In the fall of 2010, at the church where I pastor, we sensed a growing desperation for revival. We called our people to forty days of prayer and fasting. In January we began to meet on the first Monday of each month to cry out for revival. There seemed to be a growing sense of expectancy.
In April of 2011, a wonderful mercy-drop of revival and awakening occurred in the church. While preaching on the quenching of the Holy Spirit, the Lord stopped me in the middle of my message and told me I was done. After a brief bit of argument with Him, I told the congregation that it was time for me to stop.
Immediately, a former missionary stood up in the congregation and pled with us to obey Christ “right now” and quench the Spirit no longer. The altar filled, people began to come to the microphone, and the service, which normally ended at 12:30 p.m., lasted until 3:00 p.m.
An Air Force pilot came to the microphone to confess that God had been prompting his heart to be baptized for four years, and he had ignored Him. “I wonder what damage I have done to this church by not following Christ and by quenching His Spirit.” He asked if he could be baptized right then and began to take off his shoes in preparation! Before the service closed, four more people had surrendered to Christ and followed Him in baptism.
The next night, we were scheduled to have an evening of prayer, which we had been doing on the first Monday of each month. Instead of the seventy-plus that had been attending, the auditorium was filled with people, and that service lasted three hours, with more people coming to Christ. Testimonies were given, people were saved and baptized, money was spontaneously given to meet needs, prayer was powerful, and lives were transformed. We decided to meet the next night, taking it one day at a time; and, to our amazement, that spontaneous revival lasted five consecutive weeks, every night except Saturdays.
Every single day, to the best of our knowledge, people were coming to Christ and gladly confessing their faith. Our people were sharing Christ with everyone they met. Sixty-five people were baptized. Cars and rings were given. Money was flowing at such a rate between people that there seemed to be no more needy among us, just as seen in Acts 4. One man who was a forty-year alcoholic was dramatically delivered (and is sober to this day).
I stood up one night and read Acts 2 and remarked through tears that it was the first time I could honestly say that everything that was happening in the early church was happening, in some measure, in our church. It was a continuous prayer meeting, and God’s presence was amazingly clear among His people. Many people began to hear of these mercy-drops and come from all over the country to join with us.
We did not advertise. We did not promote. We could have never orchestrated such a movement. It was simply an intervention of God to bring revival to His church and spiritual awakening to the lost.
I have wondered why God chose to bring this wonderful season of refreshing and salvation to our church. And I have concluded that its purpose for us was to build our faith. To give us context for our prayers. To take us deeper to understand what God can accomplish in an instant when He chooses to manifest Himself.
We have 600 churches in Central Arkansas where I pastor, an area of roughly 500,000 people. If the same measure of God’s mercy descended on our city that occurred in our church, we would see 39,000 people saved in five weeks! What would this infusion of that number of genuine, new believers do to our schools? Our communities and businesses? Our government?
I would not believe this could be possible except for the fact that I have studied the history of spiritual awakening, I understand something of the power of God, and I have seen firsthand what even a small measure of His manifest presence can accomplish. He has done this in this way and greater in the past … and He is the same “yesterday, today, and forever.”
Making It Personal
What would occur in your city if 10% of the population were suddenly awakened to their deep spiritual poverty in a way that brought them to genuine repentance and complete submission to the rule of the King?
Adapted from OneCry: A Nationwide Call for Spiritual Awakening by Byron Paulus and Bill Elliff. Copyright ©2014. Published by Moody Publishers. Used by permission. www.MoodyPublishers.com.