there is an image that has been coming up in my mind in times of prayer in the past several months: a dam with a little crack that spurts out water then eventually busts wide open and an enormous river of water breaks through.
in recent months that image has come to mean breakthrough in terms of spiritual revival…like a nourishing river that completely immerses us. especially in light of the CT tragedy, Lord knows we need transformation. the vision of ezekiel of the river of God that flows east from His temple is one of the things that led me to lincoln heights in east LA to a house that happens to be on eastlake ave. His Kingdom breaking through here as it is in heaven is what i dream for, pray for here in Lincoln Heights to LA and beyond. a handful of us decided to meet together to pray together and listen for what God wants to do in the community a couple months ago. it had been difficult for all of us to meet together, at least one of us wouldn’t be able to make it as something random would continually come up: sickness, car trouble, emergency appointments. we were finally able to all pray together on tues. nov. 6th…then BREAKTHROUGH!
– during the prayer time I saw again a picture of water and fire flowing down and eastward.
– after our prayer time i happened to have some extra money so i treated my friends to lunch. we prayed together before our meal and someone sitting next to us in the restaurant gave us a thumbs up to see us praying. it turns out Antonio, this person we randomly met during lunch, has had 3 strokes by the age of 32 and asked for prayer. we gladly obliged and he was so encouraged to meet other believers near his age also reaching out to young people.
– after that wonderful encounter we returned back to the office we were praying at and a random guy from InnerChange (another ministry committed to the urban poor) dropped into the office as he was just “jogging through the neighborhood” and offered to pray a blessing over us! we gladly obliged and prayed for him to.
– the youth group meeting the next day was amazing! it was a small group, which has been the case as of late, but it was like someone had switched a light on in all the youths hearts that night. we haven’t had a meeting like it since (unfortunate, but it was the encouragement we needed to keep on praying for more breakthrough like it). here are some of the text messages of praise from the other youth leaders after the meeting:
*(me) Praise God! I know the youth group is little right now but I’m so encouraged to see breakthroughs! T is hearing a lot from God and witnessing answers to prayers, A was being missional with some boys at the bball court tonight and approached me to start mentoring again
. (this is the same A we have been praying for since summer!
through unforeseen events that could have gone quite badly he really experienced God answering his and his father’s prayers)
*(AM) That’s awesome!! I was encouraged by the atmosphere tonight – they seemed more comfortable with each other. I was surprised by the honesty in my group, and Y wants me to pick her up again next week! God is moving!
*(me) Praise God! I sensed the openess and eagerness too. I know God is stirring a hunger in Y. And CA and I were just praying for N before the meeting and there she was!
*(C) I got all the txt last night and was encouraged. The jr. Highers were very open yesterday! They want to meet up with me and study the word, NR was vocal and not shy! They shared deep things last night and followed through on application from 2 wks ago! The Lord is moving in power!
– one of the men in men’s group that week ,who attends but rarely shares, had a big breakthrough owning up to his own responsibility with family issues.
the following week it seemed like there was unmistakable push-back from darkness to discourage us.
– the following sunday one of our prayer group members sustained a persistent leg injury
– also that sunday the boys seemed unable to stay in the chapel during the word time and kept going in and out of service
– both of the young men i am meeting with were unable to meet up with me to spend devotional time in the morning
– on wednesday of that same week i randomly got a massive headache an hour before I was scheduled to share the word at another ministry in the neighborhood we are trying to partner with.
– on that same day Y, who was instrumental in the previous week with her openness, was unable to attend youth group
– major miscommunication within our SP intern team making various people feel alienated
– one of our SP leaders has multiple ridiculous transportation issues: his car is towed twice, his wife’s car receives a flat tire
– tutoring with ITC that week falls through with jv football, basketball ladies meeting is cut short by a school lock down and varsity basketball boys do not show up for tutoring.
honestly, i was scared of this type of counter-attack after being bold in prayer but God has been teaching me that if we are really going to ask for Kingdom breakthroughs we must not shy away from spiritual battle. I continually hold up God’s promise that: “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 john 4:4).
God has brought revival throughout history and can still bring revival…but the challenge remains: will His people humble themselves and ask for it? will we pray…and turn our lives toward Him instead of everything else that demands our attention away from Him and the Kingdom He died to bring us?