God Powerfully Visited the Church
On the first morning of God’s visitation, I announced that we would be praying on Wednesday
evening, and invited everyone out. I told them I had read about revivals and knew that they both began and were sustained in response to prayer.
In our traditional Wednesday night prayer meeting we would typically have about three people with an average age of about 75. Real dynamic, eh?
I knew that God was up to something more significant than a one-time Sunday morning encounter when 35 people came to prayer that Wednesday. There was no special potluck
or refreshments being served. God Himself was the attraction!
For several weeks our prayer meetings had life, spontaneity and intensity. People confessed sins, wept and cried out for lost loved ones and prayed with expectancy.
After the better known Jeremiah 29:11 verse, the Lord tells his people Judah:
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”
(Jeremiah 29:12-13). This is what I saw happening.
People were seeking Him wholeheartedly.
Over the next several weeks the Lord continued to do spontaneous things during the worship service. As one member told me: “I can’t wait to come to church every Sunday. I never know what’s going to happen.”
During one service, I invited people to come forward and be filled with the Spirit (not in the Charismatic sense of coming to be baptized in the Spirit and receive the gift of tongues). There were 93 people in church that day. Approximately 70 came forward to be prayed for! I had not prepared a team to assist me in this so I prayed for every single one of them. It felt to me like I prayed for more people than were actually present that day.
I remember telling my children’s ministry person to let the children stay in the service. I did not want them to miss out on this opportunity to see God’s power at work. I wanted them to get a good glimpse of His glory that they would never forget.
During another service a large number of people stood and made a public confession that they were willing to lose their life for Christ and make themselves fully available to him.
I was very excited about what the Lord could do through us, as a church, with that many being willing to be sold out to him. Some church members who had attended church for years realized that they were not born again and gave their hearts to Christ for the first time.
During this season, the prayer that Paul prayed for the Ephesians was bursting with life within me:
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen”
The power available to us, the enormity of his love, the thought of being filled to the measure of all the fullness of God, and the knowledge that he can do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine struck me as almost too good to be true. How rich we are in Christ! But, conversely, how much most believers are missing!
One morning Char and I woke up at 3 a.m. and decided to pray for everyone in our church directory. It was an intense time crying to God in intercession. Shortly after that God answered our prayers for one couple in a dramatic way. A husband in a struggling marriage acknowledged to me in tears that he had been mistreating his wife. He then went and confessed this to her. They forgave one another and were reconciled. I was reminded that God can do in 20 minutes what we cannot accomplish with 20 years of effort.
Between ten and fifteen people in the church experienced major change in their lives: fresh joy, deeper intimacy with God, healing of past hurts and renewed zeal. It was evident that their souls were awakened to a new level of spiritual reality.
God continued this intense work in the church for about eight to twelve weeks. Things subsided gradually, making it difficult to identify the ending point.
Copyright Ed Skipper 2013