PRAY TO PREPARE THE WAY
New Orleans Revival Services
Malachi 3:1 Amp. Behold, I send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me. And the Lord [the Messiah], Whom you seek will suddenly come to His temple; the Messenger or Angel of the covenant Whom you desire, behold, He shall come, says the Lord of hosts.
Wherever you see the Lord manifest Himself, someone has been busy preparing the way for Him to come. He never comes by accident. He always uses people to prepare His way. In the new covenant, we see Anna and Simeon. They waited in the temple, praying and preparing. Eighty-four year old Anna waited in the temple for over sixty years praying for the coming Messiah. The Bible does not tell us much about Simeon. We know that he was there, ready and looking for the Messiah. He had prayed so much that he immediately recognized Him when he saw Him. I am sure there were others just like them hidden from sight, but preparing! The Bible does not speak about them but heaven knows them well.
In the Gospels, we see that wherever Jesus went, He first sent His disciples out two by two to prepare the cities for His coming. It is not like they went and found a hotel room for Him. That is not what they were called to do. They went into the cities, proclaiming, praying, and beseeching God on behalf of the Messenger who was about to come. They drew the people into a passion and a desire to see the Messenger.
Whenever the Lord comes, it seems like a suddenly, but there really are no “suddenlies” in the Kingdom. Someone has been preparing the way for God. Someone has been weeping, praying, groaning, travailing, and passionately desiring the coming of the Messenger. Someone has been paying a price. Maybe it was two, maybe twenty, or maybe it was many more praying. Down in Colombia, South America, when there was a great move of God, the entire Church got involved. The Church throughout the city groaned, wept, and agonized for the call, the cry, and the glory of God, as well as for the coming of the Messenger. Yet it was the death of a martyr which suddenly released that glorious move of God. Drug runners killed a pastor. His martyr’s blood opened the gate of the city, and revival fell. Sometimes God will come in response to the prayers and agonies of two or three, but that is very rare. Usually He comes because there is a larger community of people who have paid a price.
Let’s look for a moment at what took place in the early 1900’s. Evan Roberts, a mere lad, at the age of thirteen, began to pray, weep, and cry out for revival. He would go into the coal mine to work and cry out for revival as he worked. Even as a youth, he would awaken in the middle of the night and cry out to God for a great spiritual awakening. By the time he was twenty-six, his soul was well prepared for the coming of the glory of God. I am feeling the Holy Spirit witness so strongly to that right now. He was well prepared for the glory.
In 1904, twenty-six year old Evan attended a convention. He and many other pastors were gathered together to pray for revival. Pastors of every age were there. Evan was such a young man. However, because of the passion in his heart, and because of his fruits and labors, he was invited up to speak. When he opened his mouth, he could not help himself. Rather than preaching, he cried out, “Bend us, Lord! Bend us! Bend us, and break us for Your glory!” He cried it out over and over again.
Suddenly, on that day, God came. But for many, many years prior, people of prayer had paved the way by seeking the Lord. They had searched, with their hearts outstretched and their necks craned, if you will, in the direction of the Lord. They had sought passionately, hungry for the glory of the Lord to come.
If the only thing that you want out of revival is signs and wonders, you are praying amiss, with a wrong heart. That is one of the reasons why He may not be responding. Contrariwise, when you pray because your heart is craving Christ, hungry for the knowledge of God, longing for the glory of God, and starving for Him to reveal Himself to you—now you are seeking Him. To that cry, He cannot help but come.
It so amazes me that when the revival broke out in the Hebrides in 1949, God used one man, but the two who prayed in the revival were two sisters. By the time the revival broke out, they were eighty-four and eighty-two years of age. They had given themselves to prayer for revival, praying on their knees for five to six hours at a time. Month after month, these two sisters came together in their home and prayed, sought, cried, wept, travailed, and groaned for revival in the Hebrides.
Then Duncan Campbell was invited to come and speak in the Hebrides. He was a young man, but it was said of him that the glory of God rested upon his life. He came and gave a very nice message. Don’t you hate those? I have a very difficult time with very nice messages. I want such anointed messages that they stir every part of my being. You do not need the anointing for a nice message. Duncan came and gave a very nice message. The people were so discouraged. Hundreds had come to listen to him speak.
