**This is a personal website and reflects my thoughts and convictions. It does not represent any official position held by Youth With A Mission.**
My friend Tom Bloomer, who sent me the message about pruning (see my blog, https://lynngreen.blog/2020/04/02/ywam-60th-2020-a-time-to-die/) , wrote again today, and asked if I remembered some of the details of the “If My People..” tour and the 1974 Prayer Day of the same title, and the “Wagon Train”. These were events and movements I had not thought about for years, but Tom thought there were some parallels to what is happening today. As I thought and prayed about it, I reached the same conclusion—with a sense of excitement!
Those events are relevant because, like today, much of the Western world was in the grip of a controlling fear. For many people today, the atmosphere is similar. The “enemy” then was the threat of the army of the Soviet Union, that was poised to sweep across Poland and into Germany as far as the Rhine, thus taking possession of the economic powerhouse of most of Germany and enable the Soviet system to survive another generation—all backed by the threat of the world’s most powerful arsenal of nuclear weapons.
Few people today would recall that the Communist Soviet system was essentially predatory for economic reasons. Their state-owned and run system demoralised the population, and was therefore too inefficient to maintain growth, while the Western nations were experiencing the greatest prosperity in history. The USSR was vulnerable to famines and inefficiency in every sector of society because all people were rewarded equally whether they worked well and productively or were lazy, whether they were innovative or just obeyed orders and no more. The only exceptions to the imposed egalitarianism were the senior Communist Party officials who lived in luxury. They created a huge, menacing military force that could “gobble up” more productive nations, or nations with substantial natural resources. By that means, they prolonged their oppressive regime.
They had nuclear weapons and regularly tested ever-more-powerful nuclear bombs and missiles. So, my generation grew up fearing an imminent nuclear war. By the late 60s and early 70s that fear dominant.
But God spoke to many Christians from the Bible passage found in II Chronicles 7:14.
Leland Paris, a YWAM leader from Texas, took the initiative and YWAM, all over the world, proclaimed: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sins and heal their land”. The YWAM base in Texas prayed and felt that they were to get people’s attention by travelling the routes of the old wagon trains but going west to east across America. So Woody Woodford, with a big bushy beard and a cowboy hat, organised people to travel across America in covered wagons, pulled by horses and mules, like those used by the pioneers. They called people, especially the Church, to repentance and humble prayer.
Sixteen years later, the Berlin wall fell, and the communist tyranny chaotically fell apart across Eastern Europe and Russia. As the Soviet army retreated military documents were discovered, confirming that the feared invasion was planned in detail, but never implemented.
At the same time another “army” arose—the Jesus people. Hundreds of thousands of young people became radical disciples, beginning in the late 1960s and continuing through the 70s. I was one of them. Our numbers contributed to a massive growth of missionary movements—Campus Crusade Operation Mobilisation, YWAM, and many others, including Roman Catholic Charismatic Missions like Sword of the Spirit. What a redemptive work of the Holy Spirit! Those prayers of desperation tinged with fear were answered well beyond “what we could ask or think”.
The Lord understands when we pray, even in the desperation of our fears, and he always has a plan to make “all things work together for good, for those who love him and are called according to his purpose”. He is able and willing to do it again!
Today’s enemy is invisible, but the fear of death is always the same, whether it is from a human enemy or a virus. It keeps many people paralysed and eaten up with anxiety. But it is time for those who believe to overcome that fear by prayer and thanksgiving.
It seems to me that the “If My People” movement was like the sign that God gave Elijah in 1 Kings 18. Elijah was praying for deliverance from the judgement of God that had come in the form of a drought. He prayed, and nothing happened. He prayed again: still nothing. Finally, on the seventh time he prayed fervently, he told his servant Gehazi to go once again and look out to the west, where Gehazi reported “a cloud as small as a man’s hand”.
Do you see the cloud today? I see many small clouds. There is not one prayer movement, there are scores of them, and some of them are very large. In two weeks’, I will be on a livestream from various social media platforms and the expected audience is nearly a million people. Hardly a day goes by without my receiving an update from some prayer initiative or another. Invariably one of the core messages of these movements is for God’s people to humble themselves and make a U-turn (repent).
I believe a deluge of God’s grace is coming. I see a substantial number of young men and women, with remarkable leadership gifts, who are sold out to sacrificial obedience to God’s will for them. They speak the language that was prominent in the early 70s, the language of total commitment, the Lordship of Christ, sacrificial living and the fear of God. From my perspective, that “language” has not been so prominent for decades. It’s a precursor to the power of God being poured out.
As I was writing this, Pete Greig, leader of one of the sacrificial prayer movements sent a very encouraging message under the title of “Something is stirring in the UK.” I plan to post that on my blog for your further encouragement. He pointed out how many people had viewed the “UK Blessing Song”—over 2,350,000 as I write! He added: “Then there’s the research commissioned by Tearfund and released on the same day (quite coincidentally) as the UK Blessing song. This survey indicates that some 3 million new people have turned to prayer in the UK since lockdown began. The online British bookstore Eden reports a 55% increase in sales of bibles in April. And demand for prayer resources from 24-7 Prayer has been going through the roof.”
Now that we are seeing the cloud, let’s keep expressing complete faith and trust in God that He will move again, especially on this younger generation, and that the world will again be spared the greater extent of judgement that so many people fear.
Rather, may He once again surprise us with His mercy and kindness!