With God's help, we have held many evangelistic crusades around the world. The typical crusade involved a ministry team, a skilled choir leader, the recruitment of hundreds of choir members, even thousands of counselors and a large amount of publicity.
But I've also had several occasions to go out and hold evangelistic meetings where I had absolutely none of those things and was often called upon to stand on a platform in front of a large crowd all by myself.
Good News Instead of Bad
The city of Recife is on the far eastern coast of Brazil. We took our Flying Hospital to Recife in order to set up physical healing for the thousands of ill people who needed our help.
The medical work took place in the daytime, and our staff determined that during one of the nights we could hold a mass rally to tell the people about Jesus. I was the designated speaker for the night in question and that afternoon I prepared the appropriate remarks to deliver to the audience.
The spirit of Carnivale seems to have permeated the Brazilian consciousness. The excesses of Mardi Gras spilled over into the personal lives and marital relations of many of the Brazilian people. As I was preparing what to say to the crowd that would come for our meeting, I laid out in precise detail biblical warnings against fornication and adultery.
While I was thinking about this message, the Spirit of God showed me the nature of Jesus in which the Bible said, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor; He has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound" (Isa. 61:1) The Lord said to me very plainly, "Are you planning to preach Good News to the poor?"
I said, "No, Lord. I'm going to preach harsh judgment to the poor."
He said, "I would prefer Good News, not bad news."
So when I stood up on the platform before an estimated 40,000 people who had gathered together in Recife, I only had liberty to tell them the Good News that Jesus Christ had died for them, He had risen from the dead and that He was coming again. And that if they would receive Him as their Savior, they would be part of the heavenly kingdom.
The Spirit of God fell gloriously upon the audience, and at least 20,000 people responded to the message of God's love.
I have to admit that the God of the Bible knows a great deal more about human nature than any of His servants ever will.
Thousands Saved and Healed
In another instance, I was invited to go to Peru to hold an evangelistic meeting in the capital of Lima. At the time, we were not broadcasting in Peru, and I thought none of the Peruvian people knew who I was or what I represented.
Yet my host had the audacity to arrange a meeting in a soccer stadium that was the largest arena in the entire city. I thought that I would be speaking to a handful of people, and I went reluctantly.
I'll never forget walking up the steps to the place where I was to speak. That stadium was absolutely immense, and I was on the podium all by myself. But as I looked around, the stadium was packed with people, and as I explained the simple gospel once again, tens of thousands of people accepted the Lord.
Then I told them that I wanted to pray for their healing and asked them to join hands with one another and to pray for the person to their right and the person to their left. As we all prayed together, the Spirit of God descended on that huge arena and thousands of the sick were wonderfully healed.
As I was speaking, the Lord gave what turned out to be a prophetic word. I declared that God wanted to bless Peru and that I was believing that His special presence would come upon the country and reward them for their faithfulness to Him. Later on I learned that they had discovered a large reservoir of oil in the Amazon and many of the people attributed this remarkable discovery to God's blessing.
Not only had that huge arena been packed with people, but as I was leaving, I discovered that about 20,000 people had remained standing outside because they could not be admitted into the main stadium. I stopped by the fence where they were and prayed for them.
Miracles in Manila
There's one other instance that I recall that was tens of thousands of miles away from South America. I was invited to speak at the famous Araneta Coliseum in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. This time the Lord did not have to correct my message. I had no message at all!
We had at least 100 security personnel, the singer, the choir and the musical instruments. We had a full-blown event going on, but I had nothing to say. I waited on the Lord and there was nothing. And when I arose to the microphone, I still had nothing. So I said, "Let's just praise the Lord!"
And the people began to praise the Lord and sing and clap and rejoice. In that atmosphere of praise, the Lord began to touch people with healing. As I prayed and rejoiced, the Lord gave words of knowledge describing physical conditions in the audience. As I spoke, they were healed.
All over that auditorium, there was dramatic healing. I tried to bring some sort of coherent message, but nothing came—only wave after wave of healing power and miracles. I learned precisely the meaning of the phrase "the Lord inhabits the praise of His people" (see Ps. 22:3).
