PRAYER, UNITY AND LOVE
Picture the scene. A group of people gathered together, waiting for what would be a new and powerful encounter with God: Acts 2 tells of the gathering in the Upper Room. Just as Jesus had promised, the Holy Spirit moved powerfully among them and 'clothed them with power from on high'. What a transformation! This was a glorious fulfilment of prophecy and a demonstration of God's love.
Now fast forward to 1906...to another gathering of people in Los Angeles, USA. A small group of Christians had been meeting to pray for baptism in the Holy Spirit. They were in one accord and expectant for a new and powerful encounter with God. Slowly at first, one, then another, then more and more, were baptised in the Holy Spirit and began speaking in tongues. Soon crowds gathered and people were overcome by God's presence and power even as they approached the building. The message of the meetings was one of love. There was unity in place of deep division. Healings and miracles took place and many were saved. Revival brings transformation.
The Azusa Street revival followed a similar outpouring in Wales in 1904-5. Around the world, others were experiencing the power of God, spreading from Azusa Street or rising up spontaneously. Although the intensity of this revival diminished over time, the legacy is felt to this day in churches and Christian groups around the world.
The hallmarks of these former revivals were prayer, unity and love - as a result of the hunger and desire for revival as well as in response to the Holy Spirit's outpouring. At a celebration of the 110th anniversary of the Azusa Street revival, earlier this year in Los Angeles, thousands of Christians gathered to pray in unity, with a focus on racial reconciliation, crying out for a spiritual revival to sweep across the nation. There were many reports of healings and powerful encounters with God during the meeting.
For those of us who long to see spiritual revival in our town and in our own nation, to bring transformation, restoration and healing to a broken world at a time of great uncertainty, let's come together now - in one accord and with expectancy - and pray fervently for unity and love across all churches and communities in our town.
Then our voices can be raised in unity to cry out 'Come Holy Spirit!'