Gathering rain clouds: the running currents of revival
Pastor Emmanuel Eze reflects on South-East Prayer Mission’s recent joint mission weeks with Korean prayer missionaries
When the clouds gather, rain is inevitably expected. Where a stream runs, currents are inevitably present. When God’s people gather and unite, the blessings of revival are sure and certain. While these statements are self-evident and intrinsically true, they don't always seem to be so: the clouds can gather and rain doesn't seem to fall, the streams can run, but we don't always see the currents, God’s people can gather and nothing seems to be happening.
As a regional representative of the National Day of Prayer and Worship (NDOPW), I attended the launch of the Joining the Dots 2014 tour at the Houses of Parliament in February 2014. At the launch, Pastor Jonathan Oloyede announced that 1,000 South Korean missionaries were coming to the UK. At the end of the evening, he brought me and the facilitator of the Korean UK Mission, Pastor Namjin Kim, together, and somewhat prophetically declared: “You both need to connect”. That was the moment when I saw the rain behind the clouds and the powerful currents underneath the waters.
South-East Prayer Mission (SEPM), facilitated by Cross+Borough Initiative and driven by many churches across the south east region, is inspired by NDOPW and functions as a dot-joining initiative. Unity is our primary focus, with our key slogan: “United we are… praying for our nation and for revival.” Since that meeting in February 2014, South-East Prayer Mission has helped facilitate and host three Korean prayer missions – usually as part of our week of mission. These have involved three key elements: outreach and prayer walks, joint prayer and worship services (South-East Churches United) and overnight prayer and vigils.
We have seen an increasing number of churches coming to understand that unity is not a programme or an event, where we gather for a show and then scatter again, but an ongoing process of regular, consistent working together, praying together and fellowshipping together as one family under God.
The Korean prayer missionaries were involved in praying over Bromley High Street and blessing the whole borough. That same week, the Healing on the Streets team on Bromley High Street had one of the most fruitful times they've ever seen, with people consistently open, ready to receive prayer and have Jesus-centred conversations. Muslims, Hindus and seekers were all keen to be prayed for and hear about Jesus, and one lady joyfully received the Holy Spirit. The team really felt that the spiritual atmosphere over the high street was completely open that day, following the prayers of the Korean missionaries and local churches.
At the very heart of the unity work of South-East Prayer Mission and the Cross+Borough Initiative is Zephaniah 3:9-13, which assures us that God is in charge, at the centre and will gather His people from beyond the Ethiopian rivers to unite them. He has promised to turn things around and to send revival. Across the nations, God’s people appear to be subconsciously and yet spontaneously responding to this gathering. Yet, with all the gatherings, it can seem that nothing is happening. And many of us can wonder why.
Responding to this biblical imagery of God gathering His people from beyond the Ethiopian River, South-East Prayer Mission recently held a prayer walk along the River Ravensbourne; right from where it takes its head in Keston, Kent.
As we stood and prayed at the river head the water was so still – not even a single ripple. And I wondered if that was really the river head. However, as we continued to pray and circle the head, I lifted my gaze and I saw a vast expanse of water; one that runs all the way across the south east. In much the same way, we have learnt that even when we don't – or can’t – see, something is happening nonetheless. Even if we don’t see or understand the process, we will see, feel and know the impact – the vision will speak for itself.
The impact of the Korean missionaries on the UK Church, and the results of all our efforts at unity, may not be seen or known, and even what is seen and known may be too difficult to articulate in words. But may we be inspired and encouraged by these testimonies that came out of our recent South-East Prayer Mission week with the South Korean prayer missionaries.