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Monday, February 27, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT MONDAY – A HEART STARTER. #8.

When asked how much time he spent in prayer, George Muller's reply was, "Hours every day. But I live in the spirit of prayer. I pray as I walk and when I lie down and when I arise. And the answers are always coming." - Source Unknown.

That’s another weekend gone, and by the time most of you read this, you will be back at work for another great and exciting week! Keep in mind Friday is coming! And just to get your heart going for Jesus, I thought I would reprint this article from Charisma Magazine, a fantastic interview by J. Lee Grady, which really got my heart thumping. Enjoy!

A Blast From The Past
I imagined what it would be like, to interview a key leader in the Azusa Street Revival. It was an uncomfortable interview.

My staff at Charisma has been combing through 100-year-old articles, archival photographs and yellowed newspapers to prepare a special commemorative issue of the magazine that is focused on the Azusa Street Revival. We wanted to grasp what life was like in 1906 when that revival hit Los Angeles, but I found myself wishing that I could interview the actual people involved.

I especially would have liked to interview Frank Bartleman, the journalist-turned-preacher who wrote some of the most detailed, insightful accounts of this amazing movement of God. Since I couldn’t talk to him personally, I read his writings and recorded this imaginary conversation—as if he were able to travel to 2006 and visit my office.

Charisma: Now that you have spent a few days in the 21st century, what surprises you most about our culture?

Frank Bartleman: I am speechless. I can’t believe people talk on telephones while they drive cars. And I can’t believe people pay $3.99 for a cup of coffee. What is this place—Starbucks? Americans seem too busy. They don’t have time for prayer.

Charisma: Now that you have visited some of our megachurches and watched our Christian television programs, what do you think about the state of Christianity today?

Bartleman: (He says nothing. There is an awkward pause while he fidgets with his hat.)

Charisma: Well, we can come back to that question. Meanwhile, tell us what it was like to be in those prayer meetings at the Azusa Street Mission.

Bartleman: (He regains some composure.) The services ran almost continuously. Seeking souls could be found under the power almost any hour of the night or day. The place was never closed or empty. The people came to meet God. He was always there.

The meeting did not depend on the human leader. In that old building, with its low rafters and bare floors, God broke strong men and women to pieces, and put them together again, for His glory. It was a tremendous overhauling process. Pride and self-assertion, self-importance and self-esteem could not survive there.

Charisma: That is quite a contrast with what we see in our churches today. Christians in 2006 seem to like their preachers to be celebrities.

Bartleman: (There is another long pause.) We did not even have a platform or pulpit in the beginning. All were on the same level. The ministers were servants, according to the true meaning of the word. We did not honor men for their advantage in means or education, but rather for their God-given gifts.

Charisma: American Christianity today is big. We like big. We are reaching millions with our television programs, Web sites and huge churches. Some of our churches today have more than 25,000 members. Doesn’t that excite you?

Bartleman: (He strokes his beard and fidgets with his hat again. No answer.)

Charisma: This is very awkward. I am not enjoying this interview.

Bartleman: At Azusa Street, the rich and educated were the same as the poor and ignorant, and found a much harder death to die. We only recognized God. All were equal.

Charisma: Why do you think God choose William Seymour to lead the Azusa Street Revival?

Bartleman: He was very plain, spiritual and humble. There was a general spirit of humility manifested in the meeting. Evidently the Lord had found the little company at last through whom He could have right of way. There was not a mission in the country where this could be done. All were in the hands of men.

That which man esteems had been passed by once more and the Spirit was born again in a humble stable. A body must be prepared, in repentance and humility, for every outpouring of the Spirit. They decided to wait on God in a 10-day special petitioning of God and in yielding themselves to Him. The time had come. God had found the right company at last.

Charisma: You wrote often of how much prayer proceeded the Azusa revival. Did travailing prayer trigger this movement?

Bartleman: I moved to Los Angeles in December 1904 with my wife and two daughters because I sensed that God was getting ready to do something wonderful there. I entered into an amazing season of deep intercession. Evan Roberts, leader of the 1904 Welsh Revival, encouraged me to pray for a mighty awakening in California.

Charisma: So are you saying that what we need today is more humility and prayer?

Bartleman: The prayer life is needed much more than even buildings or organizations. These are often a substitute for the other. Souls are born into the kingdom only through prayer.

J. Lee Grady is the editor of Charisma. Most of the words from Frank Bartleman in this article are taken from his writings, particularly How Pentecost Came to Los Angeles.

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to pray souls into the kingdom.In your wonderful Name I pray. Amen

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

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