After he spoke, and God did not come, one young man who was known to be an intercessor in God suddenly stood up. He cried out with a loud voice, “You promised! You promised us You would come!” He wept, and wept, and suddenly the Spirit of God fell. At that moment, everything changed in the Hebrides.
I can remember one story where the sisters sent for Duncan because God had given the blind sister a vision. I just love that. I have a friend who is a prophet, and he hears the word of God audibly in his deaf ear. So the Lord gave this blind sister a vision. She told Duncan that he must go to a certain place in the islands where he would find seven men who were the most notorious characters in the community. God wanted to save every one of them. She said, “So go. Go and do it.” Duncan said, “Wait a minute. God cannot talk to me?” The blind sister replied, “If you were living as near to God as you ought to be, He would reveal His secrets to you.” She also told Duncan that if he would go to the village, God would provide a congregation. He agreed to go, and when he arrived, there were four hundred people waiting for him at the meeting place. The people could not say what it was that had brought them; it was the Spirit of God. Duncan spoke for a few minutes about the Lord. The glory of God came down. One of the ministers stopped Duncan and said, “Come see this.” At one end of the meeting house, the seven men were on their faces, crying out to God. Every one of them was saved. Revival spread its lofty fingers into that village that day.
God is coming to a people who are seeking Him. The Messenger will come suddenly, but not to an unprepared people. His glory is weighty. He is majesty. Yes, He is love, but He is also holy, and He is majesty. We think about revival and how great it is going to be when the Lord comes because there are going to be so many miracles and healings. We grow excited for the unexpected. However, you do not often hear people speak about what happens to the soul when a deep and true revival comes. God is more interested at this point of time, in what will happen to the soul of His Church.
Now, it is true, He does like to heal His people. He likes to heal anyone who has a need. One time, we were moving in great power and authority in the ministry, and in a particular service we had two healing lines. I directed the pastor to accompany my traveling companion, to minister in one line, and the pastor’s wife to accompany me to minister in the other line. Everyone we prayed for was getting healed of all kinds of things. We came to an old man. He looked decrepit and was hardly able to walk or stand. I asked him, “What is it you want healed?” He said, “It’s my back. I am in so much pain, day and night. I can hardly walk. I can hardly stand. I’m miserable.” I said, “Well, the Lord loves you. He’d love to take care of that for you.” Three minutes later, he was completely healed.
Suddenly, the pastor’s wife walked away from me. I wondered what was wrong. I thought, wasn’t she glad to see this old man healed? So I left the healing line and approached her, asking, “What’s wrong?” She said, “I don’t understand this. I just don’t understand. God healed him.” I said, “This is true. We prayed. We asked Him to heal him. Isn’t it wonderful that He did?” She said, “No.” I said, “Really? Tell me why.” She replied, “Because he’s in so much sin. If I were to tell you the sin he’s in, it would hurt your heart.” I said, “Well, do you think that God is reaching out to him in His mercy? Maybe in His mercy, He will bring about change in this man’s life.”
God wants to reach out in healings and miracles to His Church and to those who have need of Him right now. I am not down on healings and miracles, but there is something higher that He wants to do. This is a dark hour into which we are coming. The clouds are thick. They are looming with great trouble and perplexity. God wants to strengthen the heart and soul of His Church. He wants to free us from fear and doubt and fill us with divine faith. He wants to bring us to a place where we can believe God for anything, knowing that He will do it. He will! This is the Lord’s desire. He wants to take the lameness, the affliction, and the wounded-ness out of the soul. He wants to heal His people. Why? Because He wants to give you His glory, and a broken soul cannot handle much of that.
First of all, we must be seeking. I asked the Lord, “When, Lord, are You going to come?” He responded by saying, “They do not yet want Me badly enough. They are not yet passionate enough for revival. They are not yet seeking Me enough for Me to visit.” My heart ached and broke. I wondered how I could pull on people to pray any more than they were already praying. But you know, the truth is that we have a very small number of people coming into this sanctuary to pray. We have a city here, and we have only a handful of people who are willing to come here every single weekend regardless of what it costs to get here. They come and pray and seek the face of the Lord. God will come when there is a passion and a hunger. He will come when you will not let anything get in the way of seeking His face for His appearing.
