Los Angeles 1906 (Azusa)

 At the beginning of the 20th century an anti-supernatural bias began to grip the higher institutions of education. The historical validity and the supernatural events of the Bible were being aggressively challenged in the West, while at the same time the Holy Spirit was pouring through believers of far, as revival hit the provinces of northern and southern China, Northern Korea, the country of Wales and northern India. In 1906 president Roosevelt visited Panama, the great San Francisco earthquake occurred and long distanced radio was invented. 1906 was also the same year that the Lord’s presence broke loose in Los Angeles. It all began when William Seymour, a Baptist and a son of formal slaves Simon and Phyllis Seymour, had come to LA to set up a base of prayer. Seymour preached the gospel but also placed priorities on the ability of Holy Spirit. Such emphases drew criticism from some within the religious world but to personal acquaintances Seymour was known as a man of prayer who loved Jesus. In the tradition of slaves who prayed secretly under the cover of physical objects for fear of angry taskmasters, Seymour was the one to lock out the world completely with his head in an apple barrel or between two crates for hours at a time until he could quote-unquote "pray- through". From the bottom of his soul he would cry out to the Lord and the Lord would always answer. So hungry for the Word of God was Seymour that he often sat outside Bible College classes which would not allow him to come inside because of the Jim Crow laws. So Seymour sat at the door with the lecturers’ permission he listened, while holding on to every word which was spoken. After an intense month of seeking the Lord, on 9 April, Seymour and a few friends found themselves in an encounter with the Holy Spirit. Heaven opened up over 214 Bonnie Brae Street and neighbors began to join in prayer. The crowds grew so quickly that the prayer meeting was moved to an old abandoned African Methodist Episcopal church building on Azusa Street which it previously been used as a stabile. What happened there would change the course of church history as the manifest presence of the Lord exploded onto the scene with tens of thousands coming from around Los Angeles. A major revival had not occurred in the United States since the Pre-Civil War 1858 Awakening which was sparked by praying African American slaves in Charleston, South Carolina. The Azusa street event featured some of the same anointed evangelism, supernatural miracles and strong expressions of emotion that occurred in past revivals like the Cane Ridge revival in Kentucky during the second great awakening of the 18th century. A revival which primarily involved Presbyterians, Methodists and Baptists. But this event took ground where none had done before, as it was the first revival in history to renounce and rid the moment of racism. African, European, Asian and Latino believers, emigrants and American-born worshipped corporately together as the manifest presence of the Lord created a non-segregated situation. Praises of God filled the air and their hearts cried out for the lost. Not since the early days of the church had there been such a prominent blow to the walls of racial division within the fellowship of God’s people which historians cite as a major explanation of the definitive supernatural manifestation that is largely connected with the Azusa street revival. That definitive characteristic was the praying and praising of participants in various known and unknown languages. Such an event was recorded in Acts when some mocked and many others marveled at the uneducated Galileans praising God in languages that they could not possibly know. "Christianity Today" in describing the Azusa street revival says, "Though some came to mock and scorn, many others heard messages in non-earthly languages uttered by uneducated blacks and whites. They convinced them of the reality of the revival." As a result even the upper white class of Los Angelis came to hear the gospel preached with power. More doctors and lawyers and politicians were coming to know the Lord and now the growing crowds were engulfing the entire neighborhood. Services had to be held three times a day, seven days a week for years. An angry response ensued from the critics within the established secular religious worlds, as was the case in past revival history the newspapers were not quick to jump on board to what was going on. Editorial cartoonists and established newspapers publicly ridiculed the revival for, quote, "intermingling of the races", for "crying all day to the night" and for "repeatedly singing the same worship songs again and again". Still the message of the cross was preached with power and the crowds repented of sin. All of the Los Angelis fellowships began to break out praying and interceding for the lost. Christians who heard of the Lord dealings came in droves from across America and returned to their communities praying and on fire for the Lord. At the same time the entertainment film industry set up shop in Los Angeles when later the same year the very first movie studio was built right on the face of the revival. Underway was a powerful rival which would aggressively replace a life of prayer in American homes with visual entertainment for the next 100 years. In a close decision, the entertainment industry had barely opted to settle on the hills of los Angelis over a close runaround the hills of Hamburg, South Carolina now called North Augusta. The charlatans came to in order to the profit from the revival but by the time they began to arrive, the Lord’s presence had already spread like wild fire across the nation with tens of thousands of individual prayer revivals touching the lives of millions. The various groups of people from every race, background and denomination would be directly or indirectly effected by this one revival is estimated to be a five hundred million people. Five hundred million who have received Jesus as Lord! Which is why "Christianity Today "labels William Seymour for his life of prayer as one of the most 10 influential Christians of the 20thcentury alongside Billy Graham, Mother Teresa and C.S. Lewis. The revival continued on for years with the presence of the Lord changing the hearts of men and women from every background and bringing believers into a place of unity that had never been seen before. Much of it can be directly traced to the burden placed by the Holy Spirit on one son of African American slaves who set his face to seek the heart of haven and settle for nothing less than an encounter with Love Himself.

...know them that labour among you... 1 Thessalonians 5:12 * ...pray for one another... James 5:6 * ...the eye cannot say to the hand I have no need of thee... 1 Corinthians 12:21 * ...there is one Body and one Spirit... Ephesians 4:4 * ...the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth... Ephesians 4:16 * ...I pray that they may be one with us so that the world will believe...John 17:21 * ...how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity...Psalm 133:1 "The purpose of life is companionship." *** "Worship is that form of companionship where we love on Him in response to His great love for us." *** "The most powerful drive in the human heart is the desire for companionship." *** "We inherited this drive from the One we were patterned after." *** "The difference between manipulation and leadership is motive." *** "Motive is purified and guided in the presence of God: Prayer." *** "Pride is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency, an attitude of self-entitlement and a motive for self-glorification." *** "Pride starts subtly and then turns into the aggressive enemy of real companionship" *** "The Cross and the presence of God brings fellowship (heart to heart), but the world offers only socializing (facade to facade)." *** "Every relationship has a foundation. The pride of public ministry has been a foundation for too many. At some point it consumes" *** "There is a difference between worshipping the idea that we worship God and actually worshipping God." *** "Why do we want to see prayer back in the schools, when it is no longer in our homes or churches?" *** "Corporate prayer around the Throne must return the center of church life if there is to be any hope for the masses." *** "Corporate prayer produces effective preaching, not preaching produces corporate prayer." *** "If we are so in the know, why do we no longer gather together to seek God, navigate through our haughty hearts to get a glimpse of God's heart and then pray in the lost?" *** "Christianity is not an enterprise, venture for self-discovery or political or civic organization. It is a Blood-bought fellowship of prayer focused on One." *** "Prayer-based friendships are the only ones that last." *** "Prayer-bathed friendships are not incidental to ministry, they are foundational." *** "Prayer is not a ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is the ministry" *** "It's one thing to tell somebody what we believe about Jesus, it's quite another to be able to introduce someone to our Best Friend." *** "We are more like Martha than Mary; More like Christian activists, than people of prayer." *** "We need unity in humility found at the foot of the Cross, not prideful uniformity that says: 'Look at us doing God's work'" "There has got to be a practical, excecutable strategy in place for us to dethrone the ministry of Hollywood in our homes and bring families and communities together via corporate prayer inspired by the Spirit. Technology is not the enemy; Our disobedient laziness is the enemy." ***