From Azusa To Africa To The Nations (book review)

AzusaMost people are familiar with George Santayana’s powerful reminder: “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” This is why I love reading books of history. Denzil R. Miller has given us a powerful lesson of the history of the Pentecostal church in From Azusa To Africa To The Nations.

Denzil, a missionary in Africa, had a very specific motivation for writing this book: To remind African Christians how the full gospel message came to them, and how they should be responding to it. But I found that this book is a great reminder for all who call themselves Pentecostal.

From Azusa re-tells the story of the Pentecostal reawakening in the early days of the 1900s in a small church in Los Angeles pastored by William Seymour. From that small church, a worldwide revival to the fullness of the operation of the Holy Spirit began. It was a call to return to biblical roots; a call back to the message of Jesus, “You will receive power to be My witnesses after the Holy Spirit comes upon you” (Acts 1:8).

Denzil Miller aims to call the African churches back to their Pentecostal roots, but this is a call for all Pentecostals, regardless of the continent on which they live. This is a short, but powerful book, that I encourage you to check out.

Swing The Bat Of Prayer

Swing the batMy son Harrison plays high school baseball. Let’s just imagine that I’m his hitting coach. In order for this relationship to benefit him, a couple of things have to occur:

  • He has to want to improve, and
  • He has to want to receive instruction from me.

If he thinks he knows it all already, or if he wants to just hang out with the other guys on the team to try to pick up some tips by being around them, then my role of a coach isn’t going to benefit him much.

Let’s say that Harrison knows he needs to improve, and he’s willing to listen to my instruction. We head out for some batting practice, and he lets pitch after pitch sail by him without ever swinging at the ball. If he never swings the bat, there’s only one piece of advice I can give him: Swing the bat!

The same things hold true for us if we want to improve as pray-ers. We have to want to improve, and we have have to be willing to receive instruction from the Coach (in this case, the Holy Spirit). But we also have to give Him something to work with. If we let opportunity after opportunity sail by without praying about it, there’s only one piece of advice the Spirit can give us: Pray!

Jesus said the Holy Spirit would help lead us into oneness with Him—

The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:26)

If we want to become better pray-ers, here’s how the Holy Spirit can help:

  • You have to admit that you need help in your prayer life.
  • You need to read your Bible (the everything that God says to you), and use God’s Word to help form your prayers.
  • Then, pray… swing the bat of prayer! 
  • As you pray, listen to the voice of the the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, helping you to refine your prayers.

Your prayer time can become more meaningful, if you will tune into the Holy Spirit, and give Him something to work with.

I will be sharing part 3 of our series on prayer—the series is called Praying Circles—next Sunday. Please join us if you can.

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