Malachi 3:1 Amp. Behold, I send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me. And the Lord [the Messiah], Whom you seek will suddenly come to His temple; the Messenger or Angel of the covenant Whom you desire, behold, He shall come, says the Lord of hosts.
I have walked with the Lord for many years, as have many of you, and I can promise you that each new place and plateau I have ever achieved in God has been at the price of many, many hours spent in prayer. I have gone to Israel and spent ten, twelve, fourteen, sixteen, and sometimes eighteen hours a day in prayer. When I left Israel, I was in a new place in God because I had spent so much concentrated time in His Presence. Every time I have taken a leap forward, it has only been after hours and hours of concentrated seeking where I would not be denied.
Are you at that place yet? Think about it. What if He does not come? Do you know what is going to happen to this great city if revival does not come? It will be buried under water. I have seen it. You have one of two choices. What if He does not come? What if in your heart you said, “Oh, let someone else pray. I don’t need to get up out of bed this morning to go pray. I don’t need to drive forty-five minutes across the city to pray. Let someone else do it.” What if it does not come? What if revival does not fall because you did not seek?
Why should He come to a city that has not prepared the way for Him? He is the King of Glory. If a President were coming, do you think that the nobles of the city would just sit at their breakfast table and say, “Oh, let someone else take care of it.” There would be fanfare and hoopla. The entire city would know the President was coming, whether they liked him or not. Because he is considered to be a noble, we would prepare the way for him. We would make him feel wanted, accepted, and appreciated. We would get enough people out to let him know that we really appreciate the fact that he is visiting our city. We would do that for the nobles in the temporal world, but will we do it for the noblest One of all—Jesus Christ?
The President could come and go, and this city will still be deluged by water. It will be. I can promise you that it would have been already, except for those who have paid the price to come into this place and pray that God would spare this city. When the President comes, no one is going to be healed. The Church is not going to be restored or strengthened. We are not going to see people saved by the thousands. The President cannot go into the areas where the youth need the presence and power of God so badly. He cannot rescue them from the lives they will be living if they do not get saved. Presidents cannot do that. He cannot restore the city. He cannot fix what is broken in this city.
There is only One noble who can come to this city and make it a place He desires. He is Jesus Christ. Only Christ can pour out His Spirit, awakening the hearts of the people. Who is preparing His way? Who is waking up on Saturday morning, saying in their heart, “I want to go pray. I want to pray for revival. I want to go be with the saints who are praying, preparing the way, and repenting on behalf of this city so that our Lord will come.” Who is doing it? A small handful of people! There have been so few that we opened up the internet to invite people who are aware of this ministry to join us in helping us pray for this city.
My dear brothers and sisters, the Lord is looking for the seekers. He wants to come, and He wants to reveal Himself to those who are seeking. He wants to heal this city. He wants to honor and bless those who have paid the price to prepare His way, but there must be a preparation, and that preparation is not yet complete. It was supposed to have been complete by this time. We are the reason that the breakthrough has not transpired. We must deal with that; we must come to grips with it because it is we who must stir up the flame.
People say, “I don’t want to go pray. I’d rather go do this or that.” Will doing this or that bring Jesus to this city? In your heart of hearts, you must make those decisions today, fully aware of how tremendously they will impact your future. There is much need of prayer and intercession. The prophet said, “Plow up your fallow ground.” (Jer 4:3) You need to not only plow up the ground of your heart, but you also need to plow up the ground of this city where there has been so much shedding of innocent blood, so much witchcraft, so much tyranny, and so much bitterness and brokenness from wrongdoing. There has been so much lawlessness, idolatry, and adultery. We must plow up the ground of this city. We must plead with the Lord to have mercy upon this city and upon the Church. There must be passion: passion for Jesus, passion for His glory, and passion for revival.
