by Jennifer A. Miskov, Ph.D. and author of Ignite Azusa: Positioning for a New Jesus Revolution
Can thousands of people gathered together for one purpose shift a generation into the next Great Awakening? What if the date and location of this gathering tapped into one of the deepest wells of revival we’ve experienced over the last century?
On April 9, 2016, which was also the 110th anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival, our generation was inaugurated into a new era. Lou Engle and TheCall, in partnership with Bethel Church in Redding, California, hosted over 60,000 people in an event called Azusa Now. People from all around the world gathered together in the rain at the Los Angeles Coliseum to make the name of Jesus famous once again. The day was filled with worship, prayer, healing, miracles, prophetic acts, and signs and wonders. During the week preceding this event, Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, Circuit Riders, Youth With A Mission, Iris Global, and many other ministries sent out armies of Jesus lovers to flood L.A. with the love and power of God. Deaf ears were opened, people got up out of wheelchairs, many were welcomed into the family of God, and signs and wonders were released.
Because of the prophetic words and impossibilities connected to the Azusa Now story, it is important to pay attention. This was not just another Christian worship event. Deep wells of the Azusa Street Revival (1906), which birthed over half a billion Christians and has spread to nearly every country in the world over the past century, were accessed on Saturday. At Azusa Now, many different streams of Christianity came together in unity for one purpose. Profound reconciliation occurred. Worship filled the stadium. Ripple effects that will impact the world and eternity will result from what was poured out at Azusa Now.
We Walk by Faith Not Sight
Something powerful and profound happened at Azusa Now whether we see and understand it now or not. Many stepped out in great faith to see God’s kingdom come to this generation. If all of this was done and only one person got saved or healed, it would have been worth it. What if that one person will later become the next D.L. Moody or Billy Graham we may never know. However, we do know that many entered into God’s kingdom and many others were restored, healed, and set free that day. We don’t know how many lives these ones will touch in the future but these will be the inheritance of what was poured out at Azusa Now.
In the evening session at Azusa Now, evangelist Daniel Kolenda shared how God marked him at TheCall D.C. over ten years ago. He was impregnated with a hunger and passion to see souls saved. He’s since brought thousands into the kingdom of God. The impact of what was released when he attended TheCall D.C. might not have become visible the next week or even the next year, but something significant happened that later contributed to the momentum of hundreds of thousands being led to the Lord. Whether we see profound results today or in the next ten years from what happened at Azusa Now, we said yes to what God asked of us. That is something to celebrate. We need to trust Him with the results as we continue to dive even deeper into His presence.
Healing on the Streets
When I was doing my Ph.D. on revival history while living in England, I helped my church set up Healing on the Streets in the city square where many youth gathered. We set up chairs in the middle of the square and put up a flag that said Healing. Anyone walking by who wanted prayer would sit in a chair and we would pray for him or her right out in the open. We did this every month and saw many miracles take place: legs grew, depression lifted, cigarettes disappeared, and people even grew taller. However, there’s one story I want to share that will help demonstrate the unseen impact Azusa Now will have in the future.
One time when we were out on the streets, we met a teenager named Ben. He had been hit by a car and his leg was in a cast. He was a rough looking kid but had allowed us to pray for him. As our team laid hands and prayed for him in the middle of the town square, the presence of God fell on him powerfully. However, when he left, he hobbled away, still on crutches with no visible sign of healing. Did we fail? Did we not have enough faith to bring him into his healing? I think not. I believe that every Holy Spirit-led act of faith is something to celebrate. Our job is to obey God. He is in charge of the results.
The next month we went back to the same spot and saw Ben running out to greet us. He shared how a week after we prayed, he was totally healed and even went out jogging!!! We hadn’t seen the effects in the moment we prayed, but God was working behind the scenes. Furthermore, one year after Ben got healed, we were all drinking coffee in a Starbucks and sharing testimonies after our ministry time on the streets. I noticed the Holy Spirit was doing something in Ben so I asked him what was going on. His grandmother had just passed away and he heard her favorite song come on which made him emotional. We prayed for him right there in the Starbucks and he began to weep. Then he said to me, “Jen, I never told you this before but a year ago when you all prayed for me, I had so much anger and rage inside of me that I was going to beat someone up that day. After you all prayed for me, that anger left and I have never been the same.” We found this out one year later!
We don’t always know or see the results of stepping out in faith, worshipping in unity, or doing prophetic acts led by the Spirit, however, in due time, these will surface. Azusa Now may or may not have been what we all imagined. We may have seen incredible miracles and salvations or we may not have seen what we were hoping for. However, something powerful was released either way that will impact generations. We must be content knowing that heaven is celebrating us each and every time we step out in faith to follow the leading of the Spirit. Yes, many people got saved, healed, and delivered which is incredible. However, Azusa Now was just the beginning of more to come.
The Rudder of Our Ship Has Shifted
The prophetic act of thousands of people worshipping together in one place, in one city, and on the anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival synergized and shifted us into a new era. What we did that day is like shifting the direction of a rudder on a large ship. Our generation may or may not recognize the radical change and the momentum that will carry on for generations from now from what was released at Azusa Now. However, even the slightest of changes on a rudder will re-direct the course of that ship. Over time, that ship will arrive at a completely different destination.
We are now going in a new direction, even if ever so slightly. This change will take us to a greater reality than any could ever have hoped, dreamed, or imagined. The New Jesus Revolution has already begun. Sometimes this happens in the smallest of ways. Never underestimate the power of Jesus working even in one small shift, one great decision made, or one person saved. Remember and record what happened in your life on Saturday April 9, 2016 and celebrate each seed of hope that was released. This is only the beginning. These seeds will one day grow and emerge into giants as they are saturated by more of the Holy Spirit.
I close by quoting a song by Bob Dylan. I encourage you to imagine God singing it over you and our generation:
“The storms are raging on the rolling seas
And on the highway of regret
The winds of change are blowing wild and free
You ain’t seen nothing like Me yet
I could make you happy, make your dreams come true
Nothing that I wouldn’t do
Go to the ends of the earth for you
To make you feel My love”
God has already gone to the ends of the earth to make you feel His love when He sent His Son Jesus. I pray that in this new era, your eyes are opened more than ever before to see and to receive a fresh revelation of the Father’s great love. I pray that you become a target for His blessing, favor, and presence. May your heart increase in capacity to be able to receive the great love God is pouring out and to overflow it to others. May you be apprehended by God’s extravagant and unceasing love like never before. Hang on tight, we’re in for the wildest ride of our lives!
*See book Ignite Azusa: Positioning for a New Jesus Revolution by Jennifer A. Miskov with Heidi Baker, Bill Johnson, and Lou Engle to learn more about the Azusa Street Revival and the new move of God in our day.