James 2:5- “Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?”
It’s been nearly two weeks since I returned from Nigeria, where I spent 3 weeks preaching the gospel to tens of thousands of people, seeing thousands of decisions for Jesus.
It was truly one of the most astounding 3 weeks of my life. When some people picture heaven on earth they picture the sun setting over the beach while they sip on an ice cold drink, I picture people running forward to receive the Lord Jesus as their Saviour. Nigeria was heaven on earth for me.
But it wasn’t just the salvations that made my heart sing, or the incredible miracles that blew me away, it was another thing that I saw and experienced. It was in a word, “hunger”.
Hunger for God.
Hunger for an encounter with the Lord.
Hunger for life transformation.
Hunger for the power and presence of Jesus.
It was a hunger I saw across Nigeria, but it was also a hunger I experienced within myself.
When you’re giving out so much, you have to stay hungry and dependent on the Lord yourself. When people are so hungry to receive what you have to give away, you have to stay filled yourself so that you have something to offer!
Nigeria made me hungry for more of Him because Nigeria was “oh so hungry” for Him!
Here’s three examples of hunger I saw in Nigeria and how we in the West can learn from our spiritual siblings in Nigeria.
1. Sacrifice for a touch from heaven. While I was in Nigeria I witnessed some of the most sacrificial acts so that these people could encounter heaven. One young man, as soon as he heard we were in the city of Ibadan, travelled over 8 hours, riding on the backs of trucks to get to the city to receive a touch from God. I watched during the Great Gospel Crusade (a 4 day outdoor Gospel event), as hundreds of thousands stood in the pouring rain and the blistering sun, just to hear the gospel preached and receive prayer. People literally walked to the crusade ground for hours and then stood for many hours more to then walk hours home, all to encounter the Lord and get what they could from this great meeting.
The West could learn the value of sacrifice for a touch from God. When it rains we cancel outdoor meetings, when it’s too hot we say, “let’s just meet next week”. If the service goes for more than two hours we start to few inconvenienced and God only knows anything more than a half hour drive to church and it better be worth it! I long to see revival in the West, but we won’t see it if we aren’t willing to let us cost us everything. What I saw in Nigeria was absolutely stunning, because it was bathed in sacrifice.
2. Humility for a touch from heaven. One day we were preaching in kids crusades, when we approached a school to see if they would have us preach. The Principal quickly informed us that her school was a Muslim school, yet she was a Christian! “I can’t have you preach here but would you please bless me and the staff!” I watched as this lady of probably twice my age knelt down with tears in her eyes and asked me to pray for her. We’d never met, all she knew of me was that I was an Evangelist and that is all she needed, she would not let a touch of heaven pass her by!
What if we honoured others and the gifts on their life in the West like my dear sister honoured me? God touched her life powerfully that day and He would touch others lives too if only we would humble ourselves! We could learn the value of this sort of humility.
3. Great Faith for a touch from heaven. Often in Scripture we see Jesus move in response to the great faith of those around Him. Be it the Centurion or the woman with the issue of blood or the paralytic lowered through the roof. I saw this again and again in Nigeria. We would be getting ready to leave a suburb or region and people would come out of their houses and say, “You can not leave you must preach here too!” On one occasion I had a people mobbing me placing my hand in their heads so that they too would receive prayer. This was a bold faith that demanded a blessing. One lady said very loudly, “You’re not leaving my village until you bless me!”
We need more of this in the West. “I’m not going home until the Lord moves! I’m not leaving my prayer closet until I’ve encountered King JESUS!”
I’ve honestly returned to the West in some sort of a numb daze. I long to see what I saw in Nigeria every day! No one is crying out for prayer in Walmart and Sunday’s church lasted for just over an hour! I’ve come to this conclusion, I can’t force my Western world to grow in hunger, but I can cultivate that hunger in me!
Will you join me? How can you get hungry for more of Him? How can you embrace sacrifice, humility and faith, for a richer encounter with King Jesus?
Let’s keep growing together,