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Last night (Oct 25), I went to the Billy Graham crusade in Oakland, California. It was incredible. From the moment I walked in the stadium, God did things to orchestrate a wonderful evening for me. For starters, He put me in the counselor's line (they have counselors line up for their assignments) next to a woman name Monique. We clicked and became instant "best friends". We had so much fun together. And we ended up with incredible seats... front row center.. directly across from the platform. And it was "youth night" with DC Talk Michael W Smith each giving a concert and there was a group of really fun loving teenagers in our area. It was so fun. At one point, a divine restlessness came over me and I got up and went outside and walked around the whole coliseum, praying and interceding. Then (about 40 minutes later) the restlessness left me and I went back in and had more fun.... right up to the moment they gave the altar call and I went up to be a counselor. It was beyond fun.... I got to counsel two teenagers from Nevada. They saved their money to fly out from Nevada to come to this concert, spending the night in a hotel in Oakland and flying home the next day. One had never accepted Christ before and came forward as a first time salvation. The other came forward to re-dedicate her life to the Lord. What a delight! God brought them all the way from Nevada to get them into a close/personal relationship with Him!!! Being a counselor at this Billy Graham crusade was an awesome experience!
They told me that about 50,000 people attended the Crusade on Saturday night and over 7,000 of them make decisions for Christ! Powerful stuff! I was so excited when I got home that I was simply beside myself. I could not get to sleep for a while and spent a long time just praying and worshipping.
I guess I expected the second day of the crusade to be just like the first. But God had other plans. The crusade did not start until 4:00 PM, but I was instructed to be there no later than 1:00 PM. I ended up in a group of counselors that I did not click with, a seating assignment I did not like and I was feeling sort of discouraged and frustrated. I actually toyed with the idea of just going home and skipping the crusade. So I got up and walked around and prayed silently, asking the Lord what I should do.
I felt decidedly unspiritual for being frustrated. After all, I wanted to have a really good attitude and a servant's heart. So why was I feeling upset? I felt like I should just go home and forget about counseling at the crusade. But I had been so sure the Lord had wanted me there before I left the house in the morning. It was sort of a confusing tangle of emotions. So, I went off to a quite place and prayed for a few minutes. I started by repenting for these bad attitudes that seemed to be creeping in. I offered the day to the Lord and invited Him to use me however He wanted to.
Almost as a response to my prayer, I got this impression that the enemy had assigned several demons to try and hamper the workers.. counselors, ushers, etc, by making them frustrated and discouraged. It was a small number of demons compared to the number of people who are working at the crusade, as the enemy does not have unlimited resources. I had this mental picture of the demons lining up, similar to how they line up counselors, waiting for their assignments. I had been one of the first counselors there, so I was an assignment for one of the demons. The picture of the demons lined up waiting for assignments (or crusade workers to try to discourage) was so absurd that I started laughing out loud.
"Lord", I prayed, "I don't know if that was my imagination running wild, or if You were really showing me something in the spirit. If the demons are really interfering this way, please come in Your power and cancel their assignments and chase them away. And if I've got one assigned to me, please get rid of it for me. Amen."
Not a particularly powerful prayer, but my attitude changed. Instead of being frustrated and critical, I decided to go make myself useful. I went to the table where the ushers get their assignments and asked if they needed any help. They said that they were too short of counselors to use any of them as ushers and that I should just concentrate on being a counselor. I felt a bit discouraged that they would not let me help. So I decided to go check out the choir area, as one of my friends was in the choir. Maybe I could run into her and fellowship for a little while.
Everyone in the choir was required to purchase this green golf-style T-shirt, and the ushers wore maroon ones. I passed the table where they were selling green shirts to any choir members who had not gotten theirs yet. There was a table next to it selling the usher shirts... Now I'm basically a cheapskate and would never dream of paying $17.50 for a T-shirt. But suddenly I felt strongly impressed to purchase one of the maroon T-shirts. I wondered if they would sell it to me since I was not an usher, but I asked anyhow. It turned out that he was more than happy to sell it to me (apparently counselors are allowed to wear the maroon shirts as well). So I asked if they had any size "medium" left. He had exactly one left, and he teasingly said that the Lord had saved it just for me -- which turned out to be a prophetic statement.
