Dwight (D.L.) Moody was a pastor and evangelist in Chicago during the great Chicago fire of 1871. In his biography of Mr. Moody, Gilchrist Lawson says, “[He] went East to New York City to collect funds for the sufferers from the Chicago fire, but his heart and soul were crying out for the power from on high. ‘My heart was not in the work of begging,’ he said. ‘I could not appeal. I was crying all the time that God would fill me with His Spirit. Well, one day, in the city of New York—oh, what a day!—I cannot describe it, and I seldom refer to it. It is almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he didn’t speak for fourteen years. I can only say that God revealed Himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His hand. I went to preaching again. The sermons were not different. I did not present any new truths, and yet hundreds were converted. I would not now be placed back where I was before that blessed experience if you should give me all the world.'”
Notice just a few things about that testimony.
- Mr. Moody was at a low point in his life—broken and despairing, weak and needy
- He was crying out for the filling of the Spirit
- The love of God was poured out to overflowing into his heart by the Spirit
- His ministry manifested supernatural power
I believe that I and every other follower of Jesus, not to mention every other preacher, would do well to seek the filling of God’s Spirit out of a desperate cry that we may be endowed with power to see the gospel spread like wildfire in our midst—in our own hearts, through our families and into our communities. I confess that I have been far too satisfied in my own life. I have not been seeking such an experience, but rather, relying on my own skills (which are puny and rediculously ineffective). The lack of power in my life and ministry is evident. It seems so natural. How I long for the supernatural!
Oh, how I want to know the love of the Father to such a degree that I, too, would have to ask him to “stay his hand.” May we be weak enough to look to the cross and pray for the kind of faith that is utterly convinced that there really is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus—and be filled to overflowing with that love that surpasses knowledge!