On Easter Sunday, I was abruptly reminded I am no longer 30 years old! Lisa and I had accepted an
invitation from friends to play pickle ball. We had never played, so we said, “Sure, let’s do it! After all, it’s not a contact sport.”
I work out regularly, but mostly with a stationary bicycle and lots of weight training, which is much different than moving around quickly! So when I tried to be a young guy and do a backhand to get the ball over the net, my body didn’t stop and my face and head slammed on the concrete.
The next day, as I explained my injuries to a doctor friend in another city, he said, “Doug, you should get to the emergency room right away for CT scans and X-rays.” When I went to the clinic, they told me I had fractures in my cheek, on the side of my head, and on my forehead near my eye.
I sent my scans and X-rays to my doctor friend as well as another one who is an ENT. Both said I should see an ENT surgeon as soon as possible, which I did. The good news is I did not need surgery, and I began healing pretty quickly aside from some pain and headaches.
However, when one of my doctor friends was looking at the scans and X-rays I sent over, he took note of something unrelated to the accident.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said, “but your thoracic aorta looks a little prominent to me. This could be an early sign of an ascending thoracic aortic aneurysm.” A follow-up scan confirmed his hunch.
An ascending thoracic aortic aneurysm (ATA) is a bulging area in the first part of the aorta, which is the main artery in our bodies. An aneurysm is a weak spot in a blood vessel wall that can tear, rupture, or break open, causing severe, life-threatening internal bleeding. ATAs are caused by inflammation of the aorta, plaque buildup, traumatic injuries that cause tears in the artery wall, or a combination of other things.
Interestingly, most people who have ATAs don’t even experience symptoms, so they are often detected by chance, which is exactly what happened with me. But thankfully, God allowed this condition to be exposed so I can monitor and treat it accordingly.
Every situation we go through can become a life lesson that becomes part of a larger message—or what I call a “prophetic drama.” This means I always try to take difficult or challenging circumstances and turn them into intercession for the Church at large.
In 2015, when I had cancer, I determined to keep my eyes, heart, and focus on the Lord and all He called me to do, even while fighting that battle. And by His grace, He brought me through it. We prayed then and continue to pray for so many people who are going through similar crises and difficulties. God turned our circumstances into opportunities for intercession. It was a ministry we did not seek, but it became a ministry nonetheless, bringing hope and encouragement to others.
In my current situation, I once again began to get some prophetic downloads. The fall on my head and face actually exposed the ATA in my heart. Likewise, I believe, the Lord is allowing some things in the Church to happen to expose and address issues of the heart, individually and corporately.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said to his disciples, “Tarry here for an hour.” He went to pray, but when he returned they were asleep “from sorrow.” The inference is that their hearts were overwhelmed. They were exhausted from the stress and anxiety. When we go through trauma or stress or difficulties, we can shut down, harden our hearts, or close ourselves off.
With so many dramatic things going on in the world today—natural disasters, wars, mental health issues, crime, violence, divisiveness—our hearts, too, can become overwhelmed. I believe God wants us to pray and intercede for the Church as a whole not to harden our hearts but to be open for Him to do the work He wants to do so we can reach the soul of our communities, our nation, and a generation.
In the latter part of 2022, God began speaking to me that He was going to begin exposing things that are hidden. And now, I realize how He exposed what was happening in my own body. But he took this situation meant for harm and turned it, instead, to expose something that could have been deadly.
RIPE FOR REVIVAL
Much like today, the year 1857 was a time of poverty, crime, sickness and plagues, and rumors of civil war. The government and institutions of man did not have the answers, so Jeremiah Lanphier, a businessman and a lay minister in New York City, issued a call for daily noon-time prayer. The first day, no one showed up for the first 30 minutes; finally, four people arrived.
But that didn’t discourage Lanphier. Every day, he faithfully met and prayed with anyone who came. Within six months, 10,000 people in the city were giving up their lunchtime every single day to pray for revival in America, and the movement began to spread to other communities across the United States. And out of that, nearly two million people came to Christ.
What would happen if God began to do something like that again in 2023? What if we are already seeing the beginning of that through the outpourings at Asbury, Texas A&M, and many other locations? America had a population of 32 million people in 1857, and we have 334 million now—over 10 times more! What if, this time, tens of millions come to Christ?
