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Joining in the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

Posted: February 28 2023 at 10:21 AM
Author: Karen Bonell, Laity, Prairie South District, Discipleship Task Force

Two weeks of 24/7 prayer, confession, and worship in February went on at Asbury University, a campus of around 1600 students in Wilmore Kentucky.  Asbury is self-described as a multi-denominational university grounded in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition.  On Wednesday, February 8, 2023, their 10:00 am chapel was held.  By all reports, it was unremarkable—just one of 3 chapel services per week—except that 19 students remained to pray at Hughes Auditorium when chapel was dismissed.  Some students who had arrived at their 11:00 classes felt drawn back to Hughes and asked professors if they may leave class.  Since then, there were varying numbers of people from a handful to sometimes maxing out the 1500 capacity room taking part with lines of people outside hoping to get in.  People started coming from around town in Wilmore, other campuses, many states, and other countries.  Overflow areas were set up outside Hughes, across the street at Asbury Theological Seminary, and other Wilmore churches served with live feed. 

In news stories, some have described the outpouring as having gravity.  It lacked the loud and spectacular.  It lacked a revival leader stirring up the crowd with pleading altar calls.  Yet people came forward to confess, be prayed over, be prophesied over, and be healed.  It has a sweet and gentle persisting spirit.  Some leaders have come to help manage the logistics and crowds; however, students are leading this as they are led by the Spirit.  With no programs, screens with lyrics, nor assigned worship leaders, it continued organically.  Scholars are reticent to call this movement anything particular yet, other than to say, “It’s the real thing.”  Meanwhile, without the professional worship bands and speakers who volunteered, the movement persisted.

The university president called for an end to the public worship at Hughes Auditorium Sunday, February 19, due to overcrowding on the Asbury University campus.  Services for those ages 16-25 continued through National Collegiate Day of Prayer Thursday, February 23.  The town had been flooded with three and four times as many visitors as residents.  Law enforcement officers had closed the road into Wilmore at one point when there wasn’t room for more people.  When asked if they were stopping the outpouring of God’s Spirit, Asbury’s President stated that they could not stop something they did not start.

This Lent, let us in Northern Illinois join with these students in prayer and worship.  Let’s pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on our churches in the Northern Illinois Conference.  The Discipleship Task Force has invited you to join them in prayer and fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, but our times of prayer and fasting do not need to be limited to that. The NIC Prayer Network is a way to join in common prayer for the ministries of the Northern Illinois Conference. Pray along each week for clergy, churches, leaders, and NIC Advances by visiting the Prayer Network website. The next joint prayer meeting is Friday, March 10 at 10:00 am. All are invited to join.  No preparation is necessary, just log in. The Zoom link is available here. (Meeting ID: 897 7835 0821 Passcode: 152529) If you’d like to pray but have other appointments at that time, email us and request the agenda or add to the agenda. Also,

This Lent could be a time of praying along with David: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” (Psalm 51: 1,2).  “We know that the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6).  "The sweet, gentle, loving Holy Spirit may do far more than we ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20).

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