If you asked 'how was the service at church today?' the answer would be:
"Well, the pastor got up and said he could feel a baby inside of him, and then he started crying, and then everyone started crying, and they kept crying for hours."
Such was a Sunday morning service at Deeper Fellowship Church in Orlando, Florida. Pastor William McDowell woke early to pray as he did every Sunday. The service carried on as it usually did. But throughout the worship music and even while he preached, Pastor McDowell felt uneasy. He didn't know why but he couldn't shake it.
"It wasn't because something was wrong. I just had a sense that something more was supposed to happen, but I didn't know what," he says in his book It's Happening: A Generation is Crying Out, and Heaven is Responding (Charisma House, 2018).
McDowell got up to speak a second time. At that moment, he says he felt his baby leap inside him.
Figuratively speaking, of course.
The Day It Happened
Back in 2001, McDowell was ministering at a church where Lester Sumrall once pastored. After a night of worship, he and Sumrall's grandson were walking out into the parking lot and talking about how desperately they yearned to see God move in this generation.
It was then that McDowell felt it. Something moved inside him. Something very real. What happened next shocked him even more.
"The person I was talking with said, 'Dude, did you feel that?'" McDowell says.
McDowell has never birthed a baby (obviously) so he looked to what the Bible said about this sensation.
In Luke 1, after Mary learned she would carry the Messiah, she visited her relative Elizabeth who was six months pregnant with John the Baptist. Upon greeting each other, Elizabeth experienced a sensation not unlike what McDowell experienced.
When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Luke 1:41 MEV.
For McDowell, this leaping symbolizes God confirming His promise. God will do what He says He will do and blessed are those who believe it (Lk. 1:45). Both Elizabeth and Mary's pregnancies were not only miraculous, but they were instrumental in God's larger plan.
"After coming in contact with Jesus, after coming in contact with what was on the inside of Mary, John leaped, as if he were saying, 'My reason for living has just arrived,'" McDowell says.
For him, this sensation felt like God was confirming that he was on the path to his purpose—his purpose being to spark revival in this generation. If that was the case, then McDowell had full assurance that what he had been praying for would become reality.
"My entire life has been lived to intentionally position myself for the day when God would walk in the room. Every service I led, every sermon I preached, every song I sang anywhere in the world was in anticipation of the moment God Himself would come and visit with us....And He answered my prayer on May 22, 2016," McDowell says.
That was the day when, for the second time, he experienced the leaping feeling inside of him. It brought tears to his eyes. His weeping swept through the entire room, softening the hearts of many in the congregation. So McDowell had an altar call and the people—many who were not Christians—sprinted to the front of the church to surrender their lives to God.
Since then, Deeper Fellowship has never been the same again. McDowell has personally witnessed more than 200 miracles of physical healing.
So if someone were to ask 'how was the service today?' the answer would be that, yes, the pastor spoke about feeling a baby leap inside him, and yes, he wept uncontrollably as did many in the congregation. But also, something undeniable happened.
"God made an announcement," McDowell says. "He confirmed that it's alive—what He placed in me, in us, and in you is alive. Do you know what they call it? Revival."
This article is based on It's Happening: A Generation is Crying Out, and Heaven is Responding (Charisma House, 2018) by William McDowell. McDowell is a gifted teacher and world-renowned worship leader who has ministered in more than forty nations. He also pastors Deeper Fellowship Church in Orlando, Florida. McDowell believes the greatest privilege in ministry, apart from ministering to his family, is serving in the local church. He passionately pursues the mission of Deeper Fellowship Church, which is to cultivate a deeper fellowship with God and one another. McDowell and his wife, LaTae, have four children: Joshua, Olivia, Caleb, and Joy.
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