GOD IS NEVER WRONG!
Years ago a good friend who pastored a church just outside Stuttgart, Germany invited me to come and hold evangelistic services for a week. He rented a meeting room in the local Gasthaus (Tavern) that seated about 200 people. The door to the meeting room was direct across from the door to the bar. The first night’s service went well with a group of Bible School students there to help us, but I didn’t feel any spirit of freedom in the praise and worship. The people appeared to be merely going through the motions. The second night service was just as lacking in enthusiasm. As I sat there, the Holy Spirit spoke to my spirit and said, “This must change so I can work, these people must cry out in prayer for Me to move.”
So after my sermon, I closed my Bible and announced that the evangelistic services were being halted and our gathering would be changed into a prayer meeting. I asked that the local church doors be open each day for prayer, where people could stop by on their way to and from work. The pastor looked at me in shock and asked, “You can’t do that! We have to pay for this meeting room, and we’ve spent a lot of money on advertising.” Nevertheless, I told him I was only following the voice of the Spirit.
The whole next day we were at the altar in the church praying as people stopped by. That night at the meeting hall, as people came in we had them kneel and pray for God to send an awakening. I was at the front on the platform praying, and about thirty minutes into the prayer I suddenly heard a new voice in the crowd. This person was crying and pleading with God for forgiveness. I opened my eyes and saw an older gentleman on his knees sobbing and praying for mercy.
I went over to pray with him and he told me that he came in that night to go to the tavern, but when he tried to enter something pulled him the other way toward the hall. He tried again to go into the bar but he felt the pull in the other direction. So he entered the hall, and when he did the power of conviction came over him and he felt the guilt of sin and realized that he was in need of salvation, so that’s why he made his way down front because it looked to him like everyone there was praying for forgiveness.
At the end of the prayer service, I had him give his testimony and announced that the evangelistic services were back on the next night. Each day we met in prayer at the church and each evening we gathered in the hall for services. Before long the police were called because there were so many people trying to find parking for the meeting it was causing a traffic jam. And a few nights later, the bartender decided to close down the bar because the few customers he had couldn’t compete with our singing, praying, preaching and praising God. So he opened the doors of the bar room and it became seating for the overflow crowd.
Two women who worked at a local factory heard about the meetings and decided to attend where they accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They took the message they heard back to the factory and soon the manager let them hold prayer meetings in the factory at lunch time and people were being led to Christ. The pastor told me it was the greatest move of the Holy Spirit he had ever seen.
Among other things I learned during that experience that has never left me is this: it is better to obey the voice of the Spirit even if it looks silly to some than to look silly to everyone because you didn’t listen to Him. Not just in conducting revivals or prayer meetings, but in everything we attempt to do for His honor, praise, and glory. – Dr. Robert R Seyda