joint community services with thousands of people coming together.
Phenominal church growth: 10,000 salvations, 80 church plants
The unity also led to an explosion of church plants – 80 church plants in a decade – with 10,000 first-time salvations of people who were baptized in water. This is a phenominal church growth in what has historically been one of the least churched areas in the United States.
The 15,000 member strong Hispanic community experiences a real revival. Ivan Montenegro, church planter with the Hispanic Church, reports: “Every day we see people come to Christ. We started 11 new churches and baptized at least 1,500 people, which is a 10% growth. If you ask me: ‘How come?’ all I can say is: it’s the fire of God through prayer. Every church in our area is growing.”
Churches also developed a county-wide men’s ministry. These men come from 40 different churches and see their lives transformed through the gospel and prayer. Raul Chaves, Men’s pastor at Band of Brothers, says: “Healing is taking place in these men and their families. They become the men God intended them to be. And it’s all about prayer. We pray before, during and after everything we do.”
Source: Jason Hubbard, LOWPC, edited by Joel News.