By Jonathon Goodenow
PEORIA – Bishop Frank J. Beard shared with new ordinands and commissionees that God can wield power to the church and asked that it would cry out to God for God to use the church liked God used the disciples after Pentecost.
Bishop Beard shared that prayer, purpose, passion is powered by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus told the disciples to wait in that Upper Room until they were clothed with spiritual power. When the Holy Spirit came over them, they became vessels that God used to spread His truth and love throughout the world.
Bishop Beard said that The United Methodist Church has not followed this directive.
“Have you noticed we have some spiritual streakers in The United Methodist Church?” Beard asked. “We have some folks who don’t have their spiritual clothes on, and some have the wrong clothes.” Beard reminded the conference that Christians need to don the armor and weapons of Ephesians 6:10 and go into the world to do good and make disciples.
“We are engaged in spiritual warfare, and if you’re not aware of that you need to open your eyes and look in your community,” he said.
Bishop Beard told several stories about how he and others had witnessed the Holy Spirit worked miracles through prayers. When he was stationed as a pastor in Indiana, Beard was a witness to two separate occasions of miraculous medical recoveries spurred by the power of prayer. In one case, he was brought to a hospital by James Warren Bailey, a layperson for the Anderson, Indiana church, to pray for a church member who had recently been admitted there. A doctor met with them assuming that they were family and told them that there was nothing more they could do to save her life. The doctor walked away and the two of them stayed there to pray.
“I will confess to you that I don’t think my prayer reached the ceiling,” the bishop said, “but he prayed ‘Lord if it’s your will to raise this sister up, I pray that you would touch her with the power of God.’ About three weeks later she was in church.”
He went on to tell the story of how he emulated this same prayer for a woman who was about to be disconnected from life support. She had recently been given her last rites by another pastor, but then Beard came in and emulated the prayer that Bailey had given. When the doctors disconnected life support, she got up, coughed, and asked for a Pepsi. Similarly, the bishop’s uncle was cured of alcoholism when he mistakenly walked into a church one night and was prayed over.
The disciples needed to get their spiritual clothes on, so they met together in that room to do both corporate and personal prayer. The Holy Spirit responds to prayer and it responded to them.
“They argued about who was gonna sit on the right and the left of Jesus before,” said Beard, “but they came together that day in unity and prayed, and they received the Spirit because they didn’t want to keep it to themselves. When the Spirit comes restoration follows and revival is the result. The wind came into the room and they were pushed out into the street. Lord, do it again.”