Lakeland, Florida, Barack Obama & Burma: A Call to Respond to The Signs of the TimesPete Greig - 10 Jun 2008
You may have heard about the ‘Lakeland Revival’ or ‘Florida Outpouring Meetings’ being led by a 32 year-old, tattooed, Canadian called Todd Bentley and aired daily on GOD TV. Thousands have attended the meetings since it all kicked-off back in April in the town of Lakeland, Florida; still more have checked out video-clips on YouTube and other websites; and there are many reports of healing, salvation, and a deeper desire for God.
A number of 24-7 communities are responding to these ‘rumors of revival’ with special seasons of prayer. At the Kansas City Boiler Room (where several members of a local art college have begun relationships with Jesus recently) they are experiencing a fresh visitation of the Holy Spirit during corporate prayer and worship times. At Central Hall in Southampton, UK (where 24-7 first exploded, and where we will be gathering for our annual ‘Feast’ this September), Billy Kennedy together with other Church Pastors are hosting special meetings to pray for the sick and experience the presence of God. Lovely reports are coming in of 24-7 activists praying for people in the streets with fresh fervor.
What on earth is God doing?
Jesus once rebuked a crowd for failing to understand the signs of the times. “You know how to interpret the sky,” he said, “but you cannot interpret the signs.” (Matthew 16: 3)
For those with eyes to see, the period from April through May has been marked by many signs that should stir us to pray with expectancy and urgency. Just days into the Lakeland outpouring, the second deadliest cyclone of all time hit Burma, killing hundreds of thousands. A week later the world joined hands for the biggest prayer meeting in world history (the Global day of Prayer). Just 24 hours later, an earthquake in South West China killed 70,000 people and made an estimated five million people homeless. Even as I write, news is coming in of an earthquake taking lives in Greece. Isn’t this a season when anyone with ears to hear can recognize “that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth… in eager expectation for the Sons God to be revealed” (Romans 8:22).
Alongside such extreme environmental and spiritual turmoil, the governments of many nations are also being shaken by God. “He brings one down and exalts another.” (Psalm 75:7)
- The 2nd May cyclone in Burma forced the nation’s military junta (which stands accused of gross human rights abuses, including the persecution of Christians) to open its borders to help from other nations.
- In the aftershock of the earthquake on 12th May, the Chinese Ambassador to London recently acknowledged that “China is more and more open to the world”.
- In Zimbabwe we continue to witness the death-throws of Robert Mugabe’s oppressive dictatorship.
- Throughout May there was rioting in and for Tibet.
- On 28th May, Nepal became a Republic after more than 1000 years of Royal rule.
- In South Africa last month, our 24-7 friends asked us to cry out against the extreme eruptions of violence in the build-up to their Presidential elections.
- In this past week we’ve witnessed the nomination of Barack Obama as the first serious African-American presidential candidate in the US.
Is it coincidence that, slap-bang in the middle of such political, economic and environmental turmoil, we are also witnessing a fresh hunger for God’s presence in thousands of churches? Are the events in Lakeland, Florida disconnected from this season of global transition and turmoil? Surely it must mean something that such a time of travail hosted the world’s biggest prayer meeting as millions of Christians across 211 nations cried out to God together for the earth to be filled with the knowledge of His glory’ (Hab. 2:13)?
Sounding the trumpet
According to scripture, seasons of environmental, economic and political instability demand a specific response from the people of God: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,” God says, “then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:13)
In response to this promise, and to this season of shaking, we are sounding the trumpet to call for a mass mobilization of prayer, according to the pattern of 2 Chronicles 7:13. We believe that this is a season to stop business-as-usual in order to seek God’s face. Please do consider gathering your friends, your church or your community together, maybe in a prayer room or in special prayer meetings, in order to worship, intercede for the nations and pray for the healing of sick people and this sick planet.
A few 24-7 communities are already experiencing foretastes of the wonderful things the Lord has in store for us as we give ourselves to such a special season of prayer. Personally I find myself hungrier for God and for the coming of His Kingdom than I can remember in a long time. Something is stirring in the earth and I want to be a part of it. Three nights ago, God showed up powerfully in our midst, at a gathering of the Boiler Room community here in Guildford, UK, touching a number of people very deeply. I wish you could have been here with us…
So let’s recognize these ‘signs of the times’ – from Lakeland, Florida to South West China – and let’s respond with an explosion of new prayer rooms, prayer vigils, nights of prayer and special prayer meetings. Let’s get ready for the supernatural answers to prayer which surely await us ‘if’ (and only ‘if’) we will humble ourselves and seek God’s face for the healing of the land and the forgiveness of sin. I solemnly believe that we are being called to partner with the Lord Jesus Christ in the awesome responsibility of shaping world events through this time of travail.
As you gather to pray, please do let us know what happens! We’d love to share your stories and experiences with the whole 24-7 movement.
You can register your special season of prayer HERE.