Once Evan Roberts and that group of ministers had broken through for revival in Wales, the largest convention center in the city was opened. Its seats were filled with about eight hundred people who came to Wales from all over the world. Famous preachers such as F. B. Meyer, William Booth, and J. Campbell Morgan would leave their pulpits to go and sit under this young man, Evan Roberts, because of the glory of God that flowed through his ministry.
One night, as the story goes, there were famous preachers throughout the auditorium. The place was filled with about eight hundred people. They waited and waited for Evan to come. Finally, he walked through the door. He went up to the front to the only vacant seat left– saved for him. He got on his knees, and he began to pray. He did not go in to preach. He went in to pray. He knelt down at his seat, and he prayed for three hours. Then he arose and began to preach. He preached for only fifteen minutes when the glory came and swept through the place. People were getting saved throughout the congregation.
I wonder if that would happen in this city? How many men and women of God would, if the Holy Spirit prompted, get on their knees and do nothing but pray when there were famous people waiting to hear the word of the Lord? Would they disregard the congregation and pray until the fire of God came? What He needs is a passionate people, who will wait, even if it means three hours, for the Word of the Lord to come forth. He needs a people who will not get offended because the pastor does something different from what you would expect. He is looking for a people who are so hungry for God all they want is His Presence. They want to see His holy face. They want to be filled with His holy fervor. They just want God. He is all they want. While Evan was on his knees praying, the congregation was also praying, “Have Your way, O God! Have Your way! Send the fire! Come down! Saturate our souls! Make Yourself known! Help us to know You!” He will come to a people who are seeking and waiting.
Imagine that if a distant relative whom you have not seen in years was coming for a visit, and you really, really wanted to see them. You would be so excited. You have longed to see them again. You have been waiting, eagerly anticipating their arrival. You have prepared everything. The house is clean and the meals are planned; some meals have even been prepared. It will be the best time this person has ever had in this city as they visit your home. They were supposed to arrive at two o’clock, but they did not show up. Would you get up and leave? What would you do? Would you tell yourself, “Well, maybe something happened! Maybe they got sidetracked a little bit. I think I’ll give them another hour.” One hour becomes two hours, and two hours becomes three hours, or maybe even five hours. Maybe they do not even show up until eleven o’clock that night. Would you sit and wait, or would you get up and go about your business? When they finally arrive, would they find you waiting? You would wait for them because there was a passion in your heart to see them. There was a love for their appearing.
Several years ago, a family from a Native American reservation was invited to our Gathering. The man who is a very powerful elder in the Navajo Reservation had heard that we were praying for the Native American people, and for God to visit them. When he was invited, he told his wife and his eight children about the invitation and how we had been praying for them. He told me, “We packed our suitcases two weeks in advance.” I said, “You did? Why?” He said, “Because I was so excited about coming and being with people who love the Indians. I wanted to see the faces of those who have been praying for us. It’s so hard in the reservations because there is so much witchcraft. I just wanted to see the face of the people who would pray for us like you are praying for us. We made our journey here, and we are so excited!”
During this Gathering, we prayed for revival to visit the Navajo. In the last meeting of the Gathering, I asked the Lord, “Lord, if You’re going to visit the Navajo in revival, please give us a sign by sending rain to show us that it would be Your will.” We asked for rain as a sign because the Navajo had been in a drought for over three years which had cost them billions of dollars in losses. . They needed rain more than anything else in the temporal plane. That was on a Friday. Saturday morning, the reservation woke up to rain for the first time in over three years. Notwithstanding, it not only rained in the Navajo. You can go onto the internet and see for yourself. We have records of it in our Fresno office. Rain began to pour on the reservations from the South all the way up to the North in a strip where there had been no rain for a long, long time. The Indian people were out dancing in the streets.
Back to the Navajo! The next day, it was raining, so all the elders gathered together because they were overwhelmed with the fact that God had visited the people with rain. The only one among the eldership who was saved was the man who had attended our Gathering. He said that the elders, both young and old, sat there silently rocking back and forth, with their blankets around them. Finally, the chief spoke. He said, in their native language, “You know, men, God has visited our people.” By October, God visited the Navajo people with revival. This was reported in Charisma magazine. Why? Because someone was seeking Him! Someone was crying out for the Messenger to come. Someone had a passion that God would pour out His glory into the life of a people. Someone wept, groaned, cried, and wanted it so badly that they sought the face of the Lord until He came.
