There is a scientific phenomenon called hypnagogia: the state between wakefulness and sleep. For some people, this is entirely a physical experience, and they wake the next morning with no memories of what was flying through their thoughts just before slumber. For others, this state occurs while they are completely aware of the relationship between mind and body—the hypnagogic state of consciousness in those moments just before the mind begins to dream—and they can feel and sense things that defy our typical, physical, corporeal existence. Thoughts they wouldn't normally think and feelings they wouldn't normally feel are quickened within them as their body and mind coast to a different, almost transcendent, cognizance—a cognizance prized by the world's most celebrated artists since the dawn of time, as it is within those precious seconds the greatest of human creativity has been reported to unlock. Before I knew what it was called, I referred to it as "the falling."
I have learned over time that I was of the minority in my circle that experienced this consciousness often. For me, the phenomenon was frequently immediately followed by another I later learned was called the "hypnic jerk": an involuntary muscle spasm during or after hypnogogia that shocks a person to sudden and full awareness. As was the case for me, this hypnic jerk is recurrently accompanied by a quick, plotless dream wherein one is falling from the sky and jolts awake just as, or just before, one hits the ground. One is thankful that he or she has a second chance. Whereas almost everyone I have asked has answered that they have experienced the hypnic jerk, very few have said they were completely and conscientiously aware of mind and body during the preceding "falling" of hypnogogia.
But this phenomenon just took on fresh meaning to me.
For the past three years, every day, all day, I was aware of a stirring sensation within the world around me that I couldn't explain. It was like my spiritual skin was being prickled by the winds of change—winds directed by God toward a global and irreversible modification of the body of Christ like we haven't seen in 500 years since the Protestant Reformation of Martin Luther's day. I had written about it, I had spoken about it on episodes of SkyWatch Television, but I could not explain how I knew something was coming or even what that something was exactly. This time, however, I learned I wasn't alone in experiencing this phenomenon. It appears that everyone today—believers and nonbelievers alike—are in discussion about a Great Awakening, and there is much evidence that the Lord is rousing a "people for His name" from amidst the Gentiles (Acts 15:14) who will shatter the mold of yesteryear's predictable church leaders.
Recently, the Holy Spirit gave me a string of words: "Prepare yourself to minister."
It was in 2014, just before the release of a book Tom Horn and I coauthored: Redeemed Unredeemable. The ceiling did not split open, no audible voice boomed in the room and no great beams of light fell upon me through the clouds. But there was a calling, no doubt in my mind. From somewhere deep, somewhere quiet, a truth slowly dawned upon my psyche like a gentle but undeniable breeze, telling me that I needed to grow up, stop being a girl of church and be a woman of God. And within that puzzling message, I somehow simply became aware in my mind, in my spirit, that I needed to "prepare myself to minister."
I tried with every ounce of strength to ignore it. When it came into my thoughts at work I found myself staring off into the distance.
The gentle breeze was quickly gaining speed.
When it interrupted a conversation between me and someone else by forcing its way back into my brain and rendering anything else I had to say a moot point, I would apologize to my listener and let them take the floor.
The breeze had become a steady wind.
When it kept me awake at night, I had no choice but to get out of bed and wander about the house in frustration.
The wind was rapidly gaining energy.
When it got so bad that I couldn't function as a person anymore without constantly being coerced into a nearly catatonic and debilitating brain fog, I finally asked God what in the world was going on with me, obediently emerging from my hiding place called denial and facing the blur.
The wind had become a tornado, and I was standing in the center of a cyclone.
The only thing I could do was submit. My prayer had always been, "Here am I, Lord, send Aaron." Like a fearful Moses. Running to the wilderness. But after the wind—The wind changed me.
I was later asked to write the history section of the book Final Fire. One after another, I studied in great detail every Great Awakening and major revival known to the world from the Protestant Reformation to the Jesus People of the American counterculture era. I learned—no, I digested—what these men and women went through when faced with opposition, how they gave everything including their lives to the cause of the Great Commission, and no person on earth with a beating heart could emerge from the immense depth of those stories from which I dove without feeling intensely inspired. I read as some of them were martyred. I saw the anguish they suffered in the service of Almighty God. I believed in their testimonies as they wrote of the millions whose souls would spend eternity in Christ's presence because of the work they obediently and diligently carried out. I observed over and over again the social, political and spiritual turmoil that needled at these Christian pioneers and drove them to act.
And I saw identical social, political and spiritual circumstances alive in our nation today.
That was when it finally hit me:
The church is in a state of "falling"! That all-too-familiar sensation that has historically crept over the body of Christ just before it truly surrenders to sleep as it did in the days leading up to Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, James McGready, Dwight Moody and the others.
Few are ever as aware of the "falling" as these leaders were, content to belong to a tired church of apathetic believers. These key activists, however, were completely conscious of the relationship between the sleepy mindset of the church and the lackadaisical endeavors within the body of Christ—the spiritually hypnagogic state of body-consciousness in those moments just before the church begins to drift into spiritual slumber—and they felt and sensed things that defied our typical, physical, corporeal existence. A willingness to serve they wouldn't normally demonstrate and a devotion to an at-all-costs mentality they wouldn't normally employ were quickened within them as they rose above the potential they formerly thought they had, and they welcomed a near-transcendent cognizance—a cognizance that unlocked unstoppable revival and changed the world from that day forward.
Then, by the power of the Holy Spirit's mere finger-snap, the globe was thrust into a hypnic jerk. The body's visions of the church's falling was instantaneously more obvious and undeniable than it had ever been to them as the proverbial body's muscle spasm shocked them to full awareness. The body was thankful it had a second chance.
We are now, beyond the shadow of any doubt, poised for this moment to repeat, and the next great leader in your circle could, in fact, be you.
Surrender to the Author of the next Great Awakening.
Do it now.
Don't go back to sleep.
Donna Howell is editor for SkyWatch TV and Defender Publishing.
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