In the 1970s I invited the pastors with whom I worked in churches across the UK to gather with me for some days of prayer and fasting. This was before the title Newfrontiers was impressed upon us. We decided to meet to pray and fast three times a year.
About 30 guys gathered and we had an extraordinarily good time in the presence of God. We have maintained that practice now for three decades, never missing what has turned out to be something of the heart of our Newfrontiers leadership fellowship here in the UK.
Last week we gathered 750 for our days of prayer and fasting. The numbers have swelled consistently over the years and it has become one of the high spots of our opportunities for fellowship. Once again, the presence of God was almost overwhelming in its intensity and it was great not only to intercede for the nation and nations outside of the UK but also to know the impact of God’s powerful presence with us.
Princess Diana’s death
In the spring of 1997, Ginny Burgin, a lady in our ranks with a remarkable prophetic gift, saw a vision of the towns of this nation filled with flowers and received a prophetic revelation that God was going to be touching our nation in a remarkable way in the days ahead. She did not fully understand what it meant but was quite clear that our cities would feel some huge emotional impact resulting in flowers being placed in the cities.
Ten years on we still remember the death of Princess Diana and the extraordinary thing that took place in the UK during those remarkable days. Wendy and I were in the USA on August 31st 1997 when the news came of Princess Diana’s car crash. From that time on we watched what was happening in the UK through the eyes of American television. All the anchormen of the leading channels – ABC, CBN, CNN – moved to London and the eyes of the world were on the UK as flowers filled the cities and a strange mourning came upon the people. We watched the extraordinary events of the funeral through the eyes of American television and noticed how people looked on with amazement.
Last week when we gathered at our prayer and fasting, once again God spoke to us prophetically. The day was coming when the cities of our nation would be once again impacted. Ginny, who was present at our prayer and fasting days, saw those days again in vision, watching the crowds throwing flowers at the procession as cars moved slowly through London. Suddenly the vision changed and became a mixture of the funeral procession suddenly contrasted with the coming of Jesus on the young donkey into Jerusalem with the crowds laying the palm branches before Him.
Pictorial fragments were being given to her of people being interviewed on television. These were not memories summed up but what she could literally see in her vision last week, namely of people being interviewed and saying such things as, ‘I don’t understand why I feel as I do,’ and, ‘I feel as though I knew her personally in some way though I never met her.’
Suddenly people were saying such things about the Lord Jesus himself – strangely and deeply moved no longer about Diana but about the Lord Jesus in His coming.
The presence of God in prayer was wonderful and faith was again undergirded that God will come in power in our nation and that He is preparing the way. It is quite remarkable that Princess Diana’s death is still on the front pages of our newspapers and those extraordinary days are still in our memories.
Days of shaking
Some felt that there was going to be an immediate outbreak of the Spirit ten years ago when these events took place and the prophecy was received, but I am thoroughly persuaded that God’s timetable is securely in His hand and also expect Him to move in increasing power in our nation. I live in hope of the outbreak of the presence of God in the UK as a result of which many will be asking about Jesus. Tears will be shed. People will feel they strangely always knew Him though they have never met Him. Some modern equivalent of how people felt when they heard the preaching of George Whitefield and John Wesley will again come to our nation.
The prophecy that we received included the promise that there would also come a great shaking in the land so that things that are unshakeable will remain against the backdrop of difficulties. The imagery was very reminiscent of the days of Joseph when years of blessing were followed by years of difficulty, and in those difficult years Joseph fed the hungry world.
Having just returned from Zimbabwe, where the churches I saw are shining bright against the backdrop of chaos, the imagery was very vivid to me. May God help us as we press on amidst growing blessing, with growing numbers being saved and it seems more and more very large buildings being purchased, people being saved and added. Let’s believe God for years of blessing. Let’s put down our roots deep. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus. Let’s shine brightly against the backdrop of the terrible fragmentation that’s all around. And let’s believe for the coming of the Lord Jesus in revival blessing.