It was during my first visit to the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship that I was introduced to “soaking”.
The testimony of a woman I do not even know to this day called out to me from the platform. “A year ago,” she said with her head shaking violently in a way that annoyed me, “my husband and I were chronic TV watchers. We didn’t even want to go to church.” I could identify. I was a pastor and a pastor’s wife and I didn’t want to go either.
“But in January, someone called and said, ‘Get down to the church! God’s moving!’ So we came down to the church and we’ve been back every night since then.” By now tears were tracking down her cheeks as she went on, “And tonight, I’m more in love with Jesus than I ever have been in all of my life.”
I remember my husband and I standing for ministry afterward wanting what she had and gradually becoming more obvious as person after person dropped to the floor. The power of an unseen force seemed to be sucking despair from them and many of them were writhing in the throes of what seemed to be periods of pain interspersed with ecstatic joy. As the waves of power subsided, looks of serenity crept across their faces. Why aren’t they getting back up? I wondered.
For years I had seen many people fall in meetings and had never put much value on it. Those who fell usually popped back up as though the people felt obligated to fall in the presence of a well-known evangelist. It had an almost perfunctory quality to it. But this was different.
Then it was our turn. When Ron Dick, a normal guy on the prayer team, reached out two fingers and gently touched my forehead, he prayed, “Come, Holy Spirit.” And He came. Suddenly I felt myself acted upon by the same unseen force. As I fell, Jesus seemed to be bending over me laughing about the fact that finally He had me where He wanted me.
The humor of the moment faded into a sense of the love of God that washed over me. It was the first of thousands of washings of His love in the past seven years. I was being fully “known.” Eternity was touching me, and I didn’t want the moment to end. Now I knew why people weren’t getting up quickly.
We began to make time for “soaking” in every service back home. If someone were to ask me today, “How do you sustain revival?” I’d answer, “Keep soaking in the love of Jesus.” Soaking in His presence is an invitation for the Holy Spirit to keep coming, and it keeps our attention off ourselves and on Jesus, the true center of revival. It is the fuel for service. If you soak, you will tell.
We’ve devoted this issue to the theme, “Soaking in the presence of God.” You will read articles from people like Carol Arnott who explains the value of soaking in God’s presence. We introduce Jim Goll’s new book, Wasted on Jesus, with an adaptation about recovering the lost glory of what we now call “soaking.”
Dawn Critchely describes how she and Rob started growing dry in the renewal and recovered their passion for Jesus through soaking in God’s love. And Mark Virkler has a piece on “Soaking for Left-Brainers.” Put on a CD, lie down on the floor and invite the Holy Spirit to come upon you, then get ready to encounter Him. You will if you keep praying, Keep coming, Holy Spirit.
Originally Published March/April 2001 Editor Melinda Fish