Last Sunday, former student Adam Walton, who is moving on work with YWAM, mentioned a prophetic word about 'balls of fire'. What was all that about, I hear some of you asking!?
The prophetic words that God gives us as we pray and seek him is an important part of catching a vision of what is on his agenda for us. Biblically, God speaks through dreams, visions, pictures, and men and women of God. As we have met together, over the years, to pray for Oxford, God has given us a number of these prophetic pointers, which we weigh together.
Back in the '90s!
Balls of fire is one of the foundational visions God gave for OCC students, back in the 1990s(!), through a surprising series of words:
Mike Madden (a former OCC leader) saw a prophetic vision of balls of fire falling on a number of halls of residence and colleges in the universities. God said that he wants to light fires in individual students' rooms that will spread throughout the whole university.
Then, an LMH undergraduate student, knowing nothing of Mike's vision, had a dream in which her room was on fire. In the dream, as she tried to put it out God clearly said "No - don't put it out". The next Sunday she had a remarkable experience: knowing nothing of the vision, she was just talking about her dream to her boyfriend when we described Mike's 'balls of fire' vision and announced the follow-up 'Lighting the Fire' prayer meeting!
Another student saw a picture of a forest. Scattered through the forest were trees on fire, which dried out the trees around them and caused the fire the spread. She felt the trees were students, who by prayer, would see God's fire spread.
A church leader the OCC church in Cote, West Oxfordshire, while praying for students at countywide prayer meeting, had a picture of a fire bomb in a house. Apparently(!!), to make a good petrol bomb you need to vapourise the fuel first, so that it spreads throughout the house, then ignite it. The first stage is unseen; then the spectacular explosion! (The message: it is important to create the right atmosphere necessary for God to cause his explosion).
Then, a senior Indian church leader and trusted prophet, visiting from Mumbai, shared a word that further reinforced the 'balls of fire' word, yet he knew nothing of that original prophetic word. He said: "I was showed us the place where the bishops were burned (Martyrs Memorial). Many people whom I have met... people in the Asian church too... have told me about this place in the centre of Oxford where two bishops were burned who said that there is a fire which will come which will never be put out. As I was praying about this I felt within my spirit this: I felt as if there were angelic hosts that were coming down from heaven. … And then there were balls of fire that were being dropped, and I saw three places where the balls of fire were being dropped. The first ball of fire was dropped in the university, and there were key students and key professors on whom the ball of fire was being dropped…
God had got our attention, and we prayed and dreamed into the 'balls of fire' vision for several years in the 1990s.
This may all seem like ancient history, before many of you were born. To be honest, I'd mostly forgotten about it.
But then in November 2019, our student team received some prophetic input from some mature prophets from the OCC church in Witney, Oxfordshire.
They knew nothing of the earlier words about fire, but prophesied over our team that God wants to being the bellows to bear on the fire again.
They also said, "think big!", not knowing that "Think BIG" was our 1990s mission statement, standing for: Build family, Infect students with the Kingdom of God, Go to nations. It sounds a bit un-PC these days, but in 2019 my ears pricked up, and the prophet unknowingly rekindled this word!
Church: God is getting our attention again! He wants us to think big for the universities, and what he wants to do in them, through our prayer, our presence and our proclamation.