I normally don’t talk about my experiences, for fear of bringing attention to myself. But I thought this might serve someone. What we’re dealing with in the ministry is real. And the Gospel ministry is a supernatural ministry. We’re reliant solely on the Holy Spirit for literally everything.
More than 100 years after the first waves of a great Welsh revival reached faraway north-eastern India, churches continued to experience consecutive revivals in the region. I was only around 18 years old when I first heard a powerful Gospel presentation. In a 95 % Christian community, we have witnessed countless revivals. It is remarkable to me, as I reflect on those days, that the primary means of God-centered awakening has always been a return to the heart of the Gospel. Seasons of great revivals and awakenings in our community has largely been marked by prolonged periods of prayer and fasting. And the primary method has always been a strong preaching of the Gospel. I’ve never, in my life, witnessed our church conforming to a certain church growth methodology or strategy. I know of no other means other than prolonged periods of united corporate fasting and prayer; and the powerful preaching of the Word. It was during such an occasion in 1995 that I was saved. I fell down on my knees, with tears streaming down my face, in the company of sinners who had just been convicted by the preaching of the Gospel. I didn’t care who looked. God had come down, and it was unmistakable. I only remember this account vaguely. Several others around me were in brokenness as they tasted the holiness of God. 3rd row from where we sat, we witnessed a man fall off his chair during this revival meeting. He shivered violently as several members of the staff took him to the emergency room. Later, he was pronounced dead. Someone said the man had embraced and confessed Christ the day before. And so we praised God for His work in the man’s life. Unlike many so-called healing revivals today- the dead man was not raised to life. Instead, God used his death (as in Acts 5) to draw many to the revival meeting.
I remember, sitting in that meeting. Silence fell across the hall. No one said anything. And the Evangelist continued preaching. When others in our community heard about the news of this man’s demise, fear came upon many people. And the revival meeting saw dozens of people- including businessmen, closing their shops to hear the Gospel preached. Today, many faithful preachers, teachers and missionaries refer to that revival in 1995 as the major turning point of their lives. I was so impacted by this revival that I gave my life and time to join the revivalist team as a prayer team member. We would spend days of fasting and prayer for our cities.
I was a young man, knowing nothing about the bible, nor anything about demonic spirits. During the revival season, we would pray overnight as watchmen for the city. We prayed for the preacher as he preached to hundreds of people. And we would pray for the hearers. It was upon one such occasion that I had my first experience in exorcism. They had brought a lady in the prayer room. This lady was entirely not herself. She yelled, kicked, flailed and screamed. She’d roll her eyes around. Her pupil had disappeared (as it were). You could only see the white parts (sclera). It took several men to carry her. Otherwise she would go berserk. They held her down- around 10 to 15 men. When they laid the bible on her chest, she’d scream: “It burns! It burns! Take it away!” After much prayer and fasting she eventually came to herself. All we did was read scriptures to her, and then we’d pray again. This would go on for several hours. “This kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17: 21). I think that when the true Gospel is preached and souls are being saved, Satan does his best to thwart the revival. But he fails in the end, because he is a defeated foe. The Gospel is indeed the power of God (Romans 1: 16).
On another occasion, we were fasting and praying in a church. The elders had asked us not to look at the eyes, when dealing with demon possessed people. I remember praying for a young lady (with other leaders) in front of the pulpit. We had started praying around 8: 00 p.m and it lasted throughout the whole night. During this process, we would ask her to say: “Jesus is Lord!” She kept refusing, cursing at us continually. Finally, as we persevered in prayer, she softened and broke into tears around 3: 00 a.m saying: “Jesus is Lord! Jesus is Lord! Hallelujah! Jesus is Lord!” And we rejoiced with her that morning! These are first hand accounts. Since then, I’ve never seen demon possessed people in the ministry again (at least not to that degree). I’m sure the enemy is at work in a much more subtle way in a nation like Japan. We’ve seen attacks from the enemy before. And this should not surprise us, for we must be ready at all times. Paul says in Ephesians 6, that we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but against principalities and spiritual forces etc. This is a present reality, and might I say, especially in unreached places like Japan. My Old Testament professor, Dr. Nobuyoshi Kiuchi, used to say that in places like Japan Satan is probably subtly at work among business corporate leaders in the market place. Who knows! Maybe that’s what we need to include in our prayers! The Good News is, Jesus has “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him” (Colossians 2: 15).
Enjoy the video by Dr. John Piper below. His experiences are very similar to what I’d just described.
- Related articles: “Piper on Healing and Exorcism”
- “Piper on Prophesy and Tongues.”
- Calvinistic-Methodist Revival, India.