From the book of Genesis onward, Satan has been on a mission to restrain woman from fulfilling her destiny as a co-heir and co-laborer with Christ.
Yes, she is different and unique. Yet in Christ, she is qualified to rise up and boldly release the authority of heaven on Earth. It's only when this mandate is fully restored, and its expression is encouraged in the church that we will begin to see Holy Spirit outpouring demonstrated in a more complete and dynamic way.
As long as women are restrained from preaching and prophesying, biblically speaking, we are only going to experience a trickle of revival when God wills a river. This is because we are negating an entire gender.
I write from the vantage point of a man who is desperate to see the church operate in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Responsively, I firmly believe that how we (men and church leaders alike) treat our sisters in Christ has everything to do with the measure of revival we all experience. This is absolutely biblical, for when Holy Spirit outpouring is biblically defined—both prophetically in Joel and then actually comes to fruition in Acts—women are specifically identified as those qualified to prophesy and participate in the move of God. The restorative work of Jesus truly leveled the playing field, making it possible for men and women alike to participate in releasing the power of heaven on Earth: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, and there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28).
As long as the devil is able to restrain women from taking their vital place in the body of Christ, he is likewise able to restrain a measure of revival and outpouring from flowing from the church and into the world. How is this even possible—and more importantly, is the concept scriptural?
What Is Clogging Up the River of Revival?
There has been an age-old war raging between Satan and woman, the serpent and the Seed of the woman: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel" (Gen. 3:15).
Why are the efforts of hell so strategically targeted against women—specifically, trying to prevent women from occupying positions of leadership and authority? She is a unique and absolutely essential part of bringing the culture of heaven to Earth, unlocking the river of Holy Spirit outpouring that has been flowing since the Day of Pentecost. Make no mistake, the Holy Spirit has been moving since Pentecost; however, it seems as though His movement has been flowing with some hindrances, restrictions and barriers during specific seasons in history.
These barriers are not on God's end; they are on man's. Jesus' blood sealed the deal and the day of Pentecost made God accessible to whosoever will receive the saving work of Jesus. In other words, God ensured that every barrier was removed so that you and I could be filled with His Spirit, walk in communion with Him and release His kingdom on Earth. So why aren't we seeing this happen in a greater way? There are man-made barriers we need to confront. One of the most significant and unaddressed is how women can be marginalized in the body of Christ.
If the Spirit's outpouring was truly without restriction, then we would have no need for what we call "revival" or awakening; those seasons of unusual visitation become essential when the people of God engage in practices or entertain mindsets that build spiritual dams preventing the free flow of the Holy Spirit. He wants to move without restraint.
Sadly, one of the great dams and barriers to the Spirit's unrestricted flow in our world today is the restriction of women. When we restrict women from rising up and walking in the anointing to lead and prophesy, I believe we are—in part—restricting the Holy Spirit's movement on Earth.
Before I continue further, if you are looking for solid scriptural support for why women should be in leadership, I encourage you to check out Why Not Women by Loren Cunningham and David Joel Hamilton, Fashioned to Reign by Kris Vallotton, or Ten Lies the Church Tells Women by J. Lee Grady.
Break the Restraints to Revival
As long as the "daughters" are restrained from coming alongside the sons to prophesy, we will not fully experience the full measure of revival that God wills for the church to experience and the world desperately yearns to be transformed by. In fact, God more than wills it; He has already made it available! God has already said "Amen" to a landscape-shifting revival; however, the ears of God are bending close to Earth, listening for those who say a whole-hearted "Yes" to everything He has made available. When men are the only ones who think they are qualified to say "Yes" to the call of God, revival is not being released in the full measure that heaven has mandated.
When God spoke through the prophet Joel, He made heaven's end-time agenda of outpouring and revival abundantly clear:
"And it will be that, afterwards, I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions" (Joel 2:28).
If we didn't get the point in verse 28, the Lord emphasizes in verse 29:
"Even on the menservants and maidservants in those days I will pour out My Spirit."
As we know, the fulfillment to this prophetic announcement began in Acts 2 and has been continuing ever since. While there is undeniably an element of God's sovereignty involved in seasons of "revival," I have to ask: Could it be that one of the keys that positions the body of Christ for moving in sustained revival is the emergence of prophesying daughters? For centuries, the role of the "sons" has basically been assumed. There are really no questions or arguments over the leadership capabilities of men in a church context; however, a woman speaking, teaching, prophesying or leading is often the subject of considerable controversy. This ought not be!