God wants to come to a people who are seeking and who have a passion to put other things aside in order to come and pray. The Argentine revival started with a missionary who fasted and prayed for eight hours a day, month after month, in obedience to the Lord. One day, he heard in an audible voice, “Now I will pour out My Spirit upon the Church. Go tell the people to begin prayer meetings. Tell them to begin Monday night and to come prepared to stay from eight o’clock until midnight. If they are not prepared to stay the entire four hours, they must not come at all.” He thought it was a strange order from the Lord. Previously he had chosen a most convenient hour for prayer meetings, and no one had come.
I believe I was told that 13 people came to the prayer meeting on Monday night, joining the missionary and his wife. During the meeting, the only inspiration anyone had was from a woman who felt that she was supposed to hit the table in the center of the room, but she thought it foolish so she ignored the prompting. They met again on Tuesday and Wednesday night. On Thursday night, the missionary asked the woman if she was still feeling the prompting to hit the table. Sheepishly, she answered, “Yes.” Everyone marched around the table, and each person hit the table—everyone that is, except for the woman. Finally, she banged on the table, and when she did, revival fell. Hundreds of thousands of people got saved from that revival. There was not a huge number of people praying, but one was a leader in the Church, and he was dedicated.
It is time to seek the Lord. It is time to get on fire with a passion. My dear brothers and sisters, look at the wonderful move of God that has been happening in Mobile. People from all over the country have come, filling up about two thousand seats. It is not a major soul stirring kind of revival, but it is a revival of healings and miracles. Night after night, meetings would be held, but not many from Mobile attended. Not many. The people were coming from out of state or from a different city. Then the Lord Jesus Christ spoke to the evangelist, Nathan. He said, “It’s time to leave.”
Mobile is a big city with many Christians in it. If something does not happen to change the heart of the Church in that city, destruction will visit it. In one of the most profound experiences I have ever experienced, I saw a level eight hurricane hit Mobile, crushing it to the ground. There will not be a city left when it is over. God was visiting Mobile out of mercy, but the people of Mobile did not respond. Because they had not been seeking the face of God, crying out for His visitation and His glory, when He did come, they did not care.
That is why there must be preparation. It is imperative to repent for the sins of the city. You have to do the preparatory work. Otherwise, if God visits this city, the same thing will happen here that happened in Mobile. Hearts can be opened only after prayer has first prepared the way. Not many have been used as powerfully in revival as was Charles Finney. He would always send two of the most powerful intercessors on before him. If he did not, God would raise up others to pray. Weeks and weeks ahead of his visit, they would go into the city and pray, preparing the spiritual climate so that it was perfect for his visit.
You do not know what you are stopping when you intercede. You do not know what God is willing to do when you pray. You do not know what desires reside within His lofty heart that He will fulfill in a city, if only you would take the time to pray and seek His face. You do not ever want to find out that a crisis came because you did not pray.
So they plan to have revival in Mobile one day a month. Then they will travel around the country, trying to determine who wants God. What a sad state of affairs for this nation! Why isn’t God pouring out His glory in a place, and the nation running to Him, desperate to satisfy its thirst at His open fountain? Why is the human messenger traveling around the nation seeking to find someone who wants God? What must happen in us to break the apathetic hardness of heart and release the flame of passion? Paul said to be aglow with the passion and fire of God (Rom 12:11). What has gone wrong that our hearts are so dull, so dispassionate? When there is a purpose, a place, and a plan where we can join together to fight through the obstacles until Lord comes, why don’t we?
Some might say, “Well, I don’t know how to pray.” Join with other saints who are praying. Prayer is a learning experience for everyone. It does not matter how eloquent you are or if you are the best prayer warrior in the world. God does not listen to our eloquence so much anyway; He listens to the heart. I want You, God! Come, visit our city! Heal our city! Heal the land! Heal the youth of this city! Cry out for Him, because if you do not, He will move on to another place. When He does, I want to go and be where He is. Cry out to Him with a passion. Let your heart be broken for His Presence.