I don't know exactly how many people were healed that evening, but I'm sure it exceeded 20,000.
I can say with great certainty that it is fun to serve the Lord. I have known heartache, but I also have seen fullness of joy in the presence of my heavenly Father. The hunger for the Lord is so intense throughout the world that it was clear to me that all that was needed was the presence of God—no band, no choir, no elaborate advertising—only God Himself.
Set Free in India
I was invited to speak at a crusade in the area of Hyderabad, India. Dede and I had a hotel room in Hyderabad, and when I awoke on Saturday morning I realized that I was seized by an extraordinary lassitude. I just didn't want to do anything. I felt tired, and it could not have been the result of jet lag because I had been there for several days.
I didn't know what causing this, so I asked the Lord, "What is going wrong with me? Why am I so tired this morning? Please give me the answer." And the Lord spoke very clearly, "It is a spirit of fear."
What would I have to be afraid of? Nothing. But I was in India, and the Indian people have a great deal to be afraid of. I have found that in the demonic realm, there are levels of power. There are regional demonic forces, there are rulers, there are principalities, and there is an entire structure of power which begins with Satan himself. There are demonic rulers who are in charge of cities, states and nations.
I think one of the lies that Satan has imposed upon people is to ignore the existence of the spiritual realm. We are told that Satan isn't a real person, but merely an influence, nothing more or less than a state of mind. This isn't true. These creatures are real, and they do have enormous influence. Jesus said if you are going to despoil a strong man's house, you first must bind the strong man (see Mark 3:27). Before going into a territory, a spirit-filled Christian must take the power of Jesus to bind the strong man. I might add that it's important that the person doing the binding be in touch with the power of God and be genuinely filled with the pure power.
Before I began to get ready to leave, I dealt with this spirit of fear. I said, "In the name of Jesus, you spirit of fear, loose me." And immediately that spirit left.
The name of Jesus has enormous power to control demonic power. These demons had actually come into my consciousness to take away my strength and my joy in that morning. The minute I commanded them to leave, they left me. A spirit of fear is not a strong demon and is one which will acknowledge the name of Jesus very readily. There was no fight involved and the demon left me immediately. My fatigue and strange feeling of lassitude left me as well. I was completely fine.
That evening, I was speaking to the large group that numbered somewhere between 500,000 and 750,000 people. They were sitting on the grass in what had been a polo field in that part of India. We were on a platform and I was able to present to them the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I gave an invitation for them to receive Jesus, and then I led them in a prayer. The prayer was a simple prayer, not complicated at all. But it was one that acknowledged that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, that He had died for their sins, that He had risen again and that He was coming again. If they would receive Him as Savior, He would cleanse them from their sins and give them a place in God's eternal kingdom. They prayed that prayer with me very reverently, and an estimated 300,000 gave their hearts to Jesus Christ.
Afterward, I told them I wanted to pray for them that they might be set free from a spirit of fear. When I prayed, they again reverently bowed their heads to join with me in prayer. I said, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I cast out a spirit of fear from these people."
All of a sudden, they began to shout for joy as this burden had lifted from them, and they felt the fear was gone. The enormity of the oppression under which they had suffered left them and they raised their hands and rejoiced and shouted with praise all over that field. Thousands and thousands of people had been set free.
Editor's Note: This article was excerpted from Pat Robertson's new book, I Have Walked With the Living God (Charisma House 2020). A leader of the faith who brings the gospel of Jesus to the world via media, Robertson has spent decades living a life that continues to inspire generations. I Have Walked With the Living God vividly chronicles Robertson's incredible kingdom journey. Readers get an insider's view of Robertson's challenges, struggles and other accomplishments beyond the Christian Broadcasting Network, which he founded in 1966. Readers will also learn about Robertson's desire to start a center for Christian education now known as Regent University and Operation Blessing, the global humanitarian organization Robertson founded that provides hunger relief, safe water, orphan care, disaster relief, medical care and development to millions of people in every U.S. state and in dozens of countries.
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