Historically, great outpourings have come in the midst of difficult times. Even in 1857, as God was birthing a revival that began in New York City, the Civil War was coming, a time when brothers, cousins, and family were pitted against one another in deadly battle. And we, in our nation, are in that place right now—a place of spiritual, political, generational, and racial divisiveness. We are ripe for God to show up. And it is only a Church awakened that can bring healing and hope.
SMALL BUT MIGHTY
Charles Finney said: “Revival comes from heaven when heroic souls enter the conflict determined to win or die or, if need be, to win and die.” It doesn’t start with filling up a stadium. It starts when we go to our knees and pray with a handful of people who are hungry and desperate to see God move.
Historian William Federer wrote this:
“In 1806, five Williams College students met by the Hoosic River in Massachusetts near a grove of trees to discuss how to reach the world with the Gospel. Suddenly, a thunderstorm poured down torrential rain, and the students hid next to the haystack till it passed. While there, they prayed and committed themselves to world missions.” This became known as the Haystack Revival. Federer continues:
“The book Williamstown and Williams College by Arthur Latham Perry (1904) recorded: ‘The brevity of the shower, the strangeness of the place of refuge, and the peculiarity of their topic of prayer and conference all took hold of their imaginations and their memories.’
“That Haystack Prayer Meeting led to the founding of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, which in the next 50 years, sent out 1,250 missionaries to India, China, Hawaii, southeast Asian countries. In 150 years, it sent out 5,000 to mission fields around the world. Missionaries established schools, hospitals, and translated the Bible into indigenous languages, and even creating written languages.”
What isn’t mentioned is how these five students actually established that mission board in Bradford/Haverhill Massachusetts, the very place where Bradford College was established, initially, as a Christian college for young women. Adoniram and Ann Hasseltine Judson were the first missionaries sent out from that Mission Board when they went to Burma.
Bradford became a very liberal secular college before it closed down in the year 2000, slated to be sold for real estate development. But I could not stop believing God had a redemptive plan for that location to once again be used as a place of sending forth a youth movement around the world. I contacted Marlene Yeo, director of SC New England, along with friends and intercessors from the area: “If we want to re-dig the wells of revival and if we believe God wants to raise up another generation of young people to impact the world, then why don’t we at least pray over the property?”
So we prayed over the whole property, saying, “God, this is a place that has a sacred memory, a landmark of what You have done and what You can do again.” Shortly thereafter, a real estate deal fell through. Hobby Lobby stepped in to purchase the property and turn it over to Zion Bible College, now called North Point Bible College. Once again, young people are being raised up and sent to the nations from that very place.
NOT SUDDENLY TO GOD!
In Scripture, we find the word suddenly used 88 times. But it’s never suddenly to God!
When Pentecost happened in Acts 2, it was a suddenly to the people but God had already been planning things! He had already planned for people from all the known nations of the world to be in Jerusalem at that Kairos moment. The people were hungry for His presence. They were in the Upper Room, worshipping. And like a rushing mighty wind, the fire of God fell. And look what happened in just that one day!
God answers prayers and moves on hungry hearts, and we are beginning to see the fruit of that. At Asbury University, a handful of students fell under conviction of the Holy Spirit to stay after their weekly chapel service to repent and worship. It turned into a worship service that lasted for 16 days non-stop, drawing thousands of people from all over the world to the small town of Wilmore, Kentucky, to experience a beautiful move of God’s presence.
But this is just the beginning of what God is about to do! When His Holy Spirit moves in greater measure, it will be a suddenly moment for us, but not a suddenly to God. He can accomplish what is humanly impossible when we simply obey Him. He is the Master of Breakthroughs, the Baal Perazim.
Scripture promises that those who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness will be filled. It doesn’t matter what baggage we have. He’s just looking for people who are hungry and thirsty for Him.
The recent Jesus Revolution movie reminds us how God took another lost generation, hippies and drug addicts, and used them to shake the world and the Church. And I believe He is up to something again!
REVIVAL OF THE FATHER’S HEART
The late Fuchsia Pickett shared how the early revivals had a focus on the Holy Spirit. Then, in the 1970s, we saw the Jesus Movement. The next great move of God, she said, would be a revival of the Father heart of God.
A 2019 study by the Pew Research Center of 130 countries and territories shows the U.S. to be the most fatherless country in the world, with 23% of people under 18 living in single-parent households (we can infer those are mostly single mothers). That is three times the worldwide average of 7 percent!
