Christianity in Today's America
The weather here is gorgeous and the temperature is perfect!
It was evening when I got off the plane in Kilgali and walked across the tarmac to the terminal. As soon as I stepped outside, I could feel the scent of that gentle Africa breeze in the air. I’m not sure what it is or why, but each of the sub-Saharan countries that I have visited have their own distinct exotic scent – similar but slightly unique to each land. As I emerge from the plane, it’s as if the land is welcoming me back. I almost feel at home.
Tomorrow morning, I will catch up on my jet lag and will slowly emerge from the hotel room later on to meet the General Manager of Restore FM, a major radio station in Rwanda. We are starting a 30-minute broadcast in Rwanda, twice a week every Monday and Friday for the next year, and I need to give him the DVD that has the broadcasts on it. As it turns out, he is a good friend of one of my hosts, Pastor Isaiah. Small world.
I will be preaching in a church upcountry for three days before coming back to Kilgali to launch the “Gideon Generation Movement”. University students are coming in from all over the country to be here for this. This movement all started at a lunchtime meeting of college students in the north of Rwanda last year. I had challenged them that they were the Gideon generation and for them to rise up to answer the call of God upon them. I left, not knowing what, if anything, would happen, but it has exploded, and is about to spill out like a fire into all the rest of the country. I have no idea what I will find when I meet with them at this national conference next week, but it is distinctly in the hands of God.
Lately, I have been reading about the great revivals in Wales, Azusa Street and the Hebrides Islands. I am impressed with the amount and intensity of prayer that preceded each of them – men and women travailing for hours and days under an intense burden of prayer for years. It’s not only the length of prayer, which would burden them all night long in many cases, but the depth of the travail of their souls. Groaning under the burden and crying out from the depths of their hearts for God to save souls and revive the Church again. Sounds like Africa.
We in the West do not pray like that anymore. Not only do we not know how to, we don’t even know we are supposed to! Where are the intercessors who would battle their way to the Throne of God all night long, crying out at the top of their lungs, wrestling with the powers of the heavens until the Spirit of God would break forth in victory like the sun shining through the clouds after a storm? Where are the Prayer Meetings at church where the saints would gather to wage war on the spiritual darkness around them, crying out for souls to be saved – and stay there all night long? Where is the yearning down deep in our souls that would drive us to our knees in travailing prayer until we secured the answer from God?
Victories only come after battles, but it appears that we have lost our will to fight. How can we expect a great move of God if we have forgotten how to pray? When we find the strength to lift our voices to God and contend all the way through until we reach the Throne of God, we then release Him to move. Until then, His hands are tied. This is not about God, but about the preparations of our own hearts so we can receive that which He has for us. Fallow ground is too hard to receive seed. It must first be broken up and watered with the tears of repentance before it is prepared to bring forth the harvest. So our hearts must be broken before God can move amongst us in His great power. It begins with His Word – a hammer which breaks the rock in pieces. It will not be our good works or good intentions that will be the catalyst that brings revival, but the power of the Word of God that works in us to bring us to that place of Holy Ghost conviction. And then, all the glory will go to God. And that’s when He can begin to move.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)