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The Interceders Encourager No. 22

Canton 2007

A Revival Conference was held at the Trinity Gospel Temple, Canton, Ohio, U.S.A. October 23rd- 25th 2007.

1. The conference was very well organized, and things went according to plan. The venue was large and more than adequate for the purpose. The speakers all spoke very well. The attendance was good, though much less than the number who had booked.

2. One of the noticeable things was the presence of some large families of Christian parents. I was very impressed to see them, not only well dressed and well behaved, but also attentive to what was said to them. They were in such contrast to the badly behaved, noisy, disrespectful, selfish and disobedient children and young people so prevalent in the churches here in Britain. America is a land of contrasts. On the one hand, all the worst excesses of child and teenage rebellion have come from that country, but, on the other hand, there is a measure of spirituality and church attendance and Bible believing and religious observance that is no longer found in Britain, and we should thank God for that.

3. There were some wonderful speakers at the conference, including some who had experienced revival, but I was disappointed that more did not happen, and I believe God was disappointed also. Many of us had prayed for some time that God would visit us in power at Canton, and Daryl Miller, the pastor who was responsible for the conference being held in Canton, believed that the programme would not be concluded, because God would intervene. So why did this not happen?

I believe there were two main reasons for this. Firstly we allowed the focus of the conference to move away from God to the speakers. It may not have been intended and it may not have been a large move, but it was enough to make it just a speaking conference, as I feared it would.

Secondly, the speakers themselves moved the focus of the conference away from an urgent plea for God to have mercy on America and the Western World to a personal, individual response to what was being said.

4. When I visited the Trinity Gospel Temple, where the conference was to be held, two or three days before it started, the sense of the presence of the Lord when I stood on the platform was so strong that I felt I had to pray openly. Daryl Miller was standing there in front of me, and all I could do was to plead for God to have mercy on us and on the country. I am sure when God truly visits us, we will all feel terribly unworthy of Him, and will call out for Him to have mercy on us.

The evening before the conference started, a prayer meeting was held in the church building where the conference was originally planned to be held; and it was a powerful time of prayer, people praying individually and in small groups.

On the first day of the conference, a long period of prayer was held, just for the speakers. All this was good and right, for by the following day, the sense of the Lordís presence was so strong that I was completely broken in spirit before Him, and wanted to tell everyone about Him. That to me, however, was the high point, for the power then waned.

I am convinced that we were disobedient to the Lord. We were not all united in prayer, and crying out to God to revive His work. There was no corporate sense of desperation, no agonizing, no travail. We did not all lift up our voices together to God and pray to Him, as we should have done. Consequently, the place where we were gathered was not shaken, and we were not all filled with the Holy Spirit, nor did we speak the word of God with boldness. (Acts. 4: 24-31)

Once the meetings addressed by speakers started on the first evening of the conference proper, there were no more open prayer meetings. Each speaking session did not lead to a time of corporate prayer, as it should have done, but merely to an opportunity for people to respond in their own personal prayer.

Thus it was that we failed collectively, and I failed personally. Before the conference I had a dream or vision in which I saw myself at the conference. The speakers were speaking, but we were not having times of corporate prayer. I felt so disappointed that I got up from my seat and addressed the conference, saying that we were not there to hear speakers, but to pray and ask God to come down. I then started to pray from the front. The tragedy was that what I had feared actually took place. We had speaker after speaker with no corporate prayer following, but I did not get up to intervene as I should have done. Somehow, the devil had his way, and made me forget all about my dream.

Moreover, to make matters worse, a man from a church in Canton spoke to me before the conference and told me that the Lord had revealed to him that I would be standing up on the platform speaking. I merely told him that I wasnít one of the speakers! It seems incredible that the devil made me forget about that as well, or that I had become so insensitive to the Holy Spirit that I did not do what He wanted me to do. All I remember was that I just felt terribly disappointed. Either way, I have apologized to the Lord about it, and I apologize to you now, and trust I have learned from what happened.

