Well, we're seeing the finish line in this move. The last days have been long, tiring ones of packing. Who knew one small house could hold so much?
Carrying on with this week's blogging rehash, I've been putting up old posts which, according to Sitemeter, garner the most hits. Today we've come to number one -- and it's really no contest. It is the testimony of Pastor Sunday Adelaja, which I first posted on September 16, 2005 - "How Sunday Adelaja learned to pray."
As I’ve mentioned recently, Pastor Sunday Adelaja was a guest speaker at our church last Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
For those unfamiliar with him, he pastors the biggest church in Ukraine, 20,000+ members, called the Embassy of God. He and his church members were prominent in Ukraine’s Orange Revolution in late 2004, early 2005.
As someone who yearns to see a turnaround in my country Canada, I listened to his recounting of what happened in Ukraine with a lot of interest. If I learned anything, it was that you have to pay a price.
The changes in Ukraine have a history. They were birthed in much prayer. In one message, Pastor Sunday told us how he spends one week out of every four in isolation, fasting and praying. This is to intercede for the country, the church and to get God’s direction and strategy.
The Embassy of God sponsors a spring and a fall festival each year. These are ten to twelve-day stretches when up to 1000 people (from his church and from all over Europe – countries from the former Soviet Union, Holland, Germany etc.) will gather. There they will spend the entire time in fasting and prayer. They will pray up to ten hours at a stretch.
On Tuesday night, Pastor Sunday told us the story of how he learned to pray. (These are the exact words from his message – which I transcribed [see, I knew my medical transcription experience would prove valuable for some kingdom purpose!]).
In the words of Sunday Adelaja:
Now, anywhere you see a visitation, a genuine visitation, somebody has been found who stood in the gap. That’s why I said, we prayed, not just some sweety-sweety prayer. We must learn to pray the kind of prayer that James was talking about, that, you know, the fervent prayer of the righteous cannot but avail much. It must bring results. It must produce the rain of righteousness.
In our church, you know, in Ukraine, when I went to the Ukraine in 1993, the first time when I went to visit, I was coming from Belarus. I started in Belarus. And when I entered Ukraine, where I am today, I felt like there was a dark cloud over the whole city, over the country. And I would say, "My, are there no churches in this city? Why is it so bad?" I could feel the heaviness. Maybe some people went to Russia in the ‘90s. In the early ‘90s. You could see the cloud. It was even worse than Belarus at that point.
Then I was walking the streets and I was praying, "Oh God, raise up men to pray this thing through." And I never knew a year later, God was going to send me there. So when God sent me there, I knew the first thing I needed to do was to pray through.
Now God had taught me to pray through while I was a student, just years before then, during communism. I was a student. There was no church. We couldn’t have any relations with the underground church so we were just isolated on the campus, the student campus. And at the point when I knew I was giving up, I was defeated, I couldn’t hold on any longer, communism was shrinking me and brothers and sisters who came as believers were all backsliding. You know, people were being sent to the psychiatric hospital, people were being sent to mental hospitals because they were Christians and others were leaving the country, and so when it was so difficult, there was another believer. We made a covenant and we said, "We are going to meet every day. No matter what we do. No matter where we go. No matter what happens. We are going to meet every day until God does something or heaven opens."
So we made a covenant with ourselves to meet together, not to talk, not to preach. Not to do anything else. Just to intercede and pray together for two hours minimum. Minimum from two, three, four.
That was the most difficult one year in my whole life. I could pray before then for two hours, but to do it every day? Everything fought it. My professors would ask me to come to class. I was a student, then, in the university. My classmates would come and you couldn’t pray openly. You were being watched. You were being monitored. To find a place of isolation – oh yeah, my God, we needed to go through hell just to keep that covenant. But we did.
When it was one year, after we were praying two hours every single day, heaven broke loose. It was like we were no more under communism. The Spirit of God descended on us like mad. People began to get saved through us. God broke the chains and led us supernaturally to the believers, to the Russian believers in the underground church. We got a breakthrough. We began to fellowship together, preach together.
That was how my ministry began in 1991. The Holy Ghost began to appear. When I woke up in the morning, I would lie on my bed, cover myself and I just prayed one hour, straight in tongues, no English, no Russian, just wake up, and... (here he began praying in tongues to demonstrate and in the next 20 minutes or so, a fire of prayer swept through the room).
The links for audio files to Tuesday evening message and the other three sessions are 'here.' (Update July 2007: the link that was above no longer works and has been removed. Please visit the Embassy of God website to hear Pastor Adelaja's messages, though not this one, "Preaching and Teaching" - left sidebar) The Tuesday message is long though, 1 hour and 45 minutes. And be warned. The approximately 20 minutes of prayer in tongues is there (it may offend some), along with after it, an explanation by Pr. Sunday of what actually happens in their prayer sessions and how they switch from praying in the Spirit, to praying with understanding, to applying and praying Scripture.