I am firm believer in God (obviously!). I am also a firm believer that He is interventional, and takes a daily and individual interest in us (supremely shown through Jesus of course).
On the back of those beliefs, I further believe that God moves in ‘waves’. Almost like 90% of the time we just have to get on with life and the Great Commission, but every now and then He steps in to shake things up a bit, and give us a boost. No, not even that. It’s more like surfing. Every now and then a big or special wave comes along, which is an invitation to paddle out and start surfing. Each wave is different, but it’s always thrilling and exciting, and gets things moving.
To maintain the surfing analogy, I think there are 4 (or 5) types of people. The first are those who either don’t spot the wave, or choose not to surf on it. The second are those who spot it coming, and are very quick to paddle out to catch it. The third are those who see it and join in after it is well formed as a wave, and ride it out. Finally, there are those who ride it all the way onto the beach, and refuse to acknowledge the wave is over. Obviously there are also people on the beach variously longing to join in, mocking the surfers, or ignoring it altogether.
Each wave is different, and we are probably all in different groups for different waves. I think it’s very rare (perhaps once a generation) to get a monster wave. I might put the Welsh Revival, and possibly the “Toronto Blessing” (which I think is part of a bigger movement that would encompass Pensacola and possibly Fresh Fires) in those categories.
However, I think that there are mini-waves fairly frequently, where God releases a fresh excitement for prayer, or worship, or healing, or evangelism.
I haven’t got a theological argument for this, or any bible passages to back it up. It has just been my experience that God seems to say the same thing to several people independently, which often swells into something for an entire group of people (whether house group, church, town, region, nation, or whatever). And like popcorn popping, it’s heralded by little outbursts or pops here and there.
The reason I write all of this is because a friend of mine has recently had a very similar experience to me, which he writes about here. Basically he has felt prompted to start praying in tongues, after years of not doing so. I felt a very similar prompting a few weeks ago, and I wonder if, after all the excitement of Toronto, praying/speaking/singing in tongues has become a “forgotten” gift?
It certainly used to be a staple part of our worship ‘diet’ at church, but I honestly can’t remember the last time it happened.
I know what Derren Brown would say about psychological triggers and co-incidence. That’s fine, and up to him. While any individual experience in my life can easily be explained away, I reached the point many years ago where Occam’s razor points, for me, to the existence of God rather than a rather shaky concoction of repeated co-incidences, happen-stances, and luck.