In his book, The Sense of His Presence (Word Books, 1988 pp. 171-174), Dr. David Mains shares a vivid and stirring description of how he envisions a movement of spiritual awakening in North America. When the book was originally published, Dr. Mains was the radio host of “Chapel of the Air.” This piece continues to strongly encourage my spirit regarding what still could be. Enjoy! -TW
A Vision of What Could Be
At my office at The Chapel of the Air, there’s a large National Geographic map stretched across the top of my desk under the protective glass. It includes most of Canada, all the United States, and the top portion of Mexico. I’ve become familiar with it because I do so much work at that desk.
When I work at home, my small study is in the very center of our house. The room is only seven by eleven feet, but I like it. The best feature is that, by closing the study door, I can shut myself off from the demands of my more immediate world and just be alone there with the Lord. Everyone should have such a room—a prayer room, a family chapel.
Sometimes in the study at home when I close my eyes in prayer, the outline of the map from the office desk returns to mind. Then it is as though, when I kneel to pray, I’m viewing all of North America, and my normal concern is intensified for this massive geographical area into which we broadcast each day of the week but Sunday.
Often I visualize dark, angry clouds hovering over much of our continent. Even so, I am able to discern what appear to be tiny fires in various places. Unfortunately there aren’t many, and they’re widely separated. While some barely flicker, the last embers of a once-bright blaze, others still burn with great constancy. But the longer I pray, the more tiny flashes I’m able to find. This is not unlike observing the heavens at night; the longer one looks, the greater the number of stars which van be seen.
In my vision of this strategic part of earth, I’m aware that these bright lights are churches where the life of Christ is manifested. “But can’t there be more?” my heart whispers. Those threatening clouds will extinguish some of the weaker fires.
As if in response to my prayers, some flames actually leap up and burn more brightly—small in number, yes, but intense and pure. Alas, the adverse elements begin to move in concentration against them. Watching this dark power forming and knowing what is soon to be unleashed, I become discouraged. “Why even pray? These burning testimonies haven’t a chance.”
But wait! Beneath the onslaught of foul winds, sparks now dance out from the flames under attack. Here now, over there again, and then in new places they spring up. Defiantly the little fires seem to shout to the storms, “All your blustering will be counterproductive, utterly self-defeating, only fanning holy flames.”
This imaginative development encourages my intercession. “More fires,” I pray. “God, if we just had more fires—hundreds, thousands of them, even tens of thousands. With more fires, the possibility for holy flame in these lands becomes reachable.” I strategize: “There need to be ignition points everywhere, each catching and spreading and feeding one another, so many there won’t be enough clouds and contrary winds or hostile rains to extinguish all the blazing lights.”
Then, as if in response to my thought, which hardly takes long enough to be called a prayer, numbers of areas blaze brighter—more starlike points flame, north and south, east and west—further increasing my faith. “Look, it’s happening, Lord!” I cry. “Please keep the miracle alive.”
Come and pray with me.” I call in my prayers to unseen friends—brothers and sisters. I don’t know many of them by name, but I do know our hearts and minds are as one. “Do you see what I’m seeing?”
In my spirit I hear their voices join with mine; soon their intercession can be observed. For the first time a concentration of flames combines with another nearby. The action is dramatic, lighting the area with intense heat. Cheers unite our prayer vigil. All of us are caught up with the intense work of intercession, and in some strange way we know that what’s happening is fueled by a force totally beyond us.
I attempt to identify cities which might be involved. Denver. Minneapolis. Toronto. Isn’t that Baltimore? This must be Phoenix down here. Oh, if only a true phoenix is alight—a flaming new spiritual life rising out of earlier ashes.
The warfare intensifies. A great hostile wind now whips and blows against an area representing several counties, and the strong fires burning there dim. But when the contrary force has spent itself, the incendiary fellowship flares again. Before long it is brighter than before and noticeably expanded.
With this a turning point has been reached, a key defeat wielded against the haters of holy fire. And suddenly, as tough a signal has been flashed, there is a dramatic acceleration of flame. New burning torches appear, brighter ones, everywhere on the continent—Canada, most of the States, even areas of Mexico.
I gasp, “Lord, another holy conflagration that won’t burn out for years to come. O may it be so!”
The time is crucial. To insure victory, I and my prayer partners must stay at our prayer posts. “Before too long,” I tell God, “it should all catch. It’s going to be impossible to stop what’s happening. Come now, you foul winds, blow some more! You only fan our flames!” And then—
Well, the phone rings. Or someone opens the study door and says, “Dad, did you remember I need a ride to my lesson?” Or I hear, “Sweetheart, can you please feed the dog tonight? I did it yesterday.” – And I’m back, back into the more immediate of the two worlds in which I live.
But I don’t forget. I don’t ever forget what I saw when my eyes were closed and I knelt over North America in my prayers. I cannot forget this vision of what still could be.
It has been observed that every great movement of God has been preceded by a movement of prayer. I encourage you to join with other brothers and sisters in Christ and begin to faithfully invite God to pour out his Spirit across our nation in a movement of spiritual awakening. -TW