This past week we've been reading through the book of Nehemiah in
the section after the rebuilding of the wall was completed in Chapter
7. All the Jews who returned to Israel from their exile to Babylon are
gathered in the public square of Jerusalem and the law of Moses is read
and explained to them. It says in Nehemiah 8:9 says, "And
Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the
Levites who taught the people said to all the people, 'This day is holy
to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.' For all the people wept,
when they heard the words of the Law."
Then, after celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles, in Chapter 9 we
see the people are gathered together with fasting and verse 3 says, "And
they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the
Lord their God for one-fourth of the day; and for another fourth they
confessed and worshiped the Lord their God."
As I read through the rest of this Chapter 9 something really got
ahold of me and has sort of wrapped itself around my heart like the
snow around this hilltop. Up through verse 15 they heard of the
wonderful goodness and mercy of God who gave them "light
on the road..., spoke with them from heaven, and gave them just
ordinances and true laws..., bread from heaven and water out of the
rock, and told them to go in and possess the land He had promised them."
And then in verse 16, "BUT they and our fathers acted
proudly, hardened their necks, and did not heed Your commandments."
And from there on out it
becomes a kind of litany—they listen up and they turn away; they listen
up and they
turn away; they listen up and they turn away. There is a constant
reiteration of God's goodness such as verse 31 saying, "Nevertheless
in your great mercy you did not utterly consume them for you are God,
gracious and merciful." And finally starting in verse 32-38 they
address God and say, "'Now
therefore, our God, ...Neither our king nor our princes, our priests
nor our fathers have kept your law, ...And because of all this, we make
a sure covenant and write it;
our Levites, and our priests seal it.'"
Ever since Saturday when I read this chapter I've had the term
"prayer pressure" coming to mind again
and again. It has to do with the term "pressing in" as it relates to
the Israelites having made a "sure
covenant" that was "sealed."
This ongoing tension between God’s faithfulness and His people's
constantly turning their backs on Him was not just limited to their
In our day, we have been sealed
by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13, 4:30) under a better covenant, and
so this "prayer pressure" is being forged by the new law written in our
hearts. Each one of us, on one level or another, have to deal with this
same tendency to "listen up, and turn away". By God's amazing grace we
Holy Spirit to empower our self-control and keep us in that
place of His presence and prayer. Paul puts it another way in Romans
7:21-23, "... for I delight in
the law of God... But I see another law in my members, warring against
the law of my mind..." So we have the freedom to make the
choice, and that's where we need to apply "prayer pressure."
We can also see another aspect of ancient Israel's struggle around
us today. Both in the USA
and the UK right now there is much dissension and tension and strife
between the two major political ideologies. It seems that huge
difficulties are at our very doorstep, or rather they are already in
the house. I just get the feeling like there’s this
war going on in the heavenly realms and we are under attack. There it
a battle cry sounding if we have ears to hear it. We need to apply some
serious "prayer pressure", and we need to fight the good fight on our knees. We are, or should be,
driven to cry out to God for His righteousness intervention, that "Nevertheless
in your great mercy you do not utterly consume us for you are God,
gracious and merciful."
In Nehemiah 12:27 we read about the dedication of the wall. We
see the priest and the Levites and musicians and worshipers brought up
on top of the wall in the one goes to the right and one goes to the
left and they go all the way around and meet on the other side. That to
me just seems like a great picture of how prayer is so much required
There are many sincere believers who on both sides of these
embattled issues that are plaguing our
nations, and we need to encompass them in prayer.
And in the midst of all this, we must trust that God will bring about
and perfect will. His interest is not a political
victory for righteousness, but rather that individual hearts come into
alignment with His words of life and desire to bring them into His
I like how Nehemiah 12:43 says,
"Also that day they offered
great sacrifices, and rejoiced, for God had
made them rejoice with great joy; the women and the children also
rejoiced, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off."
also can rejoice because we know Who has the ultimate victory.