Women on the Frontlines of God's Earthly Activity
Throughout history, God's daughters and maidservants have been positioned on the frontlines of historic Holy Spirit outpouring. Sometimes they were dynamic public figures, pioneering revolutions and preaching the gospel. Sometimes they were hidden in the prayer closet, literally contending for heaven to invade Earth through intercession. Either way, these women witnessed the fruit of their impassioned cries and dynamic efforts, be it during their lifetime or looking down from heaven.
In the Old Testament, women are on the frontlines of battle, judging the nation and providing refuge to the spies of Israel as they conquered Jericho. Women open and conclude the Gospels, ushering the Messiah into the Earth and then, beholding Him in resurrected form.
Elizabeth gives birth to John the Baptist, the forerunner. You have others such as businesswoman Priscilla (Acts 18:2-3), Junia (who many scholars recognize as an apostolic figure, Rom. 16:7) and the virgin daughters of Philip the Evangelist, who were prophets (Acts 21:9). You have the Samaritan woman in John 4 who encounters Jesus, leaves her waterpot, and preaches to the men of her city. As a result, they all experience a divine visitation from the Savior. Women are the first at the tomb to behold the resurrection miracle and receive instruction to share the good news with the apostles. And of course, there is the definitive woman of the Bible—Mary, the one whose womb delivered the Savior who delivered us from our sins, ensured that humanity could be indwelt by God, and ultimately, birthed a revolution that would reconnect heaven to Earth.
It goes without saying that God has favored His daughters and has strategically set them on the frontlines of history. When God moved, it seemed as though women were always there on the cutting edge of His activity. Elizabeth birthed a prophet. Mary birthed the Messiah. The Canaanite woman demonstrated a faith in Jesus that prematurely drew in a reality—the kingdom of God being opened up to the Gentiles—that was reserved for the post-resurrection time frame (Matt. 15:28). These women all knew about collaborating with God and birthing heaven on Earth.
Just review the pages of history. Revival after revival, movement after movement, has seen prominent women serving as forerunners for what the Holy Spirit was saying and doing in that hour.
Maria Woodworth-Etter introduced people to the Pentecostal experience before Pentecostalism became a formal movement within Christianity in the 20th century. Her meetings were quite extraordinary. The gospel of Jesus was always central, but the supernatural phenomena that occurred in that context was truly otherworldly. Healings, miracles, prophetic trances—even those who came to mock these meetings experienced encounters with God.
Aimee Semple McPherson was revolutionary in making the church experience relevant, interesting and engaging, while also being a stalwart champion of God's miraculous healing power. While McPherson was renowned for her engaging gospel presentations, often drawing celebrities and Hollywood notables to her services at Angelus Temple, she did not back down from preaching the uncompromised gospel ... and preaching it in the power of signs and wonders.
Kathryn Kuhlman could be best described as a friend of the Holy Spirit. She did not chase after healing miracles, nor did she ever claim to be a faith healer or miracle worker. She rejected such descriptions. Kathryn was an evangelist, who passionately pleaded for people to meet her precious Jesus. She preached the gospel with clarity, love, compassion and gentleness—and healing broke out. Truly, Kathryn enjoyed such close fellowship with the Holy Spirit, that when she walked onto a stage, audiences recognized that she was not alone; she was overshadowed by His presence.
These are three examples among the multitudes. I could go on and on about daughters who said "Yes" to God's call and have been changing the landscape of Christianity, both then and now. Joyce Meyer is a no-nonsense Spirit-filled teacher and preacher, anointed to help make the Scriptures practical for everyday living. Marilyn Hickey, now in her 80s, is preaching the gospel with boldness overseas (in some very difficult to reach areas), with mighty healing and miracles following her presentation. Cindy Jacobs is a prophetic and intercessory strategist who contends with heaven for revival and reformation. Australian worship leader Darlene Zschech was a key catalyst in the mid-1990s, used to release the sounds of heaven into the Earth and help pioneer the modern worship movement. Karen Wheaton has led a youth movement in the backwoods of Hamilton, Alabama, for 15 years, raising up the next generation to usher in awakening. Heidi Baker has given her life to seeing the nation of Mozambique transformed by the love of Jesus—and in doing so, she and her husband founded IRIS Ministries, which has seen over a million people come to Christ, churches built across the Earth, the sick healed and even the dead raised. The list continues and grows very long!
