As a storyteller for God, there ought to be a place on my website for my own story. So here it is.
At the beginning, I found God through the arts. As an art student at the University of Wisconsin, I began to sense God in the beauty of what He has made. It was the sort of thing that the Catholic writer, Thomas Dubay, described in his book, The Evidential Power of Beauty. Unfortunately, I remember no such books available for me to read in the 1960’s, and I had no one in my Presbyterian family to help me interpret the awakening of my spirit.
So I went on a search for God, which took me to San Francisco Theological Seminary, one of the seminaries in our Presbyterian system. At that time, this institution was exploring the emptiness of secularism, mingled with the violent “relevance” of the anti-war movement. Mingled into the mix was the drug-fueled spirituality of the Haight-Ashbury district and its guru, Timothy Leary (who actually spoke at our seminary once). Though I did quite well academically, and received the coveted Fellowship for the Parish Ministry for an additional year of study in Europe, all the man-made pathways at that school led away from God, not toward Him. I ended up at the end of four years more lost than when I had entered the school.
By far the best thing that happened to me during those four years was that I met my wife, Carla, who has been, for the last 54+ years, my constant companion in a Kingdom-of-God journey, as I will describe below. Our Kingdom journey began three years after seminary graduation, when we took the Red Pill together…
Starting life as a professional clergyman in Oregon was not a pleasant experience. But in my first year trying to walk in those shoes, a lady named Wilma Evey came into my office and began to tell me about a scriptural promise that, somehow, I had never noticed before. “Willie” had, eight years before, asked Jesus to baptize her with the Holy Spirit. She explained what a difference this had made in her life, and how the Lord had told her to “stay in this church until I give you permission to leave.” Then I came along—and she set about completing her assignment to bring me into the baptism with the Holy Spirit. My mind fought me the whole way, but my spirit, my “inner nature,” was desperate for a real God. (Thousands and thousands of people in our country were being introduced to this same dimension of scriptural promise during the 1970’s—the charismatic renewal.)
On the Day of Pentecost, 1972, Carla and I, together with eight other Presbyterians in our church, asked Jesus to baptize us with the Holy Spirit, while, simultaneously “letting go and letting God.” In other words, a surrender of our lives was part of the challenge. Now I tell everyone, “Take the Red Pill. Don’t be content with “religion.” You enter the Kingdom by surrendering your life to Jesus, and inviting the Holy Spirit to become your teacher. Almost immediately after I did this, I noticed an inner change, while also experiencing signs and wonders that were objectifiably verifiable. For example, my mother was healed of a brain hemmorrage, an ulcer and a back disability all at once in December of that year, as a result of prayer with the laying on of hands by a group of Catholic charismatics.
Connecting with the reality of God changed everything, and it now became a privilege to help usher other people into the Kingdom I was discovering. I was now positioned to enter into pastoral work as a disciple-maker, not merely as a leader of religious services. This continued to be a fulfilling challenge for the next four decades—bringing people into an experience of God.
However, the parameters of that Kingdom greatly expanded for me when I met an intercessor named Dick Simmons in 1983. Dick spent a week at the Christian Renewal Center in Oregon describing the great awakenings of the past 600 years. Somehow, these great moves of the power of God had escaped my notice through nine years of “higher education.” It was as though Dick opened up a window to the power of God poured out through Western history, and he supported his perspective of history with personal testimonies and newspaper accounts. I began to realize that I had been fed, through the years and even in seminary, a secular version of history shorn of any reference to the power of God. But God has had a much more active part in our history than I had ever realized. This realization transformed my idea of who God is and what He is about.
Carla and I ended that conference pledging ourselves to begin every day with two hours of prayer, with the main objective being to ask God to send the next great awakening—to do again what He had done before. Praying for the next great awakening has been the foremost calling on our lives ever since. (At the time of this writing, 2021, we believe we are on the verge of seeing the answer to our many prayers.)
During the following twenty years, God moved in our lives in three directions at once. First, we continued to be pastors of small Presbyterian congregations. Our great joy was to disciple people in small groups, for which we developed the BREAD GROUP concept and began publishing discipleship materials to help our people follow the adventure of Kingdom living.
Second, I became involved with Dr. Brad Long, Director of PRMI (Presbyterian and Reformed Ministries International), a charismatic organization devoted to helping mainline denominational people open up to the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. The two of us developed a series of conferences which eventually became global. These “Dunamis Project” teachings stand within the theology and tradition of R. A. Torrey. Over the years, this body of teachings has been translated into several languages and are now taught around the world from the PRMI base in Black Mountain, NC.
