ON the Friday night of WYD my wife and I found ourselves in the midst of thousands of people for “Receive The Power Live”, a huge worship and outreach event held on the shores of Sydney Harbour hosted by the Australian Charismatic Renewal.
Headlining the night was US worship leader Matt Maher and Australia’s own Hills United. I had no idea of what the night would entail, apart from some preaching, great music and an opportunity for one-on-one prayer.
As we began, the air blowing in from the harbour was freezing to the bone but the atmosphere of worship that followed soon helped me forget all about the temperature of the air.
A few years ago in the book Walk With You, I wrote a dream I’d always had for a thing I call “the Australian Catholic Youth Church” – “I have a dream. It is of a place, of hundreds of places, of a whole generation, a future moment in history waiting to be written, where there is contemporary worship, powerful preaching and a height of spiritual revival unseen before in the Catholic Church. Where flocks, hordes of young people gather together under one roof to worship the living God with utter abandon and without restraint. Hey, forget the roof: under the stars! – because the building will be too small.”
At one point, Darlene Zschech, from Hillsong, was leading everyone in singing her world-famous song “Shout to the Lord” and I opened my eyes to turn and take a sneak peek around.
What I saw was a sea of people as far as the eye could see “from every tribe, nation and tongue” with banners flying and arms raised to the heavens singing a united song of praise to Jesus Christ with all their heart and soul.
It was an overwhelming sight. Right at that moment I felt the Lord lean down and whisper in my ear; “the Australian Catholic Youth Church …”
Tears sprang to my eyes as I continued to watch the worship of God continue so openly and unashamedly by his faithful young people.
It was true! “Forget the roof! It will be under the stars, because a building will be too small”. I had no idea that WYD would be where I would see that vision fulfilled.
The night continued as Matt Maher led the crowd into deep and powerful worship before the Blessed Sacrament on the stage.
My wife and I prayed for individuals who came up to us to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
At one stage a bunch of teenagers from Western Australia asked us to pray with them as a group to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit together, something I will never forget. What faith! What openness! What hope and inspiration they gave to me.
God is renewing his Church. He is reaching hearts. And he using the awesome gift of worship to unlock and open up the doors of people’s hearts “that the King of glory may enter in” (Psalm 24).
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