Visitation in an Upper Room

By Ruth Johnson

kampala-street-3Through a narrow alley and up steep, concrete stairs we went every morning to an upper room.

We taught each day for a week at a Karamajong Ministry in Kampala. Each time we came, there were more people who gathered. Most of them were prominent business people or high ranking government officials.

Barry and I proclaimed the Word of God concerning His Glory. We taught a hard, challenging message about the sins against His presence that are epidemic in the Body of Christ, including in Africa. Everyone stared intently at us. They barely moved as we declared the need for a genuine, unselfish love for one another and a repentance for our sins against love. The kind of repentance that grips us so deeply, we can never go back to the person we used to be.

“This is what it is going to take,” we passionately explained, “if we are ever going to see the same power and miracles that exploded like wildfire in the early church.”

Day after day, we were all humbled by an increasing awareness that we were seeking to be in the presence of a holy God. A stirring conviction began to come upon the group concerning the negative, grumbling, judgmental and destructively unkind words we speak that always shatter unity and grieve the Holy One of Israel. Instruction was also given that during worship the Lord doesn’t want us to stay in the outer court where so many of His children spend their entire lives only praising Him.

“He loves our praise,” we shared. “But He aches and longs for His children to go beyond the outer court and come intimately close to Him in the Holy of Holies.”

We briefly taught that God wants His people to sing their love to Him in their own “new song,” just like took place in a simple, humble tent on Mount Zion that was called the Tabernacle of David. The people listened in rapt silence as we taught that the Father yearns for the restoration of the kind of worship that David imparted to the Israelites (Amos 9:11 KJV, Acts 15:16 NASB) because it is so heartfelt and so intimate that it ushers people into His presence. We also carefully explained that as people humbly and reverently seek His face, the glory of the Lord descends. Supernatural breakthroughs, healings and deliverances from all evil oppression take place. Lives are sovereignly and miraculously changed forever.

Friday morning finally came.

Shortly after we arrived, there wasn’t room for anyone else to come in. Many stood outside the door. We were instantly apprehended by a revival repentance and then a holy hush fell upon us. This sacred silence consumed us with an overwhelming reverence for the God who had descended so swiftly and powerfully upon us and had engulfed us. Then when I began to sing at different moments in Luo, Luganda and Kupsabiny, an avalanche of tears broke out. All over the room, people who had never experienced entering into the Holy of Holies fell to their knees and unashamedly wept. Our voices rose with the harp like a heavenly choir while we sang as if we were one voice. It seemed like the walls trembled with the sound of our breathtakingly united worship. A humbling brokenness overwhelmed all of us as we were overcome by the visitation of God.

Forty-five minutes later it was time for everyone to return to their businesses and government offices. When everyone had departed, I walked out into the narrow, weather beaten veranda that was just outside this upper room. An older man sat a short distance from where we had been worshipping. He wasn’t part of the group of believers who had gathered in meeting. He simply was someone from one of the nearby shops who had been drawn by what was happening and had been overtaken by it as he covered his face with his large hands. When he looked up, he couldn’t speak. His eyes were red from weeping. His face was wet with his tears. I quietly nodded as if to say to him, “I understand,” and silently backed away.

Amazingly, while we were worshiping, the shopkeepers were quiet. All the people stood everywhere in awed silence. This is how Barry and our African team later described this supernatural occurrence to me:

“No one moved on Kampala Road. God came down so powerfully over the building during our worship that the cars and people stopped moving and were silent as far as we could see in every direction. Crowds of people were looking up at the window of the room where we were gathered. Many were pointing to the window and asking, ‘What is this? What is happening in that place?’ Then when the worship ended, everything went back to the way it always is.”

The Karamajong pastor that had hosted the meetings offered to accompany us to our vehicle. He explained as he walked by our side:

“The men of Africa don’t cry. But today the men in that place shed many tears. Even I cried,” he quietly said as he glanced up at the sky to acknowledge the God who had so deeply moved his soul.

“I know all of these people very well and never have I seen such a sight as I saw today in that room. They knelt and repented. They humbled themselves before our God. They worshipped freely. All of this is unheard of because we Africans know how to praise. But we don’t know this worship that brings us so close to God. This has never happened to these people. None of us will ever forget this day of the Visitation of our God.”

We paused together and silently looked out over the street that was once again crowded with noisy cars and an endless sea of busy, bustling people. Then he spoke again in a passionate voice:

“The hope of Africa and the hope of the nations is the Glory of the Lord.

A move of God’s Glory is the only thing that can defeat the darkness we’re up against. We’ve focused so much on fighting demons, but it hasn’t worked. If battling demons with constant spiritual warfare was the answer, there wouldn’t be a demon left in all of Africa. But instead we’re surrounded with worse evil everywhere.

What we Africans need is this revelation of worship in the Holy of Holies that you have brought to us. God’s holy presence is the only force that is more powerful than all of this evil. May this message you’ve brought to my country spread like fire across the continent of Africa and far beyond to other nations.”

In these words God is emphatically declaring His longing during this profoundly strategic hour in the history of mankind:

“My Glory will be revealed. All mankind together will see it. And the time will come when all the earth will be filled, as the waters fill the sea, with an awareness of the Glory of the Lord.

I will shake all the nations. I will fill My house with My Glory once again. But this latter Visitation will be greater than any of the former times when this has ever happened before. And in the midst of it, I will pour out My Peace that a desperately lost and troubled world needs.

So stand in awe. I will gather all nations and peoples together. They will see My glory. I will send messengers to the nations and to all the lands beyond the sea that have not heard of My fame and have never seen Me. There these messengers will declare My glory.

So watch and be astounded at what I am going to do! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe, even if someone told you about it.”

The Lord of Hosts
The Holy One of Israel

Isaiah 40:3-5, 66:18-19
Habakkuk 2:14, 1:5
Haggai 2:7-9