Third, I became a city-wide prayer leader in Richmond, Virginia. I began to see that, where Christians can come together across racial and denominational lines to pray over their city, amazing things can happen. So, for example, in 1987 we saw a pattern of murders in Richmond broken as a direct result of city-wide prayer. God “flipped the switch” on the murders in the city—and decreed a complete hiatus in murders for a month. After that, Richmond became a far less violent city.
That was not our only experience of God “flipping a switch” in answer to persevering prayer. Prior to that, in Oregon, we saw the Rajneeshpuram cult disbanded as a result of a year and a half of persistent prayer. Today, the cult property has become a youth camp owned by Young Life. These were the experiences on which I cut my teeth on Kingdom prayer during the 1980’s. I have become convinced that Kingdom prayer is a secret weapon God has given to the people of Jesus to change the history of nations and cities. Just as God has done repeatedly in the past, He can still bring “times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord,” just when darkness seems to be engulfing us.
Sometimes God’s adventure leads around unexpected bends in the road. One such bend occurred for us in 2004, when we suddenly realized we were to retire early from pastoral ministry to devote ourselves entirely to prayer (and teaching on prayer, and writing about prayer and God’s Kingdom). We moved from Richmond to a remote location near Williamsburg to establish The Clearing Where Eagles Fly, a prayer center located on some of the most historically significant land in the country. On our property is Peace Hill Marsh, named for the first peace treaty between whites and Natives on the continent. Within ten miles is the plantation that first received African slaves on the east coast. Twelve miles from here is the first American Indian massacre site. You get the idea. Historic!
We are not sure why it is so important to God that we pray for the next great awakening from this particular location, but we have been faithful to gather together small groups of praying people to just keep faithfully praying, as we have been assigned to do.
Another slow turn in my road started in 1987 when God led me to the Library of Congress to do some research. When I went there, I didn’t even have a clear idea of what I was supposed to research. But as I followed the leadings of the Holy Spirit, I began to realize that God wanted me to see the wonderful ways that He had reached into the tribes of this continent with prophetic revelations of Jesus during the 18th and 19th centuries. (See my research elsewhere on this website.) As I saw these early experiences of divine outreach, and traced what happened to those early revelations about Jesus, God conveyed to me that He is not finished with the tribes on this continent. In fact, He is about to restore them in this next great awakening in a great redemptive work that will raise up a new generation of Native leaders all across this continent. This prayer for the tribes is a major focus of our prayer today. (See also my book, The Forgotten Awakening, which entwines the story of Jedediah Smith and Spokan Garry, showing the events that took the Christian Gospel across the Rocky Mountains. The first evangelist west of the Rockies, thus, was not a white man, but the Spokane Chief, Slough-keetcha, alias Spokan Garry.)
As it turned out, God was not done with me as a researcher. In 2005, a prophet spoke these words into my life: “I have made Doug my storyteller, for I am a storyteller.” My particular calling seems to be to research the mighty deeds of God, so that I can tell the story of them throughout the ages. What I had discovered about God reaching out to Native tribes was only one example of many forgotten episodes of Kingdom power transforming the earth in the name of Jesus.
This is not Church history; I call it a Kingdom track record. It has been my delight to unearth the forgotten stories of God’s transforming power throughout the ages. These I have put in a series of teachings entitled “Glory Through Time.” (See elsewhere on this website.) In these teachings, I tell the story of the Kingdom of God as a continuing narrative—with God, not the Church, as the central figure. When we take this approach (looking at what God has done), we become deeply aware of the sovereignty of God over the nations. We also see patterns of His interaction with us that we hadn’t noticed before. (By the way, this type of study will cure us of cessationism once and for all.)
Let me wrap up my story with the recent assurance, confirmed by many prophecies, that God is, in the 2020’s, moving to answer our prayerful longings for another great awakening. This one, according to prophecy, will be a massive, global, powerful outpouring of the Spirit of God that will bring a great transformation of the earth and a truly worldwide harvest of souls. These promises I have worked into another series of teachings, “The Third Great Awakening: What Is It; When Is It?” In this series I track the many prophesies that assure us that, even though there will be darkness on the face of the earth prior to the return of Jesus, there will also be a great move of the Holy Spirit to match and overwhelm that darkness. Also, I have included here on this website, an “End Time Promise” series that looks at the Book of Revelation not as a timeline of the end of the world, but as a series of seven promises, all ending with the absolute victory of Jesus. It is time to see this book for its promises about Jesus!
Yes, it is true that, prior to Jesus’ return, there will be great ungodliness and satanic darkness, including persecution of Christians. But what is now emerging more clearly is that God has something up His sleeve even greater, and we have every right, even a responsibility, to pray for His Kingdom to come on earth as it is in Heaven. We are His Royal Priesthood, and He is prepared to give us, as His Overcomers, great authority over the nations.