In Australian churches, there is a well known story of the European explorer “Fernandez de Queiroz” who travelled to the Southern Region of the Pacific and declared it, “The Great South Land of the Holy Spirit.”
Some argue that “de Queiroz” never stood on Australian soil, but an island off it’s coast, saying that he was making a declaration over the whole Southern Pacific Region, from Asia and the Pacific Islands, south to the Pole, others say he was specifically talking of Australia.
Either way, the story remains, and Australia has since been referred to as the Great South Land of the Holy Spirit.
I just returned from a month of speaking at churches across Melbourne and Adelaide in Australia, and I found this declaration to be truer than ever.
It really was a month of the Holy Spirit… do I have some stories for you!
The first church I preached in, I was preaching for their youth ministry.
The youth were hungry for God, and in worship I found myself writing down a list of people who were attending that needed prayer. I know this sounds strange to some… but it was like I was downloading the list from God. I wrote everything I felt he asked me to write. You have to understand, this felt as weird to me as it probably sounds to you… but then again Jesus did say to follow Him, and He knew people’s thoughts, performed miracles, and even said we would do similar and greater things than He… (John 14:12)
So… I wrote.
- A tooth ache
- Pain in the left hip
- “The French Connection”
- Trust broken
- A crying baby
- Justice minister / truth proclaimer
- Pain in the right shoulder.
Weird right!?… I know!
Well I preached an average jet-lagged message and then we opened the altar for prayer. I read my list again. “If you’re on this list, or you’d like prayer for anything else, the ministry team would love to pray for you.”
One by one we prayed.
“My sister needs prayer for her crying baby”
“I’ve had trust broken”
“I’m going to France in a few weeks and I’m scared!” (this was before the Paris attacks and I couldn’t help but think… why would you be scared about going to France!?”
“I have pain in my left hip”
“I have pain in my right shoulder”
“I have a burden for justice”
But no tooth ache.
That is until we were in the prayer ministry team debrief hours later. “Did anyone pray for a tooth ache?” I asked. The silence was long and awkward… until the worship leader piped up and said, “I’ve had a terrible tooth ache.”
Well we all sat around and laughed (me out of a mixture of relief and awe), others were just in awe of God and the way He works, I’d say.
We prayed and worshipped for hours that night
The following Sunday the same thing happened… I got a list… and I got one every church I went to from there on out… and so many people were healed!
To name just a few…
- A stubborn neck… HEALED! Praise God!
- Pain in the left lower back… HEALED! Praise God!
- Pain in the left ankle… HEALED! Praise God!
- Something on the left lower lip… it turned out a lady had a growth on her left lower lip and it went down to less than half it’s size while she was prayed for! Praise God!
I know what you could be thinking. This sounds crazy, so weird…! Yet Jesus put spit enhanced mud in eyes and had people wash in rivers and more to get healed… what I was doing was fairly tame in comparison!
Some of you might be saying… these lists are pretty vague, anyone in a room of 100 or so could have had these…
Well, after the youth ministry, my friend Doug encouraged me to ask God for more specific lists, so I did. By the end of the month I was calling out people’s names (that I didn’t even know were in the room or represented in the room). I once called out a male name that I knew wasn’t in the room (less than 50 in the room and I knew all the males’ names… and a woman burst in to tears because I’d named her husband who she was just praying for!)
One girl who I called out by name, when she came forward for prayer, I knew the specific medical condition she had, without her telling me! She looked to the lady next to her and said, “how does he know!?”
I was thinking to myself… “How do I know?!?” (All glory to God!)
“The Great South Land of the Holy Spirit” was quickly becoming “The Great School of the Holy Spirit” for me. I’ve had experiences like this before, but I was truly operating on a different level for this month in Australia. I felt like I was on an episode of “The Apprentice” and God was my boss. I was in over my head, but it was such a great adventure!
So… why do I tell these stories, why do I write this blog…
For two reasons.
- To encourage you that God is very much alive and active. Keep looking to God. He knows you, He made you, and He cares so much about you. The Holy Spirit didn’t dry up after Pentecost… there is more of Him for you.
- To encourage you that God can do anything through you. If it’s His will and you align yourself to Him and seek His will, you could find God doing amazing things in and through your life. I honestly felt so inadequate and still do, for the way God used me. In every church we ministered in, we spent over two hours praying with people and seeing miracles. You have to understand, it wasn’t because of my preaching (I’m not that good!), and it wasn’t because of my might or power (I’m pretty average there too)… it was because of how great God is! In fact I shared with the youth ministry that I felt so weak the night before preaching to them, I had such a challenging morning the day that I was to preach for them, yet God showed up because He is good. Part of 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “…He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…” (NIV). You very well may not be able… but God is!
For Australia. For America. For the nations of the world.
God is alive and active.
God can do anything through you.
I pray you would continue to lean in to God, and learn more from and about the Lord. I’d love to hear what you’ve been learning, why don’t you comment below?
Lot’s of love,