Love On Its Knees
by Dick Eastman
In 1971 Dick Eastman was called by the Lord to mobilize an army of intercessors to impact the world for the Kingdom of God. Here is the "story behind the story" of a venture that has blessed more than a million lives in one hundred and twenty countries.
It began in the late 1960s. I set up a retreat in the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains for 22 teenagers in our church. None of us was experienced in prolonged prayer sessions, certainly not for an entire night. We were ready to give up after an hour. Then, the youngest boy there, a thirteen-year-old, had a suggestion. "Why don't we start praying in a different way -- as warriors?"
Then, with tears in his eyes, he described how he saw himself and his friends as warring against the darkness of the booze-sex-drugs lifestyle of the hippie communes that had sprung up all across southern California. He asked us to stand with him all night to "fight the devil."
By three in the morning, a spirit of brokenness had settled over our retreat house. The room was warmly lit by a glow from logs burning in a large fireplace, but also from a fire burning within the young people themselves. We all began to weep and cry out. One seventeen year-old student lay on her face in the middle of the room weeping for the youth of California who were in trouble with drugs.
I was witnessing what our forebears used to call "a spirit of travail", a wonderful word related to the word work or labour, as in giving birth (See Romans 8:26-27). This was the beginning. Soon intercessory retreats from our church began to flourish, until 175 young people were participating. Within a year, the Jesus Movement began in many parts of California. At least 800,000 youth would find Christ in those exciting days.
It was in a motel room beside Lake Michigan that God gave me further insight regarding His army of intercessors. One morning there I had come to the final chapters of the Book of Revelation and, pausing to meditate on the literal nature of the Lamb's Book of Life, I suddenly found myself longing to pray about names yet to be added to these celestial records.
"Lord, please let me participate in a movement that adds more names to the Book of Life than have been added in all of history," I prayed. It was a bold prayer, but somehow I felt the Holy Spirit had led me to say the words. Tears began to flow as I stood up and walked to the window of my motel room. Before me was the vast expanse of Lake Michigan lying placidly like a giant sheet of glass.
As the sun's rays sparkled off the lake, I saw millions of tiny diamond-like bursts of light dancing in the distance. It reminded me of the description in Revelation of the multitude of redeemed humanity who will someday stand upon a sheet of glass (Revelation 15:2). Then I recalled the promise of how "blood-washed" souls would come out of every kindred, tongue, people and nation (Revelation 5:9). I wondered if God had chosen this moment to reveal to me the role of intercessors in global evangelism.
Lifting my face in anticipation, I experienced a second vision. Before me, in a large arena, stood a multitude representing every age group. I sensed they were committed intercessors. Each held a page containing names. Then my attention was drawn in the opposite direction. There I saw a throne and an angel who held a huge book. As I watched, each intercessor came to the throne and presented his or her list of names. One of those individuals caught my particular attention. Although her face was wrinkled and her hair gray, she beamed with the joy of Jesus. I asked the Lord what it all meant.
These are the names of souls these warriors helped to bring to salvation. "Where did the intercessors get these names?" I asked. Come, and I will show you, came the answer. With that I saw this joyous elderly saint, on her knees, flying swiftly through the heavenlies. It was a strange sight. In my spirit I knew that she was flying thousands of miles. In an instant, she descended to a village, in Asia, perhaps, or India. My attention was drawn to a hut that appeared to be the focus of the saint's intercession.
The hut was modest, even by the standards of the village. Within were a small table, a chair and a bed. Its lone occupant was a middle-aged man who appeared to be of Indian descent, most likely a Hindu. As the intercessor continued in prayer above the hut, I noticed that even with the sun shining brightly, the hut was dark. Then I noticed movement in the village. A man was distributing Gospel literature. He paused at the hut and knocked. When the occupant opened the door, the worker handed him a Gospel booklet. Through all this the elderly saint remained stationary in the heavenlies as if waiting for something.
Closing the door, the Hindu read a few sentences that told him about a loving heavenly Father who came to earth in the form of a Man, God's only Son. This concept was beyond the Hindu's comprehension since he believed there were many gods. A monkey could be a god, or a cow, or snake. "One God, one Son," he said. "Nonsense!" He tossed the book on the table.
The darkness of the room seemed to prevent his comprehension of the truth. The man's rejection of the message was the cue for the intercessor. Through the roof of the hut she plunged, landing on her knees. The Hindu, of course, had no idea she was there. Reaching her hands forward along the floor, with her palms up, the elderly woman appeared to be lifting something.
Then I realized what she was doing. She was lifting the darkness in the room! The more she prayed, the more the darkness moved. When she had raised it high enough, she slowly moved from her knees and began pushing the darkness toward the ceiling from a crouched position, a few inches at a time, as she continued her intercession. Before long she had pushed the darkness above the man, warring all the while against the satanic forces.
The instant the darkness rose above the man's head, he turned toward the table, gazing intently upon the message he had earlier rejected. Now there was a different look on his face, a look of longing. As he took the booklet into his hand, I could hear his thoughts. Perhaps I was hasty in rejecting this message, he reasoned.
As he read again the claims of Christ, an amazing thing happened. He lifted his face toward heaven, his unseen praying guest contending against the darkness above him, and he cried out to the Lord, "I believe you are the Son of God!". Joy flooded the faces of both the new convert and the elderly intercessor. A miracle was happening before my eyes. In that instant a brilliant beam of light penetrated the hut and flowed into the heart of the new believer. He had seen the Light -- literally.
Stepping from the hut, still unseen by the rejoicing Indian, the intercessor pulled a piece of paper from her pocket. It was the list she had presented to the angel with the book. The happy prayer warrior added the man's name to her long list. Then with a shout of praise, she tucked the list back into her pocket and headed for a hut across the way.
For the next several minutes I sat in my motel room, wondering quietly about the strange picture I had just witnessed. Had my imagination run wild or had I truly observed an intercessor in action? Any vision must find confirmation in God's Word. Almost immediately I was led to this passage regarding the power of God's light to penetrate the darkness:
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and His glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. (ISAIAH 60:1-3)