"They were all together in one place. Suddenly ... " (Acts 2:1-2)
In our movement, a trusted dreamer had a dream. In his dream, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was full for the gathering we are calling AzusaNow, to be held April 9, 2016, which marks the 110th anniversary of the Azusa Street Outpouring.
From the upper reaches of Section 22 three men watched over the assembled throng as they worshipped and prayed. In the dream, these three held hands in agreement and joy: Derek Prince, T.L. Osborne and Billy Graham. While the symbolism in this dream could speak to many things regarding those particular men, we feel the 22 is also of note, as it points from one "2" to another "2"—from the process of Joel 2 to the answer given in Acts 2.
Even more specifically, Acts 2:2 reveals the power of united prayer to produce acceleration in divine activity for the fulfillment of prophetic promises. We call this moment in time Pentecost, but it was actually the fulfillment of prophecy, prayer and process.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8). While the Holy Spirit moves uniquely in every age, the patterns of prophecy, prayer and process are largely consistent from one generation to the next. For example, Martin Luther's reformation was prophesied 100 years prior by the martyr Jan Huss, while the famous Moravian prayer community that flourished at Herrnhut under Count Nicolas von Zinzendorf was similarly foretold as a "hidden seed" that would arise 100 years after the persecuted Christian reformer, John Comenius. In every case, Luther, Zinzendorf and even the apostle Peter, chose to see themselves in the story as part of the fulfillment. At Pentecost, Peter looked at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as promised in Joel 2, and declared, "This is that!"
Part of the faith to fulfill a promise comes from receiving the invitation to see yourself in the storyline and act in faith. We believe a 100-year prophecy of revival hangs in the air. We believe we are in another moment of "this is that!" It's new, but it's old. It's different, but it's the same.
The same ingredients of unity, love and prayer press upon us. Both Acts 2 and Azusa Street were microcosms of racial unity in deeply prejudiced times. This unity is not achievable according to the wisdom of man. It both precedes and permits a greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit, yet is paradoxically only capable where the Spirit is already being poured out. The "power climate" of revival is thus prayer and unity.
For this reason, for young and old, the manifesto of the new Jesus Freak is blessedly simple: Jesus Love. Jesus Power. Jesus Unity. This is Jesus Movement 2.0. We refuse to suffer our previously self-imposed isolation—factioned, fickle and suspicious of one another's doctrine or motives. In our common imperfections, we are gloriously one. He is our righteousness, period.
So because Scripture is true, we gratefully rally around the main and the plain, blessing our minor differences rather than divorcing over them. Evangelical, Pentecostal, Catholic, African, Anglo, Hispanic, Asian. Those whom Christ saves, He defines. We are His Tribe. His race. Our color is the Jesus color. As such, we choose to agree, honor and uplift, neither boasting in the flesh, nor dreading the days ahead. For all these reasons, casting the shackles of the past aside, we find our agreement around the simplicity of the gospel.
Deep in our bones we know we either fly united, or we do not fly at all. Is this not the atmosphere for miracles? I tell you the truth, if there has been a dimension of waiting and wondering, it has surely passed. The question is no longer when will revival come, but where and how will it first strike, how deep will the crater be and where will it spread next? The invisible silver cord connecting heaven and earth has no more slack.
Intercessors across the earth are engaged in a relentless barrage a la Luke 18; Psalm 2, 110 and 133; John 17; Isaiah 60 and 54; Zechariah 4; Revelation 12 and others. Even now, the needle on the divine Richter Scale shivers. Soon it will dance a wild, healing dance as God comes down in power.
In light of this, we boldly proclaim: Creation, ready yourself. Redemption draws nigh! Is that three years, 10, 20, 50? It doesn't matter if it is nigh to you by faith. The writer of Hebrews warns against the cynical, unbelieving heart, for it is ever in danger of missing the "nowness" of God. "Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts" (Heb. 3:7-8).
If in the past we have been the generation of John, it was always for the joy of seeing the Bridegroom finally come. But the last word of John was not "Repent." It was, "Behold the Lamb!" This is why TheCall has existed, to move us from the voice of prophets to the Final Word, Jesus, Redeemer and High Priest of humankind. This is why we are shifting from prayer to prayer and proclamation. Knowing this, we cannot but rejoice for where we have come from because it tells us where we are going. Our faces are no longer in the dust. We are not ashamed to look one another in the eye, for love has conquered and we stand reconciled together in Christ.
Zeal for the next great move of the Holy Spirit is the prize for which we contend and believe. We have taken up the great, lingering prophecies of William Seymour and Maria Woodworth-Etter, that in about 100 years, something greater than Azusa would come.
With fervor, not passivity, we add our yes: Holy Spirit, come! We invite the nations to join our common cry. AzusaNow 2016 is not about pomp or production, but the readiness of a revival generation prophetically welded to the coliseum legacy of the martyrs of old. It is awakening in action. Heavens soaked with prayer. An overdue promise.
Our playbook isn't trendy and clever, but ancient: Unity. Prayer. Fasting. Worship. Love. Faith. Proclamation. Healing. Salvation. Miracles.
An apostolic day of power has been scheduled. We dare not say April 9, 2016, is the fullness, no.
But we dare not shrink back from hope. Could it be tinder and flint? Could it be one of many matches about to be struck across the earth? History can no longer dismiss the decades and centuries of faithful intercession. Where will you be on the day the world begins to burn? Your sofa has never been the catalyst of history. In Acts 2, 120 souls bore witness to the resurrected Christ descending on the ladder of prophetic promise.
On April 9, 2016, 120,000 will gather to a new Upper Room at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. An entire generation has wondered. When is revival?
Now is the answer. Now. Now. Now!
Dean Barkley Briggs is an author and a disciple who serves as national director for a diverse family of contending houses of prayer called Ekklesia Prayer Communities. He has written several books including Ekklesia Rising: The Authority of Christ in Communities of Contending Prayer.
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