Bright sunshine interrupts soft drizzles of rain. Shops close during lunchtime for two hours. People sit in cafés de trottoir (sidewalk café’s) sipping coffee and eating baguettes and read Le Monde (The World) newspaper. There are neat flowerbeds everywhere with red, yellow and purple flowers ranging from cyclamen, lavender, chrysanthemums, dandelions and elwoody decorating the town. An abundance of French tri-colour flags droop down from the Mairie de Clamart town hall balconies. Warm sunlight fades and a cool breeze announces a fresh, gentle drizzle. Here you experience the proverbial ‘Quatre Saisons dans une jour!’ four seasons in one day. Autumn in Paris.
Without planning it this way Nola and I celebrate our wedding anniversary in Paris this year! Pastor Michel Balverde from the Eglise Evangelique de Clamart invited us to minister during a week of prayer and fasting and also arranged for us to preach at Philadelphia Church where in 3 services next Sunday morning.
‘Il faut que lui croisse et que moi je diminue,’ is the theme of the week from John 3:30. It says, ‘He must increase and I must decrease.’ The church’s slogan is ‘une eglise sans frontiers’ (a church without boundaries).
The First Sunday
On the first Sunday I demonstrated how God gave us faith that cannot be overcome by circumstances. I took a cork and pushed it under the water and showed how it keeps on bouncing back up. The resilient faith God gave us overcomes any volume of problems. We can literally face anything. Compared to what Paul the apostle went through for the Gospel’s sake, we do not have much to complain about! And yet he kept the faith! After all his shipwrecks and beatings his faith bounced back up and he finished the race of faith. He wrote, ‘let us run the race of faith with patience’. Patience is a key ingredient in the spiritual life for it is also the first quality of love. Patience stabilizes your faith while you wait for the manifestation of what you are joyfully trusting God for.
There are lots of immigrants from 30 nations in the church now. Many of them are from Africa. One gave me her father’s address in Cameroon where he pastors a church. I’ve been to Douala, the Capitol of Cameroon twice already.
They brought a young girl named Letitia suffering from Leukemia that I lay my hands on her. I rebuked the spirit of death and the spirit of Leukemia and asked God to perform a miracle in the Name of Jesus, because spirits of infirmity often cause such incurable diseases. Jesus’ Name has power to destroy every kind of disease.
When I finished preaching I asked Nola to minister in song. She played and sang so beautifully that I felt it should last forever! Some musicians and worship leaders came to speak to her straight after the meeting and reminded her of how she taught them about prophetic worship 8 years ago.
Pastor Michel has amazing connections in Morocco, Algiers and Egypt as well as in Nicaragua. The church in Clamart sponsors many missionaries from the home base including missionaries to Muslims and Jews in France.
The week of prayer and fasting
On Wednesday night many people were baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. On Thursday night there was a wonderful breakthrough of the Holy Spirit in worship and dance and the meeting lasted till close to mid-night! The people enjoyed lingering on in the presence of God.
I taught on prayer throughout the week and covered many topics. I often acted out portions of the sermon and the French crowd responded well. A mime artist would do great over here!
I started off by telling the story of Yvette’s first music box that I bought for her in Basel, Switzerland when she was just a year old. It was a wooden box with a little duck that you pulled out on a string. As it returned to the little hole in the box the music starts playing. I will never forget her first reaction to the sound and sight of this music box! It was a special moment. Then I wrote in my diary: ‘it takes so many precious things to build the life of a little girl into what she’ll one day become…’
This is so with every precious soul saved, every new member in a church – it takes a lot of special moments in the presence of God to bring us to maturity and give meaning to our lives…
God builds special moments into our lives that we will never forget. And that is what Nola and I expect God to do here in Paris for every member of the church: a special moment in His presence that we will never forget!
Sermons on prayer
During the week we worked through 9 kinds of prayer: intercession, supplication, consecration, tongues, thanksgiving, warfare, faith, prophetic and governmental or apostolic prayer. The only prayer that allows you to pray ‘if it is your will, Lord’ is the prayer of consecration and commitment. When you are not sure of the will of the Lord concerning a serious decision you have to make you can ask: ‘if it is your will, Lord’, but not where the will of God is already known. Then it will be a form of doubt and unbelief. If you pray the prayer of faith for healing you do not ask, ‘if it be your will, Lord’ because healing is a forever settled subject. Governmental prayer is an apostolic decree based on prophetic insight about a particular issue. It is making a statement of fact about the will of God against all the principalities and powers in the heavenly realm to declare the will of God.
Because we do not really know what to pray for as we ought to pray, the Holy Spirit helps our infirmities and teaches us to pray (Romans 8:26). He is our helper when it comes to prayer. The anointing within teaches us concerning all things.
We also discussed the prayer lives of men and women of God that accomplished a lot for the Kingdom of God in their generation through much prayer: Martin Luther who brought the Reformation changed the entire world when he discovered the just shall live by faith in Romans 1:16, 17. Dr. Judson impressed the Burmese empire for Christ (now called Myanmar where I have been 3 times). John Wesley was dissatisfied with the state of the church in England and through his prayers prevented a bloody revolution in England that was about to imitate the French Revolution; Madame Guyon wrote her short and simple method of prayer and got put into prison for it, but it became a best seller while she was in jail! John Fletcher stained his walls by the breath of his prayers!
Basic hindrances to prayer were also dealt with in my sermons: the lack of knowledge in 4 major areas hinder our prayer life: lack of knowledge concerning the integrity of God’s word; lack of knowledge about righteousness; lack of knowledge about the right to use the Name of Jesus and lack of knowledge regarding fellowship with God. The spirit of hurry-and-rush in the modern world interferes with our interest in long sessions of prayer.
The meetings sometimes lasted for 3 to 4 hours. People made an effort to come together to pray. Many of them also fasted for 3 days. Nola prayed that God would be taught again in the schools of France. Pastor Michel and his son, Pastor Samuel met with the mayor of Clamart one afternoon and explained what the Evangelical church is all about.
The prayer life of men in the Bible is also important to stimulate and motivate our private and corporate prayer lives. Men like Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah and Elisha are important studies to give us substance for our own prayers. Jesus’ own prayer life is a chapter on its own and so is the apostolic prayers of Paul, the apostle.
Claire Balverde did an excellent job in translating whenever either Nola or I taught or preached. She also speaks Spanish fluently and is a real gift to the church.
On Friday night I taught on hearing the voice of God. I shared my experience as a young man coming to France for the first time when I thought I heard God calling my name in the hotel, but it was the house-maid asking if she could enter my room to clean it: ‘Entre?’
I also showed people how God gives us the desires of our heart to fulfill them when we delight ourselves in Him.
On the last Sunday morning in Clamart I let Nola teach on Worship and Dance and the Scriptures stirred the hearts of the people. Nola also demonstrated how David and Jesus leaped much and twirled in a dance and read the Scriptures. The entire church leaped and twirled in a dance and it was a wonderful breakthrough in the spirit. Pastor Michel also expressed his desire that the worship team should continue in what Nola taught them. She anointed the whole team and prophesied over them after the meeting.
I never got to preach but I ministered deliverance to several people during worship. I prayed for a boy struggling with deaf and dumbness. I prayed for his mother who has a problem with addiction. Many people were delivered from evil spirits.
In the afternoon we had lunch with the leadership team and the joy and gladness were proof of all the wonderful things the Lord has done in our midst during the week.
Apostle Andre Pelser