I have been reading about the Azusa Street Revival lately, what is reported to be the start of the modern pentecostal movement. I’ve read about it before, we studied revivals and revivalists in college. It’s a brilliant subject, both inspiring and depressing at the same time, as we see God’s willingness to be with us, but man’s inability to maintain what God does.
I will often look at past revivals, hoping to learn something that will spark a present one.
But Azusa street, what a time in history that must of been, where God came down and seemed to sit in a specific location on the earth for a time (a statement which of course is completely wrong theologically), but that’s what seemed to happen.
As always it started with prayer coming from a single hungry heart, which then spread, igniting the same passionate prayer in others, until eventually God moved.
There were no schedules, no rosters, no start times and no end times, no preachers, no topics and no organised worship, at least that’s how it was in the early days. Those structures came in later and were the beginning of the end, as man began to control the church, God moved out and the spirit of man slowly pushed out the Holy Spirit. Man’s willingness to play god removes the need for God.
It was called a “continuous service”, because once it started it went 24 hours a day every day, people would arrive and leave whenever the Spirit led them, there was never a time that people weren’t there. They came to seek God not to attend church or hear a speaker. Worship could break out at anytime, but there were no musicians or worship leaders, the Holy Spirit led it all as He desired. A person could rise from prayer at anytime with a word from God, and it could be anyone at all, a child, a lady or a man…and when it happened everyone knew it was God. There were no real preachers with made up messages, the Holy Spirit ran it all. There was no altar calls, no one praying for others, everyone was there to seek God and God was willing to be found by all. Salvations, conversions, being filled with the Spirit and healing all happened as people found God.
For me Azusa street is so close to the book of Acts, but so far from our current experience.
Come Lord Jesus.