When the Holy Spirit Overrules
By Don MacLafferty
A woman shyly approached my wife April and me at the end of a revival in a small church in Alberta, Canada. “Would you come and call for a revival in my church?” she asked. “We desperately need a revival!”
“Have the pastor of your church call me, and if God wants us to come to your church, we will come,” I assured her. Months went by. Nothing. We prayed for her church.
One day, the pastor called and invited me to come and talk to his leaders. I drove through the snow, praying as I traveled. I walked into the church and shivered as I continued down a dark hallway and finally found a side room with a small circle of discouraged leaders, waiting to talk.
After a short prayer, I was invited to share. I told what we had seen God do in other churches and schools. I joyfully shared about the power of God to call all to repentance, forgiveness, and transformed lives. The group listened in absolute silence. Too much silence.
“Please tell me about your church,” I invited.
“Well...” began one, “a revival week would never work here!” Other voices chimed in: “We are way too busy here to come out more than a night or two.” “We are completely fragmented by culture and the countries from which we came. We do not come together for anything.” Finally, another leader summed it up: “Revival won’t happen here.”
I sucked in my breath, said a prayer in my mind, and responded, “God can do anything. Nothing is impossible with God.” The leaders looked at the floor, thanked me for coming, and walked me to the door.
But God moved on the hearts of one or two leaders there. They began to pray. They prayed and prayed. God listened. I received an invitation to come and call for revival, and, listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, April and I went!
We requested that they prayerfully gather as many as possible prior to the revival to pray and be trained to be small group leaders. They agreed. We came on the appointed night and walked into the spacious church, hoping for thirty or forty prayer partners. One person was working feverishly to set up for the meeting. Eventually, eight or nine people showed up. Many of them were late. They said it really wasn’t the best night to come. We prayed with them, equipped them, and left the church very concerned.
God impressed us to come and pray and train the people a second time. The church promised to find more people. On the appointed night for training, we arrived with much hope and expectation. Less showed up than the first time. But we got on our knees and prayed and claimed God’s promises.
One little boy, I will call him Dex, was sitting next to his mother in our circle of prayer. He waved his hand to get my attention. “Can I be a small group leader?” he blurted out. He was young, very young, yet he had more passion for revival than all the adults put together.
“Yes, you can!” I assured him. “Team up with your mom. You can work together.” His grin was bigger than the moon. His mother’s eyes were bright and shiny with tears. God whispered to my heart, “A little child will lead them.”
The first night of revival came. Dex and his mom sat in the front with a circle of chairs, while I called for revival. They led their little group in the Word and in prayer. The Holy Spirit was present.
“Less will come tomorrow night” one attendee predicted, as he left that first meeting. But we pressed forward. Every day, a few of us prayed for every member in that church, whether they came to church anymore or not. We asked God to touch the hearts of each person with the love and power of the Holy Spirit. We asked God to do what only He could do.
And every night, more people came, not two or three, but many. Young and old came. People came from work in their work clothes. People came who had not come to church in a long time. As the Holy Spirit moved on hearts, people started walking across the room. They reached out to people they had never talked with and sat down to eat a meal together before the meetings. People who were bitter towards each other confessed and asked for forgiveness. People with hard hearts had their hearts broken open to receive the love of God, some for the first time.
The Holy Spirit was working! God was lighting up the darkness, to gather those who were scattered to be a family of God once again. That’s what the Holy Spirit does!
Don MacLafferty is founder/president of In Discipleship. God has moved on Don and his wife April’s heart to call young and old to a daily revival with Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. They mobilize churches and schools to partner in equipping parents to disciple their children and prepare them for mission.
Prayer and revival go hand in hand. Today’s testimony has made that abundantly clear. How are things in your church? Is there a lack of revival? Could it be because there is a lack of earnest prayer? Is God maybe calling you to start praying for revival in your congregation? Why not find a prayer partner in your church, and ask God to guide you as you pray for individuals, circumstances, and overall revival for your local church?
Just imagine what will happen when we let the Holy Spirit work in our midst!
- Pray for revival for your church and for your pastor(s) and elder(s) to be filled with the Spirit.
- Pray that God give you a prayer partner, or even multiple prayer partners to pray for revival.
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to be poured out on all division, union, conference and local church leaders, as well as on supporting ministries or leadership.
- Pray that you would respond however the Holy Spirit leads, even if that means stepping out in faith, maybe even to cross a “Jordan River.”
- Claim the promises of Ezekiel 36:25-27 and Ezekiel 37 and watch God bring true revival. Spiritually dead people and churches can live by the Holy Spirit!
- Pray for the 7 names on your prayer list.
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