God has never failed to fill His church with all the riches of grace when His people united in prayer. Here is a report of what God did when Christians united in prayer in a little town in Minnesota that had become the crime capital of the state! According to John Goodrich and Bob Page, the small group that met every Tuesday to pray for revival in Bemidji had to overcome times of discouragement when no progress was evident. Then one of the prayer warriors visited a crusade led by Ralph and Lou Sutera in another city. When he returned he shared the good news, "God is working today to heal the inner life of churches and give them renewed grace and power." With the news of revival happening elsewhere, the prayers of the faithful group in Bemidji became more confident. Then God unexpectedly opened the way for a crusade with the Sutera twins in Bemidji when a meeting scheduled in another city was cancelled. By the time the crusade started in Bemidji the way had been so well prepared by prayer that an unusual response took place the very first night of the meeting on September 14, 1986. During the crusade the Lord graciously visited the 22 churches and 2 cooperating organizations with a spiritual awakening that made an impact on the whole community. The crusade, originally scheduled through October 6th, was extended another week because there was such evident working of the Spirit. "God opened the windows of heaven," said Pastor Larry Forsberg of First Baptist Church. As he listened to the first crusade message on How To Pray With Others, he realized he was walking without God's power in his life. "God met me that night," he went on. "During the meetings I had a cleansing such as I had never experienced before." "For the first time in my life, I saw the Lord working in miracle power solving problem areas in the church that had gone on for years," Mrs. Forsberg added. "I had experienced burnout doing my part in the church in the flesh." As the local newspaper and a radio station spread the news of the revival, people from Illinois, Canada and other areas began to come for the meetings. "The singing is sweeter and the Lord's Supper means more to us. With tears in their eyes, people give thanks to God for His Word," Pastor Forsberg explained. "We have experienced a visit from the Lord. People are dynamically excited about the Christian life now. In the churches, goals and directions have been turned around and there is now a real concern for evangelism," Mrs. Forsberg observed. "In fact, some h ave already come to Christ since the crusade." Pastor and Mrs. Alan Johnson of the Evangelical Covenant Church echoed these things with further insights from their perspective. He thought the speakers' emphasis on dying to sin and self and walking in the Spirit, based on Romans 6, helped foster his own desire to pray. The blessings of the revival gave assurance that answers would come. I specifically asked him about the effect of the crusade on the church prayer life. "Our midweek prayer meeting had become a Bible study before the crusade," he said. "Now the whole time is given to prayer." "Since the crusade, we have designated a prayer room," he pointed out. "As the Spirit leads we invite people to go there at the close of our services. Prayer partners trained to pray with them during the crusade go to help them." "We have prayer meetings before our Sunday services," he said. "And people stand to give prayer requests or thanks for answered prayer in the worship service. We pray for these things in the service. We also provide cards for prayer requests and a board in the narthex where they post their requests." "We have seen marriages restored, restitution made and people walking in victory," Mrs. Johnson commented. "We have had a church renewal you would dream about." A key lesson for her was learning to obey the sovereign will of God. The test came when her 4 year old was sick one day. In obedience she accepted this with worship and praise. Early the next morning she found herself wide awake. In the quiet stillness, God gave her the words and music for a song, Victory Road, which expressed the new joy God was giving her. Both the Johnsons and the Forsbergs insisted that the secret of the meetings was not the speakers, Ralph and Lou Sutera. However, they gratefully acknowledged that their messages were on target and mightily used of God. "But we did not feel that we were being manipulated by men," they said. "We saw and experienced the Holy Spirit working in answer to prayer. Ralph and Lou Sutera themselves emphasized this." The greatness of God, His attributes and His mighty working now were the focal point. Also some people arrived early for the meetings and went right to the prayer room to get right with God. The revival brought the 22 cooperating churches and 2 Christian organizations together as one body. They had prayed to get together before but had not succeed. Whereas now they experienced a heaven sent unity. Bob Page from Oak Hills Fellowship was chairman of the crusade. He wrote, "I have been here for forty-nine years and I have never seen such fellowship before!" According to Canadian Revival Fellowship News, "The spiritual springs from which this river is flowing are traceable to an enthusiastic call to `prayer for revival' coming from a layman, Shelley Volk. Shelley's conversion from Judaism to Christ as Messiah also led him into a church that needed a fresh touch from God. Having grown well into adult years outside the church, Shelley was shocked that the `body of Christ,' the church had become such a pale shadow of the life it professed. His perspective became a driving force for concerted prayer for revival. "For over four years, a little band of pray-ers gathered every week for this single-minded purpose. Even they were not prepared for the outpouring by God's Spirit that would come. On the first night of the meetings, the 800-seat facility bulged with a crowd of 1,100 ... People began to drive in from far-off places to enter into what God was doing, and we began to understand how hungry our nation is for revival." The CRF News told of enduring results from the revival. "Months after the crusade ended, one man shared, `My relationship with my wife is much better. We have more ability to share our faith openly and trust each other with how God is speaking to each of us.' Another offered, `During the revival, God spoke to me in the area of sharing love an d showing it to my wife and family.' "Imagine the impact these changes have made in families, churches and the community. Problems that have fermented for years have been marvelously resolved. One woman said, `The Lord took away bitterness I had for quite a while. He restored our marriage' ... A young pastor later commented, `God convicted me of intellectual pride and lack of dependence on His Word. Now He is helping me to turn this area of my life over to Him.'" Join with Canadian Revival Fellowship, Bible Fellowships and many others in praying for revival all over the world on the first Monday of each month. Write to the address below for help on leading a revival prayer group. Copyright by Oliver W. Price 1995 You may copy for free distribution this issue of Revival Insights without making any changes. To receive REVIVAL INSIGHTS free each month write: