I have a dream . . it’s as bold as Martin Luther King’s dream in 1964 . . I have a dream that very soon the people of God across our nation will finally get to the point where we are sick and tired of letting the enemy have his way. I dream that we will all see the truth together and affirm that we are here representing another world, we are representing God Himself, and the Governor of that world is here, present with us. In my dream, God’s people decide to finally connect their heart to His; they decide to live aware of Him and all that He is, the words that He breathes, until we think what He thinks, we want what He wants, we dream what He dreams. Then finally that abiding presence becomes the primary influence in our conscious and unconscious mind. In my dream I see two or three people in prayer here and another two or three over there and still more in the workplace, in hospitals, in every corner or our communities – hundreds and thousands of people manifesting the simplicity and the power of ecclesia – God, in the midst of His people.
Come with me now to the west coast of Scotland is a small group of islands called the Hebrides. Between 1949 and 1952 a wide spread revival swept through these islands in answer to the prayers of God’s people. Instrumental in this revival was the evangelist Duncan Campbell. He came to the Isle of Lewis to conduct a two week evangelistic campaign and ended up staying two years. It was a massive revival which touched tens of thousands of people and impacted a whole generation for years to come. But like many outpourings of God, this all began when two or three gathered.
In a small cottage by the roadside in the village of Barvas lived two elderly women, Peggy and Christine Smith. They were eighty-four and eighty-two years old. Peggy was blind and her sister was doubled over with arthritis. Unable to attend public worship, their humble cottage became a sanctuary where they met with God. To them came the promise: “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty and floods upon the dry ground,” and they pleaded this day and night in prayer. One night Peggy had a revelation, revival was coming and the church of her fathers would be crowded again with young people! She sent for the minister, the Rev. James Murray MacKay, and told him what God had shown her, asking him to call his elders and deacons together for special times of waiting upon God. In the same district a group of men praying in a barn also experienced a foretaste of coming blessing.
One night as they waited upon God a young deacon rose and read part of the twenty-fourth Psalm: “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord.” Turning to the others he said: “Brethren, it seems to me just so much humbug to be waiting and praying as we are, if we ourselves are not rightly related to God.” Then lifting his hands toward heaven he cried: “Oh God, are my hands clean? Is my heart pure?” He got no further, but fell prostrate to the floor. An awareness of God filled the barn and a stream of supernatural power was let lose in their lives. They had moved into a new sphere of God awareness, believing implicitly in the promise of revival.
But before we leave Peggy and her sister, another story must be told which further illustrates the holy intimacy the Lord desires to have with us. When the movement was at its height Peggy sent for Duncan Campbell, asking him to go to a small, isolated village to hold a meeting. The people of this village did not favour the revival and had already made clear their policy of noninvolvement. Duncan explained the situation to Peggy and told her that he questioned the wisdom of her request. “Besides,” he added, “I have no leadings to go to that place.” She turned in the direction of his voice, her sightless eyes seemed to penetrate his soul. “Mr. Campbell, if you were living as near to God as you ought to be, He would reveal His secrets to you also.” Duncan felt like a subordinate being reprimanded for defying his general. He humbly accepted the rebuke as from the Lord, and asked if he and Mr. MacKay could spend the morning in prayer with them. She agreed, and later as they knelt together in the cottage, Peggy prayed: “Lord, You remember what You told me this morning, that in this village You are going to save seven men who will become pillars in the church of my fathers. Lord, I have given Your message to Mr. Campbell and it seems he is not prepared to receive it. Oh Lord, give him wisdom, because he badly needs it!”
“All right, Peggy, I’ll go to the village,” said Duncan when they had finished praying. She replied, “You’d better! And God will give you a congregation.” Arriving in the village at seven o’clock they found a large bungalow crowded to capacity with many assembled outside waiting for God to move. When he had finished preaching, a minister beckoned him to the end of the house to speak again to a number of people who were mourning over their sins. Duncan entered the room and was not surprised at all to find seven men – Peggy’s seven men – each of whom embraced the gospel and accepted the Lord that night. When two or three gather … mighty things can happen.
Now another story …
It was always evident how much Billy Graham loved and respected his father, Frank. He was a dairy farmer in Charlotte, North Carolina, who almost lost everything in the Great Depression but managed to slowly recover and leave a legacy of faith, hard work and determination. In May 1934, Billy Graham was just a lanky, mischievous teenager when his father and a group of local men gathered under a grove of shade trees at the edge of a pasture on the Grahams’ dairy farm. They had met several times before – always outdoors – at different locations around Charlotte to pray for God to send revival to their city, their state and beyond.
Billy Graham was 15 years old and doing his afternoon chores in this barn when his father and a group of local businessmen prayed for God to raise up someone who would take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. But this particular May prayer gathering is still being talked about almost 90 years later. That’s because at this meeting, as Frank Graham recalled later, a paper salesman named Vernon Patterson suggested a bold new prayer: that God would raise up someone from Charlotte, North Carolina, who would take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
The day his father joined the others in their bold new prayer, Billy was in the barn doing his afternoon chores, and the Gospel was likely the farthest thing from his mind. That changed just six months later when a traveling evangelist, Dr. Mordecai Ham, caught the gangly, blue-eyed teenager’s attention. It wasn’t easy to get young Billy Graham to set foot inside the tent where Dr. Ham was preaching night after night but he eventually decided to see what all the fuss was about.
It was at that tent meeting on November 1st, 1934 – just six days before Billy Graham’s 16th birthday – that the future “Evangelist to the World” and “Pastor to Presidents” embraced Jesus Christ as his Saviour and Lord and the rest is history. Both Billy Graham and his father gave all the glory to God, Who answered the sincere prayer of a group of men on a dairy farm in 1934. When two or three gather … with God in their midst … and things happen!
My dream is to dream what God dreams. My passion is to think what God thinks. My focus is to do what God is doing and speak only the words God gives me to speak. My hope is that every disciple of Christ will soon burn with this unquenchable fire which is only found deep in the heart and presence of God Himself.