We are empowered in prayer by the good promises of our gracious God and
so we can apply pressure on the right side from wherever we stand.
across our valley the other day I noticed that some ivy-covered trees
formed this figure of a giant man
walking along in the field behind them. He seems to be carrying a large
object in his arms and it reminded me of carrying our burden to the
prayer as we "fight the good fight" both within and without.
We can call on the Lord in the strength of His joy along with Psalm
68:1,3-4. "Let God arise, Let
His enemies be scattered..., But let the righteous
be glad; let them rejoice before God; yes, let them rejoice
exceedingly. Sing to God, sing praises to His name; extol Him who rides
on the clouds, by His name Yah, and rejoice before Him." Let's
make some noise in the heavenly realms. And please feel free to share
this with friends as led. The more "prayer pressure" the better!
Our sincere thanks for your continued interest and prayers for Wales
and for the nations. And may God bless you with all grace and wisdom in
the days ahead,
Dick & Gladys
Friends of Wales Awakening:
This morning on my way up to the chapel the glory of the morning sun
was lighting up the hilltop where God showed me the vision of the
coming Welsh Revival while first visiting here in 1999. Little did I
imagine back then what He had in store for us, and Wales. And so this
was a wonderful reminder of the promise I was given.
My first reading was in Genesis 18 when the Lord and two angels
appeared to Abraham by the terebinth trees in Mamre as he sat at the
door of his tent. After the meal he had prepared for them, God told Abraham
in verse 10, "And He said, 'I
will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold,
Sarah your wife shall have a son.' Sarah was listening in the
tent door which was behind him." And Sarah laughed within herself,
and got caught. I'm sure you're familiar with the story.
There was Sarah, well past the age of child-bearing, and hearing God
say she was going to have a baby at 90 years old just cracked her up.
Well, I had to stop and have a little laugh here myself, because just
like Sarah, from a coldly practical point of view, what we're doing
here seems ridiculous! And so more than once we have laughed at this
adventure we're on. But in verse 14 God's gentle response to her
laughter, and ours, is "Is anything too
hard for the Lord?"
reflected on this, and the rest of the chapter about Abraham's
intercession for Sodom, Lord reminded me once again of how amazingly
faithful He has been to us. He also brought back to mind some of the
many fruits of the dawning of revival—cold insensitive hearts will be
kindled afresh by the incursion of the Holy Spirit in lives, families,
and communities; young people will find their purpose as they joyfully
surrender their lives to God and go forth to labor in the harvest in
missions both local and abroad; old abandoned chapels will be
restored and filled once again with worshipers; on and on the list goes.
Then I was joined in the chapel by some friends and we had a rich
time in those same scriptures and prayer together. We spent the rest of
the morning in fellowship as they wanted to know about our story of how
the Lord called us here, etc. One of their questions was if over the
years have we had times of doubt and how we've dealt with it. And of
course, there have been countless times when we have questioned our
here. How could we not do so?
doubted, and then laughed. And in Genesis 17, when God tells Abraham
Sarah "...shall be a mother of
nations...", verse 17 says, "Then Abraham fell on his face and
laughed, and said in his heart, 'Shall a child be born to a man who is
one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a
child?'" It is very natural and human to question and doubt.
"What did God really say? What did we hear?"
One of the most amazing things to us is to see how God has sustained
here all these years through thick and thin. In those times of doubt
and struggle God has always upheld us by His grace. As we talked, the
Lord reminded me of one particular morning in 2010. I was at the chapel
praying, and having some of those very doubts. Then I began to read in
Jeremiah 32. This is when God tells him that he is to buy a field from
his cousin Hanamel who is going to come and offer it to him. And then
in the very next verse his cousin shows up and says verbatim what God
said he would say. And Jeremiah says that
then he knew it was the word of the Lord in verses 6-8.
What was such a huge encouragement to me that morning was the fact
that if Jeremiah, as major prophet of the Lord, had his times of doubt,
than way more likely would it be natural for me to harbor occasional
doubts. God spoke some very significant things to me that morning that
left me rejoicing at His heart and plans for this land of revivals.