That is why I believe God was very disappointed. However, our God is a gracious, forgiving God, and I am sure He still wants to do a great work in the city of Canton, Ohio, which, I was told, has more churches per head of population than any other place in the U.S.A. I met two people there, who had set up an interdenominational house of prayer, and who had been praying for at least two years for God to come down in power on the city, yet who knew nothing about the conference until just a few weeks before it took place! They were so thrilled to learn of it taking place, and to be there. I feel we let them down.

When Carter Conlan, the pastor of Times Square Church in New York City, spoke at the conference, he said he had never heard of Canton, Ohio, and it caused me to think of Nathaniel thinking that nothing good could come out of Nazareth. That is why I am convinced that God does want to do something there, especially when I think of Daryl Miller and his yearning for revival, and when I think of Dave Lombardi, the pastor of Trinity Gospel Temple, a lovely man, who has been there for over 40 years, and who has seen his church go right down. He and his members gave the building and the facilities quite freely to the conference. He deserves to see the Lord visit the place and come down in power. Moreover, one of the speakers, Richard Sipley, who experienced a touch of revival in Akron, the neighbouring city, in 1972, has felt the call of the Lord to return to the area from Canada. So it appears that the Lord is preparing the ground for another time of visitation.

So may I ask you to pray for Canton, for all the pastors there, especially Daryl Miller, Dave Lombardi and Richard Sipley, that the Lord will answer their prayers and revive His work there.

You may be wondering how all this applies to us in Britain. My experience in Canton has strengthened my conviction that to see the Lord work, we have to pray and not lose heart, as Jesus said. (Lk.18:1) We have to build on what we have. My study of revivals and awakenings has led me to believe that God rends the heavens and pours out His Spirit when his people build up such a momentum of prayer that they rise way above the levels reached at other times, until a breakthrough is made.

When prayers are focussed upon God working in a particular place or area, or upon a particular preacher or preachers, and these prayers are maintained, and not allowed to subside, but increased to the point of desperation and great faith, then a breakthrough is made and the Spirit is poured out. This is why praying occasionally will never achieve the desired result, for that only takes our prayers up so far, and then we go down again, and past victories are not built upon. We have to maintain and increase the momentum to achieve a breakthrough, and not be sidetracked or dampened down by anything else We are tempted to be satisfied with what we have done or what has been achieved, when the Lord always has greater things in store for us. He wants to send the fire.

We need to maintain the hammering away at the gates of heaven, (while letting God break us and remake us and refine us and increase our faith,) until we will not take no for an answer, and until God, seeing that we are really determined, that we are willing to pay the price, that we are really focussed on Him and nothing else, and are ready to receive what He wants to give, releases His power, and comes in like a pent up flood.

I believe that could have happened at Canton, if we had maintained and increased the momentum, and it could happen here if we apply the same principles. We are already praying for particular preachers, but in view of what I have said, you may feel that we should be concentrating our prayers on particular places or areas, plus getting one or more of the Revival Preachers to concentrate on one particular place, for which we would all pray. Please let me know what you think and feel before the Lord.

Certainly we need to pray for the Lord to increase our faith, our persistence and our earnestness;

to pray that we will go further in our prayers than we have ever gone before;

to pray that we will maintain our momentum, and will build up on the highest place we have ever reached before;

to pray for the Holy Spirit to take hold of us and intercede through us with sighs too deep for words (Rom.8;26);

to pray for the Holy Spirit to teach us how how to strive and wrestle in prayer:

"When the Holy Spirit comes and fills the soul with his beloved presence, prayer becomes more than a cry. It ceases to be a feeble request, and often becomes a strife for greater things, a conflict, an invincible argument, a wrestling with God; and through it men enter into the divine councils." (Samuel Logan Brengle)

"Lord, lead us through to victory. Let us not be satisfied with anything less. Increase our fervency and zeal. Cause us to be so taken over by the Spirit of God, that we are taken up into that realm where we touch the throne, where we lay hold on You and your power, and command it to be released. Inspire us, inflame us, stir us up to seek You with greater passion, and not let go until our prayers are answered, the breakthrough is made, the heavens are rent, the mountains are shaken, Your name is made known to Your enemies, the nations tremble at Your presence, the Spirit s poured out from on high, and the Lord Jesus Christ is honoured, enthroned and adored."