Sometimes, the simplest prayers are the best prayers. One prayer that has been prayed by the church in many forms over the past 2000 years has become very important to us in the Vineyard family of churches.
It is the prayer “Come, Holy Spirit.”
On Mother’s Day, 1980, John Wimber had a unique experience at the church he pastored in Yorba Linda, California. John was from a Quaker tradition, and was a respected voice teaching leaders about Church growth through evangelism.
John had invited a guest speaker named Lonnie Frisbee to teach at their evening service. Lonnie was a hippie who was a part of what became known as the Jesus People Movement in the late 1960s in Southern California.
John’s church was filled with young people, and they gathered to worship as usual that night. Lonnie got up to speak, and at the conclusion of his message he prayed a prayer that has been prayed by many throughout church history.
It was a simple prayer, one that has become one of the most important prayers we pray across the Vineyard family of churches. The prayer was simply:
“Come, Holy Spirit.”
It is a prayer the church of Jesus Christ has been praying in many forms over many centuries. That night, when that three-word prayer was prayed, all heaven broke loose in John Wimber’s community. An entire movement of churches has, in many ways, grown around that prayer. After that gathering, deeply encountered by the Holy Spirit, young people poured into the streets, leading hundreds, then thousands, to faith in Jesus Christ. Miracles followed their simple prayers, such as healings of bodies and minds, as well as deliverances from addictions.
Since that time, tens of thousands have come to faith in Jesus through the work of the Vineyard. Our belief in “Power Evangelism” – reaching people by participating with God in the miraculous – centers us on the Holy Spirit’s work in drawing the heart to God.
Today, you will hear this simple prayer, in some form, being prayed in virtually every Vineyard church around the world. It is because we are learning in the Vineyard what the Body of Christ has had to learn again and again throughout history – that with the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us, we can do the works of Jesus. We can join him in the advancing of the kingdom of God to the ends of the earth.
We are a people of the presence of God. So we pray “Come, Holy Spirit.”