Have you ever wondered why there are so many professing Christians in America, yet so few cities that have been truly transformed for Christ? Why, in prayer meetings and conferences, we passionately cry out for nations to be saved in a day; yet our local spheres of influence remain largely unchanged year after year?
The answer can be found by examining the historical seeds of past revivals. For example, legend has it that Jonathan Edwards, before the birthing of the Great Awakening, made a covenant with God. Standing on a riverbank, he cried out to God for revival in the land. Drawing a circle in the sand, he pledged that before God could take the city, the region, the nation, He must start here—and he pointed to the circle. Then Edwards stepped into the circle.
For a community, a city or a nation to be gripped with revival, a man or woman must first be fully gripped by God. Personal visitation is always the catalyst for revival. Visitation always precedes transformation. In order to shake the nations for God, we must first let God shake US!
Perhaps you're thinking: "A radical visitation from God is great for people like Moses, the Apostle Paul, or Jonathan Edwards. But that kind of thing would never happen to little ol' me." But what if it wasn't the greatness of these men that prompted their visitations? What if their personal visitations prompted their greatness, giving them the faith to walk out their incredible destinies?
Throughout history God has always used weak, broken vessels—whose very fragility is the perfect conduit for His glory and power—to change cities and nations. The truth is, God doesn't wait until we have "arrived" at our destiny to encounter us. Rather, He uses personal visitation as a key part of our commissioning.
Unfortunately, many Christians in America don't believe in visitations from God because they don't believe in the supernatural. The Western church as a whole is barren because of its utter dependence on logic and intellectualism.
We know the Word of God, but we lack the experience of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, church is little more than a routine, a social club—totally devoid of mass salvations, deliverances and other supernatural touches for suffering humanity. We claim to believe that the Bible is true, yet somehow we ignore the fact that Jesus commissioned us to walk in greater works than He did. Miracles are not an option! They are trademarks of basic Christianity.
Some are afraid that if we move into the supernatural we will slip into deception. Where is our confidence: in the ability of Satan to deceive us, or God’s ability to protect us?
We don't have to be afraid! Experts say that the best way to discern a counterfeit is to study and memorize the real thing. You and I can know the "real thing" by examining biblical examples of people who've had real, authentic, life- and world-changing encounters with God.
Comb through the Scriptures and try to find one hero of faith whose life was NOT interrupted by the supernatural. You can't! Nor can you find one in the history of church revivals.
For lives and cities and nations to be changed, personal, supernatural visitations from God are essential. These are not radical joyrides in the Spirit; they are DNA-altering experiences that transform us, giving us the faith and confidence to believe and do the impossible.
Why not contend for your own personal visitation? Here is the key: As much as you want to meet with God, He passionately desires to encounter you even more. Your life and your world can begin to change, starting today. All it takes is one radical encounter with God!
Editor's Note: Jill Austin, a prominent prophetic voice and founder of Master Potter Ministries, went to be with the Lord in January of this year. Jill carried His presence wherever she went and challenges each of us to radically pursue God and change our world in the process.