(You can read the full account here.) So even once again as we
shared this morning the Lord brought fresh encouragment and
As believers, it doesn't matter what stage of life or situation we
ourselves in, there will be times that cause us to question ourselves,
and question God. But we know that we haven't been called to walk by
sight but rather by faith. Back to the story of Abraham,
the word of God says about him in Genesis 15:6, "And he
believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness."
I believe that we all have particular promises and assignments that
God has given to each one of us. And in the same way as Abraham, and
other men and women throughout the scriptures, each of us will find
ourselves challenged time and time again throughout our lives to
believe God's words to us. These include His written words and promises
for all believers, as well as those specific words and promises to us as
So we can cling onto God's promises by the faith that He gives us.
We know we can trust Him for the coming of revival to Wales. He
graciously strengthens us through His living word. And we know that He
is faithful, even when
we might struggle to be. What promises are you trusting Him for?
The best and greatest of God's promises were all fulfilled on a
different hilltop almost 2000
years ago. It was there that Jesus, the Prince of Life gave Himself as
a ransom for all mankind. The culmination of those promises is the
Ages." He alone is our hope, our strength, and our salvation.
Dick & Gladys
Friends and Prayers:
to 2019! It seems like it should be hard to believe another year has
gone zipping by, but I guess coming to terms with time gets easier with
practice. It also means we're just around the bend from 2020, and that
sounds like some science fiction title!
We've been reading through the book of Ezra this last week. In this
children of Israel have just finished laying the new foundation to
rebuild the temple. When I reached the middle of the section in Ezra
3:11-13 I got stopped by tears as my heart was suddenly overcome.
"And they sang responsively,
praising and giving thanks to the Lord:
'For He is good, for His mercy
endures forever toward
Then all the people shouted with
a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of
the house of the Lord was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and
heads of the fathers’ houses, old men
who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the
foundation of this temple was laid
before their eyes. Yet many shouted aloud for joy, so that the
people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the
weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and
the sound was heard afar off."
profound sorrow for what had been so painfully lost was suddenly
awakened by seeing the actual stones of temple put back in place again.
And that, combined with years of intense longing to see Jerusalem
once again return to how it had been, proved too much for them to bear.
On the other hand, the joy of the rest of the people seeing the future
glory of the temple take shape before their eyes provoked such
celebration that it simply could not be contained.
I think what so deeply affected me was a combination of both
aspects. There is a deep mournful yearning for the fullness and power
of the life-giving church that we see in the New Testament that has
existed in one way or another ever since the day of Pentecost. In fact,
this longing for a God-centered lifestyle goes back beyond that to what
we read about in this portion in Ezra. And there were many times,
brief ones, throughout Old Testament history when people were right
But I believe it goes deeper yet, right back to the unfettered
fellowship with God in the garden of creation. That's our spiritual
DNA—deep calling unto deep. As Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, "He
has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in
their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does
from beginning to end." We can't really get our understanding
around it, but with our spirit we can cry out "Abba, Father" with God's own
heart as it says in James 4:5, "Or
do you think that the Scripture says in vain, 'The Spirit who dwells in
us yearns jealously'?" When we pray in tandem with His longings,
late December our youngest son and his wife spent some time in a
"random" place in Northern California called Albion, on Route 1. They
had no way of knowing that was where I was saved in 1973, and I asked
them to stop in at The Lord's Land and take a few pictures for old
times' sake. It is still very moving to look at that wonderful place
again. It was in this large upper room, the brothers' dorm at the time,
where I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and along with many
other new believers, was trained to become a disciple in the Lord Jesus
And not so unlike the "old
who had seen the first temple",
the longing to once again see multitudes be birthed into the newness of
life through the workings of the Holy Spirit is quick to surface.
Drawing from the past, we look expectantly to the future with a sure
and joyful hope that God's heart will be satisfied with the incoming
harvest of souls.
So as we get our start in this new year, may we allow the desire of
God's heart to empower our prayers for an outpouring of revival in this
desperately needy world and to bring each of us into a place of abiding
in deepened intimacy with Himself. "Being confident of this very thing,
that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day
of Jesus Christ;" Philippians 1:6