Last summer at RiverCamp, Heidi Baker said, casually, “Revival is coming to the UK. You know that, don’t you? Everyone knows that.” And something like a collective sigh– or sneer!–shivered through the audience.
For in Charismatic circles, people have been talking about and longing for this revival for a very long time. It’s way past its due date, but hasn’t come A) because of God’s sovereign decision. B) because, perhaps, revival begins with one, and was waiting for the one.
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Revival. Why want it? For the same reason, one might fly to Rome rather than walk on the Via Francigena, the ancient pilgrim route from Canterbury to Rome (though I will be walking 71 miles on the Tuscany portion in September).
Because when the Spirit comes, difficult things become easy. There is an infusion of joy. We forgive our enemies–easily. We glimpse the Father’s heart of love. And yes, yes, there are miracles—healings, deliverances, conversions, the spectacular bait which draws people, (but which are secondary to the revelation of the Father’s love and a fresh filling by the Spirit.)
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My blogging friend Jules Middleton of Apples of Gold from Sussex invited me to go with her to the 2013 Welsh Revival in Cwmbran. Me going was a totally crazy idea; heck, I don’t even live in Wales, and am 8 days behind with my book manuscript, but I wanted to go, and rapidly committed to going before I overthought it, and worked all the totally logical and sensible and cold reasons not to go!
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It takes just a minute for us to see him with the eyes of faith, seeking his face and not his hand (as Richard Taylor, the speaker, yesterday) said for us to be healed.
If the Cwymbran Outpouring were to be characterized in these early days, it would probably be “the igniting of latent faith.”
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Okay, let me tell you about yesterday. There was definitely an atmosphere of emotional contagion, of expectant faith, which strengthens your own rather atrophied faith.
The church has been meeting every evening since a series of miracles on April 10th. I spoke to the stewards, and to one of the church’s pastors after the meeting, who showed me pictures on his iPhone of the disabled man (whose healing ignited the revival) walking, and then lifting his wheelchair above his head. The pastor pointed to the heavy wheelchair, kept as a trophy by the front door—I could not lift it, Roy could lift it a couple of inches. This miracle ignited faith in other people, and they’ve had deliverances from cancer, paralysis, addictions, hepatitis, etc. (Victory Church particularly caters to ex-addicts).
What stood out most for me was the atmosphere of faith, joy and expectancy, of people coming every night for 13 nights to worship Christ. The worship was good; the preaching was “anointed.”
“Anointed?” Well, when a preacher can look at a familiar passage and see fresh bread, meat and drink in it, and convey this in a way that others too can come and see, and eat and drink with delight—that’s anointing! This cerebral Oxford girl transcribed Richard Taylor’s entire sermon—simple, to the point, and it spoke to me.
And then, ministry time. I sensed the presence of the Lord in the house, and wondered if I should just pray quietly for one touch from the King. But then, the Kingdom of God advances through violence, and the violent bear it away (Matt 11:12).
So I went and received prayer.
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Let me tell now how prayer for healing works with me—and this could be partly because of my lowish expectation. I have been depressed, and have asked for prayer for that. It’s completely gone, but it lifted gradually over weeks and months. I have prayed for healing from adrenal fatigue which is completely gone, so that I can write for long hours. My reading speed is not back to what it was by any measure, so I asked for prayer for that yesterday.
I am gradually being delivered from my addiction/habit of emotional overeating. I’ve lost 13 pounds over the last months, as this is lifting, but prayed for complete deliverance from using sugar, chocolate and white flour products to raise my spirits and change my mood. That prayer I believe was granted!
So when I go up for prayer, I do go with the expectation that God will answer, that he finds it hard to keep his hands off us when we ask for healing. I am open to instantaneous healings and deliverances (which I haven’t yet received), or to a long process of healing, transformation and deliverance being initiated at the moment of prayer—which is what has happened very often.
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Anyway, last night, receiving prayer for healing was electric, my most powerful experience of the laying on of hands—and I have been a charismatic since I was 17, for 3 + decades! I felt my knees buckle; I burst into deep, soul-wrenching cathartic tears, a mixture of tears and laughter, each time I was prayed for.
“What is it about tears that should be so terrifying? the touch of God is marked by tears…deep, soul-shaking tears, weeping…it comes when that last barrier is down and you surrender yourself to health and wholeness” (David Wilkerson, The Cross and the Switchblade”).
I felt joy, I felt freedom. I felt healing. I felt I had been healed of what I asked for. And then, I just sat there for the 3-4 hours I was there, asking for “one touch from the King,” for the many areas of need in my life. And how many there are!
And I left joyful.
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Should you go? Hmm. Read other reports. Go if you would like to spend a few hours in passionate worship, and have your faith reignited. The preaching will probably be good. The faith displayed will be contagious, and remind you of your first love.
Go if you would like to see a revival in its early days, still full of innocence. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a baptism of love, as Andrew Murray says in his splendid book, “Absolute Surrender.” You will see much evidence of love, from the congregation, the stewards, and the lovely pastors, mostly big burly men, who pray for you in an unhurried, passionate way while encasing you in close bear hug. How adorable!
And I sure wouldn’t be surprised if you receive one touch from the King that changes everything!
UPDATE: Here are links to two more posts from our second visit to Cwmbran