Breath of Heaven

“‘Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it’” Malachi 3:10

In the introduction to Ken Terhoven’s book, Breath of Heaven, he tells how, in the early 1950’s, he went to conduct an evangelistic campaign in a little Lincolnshire village in England. It was a watershed experience for him.

He arrived as a novice evangelist, fired up to set the place ablaze with his handful of sermons. His first disappointment was the chapel. It was a barn-like building in the middle of nowhere, capable of seating only about 50 people. To add to his consternation, only four farmers attended nightly for the first week.

As he preached to the same four people, he became more and more frustrated. Each evening, at the conclusion of the service, the four men invited my father-in-law to join them in prayer, and each evening he declined. On the fourth night he reluctantly went to pray with them. He was ushered into a farmhouse kitchen and watched as the farmers fell to their knees on the cold stone floor and began to pour out their hearts to God in prayer. How those old Methodists prayed! They reminded God of His covenant and His promises. They quoted the Word. They wept and pleaded. Dad felt completely out of his league.

But then his heart began to soften and by midnight he found himself confessing to God about his own pride and hardness of heart. As his coldness and indifference began to disappear the four men gathered around him in love and concern, praying for him and asking God to use him.

Through their prayers came the constant repetition of Malachi 3:10: “‘Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.’”

So they prayed until the burden lifted and they found themselves praising God for having heard them.

Nothing unusual happened that week. Each night the gospel was preached to the four men.

And then it happened! For some inexplicable reason Dad arrived an hour early on the second Thursday night. He couldn’t believe his eyes. The church was surrounded by cars, vans, tractors and bicycles and, coming from all directions, people walking to the church. He pushed his way in, to be met by more than 100 people, in a church that could only seat 50, with still more coming in. He was so excited he skipped the preliminaries and began to preach. At the invitation 36 remained behind, broken in repentance as they received Christ.

It continued night after night, until, at the end of the campaign, there were more converts than the church could contain. Something had happened which was quite beyond and in spite of Dad. God had done the extraordinary in answer to prayer. It was a breath of heaven.

Can it happen again? Most definitely. God’s the same God today as He always has been. So call out to Him in prayer. Confess your pride. Plead for forgiveness. Claim His promises. And seek His face for a fresh outpouring of His Spirit.

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