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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Praying for the Wind

By Randy Hurst
Nov. 3, 2013

Empty-eyed worshippers circle Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Tibet, during the Saga Dawa festival in the holiest month of the Tibetan calendar. People of all ages constantly turn prayer wheels as they trudge clockwise around sacred sites. Many walk around the entire city in the futile hope that their next reincarnated existence will be better than the one they currently endure.

In a never-ending quest for merit, some of the most devout younger men are approaching the end of an 800-mile pilgrimage from Xining, China, to Lhasa. Every third step they prostrate themselves as a sign of reverence. This grueling trek can take almost two years, and some die on the way.

The Scriptures were translated into Tibetan more than 100 years ago. Yet I can find no one who knows of even a small house church of believers worshipping in Tibet.

Of the more than 80 countries to which I have traveled, this is the most spiritually oppressive.

Such a dark spiritual stronghold needs the life-giving breath of the Holy Spirit.

The Essential Work of the Spirit in Missions

The apostle Paul wrote, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

If minds have been supernaturally blinded to the message of salvation in Jesus, then they must also be supernaturally opened. And only the Holy Spirit can do that. Mere human persuasion is not enough. Apart from the Spirit’s work, a person cannot understand or respond to the truth.

Jesus told Nicodemus that in order to enter God’s kingdom, a person must be born again of the Spirit. Salvation is a work of the Holy Spirit in the heart and life of each person.

In Acts 16:14, Luke described Lydia’s conversion this way: “The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” Paul spoke the message, but the Lord opened Lydia’s heart.

A messenger can present the truth, but only God can open a heart to the truth. Tragically, some who work among spiritually resistant people succumb to compromising the purity of the gospel in a useless effort to obtain results. Convincing nonbelievers is the Holy Spirit’s work, not ours. If we are wholly dependent on the Spirit, we can believe for results that are impossible in the natural realm.

For many decades, a uniting Scripture verse of our Fellowship has been, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit” (Zechariah 4:6). Regardless of how many missionaries are sent and how much money is spent, our mission will fail without the Holy Spirit at work in the hearts of the lost.

A Call to Prayer

What greater commitment to prayer are we willing to make for the lost of our world to come to Jesus?

Great spiritual advances have not been the result of programs designed by human ingenuity but because believers labored in prayer that the Holy Spirit would prepare and open the hearts of unbelievers.

When Jesus explained to Nicodemus about being born again of the Spirit, He told him that, like the wind, the Spirit moves where He chooses. Many places in our world are spiritually destitute and desperately need the life of the Spirit.

The next six issues of the Pentecostal Evangel World Missions Edition will focus on prayer priorities in specific regions of the world. Each of these priorities presents a unique challenge to the Church and represents multitudes of unreached people who desperately need the good news of Jesus and the wind of the Spirit in their lives.

In India, where hundreds of millions of people need the gospel, New Life Assembly, a church of more than 40,000, shines as a light in the darkness. When asked the reason for the congregation’s great growth, Pastor David Mohan simply replied, “We pray.” Then, sensing that the interviewer wanted a more complete answer, he added, “Always we pray.”

The Book of Acts repeatedly describes the New Testament church as a people devoted to prayer.1 May that fact challenge us to assess whether we are praying as faithfully and fervently as we should.

If prayer is so essential for breakthroughs, then clearly we are not praying as much — or as effectively — as we should.

May we be more faithful and fervent in specific prayer for the wind of the Holy Spirit to sweep over these spiritually destitute areas of the world.

1 Acts 1:14; 2:42; 4:24-31; 12:5

RANDY HURST is director of AGWM Communications.


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