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  • Writer's pictureJohn Kim

Altar Call

Psalm 63:1 “I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you…” Every now and again at church services or retreats I’ll head to the front of the sanctuary when the pastor calls for people who need prayer to come forward. Most of the time he or she will call out a specific need that only applies to some portion of the congregation. Add that to the fact that folks are shy, and the result is that a pretty insignificant minority will step forward for each of these altar calls. One of the most intense spiritual mountain top experiences I’ve ever had was attending our sister church’s retreat in China a few years back. Christians are so hungry for God in the Middle Kingdom, and that’s led to the greatest revival the world has ever seen over the last few decades (100M new believers). It was crazy to see that at every single altar call, pretty much the whole church came forward because everyone was so desperate to experience God. In one of these calls, the pastor actually said “no, I only called for those with pain in your right shoulder. Surely you can’t all have pain there?!? The rest of you can stay back.” Well today, I read about the attitude of desperation that led Bill Johnson to a ministry of supernatural healing. On his way to a revival later dubbed the Toronto Blessing, P Bill cried out to God to touch him. “I wanted increase, and I received prayer every time there was an opportunity in Toronto. In fact, I got prayer five times in the first night. I jokingly tell people they could have had an altar call for African-American, pregnant pastor’s wives and I would have gone forward. It is close to the truth. I HAD to have God touch me again.” Due to the pandemic, the world hasn’t seen too many physical altar calls over the last year. But the reality is that God invites each one of us forward every day to come and experience Him. Today I’m reminded that this attitude of thirst, of hunger and desperation is what leads to a move of God. And when God moves, healing, restoration and abundance have no choice but to follow. Lord, I come forward today, desperate for more of you. There is nothing else I need. In your son’s name, Amen.

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