Last weekend about 58,000 people gathered at The Send in Orlando, Florida, to receive a commission for evangelism. I attended the conference and was impressed with the humility I saw. Instead of highlighting one speaker, leaders worked together to let the Spirit move. So it was no surprise to me when thousands of people responded to invitations to evangelize and fast for awakening. Andy Byrd, director of The Send and member of YWAM Kona's leadership team, told me in an exclusive interview that this conference—and the powerful response it received—was the fruit of several prophetic words. Be sure to listen to my interview with Andy Byrd at the end of this article to hear more exciting ways God is still moving through The Send.
"[The Send] really came about from a seven-year journey, a seven-year word to Lou Engle and The Call that there was soon going to be coming a transition in America and to The Call from calling people to prayer and fasting to sending people in a spirit of prayer and in a spirit of fasting into evangelism and missions with power," Byrd tells me. "And the mantle, the responsibility, the sense of passion that Billy Graham had to reach his generation, that that same passion was going to fall on an entire generation. So we've been on a seven-year journey to kind of walk that word out, and we've always felt and had words that it would begin in Orlando."
I witnessed Billy Graham's anointing during one of his crusades in Orlando in 1984. At that crusade, I saw far fewer than half the number of people I saw at The Send. But even more fascinating is that the stadium Billy Graham preached in was torn down and a new one was built—the very stadium The Send used for their first conference.
One thing that marked Billy Graham's huge crusades was that scores of people often responded to the gospel message. The Send was no different. Byrd tells me that at the conference, 531 people made a decision to follow Christ for the first time; 2,197 responded to the invitation to reach their colleges for Jesus; 2,467 responded to the mission field of high schools; 5,064 from local churches said they would share the gospel with 12 friends; and 5,423 committed to reach the nations.
I asked Byrd what he thought contributed to this huge positive response. Despite the talent and passion each speaker had, he says the real reason is much deeper than any man-based factor.
"I can't point to anything more than the zeal of the Lord on behalf of His own promises and His own desires for our nation," Byrd says. "So I think it was the message, it was the timing, and it's the hunger in a generation that truly wants to see transformation and wants to see the gospel's power lived out in everyday life. So I think that's the explanation. There really is a deep hunger in a generation to go after God and to go after the lost."
Byrd saw evidence of this hunger before the conference even began in an evangelistic outreach called The Flood. Byrd tells me The Send's leadership reached out to ministry schools and missions groups to gather for a time of street evangelism for five days leading up to The Send.
"Every morning and every night we gathered together for worship and training and prayer," he says. "And then every afternoon we sent these teams out all over the streets. There ended up being about 1,300 to 1,400 missionaries who came in."
These missionaries walked throughout Orlando to pray for people, share the gospel, heal the sick and encourage the weary. Byrd tells me that as a result, 600 people got saved, about 1,600 people heard the gospel message, and around 750 people were supernaturally healed on the streets.
One way The Send is continuing to stir up this generation's hunger for evangelism and awakening is by inviting people to join a 40-day Jesus Fast that began March 1 and ends April 9. Lou Engle publicly announced the fast at The Send and asked attendees—and Christians worldwide—to text a number if they wanted to participate.
"We had 18,196 people sign up for the Jesus Fast," Byrd says. "They'll be walked through, day by day, some specific themes in that 40-day season of prayer and fasting."
If you would like to join the worldwide Jesus Fast, you can click here to sign up and receive daily prayer themes. I hope you'll consider joining with Christians across the globe to cry out to God for awakening in this generation. If what God is doing through The Send encourages you, share this article on your social media, and encourage your friends to pray with you!
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