"Jesus ruined every funeral He went to - including His own!" - Bill Johnson
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)
Have you ever noticed that God’s answers to your prayers seldom look like what you expected? If you are like me, when you pray, you have a rough idea of what God’s response should resemble. But God often colors outside of my lines.
Allow me to illustrate. In April, 1995, an unusual prayer outpouring facilitated by Pastor, now Bishop, Troy Bronner began at a church in Buffalo. It was aptly named ‘Early Morning Prayer.’ We began attending in 1997. It was powerful, unlike any prayer meeting we had ever attended. At times, attendance was 700+ in the wee hours of the morning, with everyone sharing the same passion for Jesus.
At that time, I thought we had discovered the secret to resurrect Buffalo – bring every Buffalo Christian to Early Morning Prayer. Surely this was the key to transforming our city.
God corrected me in a vision. In the vision, I was looking over what seemed to be a Pacific island during World War II that had been overgrown by the jungle. I sensed that the Allied troops had pushed the Japanese out, and immediately needed to clear a runway to land support planes. As the troops began clearing jungle overgrowth, it was thicker than they expected. This meant that it took longer so the runway was not finished until after dark. The troops lit barrels on fire to outline the runway for night landings. When I looked down, there were actually 2 runways in the shape of a cross, and I saw the ‘cross’ runways outlined by these multiplied bonfires.
I sensed the Lord explain what I was seeing. No one fire of prayer, no matter how large, could illuminate His landing strip for our city. Rather He instructed me to watch and wait for a season when there would be countless prayer fires, some larger, some smaller, some I would never even know about. When this season of spontaneous prayer fires exploded among us, all the fires together would make a safe runway for the Holy Ghost to land in our city.
My prophetic radar went off last November (2011) when Bonnie Chavda declared the following at an Eagles Wings Ministries conference:
I believe that Buffalo has been sleeping and I honestly believe that the Lord has shown that this is the time of awakening. I believe that by the end of this year there are going to be signs in the various communities around this city, around this region, of awakening.
Deb and I believe that the prayer fires are burning brightly right now. Over the next several issues, we will be focusing on prayer fires in Erie County, Niagara County, city, suburbs, among different denominations, racial groups, and age groups. Some of these prayer fires are even burning in the Marketplace!!
The purpose of these articles will be to increase prayer and to increase faith that our prayers are making a difference. One of the words the Lord gave us for 2012 is that We Are Better TOGETHER! The very gates of hell are not safe against His praying Church on the march and on the move.
WARNING: The verse with which we opened contains a caution, ‘See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?’ Isaiah 43:19
Could God do a ‘new thing’ in Buffalo, and His Church fail to perceive or recognize it? Will we embrace the prayer fires of God if they happen outside our religious boxes?
Prayer Fire – an outside-the-box example
Nik Wallenda, high-wire walking between Niagara Falls, NY, and Niagara Falls, Ontario. ‘What? How can that be a prayer fire, a move of God??’ you may ask. Could a daredevil’s stunt be an answer to our prayers?
For those of you who watched on June 15th, you were among 20 million viewers in the U.S. and Canada. As Christians, we were amazed that as Nik walked, the ABC live microphone recorded Nik praying and quoting Scripture. “Oh God. How I praise You, Jesus. Oh Lord, You are my Savior, You are my King. You are my Jesus. You are my Counselor, You are my wisdom. Praise You Jesus.”
As my wife Deb and I watched and listened to Nik, it dawned on us that we were observing the most surprising move of God that we have ever witnessed. In fact, the article we wrote for national publication was entitled, “Nik Wallenda: Taking Prayer Walking to new Heights over Niagara Falls.” Nick prayed and prophesied over two nations as the world held its collective breath.
Even ‘secular’ news sources reported on Nik’s faith in their coverage.
Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press “A born-again Christian, Wallenda said he stays calm on the wire by talking to God, quoting scripture and praying.”
Nik did his part, and in the coming months we will introduce you to other non-conventional spontaneous prayer fires. What is your part? Ask God for spiritual eyes to recognize the prayer fires among us. Expect God to answer your prayers, and to birth prayer in unexpected ways in unexpected places through ordinary believers. Get ready to celebrate the new season of acceleration among us!! We Are Better TOGETHER!
"So there was great joy in that city." Acts 8:8
Revs. Al & Deb Warner are the founders and directors of Set Free Inc. Set Free is a networking ministry connecting business,governmental and church leaders for a Nehemiah-like rebuilding
and transformation of our city. Al and Deb have over 30 years experience pastoring local churches and working as missionaries in Hong Kong. In 1997, God laid a burden on their heart to bring
the regional church of greater Buffalo/Niagara Falls, NY, together. As they obeyed, God birthed their ministry, Set Free Inc. The Warners have led multiple prayer and training events over the years, including National Day of Prayer.
To contact them, email: firstname.lastname@example.org