But God is pouring out His Father heart upon this orphan generation the world has given up on! It’s a generation looking for identity in a time when others don’t have an answer for them. But God does. All the things they are seeking are found in Him. And when He shows up in a greater measure, it won’t just be tremors and aftershocks. It will be a movement of God that will send forth His presence all over the world!
There is hunger in this generation, but it didn’t happen overnight. Sacrifices have been made through years and years of tears and intercession. A price has been paid by those seeking the Lord for a sense of hope, vision, and direction that was not from man, but from God. And when you have those things percolating at the same time alongside a hunger level that is rising, God shows up in suddenly moments.
I’ve said for years, in many of my books (The Fatherless Generation, published in 1995; then Hope for A
Fatherless Generation; Who’s Your Daddy Now?; and most recently, In Search of a Father’s Blessing), the camels are coming! They are coming out of the desert, out of their identity crisis, out of their orphan spirits. They’re coming out of those places and into the Father’s embrace, a place of consecration before God that says, “I’m nothing without You. I need You. I need Your embrace, Your forgiveness, Your healing.” And the grace of God will cover this fatherless, orphaned generation.
“I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18 NKJV)
It doesn’t matter where we’ve come from or what we’ve been through. It doesn’t matter what bad choices we have made. God has a special place in his heart for the fatherless and the orphan, for the lonely. He wants to take the lonely and set them into families (Psalm 68:6).
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for father was “ab,” and the Israelites understood this to describe God as Father of them as a nation. It wasn’t personal.
In the New Testament, Jesus introduced us to a whole new understanding of father by using the Greek word “patera,” which was more personal:
“Our father, which art in heaven…” (Matthew 6:9)
Then it becomes even more personal with “Abba,” or Daddy. It’s a word of endearment in Aramaic.
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’” (Romans 8:15)
Just as it was hard for the Israelites to comprehend God as a personal father, a lot of people today feel the same. Several years ago, an 18-year-old girl wrote to me, saying: “Why would He give himself the title Father? What a stupid idea when ‘father’ means ‘rejection’ in my world.” Thankfully she is now reconciled to her Heavenly Father as well as her earthly father.
In the year 2000, over 400,000 people came to Washington D.C. for Lou Engel’s first gathering of The Call, and there we saw the heart of our Father reaching out to a whole generation of young people who were hungry for Him. They wanted something —someone!—to connect to.
God is still pouring out his heart, not on just Generation X, Y, Z, or Millennials. He has the heart of a father for all of His sons and daughters who are looking for His acceptance, wisdom, embrace; for His healing, direction, and deliverance.
When you are adopted into a home, you have the same privileges as those in the bloodline of that home. You carry the family name. When we are adopted into God’s family, we are sealed by our Father, who has qualified us to receive the inheritance of the Kingdom because we are no longer separated from Him (Colossians 1:12).
11th HOUR LABORERS
In Luke 15:20, when the father sees his son has come to his senses and is returning home, he runs to meet him! He hugs him, kisses him, and embraces him, saying, “Let’s have a party! My son has come home! He was lost and now he’s found!”
Those of us in the older generation need to remember how the older son, who did all the right things all those years, became jealous. This is much like the story of the early morning laborers in Matthew 20 who became jealous of the 11th hour people who received the same amount of pay for doing much less work.
When we have a spirit of jealousy or competition and we criticize any move of God that doesn’t look the way we think it should, something is wrong and it needs to be exposed—like the ATA that was exposed in my heart. We have to release those things because they come from an orphan spirit.
I’m in the older generation now but when I was younger I saw moves of God in our nation and in nations of the world that are still being lived out today. Even in our own city, I still hear people say how their lives were changed at Houston Prayer Mountain, 40 days of prayer and fasting our ministry hosted in 1996. I rejoice in those stories, but I don’t want to live there. I’m longing now as an older Samuel to see this next generation come into their destiny!
I believe the Father heart of God wants to pour out a multi-generational anointing on a prophetic generation that will prepare the way for greater revival and, ultimately, the coming of the Lord!
“And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers…” (Malachi 4:6)
Let’s not be the early morning laborers, jealous of the 11th hour workers. Let’s rejoice in what God is doing and not be critical. Let’s ask God to expose anything that is in our hearts so we can be a part of what He is doing throughout the earth!
BY DOUG STRINGER