Growing up in the largest Church in New Zealand, it was a shock to the system when I moved to my local, traditional Anglican Church. It frightened me. I immediately got accountability from some Christian friends.
Soon after arriving, I was invited to a prayer meeting led by Sister Francis. Francis was in her seventies and a faithful prayer. At the young age of seven, she was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in tounges. The Anglican vicar did not know what it was! She had received the Holy Spirit twenty years after the Azusa Street outpouring and forty years before the charismatic renewal.
Francis announced the purpose of the prayer meeting. It was to “pray the Church into the charismatic renewal”.
I thought this was a good idea, God always wants the best for his people and for them to reach maturity. I gladly joined and we began praying. Each Sunday afternoon we would pray from 2pm until 5pm.
Sometime later the vicar passed away and Francis suggested, “Let’s pray for a young vicar”. In the fifty year history of the Church they had never had a young vicar, only retired ones who passed away after a few years.
I thought Francis had another good idea so happily prayed along. Amazingly, a few months later we had a new vicar in his early thirties!
Nothing is impossible with God.
We were encouraged and things were looking up, for the moment. Soon afterwards, when helping move the vicar’s belongings into the Church house, I discovered a picture of many Buddhas. I was shocked. The vicar believed in a universal god.
A few months later I had some spare time and began to intercede. I began to cry out for this man’s soul, that Christ would speak to him and make himself known to the vicar.
For three hours I cried out, fervently praying for his salvation. It was hard going, there was great resistance in the spiritual realm. He was a prominent figure in the Anglican Church and also amoung anti-apartheid activists. The devil would not let him go without a fight.
The more important the task, the harder the battle.
I prayed so hard that I pulled a muscle in my chest, which still causes pain today. I continued to pray hard, knowing God wants all to be saved and knowing if we were to become a charismatic Church, the vicar would need to be onboard.
For three hours I pressed in and then I sensed the burden lift and the joy of the Holy Spirit fill my heart.
Intercession had been made, victory was assured!
The intercession was so intense that I was totally exhausted and had to rest for half an hour. Slowly my strength came back. I don’t recommend interceding this way. I prefer the Queen St. style of worship and prayer. Praying in God’s presence, like the Queen St. AOG, we are able to intercede for up to five hours without getting tired!
Two weeks later the vicar invited everyone to the elderly peoples home for the Sunday afternoon service. I went to support him, I’m glad I did.
He opened his Bible and began to share from Hebrews 1. With great excitement he began to say, “Jesus has always existed, he created the heavens and earth”. Vicar had been born again by the Spirit of God. What a joy to see!
God is good and his mercy endures forever. Praise be the Lord.
Sometime later the young vicar left. Francis and I were not discouraged, we prayed for another young vicar. Presently we had a new vicar, a young vicar with family! Things were promising and we were still on track for our charismatic Church.
A few years later there was another change of vicar. This time the vicar was Spirit filled and the Church became charismatic until today.
Many people criticise their Pastors for this and that. People want someone different, who does things another way. How many of us are praying for the Pastor, being Aaron and Hur for our leaders.
None of us are perfect but if we pray for each other, as the Bible says, we can all grow together and become the people God intends.
Let’s pray for those in leadership at home, work and Church. This is what God calls every Christian to do and together we will all grow. Criticise and contend we will fall apart.
Later I went back to Queen St. AOG continuing to intercede as needed then interestingly met a young lady who prayed the same way that I prayed!
God had a plan which I will share next week.
Love Tim & Faith