In 1972, Jim Spillman, a Kathryn Kuhlman Ministries Associate, ran a series of meetings in the Thebarton Town Hall in Adelaide, South Australia.
At the end of one meeting, he announced that the Lord had told him He was going to do something special the next evening.
When the worship started on the next night, it was immediately evident that there was something extremely special in the singing. We were seated downstairs. I said to my wife: “Those people upstairs are doing an amazing job!”
After the meeting we met some folk who had been seated upstairs. I said to them: you guys did a great job in the worship. They said: it was not us; it was coming from above us.
This was the first time I had experienced the angels joining with the saints in worship! When I asked the Lord about it, He said: “Welcome to the world of high praise!”
I sought scriptural confirmation and was directed to Psalm 149:6-9:
‘Let the high praises of God be in their mouths…
to execute vengeance on the heathen, to bind their kings with chains…
and fetters of iron, to bring upon them the judgement written!’
Bringing this scripture into the New Covenant context, I realised Psalm 149 is speaking about our opportunity to deal with the demon hordes that oppress our land: princely demons, regional powers and wraiths in the air.
THE MIRACLE OF MOZAMBIQUE
In 1990, I was teaching at the Africa School of Missions in South Africa. One of our students had a call to Mozambique, and I was delegated to find a place for her to undertake a placement there.
I had heard of Maforga Mission at Gondola on the Beira Corridor, so I arranged to visit them.
Beira is a major seaport on the Mozambique coast. The best way to get there from Eastern South Africa is via the Zimbabwe town of Umtali — the place where 13 English Elim missionaries were massacred in 1979.
I stayed at the One-Way Centre in Umtali overnight and marvelled at the incredible demonic oppression over the place. My thought was: if this is the spiritual condition of Zimbabwe, what will Mozambique, the most impoverished, the most embattled country in the world, be like?
In the morning I was collected by Maforga staff. When we passed through the border post, I was amazed to find that there was an ‘open heaven’ over Mozambique — no demonic oppression there at all! How could that be?
I arrived at Maforga just before lunch on a Saturday. In conversation with staff I learned that the farm property they occupied had belonged to a German Countess, whose grand-daughter had married the Prince Michael of Kent. Apparently, Princess Michael used to visit the farm on school holidays; her picture was on the wall.
I was asked if I would like to preach the next day. I said I could do that. I asked the Lord what I should preach about and He suggested ‘Praise’!
My interpreters, John Moyo and his wife, arrived early to take me to the meeting. After a drive of about 5km, we arrived at a badly beaten-up church building. Mozambique was in the middle of a civil war at the time, and the building was pockmarked with bullet holes.
When we entered the building, we found about sixty people gathered. They were seated, silent and all looking at the ground. Their clothes were nothing more than rags, barely covering their bodies. I thought, these people certainly need to learn the secret of David when he was in the cave! (Psalm 57)
Introductions over, John Moyo said something in the Shona language, and the congregation rose as one man and out of their mouths poured a triumphant outburst of praise like the sound of many waters. It continued for about twenty minutes with sustained energy and power.
I was dumb struck initially. Now, I knew why Mozambique had an open heaven! The demons were not only down, they were destroyed!
I preached on praise, high praise and the highest praise. The people listened soberly and intently. When I completed my message, someone suggested that we put some of my ideas into practice, Needing little encouragement, the congregation rose up and brought forth an even greater dimension of praise than before. We closed the meeting in the manifest presence of the Supreme Majesty!
In 2019, when Penny Wong tried to introduce a bill to force Christian schools to employ homosexual teachers, I said to some brethren: “Enough is enough; we need to pull down the demon spirits operating over this land.”
A group of us got together to pray. I said: “We need to get into some high praise to bring the demon spirits down!”
But, apart from Judy and I, no-one had heard of or experienced high praise. I tried to get some worship going, but we came from different backgrounds and could not find songs and/or choruses with which we were all familiar.
These were precious people, most of whom had been in ministry for a number of years. But they tended to see prayer as a private thing conducted in silence or in a low voice!
We tried our best, but it was a case of ‘unless the Lord builds the house, we labour in vain’.
Having failed to set up a site for high praise, my wife and I visited a number of churches in our area to see if there was some place where high praise was happening. Nobody had even heard of high praise!
TOWARDS BETTER WORSHIP
High praise is not an optional extra. It is God’s best weapon against the enemy. How come it is not a common experience for the saints?
I learned about worship in a Tabernacle of David event that arose in Adelaide in the 1970s. We used to meet in St Cecilia’s Hall in the grounds of a Catholic girls’ school.
There were no chairs in the room; five hundred of us stood crammed together like sardines throughout the meeting.
There was no message, just a lot of prayer in tongues, extravagant praise, and prophetic words in abundance.
It was hard to hear the words coming forth because of the general noise. I recall someone shouting out: “What was that word?” When the word was relayed, the response was: “OK — but we have already had that word down this end of the room!”
The music was provided by a Dominican nun on the piano and a blind trumpeter from the AOG. The spiritual word flowed like a river. We were greatly blessed.
What I learned was:
- If you want to get into praise, the first thing to do is get the band off the stage. This is not a concert.
- The second thing to do is to push the chairs back against the walls and stand together in concentric circles.
- The third thing to do is to get everyone praying out loud in concert. It may start in the flesh, but the worst thing that can happen is that a sacrifice of praise will have been offered and the angels will have been given a chance to join in.
- The best thing that can happen is that Jesus will declare the name of the Father in the assembly, as He promised He would (Hebrews 2:12). What a privilege to hear Him praise and rejoice over us with singing! (Zeph. 3:17)
I suggested this approach a few times to some pastors and worship leaders. The response, in each case, was a stunned silence.
The Australian church continues on its somnambulant way, singing introvert songs and calling it worship; while witches down the street continue to meet, and demon spirits continue to drive the nation into insanity and chaos. Or so it seems.
Despite all, I remain optimistic. God is still on the throne, and my hope rests on the fact that in 2002, as I was driving to a meeting, the Lord said to me: “John, I have My army in place!”
So, I know you are out there, brethren. Let us find each other and see if we cannot bring an open heaven to this land of sunburnt plains.