In the middle of June 1998, our church had been going through some problems with division and disagreement, mostly over the “apostolic message.” It was during this time that John Alley, the Senior Minister, spent a month in prayer from 6am to 6pm each day seeking God. On the 23rd of the month John had an experience he recounts in his own words.
“While it was still dark and cold outside, I felt drawn to Psalm 32. I opened my Bible and read the Psalm. Verse 9 says ‘Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.’ As I sat wondering why God was speaking to me about horses and mules, suddenly and instantaneously I received an amazing download of information all based on that word ‘understanding’. In just a few moments I was flooded with knowledge of something God was saying, and these were things I could see and feel deeply.”
The Lord told John that He was looking for a people on whom he could put understanding. The size of the group wasn’t important. He said that if He could do this, it would totally transform their life as a people. They would become a people of one heart and one mind and they would rise as one man to do the work of God in the world.
After the experience was over, John began to question whether such a thing was too idealistic. He had never seen anything in his Christian experience and concluded that such a thing, if it was real, would surely be referenced in the Scriptures.
When he began a search of the Scriptures, he did find examples of people who had become one in heart and mind after the Lord enabled it to happen. The first example was in 2 Chronicles 30:12 where it says, “the hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind to carry out what the king and his officials had ordered, following the word of the Lord.” This was an astounding event in the history of the nation of Judah.
Also in the New Testament, it says in Acts 4:32 that “All the people were one in heart and mind.” And in verse 33 it says “… and much grace was upon them all.” When John Alley realised there were biblical examples, he was convinced that being of one heart and mind was not only possible but realistic. God had spoken because it was something He was wanting.
It is not about horses or mules, that God is concerned, but about His people. He wants to be able to place understanding on His people and He wants them to be willing to receive it. When this happens, it is the key to community because it brings unity of heart and mind. This understanding is an anointing – and also one of the seven spirits that rested on Jesus in Isaiah 11, and which if it rests on us, will change us completely.