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REVIVAL ANTICIPATION FATIGUE
had been a rather traditional Baptist minister for nearly thirty years when,
in the spring of 1995, the Lord touched my wife and me with a long season of
deep and penetrating brokenness. The thought of His holiness and His call to
passionate intercessory prayer consumed much of our energy day and night. We
began to hear His voice with greater clarity and responded with childlike
obedience as never before. Within a few months we began to fast regularly. Our
former limited reading schedule gave way to hours of reading everything we
could find regarding fasting, prayer, evangelism, and revival. Many nights I
would be wakened by the Holy Spirit to get up to pray through a night watch
only to find out my wife had already been up for two hours in intercession.
The next day we would talk about what the Lord laid on our hearts in prayer
and often it was the same themes.
the spring of 1997, I was halfway through an extended fast and in the second
day of a Chicagoland IRM Prayer Summit. During lunch I was leafing through
Prayer magazine and came to a one-page ad for a training trip in Argentina led
by Ed Silvoso. Three months later my wife and I joined 110 other guests in
daily training and practical exercises for city reaching in San Nicholas,
Argentina. For three weeks we prayed with pastors, strategized city reaching
techniques through prayer evangelism, witnessed on the streets, helped with
dramas in the parks, and prayed each night in neighborhood homes called
lighthouses. As local pastors came together in brokenness, forgiveness, and
unity, the spiritual atmosphere changed dramatically over the city.
Evangelistic dramas, presentations, and street-corner preaching that had
previously attracted little interest now began to draw large crowds of
repentant seekers. We saw great brokenness come over the churches; evangelism
increased and Christians began ministering among the poor and needy with
power. My wife and I were profoundly touched by this experience in Argentina.
returned to Chicago with fresh enthusiasm, ready to apply what we had learned
about city reaching. We began working through the faith mission called
Riverwoods Christian Center that I had founded and led since 1977.
Riverwoods works primarily with people living in poverty in two cities,
Aurora and Elgin. Each city has a population of 110,000 and is located 35
miles west of Chicago. As I looked at our county, I drew four circles that
each had a population of about 100,000 people.
the help of 20 years of ministry relationships, the Lord led me to pastors
with great hearts for prayer and citywide evangelism. Some already were
meeting with other pastors, praying for their region. Within a few months we
formed four pastor prayer groups that meet weekly or twice a month. Five
servant leaders from each pastor prayer group meet quarterly in Riverwoods
camp headquarters, which is located in the center of the county. Most of these
pastors believe we are living in spiritually unprecedented days. There is a
great sense among these ministers that the Lord is raising up a new time for
renewal, revival, and awakening.
before I came on the scene, the Lord started raising up intercessors in our
county. The Elgin intercessors had already formed a House of Prayer headed by
a faithful servant leader, Sheila Straka. The intercessors of the other
regions were starting to find each other and form prayer huddles. Every time I
prayed with these groups, there was great enthusiasm in the air for revival to
sweep our cities and county.
four years since returning from Argentina, I have prayed in many new settings
across our county. Scores of notices, mailings, and brochures have gone out to
hundreds of pastors calling them to prayer. Many of us have scheduled
intentional lunches and meetings to build friendships among pastors across
denominational lines. We have prayer-walked, passed out videotapes of the
Jesus film, participated in multi-day fasts, and called other believers to
open their homes as lighthouses of prayer. We have found many hearts filled
with passion for revival, but we have also discovered that God has His pace
and timing. We are clearly being called to be patient, persistent, resilient,
and tough in our resolve to seek the face of God to heal our land.
of our faithful intercessors coined a phrase some months back that captures
the feelings of our hearts. She said she is feeling “Revival Anticipation
Fatigue!” There is little doubt that God is raising up a movement of prayer
in our area. However, the numbers of pastors, intercessors and churches is
still small. Unity is coming slowly. Each time we enter another prayer
initiative, we wonder if this is the time we will begin to experience Gods
outpouring on the city. When we see the small turnout, the Lord breathes into
my heart, “Not yet, but soon!” It is as though He is saying that when He
chooses to pour out His Holy Spirit and fill the prayer rooms with spiritually
hungry servants, we will know that it isn’t because of our great marketing
skills, charismatic personalities, or leadership techniques.
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