‘I and the power of early Christianity’
I felt I needed a deeper fellowship with God. My soul thirsted for Him …. One evening, after work, I heard inside me a voice inviting me to go to the cattle-shed and to kneel down in that ‘upper room’, where I often prayed. I obeyed the voice of the Lord, I knelt down before the Living God and I presented myself to God. After I had prayed for some time, I felt an extraordinary force came upon me and seized all my being. I began to pray more intensely, having only Jesus before my eyes, and I realized that my prayer was becoming more and more intense. Suddenly I saw something like a bright ray coming from heaven and I realized that God was pleased with my prayer. It was as if I was taken into an indescribable splendour and my poor words cannot express what I felt during those moments; something like a current passed through all my body and seized my tongue so that I spoke a river of words that I did not understand. I was still conscious, even though I did not realize what was happening to me. Rather, I even tried not to speak those words by biting my tongue. I was also frightened when I realized, after a few moments, that I could not pray in Danish and that those strange words were continually coming on my lips. When I stood up, I began to weep thinking I had to ask God to forgive me for my conduct. The fact is that I had been told that some people who had meditated deeply on Christianity had become fanatics and some of them had gone mad.
Actually, I had not reflected or meditated much, but I had simply believed in God and I had prayed to Him and that incomprehensible power had come upon me ….
I slipped into my bed, trying to control myself, but I was a prey to that strange phenomenon. I did not dare to talk with my wife about it, for I feared she would think I was crazy, and in addition to this I did not want to trouble her. When I was with my friends who belonged to the ‘Community Movement’ and we prayed together, that strange phenomenon occurred again and I had to control myself, using all my strength. I even put a handkerchief over my mouth so that nobody could hear what I was saying. It was a terrible time; nobody understood me and I did not know what to do!
One evening we were invited to a meeting in the house of an elderly Christian governess; a preacher belonging to another church, who was passing, was scheduled to speak. After the message and some comments made by some of us, we knelt down to pray. Then in my heart I asked God to guide me through the Holy Spirit, without realizing that strange phenomenon I was experiencing was due to the presence of the Holy Spirit of God in me. Anyway, also that evening I was seized by an irresistible power, which lifted me without anyone of those who were gathered noticing.
Before I realized what was happening, I found myself on the other side of the room. I had been literally lifted over the heads of those who were praying beside me. I had also a heavenly vision that I will never forget and which I cannot describe by word of mouth. There is undoubtedly analogy between this vision and the experience described by the apostle Paul in his second epistle to the Corinthians: “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (2 Corinthians 12:1-4)
Then I began to shout with all the strength I had: ‘I am free! I am free!’ Some of my friends were frightened and confused and rushed out of the house, while others began to praise God. Some others asked me if I was sick for I was trembling.
I could not understand what was happening to me, but I was absolutely sure I had been in the presence of God. However, nobody would dare to explain that incident. Then my friends advised me to go back home and they helped me to put on my coat. On the way home some asked me if I knew what had happened to me, but I did not know what to say. I just said that a supernatural and indescribable joy had seized me, and that joy was still flooding me.
The following day I read in the Bible these words: “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:16-17). Nevertheless, I still did not understand what ‘God will pour out of His Spirit’ meant. However, I knew that the vision I had had came from God.
Later the elderly teacher came to inquire about my conditions. Then I asked her what had happened to me the evening before. She explained to me that the Holy Spirit had come upon me. Thus she spoke to me about the baptism with the Holy Spirit according to the teaching of the Bible, showing me how the four Gospels spoke about it. Particularly, she pointed my attention on Mark 16:17. In that passage the ‘glossolalia’ (or speaking with tongues) is indicated as one of the signs following this experience “and these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils [demons]; they shall speak with new tongues ….”. Therefore the mystery had been resolved, my strange experience was nothing but the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
Then I told that teacher that phenomenon had occurred often at that time while I was praying and I had made all my efforts to avoid speaking those strange words. She was moved and encouraged me not to repress them when they came on my lips because what I had received was nothing but the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Many people – she told me – go from one meeting to another for years in search of what you have received while your were alone with God into a cattle-shed!!
All these things happened to Martinus Bjerre in Denmark in the last century
From: Martinus Bjerre, Come un Padre [As a Father], Grosseto, Italy, 1986, pages 21-24