So as women, why does the enemy war against you and try to keep you from taking your place?
Here are three ways that women uniquely usher in revival and crush the devil. Make no mistake, the enemy doesn't want God's daughters to live mindful of these realities!
1. Women give birth to the impossible and remind Satan of his eternal defeat. Mary was not some otherworldly super-being; she was an ordinary teenaged girl upon receiving her summons. Yet she deserves to be honored as a revivalist and powerful example of how anything is impossible when one says yes to Jesus. No one is beyond ushering in a great move of God! You were born to birth things into the Earth—and in a way, you uniquely get to give birth to the expression of Jesus, since the Spirit of God lives within you and empowers you to manifest the nature, character, image and power of the Risen Christ through your life!
Every time you demonstrate the work of Jesus through your life, you are enforcing the victory of the One who forever crushed the devil at Calvary. Women walking in this identity continually remind the enemy of his eternal defeat. When salvation is brought to a life or household, Satan is crushed. When healing reverses sickness, Satan is crushed. When immorality, crime and corruption are exchanged for peace, honor and love, Satan is defeated, yes—but he continues to be crushed as sons and daughters actually walk out this victory that Jesus purchased for them and enforce it.
2. Women sustain revival, from generation to generation. A woman must never devalue her ability to be a life-giver and life-bearer. You carry the ability to bring life into the world that perpetuates the move of God from generation to generation. This is the commission of every mother, natural and spiritual: to birth children who sustain and excel your supernatural momentum. The next generation should always be positioned to exceed the previous generation. If you have a womb, you have the ability to give birth to sons and daughter that prophesy, perform signs and wonders, heal the sick, lead movements and change nations. You have the ability to raise up boys and girls, young men and young women who go further and deeper in God than you ever dreamed possible because God works generationally. Whether you have natural children or not, whether you can give birth or not, women are spiritual mothers who raise up a generation of men and women to birth the purposes of God into the Earth.
3. Women preach and shift atmospheres over entire cities. One evidence of the Acts 2 outpouring is that daughters will prophesy. To prophesy is to speak forth! You cannot prophesy silently. Need Bible references? The Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 went back to her town and "told the people there..." about Jesus. And some of these people that she told were men! As a result, the people left the town, went to see Jesus, begged Him to stay with them, experienced a two-day visitation from the Son of God, and as a result, many became believers.
She preached and as a result, she became a catalyst for a city to experience a divine visitation from Jesus Himself. How many more cities could experience powerful Holy Spirit visitation if women were encouraged to go and tell? Preach. Proclaim. Disciple. Prophesy. Jesus did not rebuke this woman for going ... and likewise, I do not believe He is rebuking His daughters today as they rise up, take their place and begin saying what the Father is saying.
It's time for women to usher in the Holy Spirit outpouring they were anointed to release! From the Day of Pentecost until now, the daughters have been qualified to prophesy. Let us encourage them to boldly speak forth the Word of the Lord, expecting their participation to release the fullness of God's kingdom on Earth!
Larry Sparks is co-author of the book The Fire That Never Sleeps, with Dr. Michael Brown and John Kilpatrick. Larry's mission is to help teach all believers how to experience and sustain personal revival—enjoying a deep relationship with God through encountering the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. To this end, he maintains a blog through Charisma magazine, is a published author, teaches revival seminars, and is the co-founder of Renewing South Florida, an organization committed to uniting the local church for regional outpouring. Larry holds a Master of Divinity from Regent University and presently serves as Publisher for Destiny Image publishing house.
You can receive daily empowerment for personal revival from Larry on Facebook (facebook.com/larryvsparks).
Larry Sparks is co-author of the book, The Fire That Never Sleeps, with Dr. Michael Brown and John Kilpatrick. Larry's mission is to help teach all believers how to experience and sustain personal revival—enjoying a deep relationship with God through encountering the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. To this end, he maintains a blog through Charisma magazine, is a published author, teaches revival seminars, and is the co-founder of Renewing South Florida, an organization committed to uniting the local church for regional outpouring. Larry holds a Master of Divinity from Regent University and presently serves as vice president of publishing for Destiny Image Publishers.
You can receive daily empowerment for personal revival from Larry on Facebook (facebook.com/larryvsparks).
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