William Seymour and the Azusa Street Revival
On April 9th, 1906, in a small home in Los Angeles, California, a handful of African Americans were fasting and praying together for a greater measure of God’s Spirit to be poured out upon His people. The meetings were led by William Seymour, a 36-year-old preacher who was born to former slaves. He lived in a world still grossly constrained by racism and segregation. He dwelled among a people often terrorized by violence and lynchings. But on that April evening, 41 years to the day that the Civil War ended, Seymour and his friends received just what they were longing for. The fires of a fresh Pentecost fell upon them with such power and demonstrations of God’s glory that it could not be contained.
In the days that followed, word spread quickly and people of every race and economic background flocked to their meetings. They had to be moved to a larger room in an old warehouse on Azusa Street to accommodate the day and night crowds. Extraordinary miracles became commonplace as lives and bodies were dramatically transformed in the Shekinah glory of God’s presence.
Perhaps the greatest miracle of all was the unity of the brethren that was experienced by those that gathered. Intercessor Frank Bartleman said of those times, “The color line was washed away in the Blood.”
When acts such as these are displayed in the earth, we can look to the God who is, who was, and who is to come to do it again. This hope was powerfully emphasized through a dream that Chris Berglund received this past week.
In the dream, our team joined others around the nation in travail and honor that birthed 100 modern-day Seymours. They were young men and women of color, in their 20s and 30s, who came out of the riots to preach the Gospel. These “called out ones” helped to propel the Third Great Awakening in America and were the firstfruits of not only black, but all ethnic groups who would empty their bags of offense and become love made manifest.
As they did, many of us began to see visions of parks, streets and stadiums filled with true worship and a purity in devotion and intercession that we had only dreamed of. No prayer seemed too small or too big. God was releasing His heart into the fathers and mothers of the land who put aside fear and doubt. In the dream, hope was revived and faith filled their vision as they began to believe this was an hour of visitation for their children and their children’s children.
Then, in the dream, a voice declared: “Out of this chaos God is planting His heart and giving His voice to a new breed who see through His eyes and are moved through His heart. Come up higher. Come up higher and SEE. Watch your tongue, put a guard on your heart and see His planted promises with eyes of faith and hearts filled with overflowing expectation. See…see…see! What do you see? Giants impossible to overcome or a Promised Land waiting for inheritors?”
Wholly Devoted Men and Women
We have been struck by this dream and its clarion call to see more than the riots, fear and chaos that are filling our streets. We desperately need civil change and so much more, but it will not come on its own. John Wesley, a theologian and preacher in the First Great Awakening, once said, “Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of Hell and set up the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.”
It’s time to lift our eyes and raise our expectations for one of the most glorious moves of the Spirit that the world has seen this side of Pentecost. In like manner, it will take wholly devoted men and women, forged in the fires of consecration and freed from offense and guile, to carry the ark of His presence into our cities and towns. We believe we may be seeing a preview of this on the streets of Minneapolis right now, where our friend Jonathan Tremaine Thomas, founder of Civil Righteousness, along with many from YWAM, Circuit Riders and other ministries are holding daily services at the site of George Floyd’s death.
Now, may God grant us a spirit of travail until we see the birthing of 100 Seymours coming out of this womb of trouble and breaking open the heavens for a revival that surpasses anything we’ve known.
The Briefing via TheCall