Lessons from My Asbury Experience
By Jonathan Graf
When I walked into Hughes Auditorium at Asbury University in the lazy little college town of Wilmore, Kentucky, Sunday February 12, I immediately started crying. The peace of God was overwhelming. My wife and I and a friend spent four hours worshiping, praying, seeking God that day. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced previously—and over the years I have had some good experiences in worship and prayer meetings. This was powerfully different.
When we got home late that night after the 4-hour drive, we were immediately musing that we needed to go back. We were hungry for more of the presence of God that was so evident in that auditorium. So Thursday the 16th, we drove back. We experienced Thursday evening in an overflow venue as the lines of people were simply too long at 5 PM when we got there to get into the main auditorium that evening! It was still powerful participating in Estes Chapel.
The next morning we were determined to get into Hughes. We were going to go very early to stand in line (the event opened to the public at 1 PM), but it was snowing and cold when we got up. So we waited. We got to the auditorium at close to 11 AM. Wind was blowing and it was 25 degrees. We walked to the back of the line (more than a quarter mile long). As I stood there freezing, I began to wonder what was happening that so many people—a lot with kids—would stand in that kind of weather to hopefully get to participate in what was happening inside. (We got into Hughes at 3 PM!)
We talked with people from all over. All were joyful and kind to each other. No complaining. I looked down the road that led into town. I could see cars lined up for about a mile and a half up the road over the hill. There were almost no parking places anywhere in this little hamlet. What on earth drew them under these conditions.
People were drawn by their hunger for more of Jesus! They wanted to be in His presence and worship Him. Hunger caused thousands of people to travel miles (as far as Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, all 50 states, Canada and Mexico). Yes, they could have worshiped Him at home, in their home church. But they wanted more!
One thing that stood out to me: while many from all generations were there, God was clearly doing this to revive GenZs (under 25). While many revivals have manifestations (salvations, tongues healing, demons being cast out) and this had them, too, none were forefront. Most did not know they occurred, (unless they heard a testimony about being healed). It was the peace of God that came as we worshiped Him. Why? This generation more than any before it struggles with anxiety, depression and identity (who am I?). We heard testimony after testimony from college age and younger individuals who praised God for healing from these things! God knew who He was reviving and he bathed them in His love and peace.
We do not know what the significance of this outpouring will be. Will it be a revival and awakening that history will record as a Great Awakening? No idea. We can’t know that for decades as we watch the fruit of it as these revived people go home and start to let their hunger and testimonies of what God did for them, their renewed vigor in worship, their renewed hearts for the lost, rub off on others around them!
To see resources that will whet your hunger for revival and equip you to pray passionately for it to happen in your life, go to prayershop.org/revival/