Break us, God. Bend us. Mold us. Cleanse us. Prepare us. Make us ready for Your coming! But come; do not go someplace else. Come here. Do not forget us, Lord. Come here. Hear the hunger of our heart, Lord, and come here. Visit this city. Visit this people, Lord. Visit the youth of this city. Visit the poor in this city. Visit, the CEO’s in this city, Lord! Visit every societal sector. Come to the Universities. Visit this city, Lord. Do not pass us by. Come, Lord Jesus, come. The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” Come, Lord Jesus, come. Do not let Your fire fall someplace else and forget our prayers, Lord. We need You in this city. You are the only One who can heal this city and its people, Lord. Come, Lord Jesus, come. Come. We do not want to be without You, Lord. We want Your glory to come. We need You, Lord. You are the Healer; You are the Deliverer. You are the Breaker. Break through, Lord. Send the divine fire on this city, Lord. Stir up the needy hearts, Lord. Impart faith, hope, courage, love, and healing into this city, Lord. Take it out of the hands of the Illuminati and carry it in Your hands, Lord. Take it out of the hands of voodoo and carry it in Your hands, Lord. Visit this city. Come here with Your glory.
Oh Lord, do not let this be another Mobile situation. Give us brokenness. Bend us by Your Spirit. Prepare us, Lord. Prepare us to be vessels of Your glory. Prepare this city to be a vessel of Your glory. O God, have mercy. Have mercy. O Lord, it feels like we cannot bear another month without the rain of Your Holy Spirit. We dwell in a dry and thirsty land, Lord. We need You. Come. Visit the youth. Visit the Universities. Visit the High Schools. Visit the Junior Highs. Visit the Elementary schools. Get the humanism out of our schools and reveal the glory of the Son. Go into the ghettos, Lord. Let Your fingers claim the youths who are lost and dying in the ghettos. Go down into the French Quarter, Lord. Turn that area around for Your glory. Deal with the voodoo. Wipe it out of this city, Lord. Cleanse this city. Purge it of voodoo. Get the witchcraft out of the Church, Lord. The time has come. It must be You sitting on the throne of this city and not some devil.
Bring unity to the Church, Lord. Bring humility, holiness, and evangelism, Lord. O Lord, that there would be a praying Church in this city forever. Listen to our pleas, Lord. Hear our cries. Come. Turn this city into a Christ fearing city. Come. Come, Lord Jesus, come. We need Your holiness. We need Your glory. We need Your fire. We need your power. We need Your rain. We need the revelation of Jesus Christ in this city. We need Your love. Destroy the altars, Lord, that are not of You, and establish altars of righteousness, Lord.
Glorious Redeemer! God, You are the Breaker. Break through. O Lord, that You would rend the heavens and come down. That the mountain might quake and flow down at Your presence as when fire kindles a brushwood and causes the waters to boil, in order to make Your name known to Your adversaries. Lord, that the nations may tremble at Your Presence. You came down, and the mountain quaked at Your Presence. Come down, Lord. Rend the heavens, and come down. Come down. Lord, give this city the revelation of evangelism. Give the Church in this city such a broken heart for evangelism, Lord, that the Church will go out, at any cost to evangelize the lost.
Prepare this city, Lord. You will come, and we will be waiting for You, Lord. Lord, we want to know You in Your holiness. We want to know You in Your glory. We want to know You in Your majesty. O God, come! O Lord, in the midst of the years, make known. Come! Pour out Your glory!
O Lord Jesus, You are a God of pure goodness. You are a God who is a consuming fire. Come and consume Your Church in this city, Lord. Lord, we repent that we have not prayed enough. We offer our humble apology, Lord, that we have not prayed enough for this city. Lord, we repent for the indifference in our hearts. We do not know what You want to do, Lord. We do not know what You want to avoid, but Lord, if this city does not receive You—if You are not able to come with a full scale revival in this city—Lord, You told me a long time ago that it was going to be utterly destroyed. Lord, I ask that You will grip the heart of intercessors in this city. I ask that You will grip the heart of the people to pray for Your coming. How great You are, Lord. No one is like You.
My dear Friends, pray. Pray for your city like you have never prayed for it before.
In His Love,