If you hadn’t caught my twitter feed you probably didn’t know that I spent Friday night (New Year’s Eve) and Saturday Morning with my friends from Full Grace Ministries as they held their over night prayer meeting.
If you’ve never been to Africa, let me explain the idea of an “over night prayer meeting.” First of all, while there is prayer that goes on, it is not just a prayer meeting. When I’ve been in Africa in the past, a common question they ask is “Where do you pray from?” What they mean is, “Where does your church gather and have their meetings at?” So an African over night prayer meeting is more like an extended church meeting that goes through the night. My first over night was in Uganda. The rest I’ve participated in here in America with Full Grace Ministries.
My job, as I understand it from the Lord, is to continue to encourage my African friends who gather that they have something to offer us in America. They carry a deposit of Jesus that we cannot understand as Western Americans apart from their help. So, I join them as often as I can and when the Lord allows, I encourage them to become everything Jesus designed them to be.
That said, here is my take on what happened on Friday night:
What I Learned
This particular night I was able to hear a number of speakers who where truly African in their message and their mindset. One of the things that I noticed about these speakers was that their version of Christianity is a very “now-centered” Christianity. They do not wait for God to move some time in the future. They believe God is a God who acts now.
How God Met Me
I knew that there was the potential for me to end up addressing the gathering. I was also somewhat nervous after hearing the first two speakers. They were definitely fiery and it was obvious that their style of preaching was more what the folks gathered there were used to. I even leaned over to my buddy Sean (who has joined me for previous over night prayer meetings) and said “Now I understand why everyone is so quiet whenever I talk.”
But God met me, ironically, during the intermission. John, a new friend of mine, came up to me and introduced himself. He went on to tell me how last year when I spoke, he said to himself, “This man is quiet but the Lord is with him,” and how excited he was that I was back. It was encouraging to hear that my friend could hear the Lord even without me changing my speaking style. It definitely gave me courage when it was my turn to speak.
What God is Doing
One of the things I was privileged to share with Full Grace Ministries was that God has placed them very strategically where they are. They carry a genuine prophetic African anointing that we Americans know very little about. I believe the Lord desires to use them as messengers and missionaries to a declining American church and an increasingly secular culture. We need the spiritual DNA that they carry and I strongly sensed the Holy Spirit empowering them to be a voice to us that night.
I’m thankful for everything the Lord did. I believe that what happened will be a picture of what you can expect to see increasingly in the years ahead: Americans receiving from the Lord things our African brothers walk in, while we get to come alongside and encourage them as well. The result will be a stronger church in America, empowered by the Spirit to be a voice and to walk in the supernatural power of Jesus.