A TIDE OF REVIVAL!
by Mervyn Morelock, Lt. Colonel, Territorial Prayer Coordinator –
When Commissioner Linda Bond first proposed in March 2003 that the Western Territory join her in a territory-wide “Prayer for Revival,” it was initially suggested that in every city and town, thousands of Salvationists would be invited to pray for a mighty revival at the same time each week, Thursday, 7:00 – 7:30 a.m.
This united, concentrated prayer initiative would serve to unite and focus our prayers on the need for personal revival, the reviving of our people, our corps, our institutions and our Salvation Army. Her prayer was that God would “wash” across the territory and she invited soldiers, officers and friends to join in a “territorial prayer meeting for revival.” Every Salvationist, bowing in prayer at the same time across the territory would pray that God would do a mighty work in our territory and give us a Holy Spirit-led spirit of revival.
With the expanse of our territory, however, it would be difficult to set one time during which every person could be praying simultaneously. Our territory contains seven times zones and is more than 6,800 miles across, so it was decided that this emphasis be, instead, a “wave” of revival prayer that would become a “Tide of Revival!”
A logo was selected and every issue of New Frontier, every transcribed message on the SAPrayerline, every e-mail message and every web page of the territorial website has contained an encouragement to pray. And what of the results?
There is a new interest in prayer in the territory. Over 2,500 prayer partners have been given a “praying hands” pin signifying their covenant to pray daily for revival as well as for their corps and family. And the list keeps growing!
Weekly messages of urgent prayer needs are sent out with ten to twelve groupings of requests for prayer: for solace and comfort to those bereaved, for those battling with health issues, for special meetings and conferences, for youth councils, for the cadets and their commissioning, for President George Bush and his cabinet, for our uniformed men and women serving in dangerous places, for General John Larsson and international leaders, for our territorial leaders, for overseas officers, for those with troubled relationships, and to remind the callers to pray for the Tide of Prayer for Revival each Thursday morning. An average of 60 callers from across the country checks in on the SAPrayerline every month to hear these recorded messages.
Each month, in New Frontier, an article called “Tide of Prayer” contains a list of praise reports and prayer requests. A large portion of the page is devoted to the reports being sent in and gleaned from many places. People are praying and God is answering!
The SAPrayerline@aol.com receives prayer requests every week from many areas of the country, including California, Colorado, Maine, Illinois, Oregon, Louisiana, New Jersey, Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, etc., some forwarded from the THQ website. Prayers for a family, prayers for a town beset by drugs and satanic influences, prayers for a job, prayers for an alcoholic father, a critically ill baby, etc. have all been requested. These are placed on the recorded messages and in New Frontier.
Every division and the ARC command now have a prayer coordinator who sends to their corps or institutions a list of the weekly prayer requests that have been e-mailed to them; these include local needs as well. They are reproduced in many corps bulletins or are mentioned from the pulpits at prayer time.
Many prayers have been offered for our troops serving overseas—sometimes specific requests for an individual soldier, for their families or simply for safety. God is answering prayer.
In cities across the territory there is a new awareness of the power of prayer. Prayer cells and special times of prayer are taking the call of God to “Pray without ceasing” by conducting 24/7 prayer meetings with wonderful responses.
In corps across the territory new seekers are bravely coming to the altar to confess their sin and to re-dedicate themselves to Jesus Christ. Adult Rehabilitation Centers and Adult Rehabilitation Programs are reporting a steady wave of men and women at the altar. Changed lives are being seen. God is blessing and answering prayer!
Regional prayer conferences
Several recent regional prayer conferences have been attended by Salvation Army delegates seeking to know more about the power of prayer.
The Prayer and Revival Summit at Crestmont College on May 13-15 will be an opportunity for Salvationists and friends to hear powerful speakers and “Experience the Fire” of revival! Many are praying that the wave of revival will continue to sweep over our Army.
The National Day of Prayer, May 6, 2004 will be an opportunity for Salvationists across the territory to stand with praying people in their cities to pray for our country, for a strong renewal of morality, and for a successful challenge to the powers of this world who are attacking the values and traditions of our nation.
The territorial tide of prayer does not function in a narrow parochial way for our territory. We are linked with prayer leaders in other parts of the world: New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain, the USA territories and others—all are sharing the Good News of Jesus and the great power in prayer that is available to us.
God answers prayer
Is God answering prayer? The answer is yes! The theme for the prayer ministry is 2 Chronicles 7:14-15a: If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered.
When the commissioner introduced the challenge for this year, she said, ”I’ve heard it said that for much of the Christian church, the tide is out. What do you do when the tide is out? You clean up the beach! Are we prepared to have the debris exposed so that confession, repentance, and submission become as necessary as petition and intercession?”
As the ocean continues to bring in the tide, every day and hour, so must we spend regular time at home, in our corps, at our work, even driving to and from work, in prayer. While we live in a sinful world, the battle is not over and we can bring our needs to God and he WILL answer our needs.
A favorite verse used often in counseling with the lost, distraught and fearful is Philippians 4: 4-7: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The tide of prayer is never over. God causes the tide to faithfully come in without fail so we, in faith, can ask that the tide of his love and power come sweeping over us, our families, our Army and our nation!