Well, I went to the woman's restroom to try on the shirt. It fit perfectly. While I was trying it on, a woman came up who was an usher and had another tag on as well... it said "On-Site Prayer". That caught my interest, because I was hoping to get together with some intercessors and go pray. I asked her if she was an intercessor. She said "yes" and asked if I was one as well. I said yes and she invited me to be a part of the on-site prayer team. I got a strong inner witness that this was what I was supposed to do. So she led me through this maze of back passages to where the prayer room was. I did not even know they had an intercession room for the crusade. If I had known and went looking for it, I would never have found it on my own. But this woman led me right to it. Two women were sitting at a desk. They had me sign in and gave me an On-Site Prayer badge. It was about 2:45 PM. They told me to come back at 3:30, as that was when corporate intercession would begin.
Since I had three quarters of an hour, I decided to walk around and pray. This powerful anointing came on me and I had a great time praying... I sort of wandered around the area near where the prayer room was located. Before I knew it, I was in the Oakland Raiders locker room. (Of course, none of the Oakland Raiders were in there at that time :) An anointing hit me and I suddenly found myself praying regarding this team, that God would bring them to know him and then change their image from a mean team to a group of men who know God and are committed to Him. I prayed in there for a while and then the Spirit led me somewhere else to pray. The Lord kept showing me things to pray.
The time just flew by and before I knew it, it was time for the corporate intercession to begin. So I went to the prayer room. As I was walking in, the Lord told me that I was only to stay in corporate intercession for an hour, and then I was to go prayer walk around the stadium. I went in. They started with some brief instructions and said that any of us who felt led to prayer walk could go do so at any time. Seemed like a confirmation to me. I did not know it then, but that prayer walk was going to be an incredible series of divine appointments....
The first 55 minutes of corporate prayer went really fast and there was a wonderful anointing on it. Then I started to feel restless again. I asked the Lord why I felt restless and He answered that I was supposed to be out prayer walking. We had broken into small groups of 4 to pray. Our group had just finished praying, but not all of the other groups were done. It seemed like the perfect time to make an unobtrusive exit.
The hallway near the prayer-room had changed. Instead of being an empty hall, there were several security people. They all had headphones and were talking to each other and there was a lot of activity. Apparently Dr Graham had just come into the stadium and was in one of the rooms off of this hallway.
One of the security people approached me and started to ask me what I was doing there, saw my "on-site prayer badge" and changed his mind. He said something to his buddy about "Oh, she's allowed... she's one of the prayer people."
'Interesting!' I thought. I sort of got the impression that God wanted me back in this hallway praying. But I was not sure exactly what to pray about. So I began walking up and down this long hallway, praying quietly in tongues. Each time I passed a security person, they would look at me, see my badge and then leave me alone. A bit of an intensity came over me... a longing for souls to know Jesus. I found the security people a bit distracting, so I closed my eyes and continued slowly walking up and down the hall, crying out to the Lord for people to come to know Him. I must have looked really weird to these security people, most of whom probably were not saved. I'm not the type who enjoys doing weird looking things or having people think I'm nuts. But the Lord was on me with an intensity to pray, so I made a conscious decision to ignore the security people and pray as I felt led. As soon as I made that decision, I did not feel uncomfortable any more. That intensity stayed on me for about 10 minutes and I just kept walking back and forth along the hallway praying.
Then the intensity left me and I felt like I was supposed to go pray by the choir. The choir were seated in a part of the stadium that was directly behind the platform. The main walkway was at the top of the section they were seated in. As I walked past the choir, there was a table with some extra choir song books laying on it. I felt impressed to pick one up and carry it with me, so I did. I went over and stood in the aisle next to the top of the soprano section. There were some ushers standing there, with the same maroon T-shirt I was wearing. So I figured it was OK to be there... even though I was not in green.
Ok Lord, what now?
Just then worship began to well up within me. I used to be in a choir many years ago. Suddenly, one of the songs we used to sing in that choir came flooding into my mind. I could hear the song in my head (words and music) as clearly as if I was listening to a tape on a walkman. I found myself silently mouthing the words to that song. Just then the choir stood up and began singing. They sang the very same song that I suddenly remembered in such intimate detail. I had been a soprano in that choir and for some reason I remembered this song as clearly as if I'd just rehearsed it. So I went ahead and sang along with the choir. (I was not actually standing in the choir section, but was in the top of the aisle just the other side of where the soprano section ended -- I was only three feet away from the nearest soprano). As we got to the end of the song, they had a different ending than I'd learned. I flipped open the songbook that I happened to be holding -- and it fell to exactly where they were in that song. Since I can more or less read music, I was able to sing the ending with them.
Boy that was fun and unexpected. I got to sing with the choir!! Wow!!! This was turning into a great day. And God had much more great stuff in store for me. I will share it with you in our next lesson.