A long, long time ago, there was a teenager named Patrick. He was pretty much a spoiled brat, the son of a rich merchant. One day, he was kidnapped from his home in Great Britain by pirates! IRISH pirates…the worst kind! They took him in a boat across the sea to Ireland and sold him as a slave to a guy who had a big herd of sheep. For six years, he lived out in the hills taking care of a bunch of dumb sheep.
But the cool thing was, GOD started speaking to Patrick while he was out on those cold, rainy, lonely hillsides. God assured Patrick of His love for him and Patrick started changing; I mean, REALLY changing from the inside out. He became completely and totally devoted to Jesus, and they carried on conversations together throughout the day. Hey, what else was there to do on an isolated hillside, surrounded by stupid sheep?
One day, after six years in Ireland, God spoke to Patrick and told him how to escape. God said there would be a boat waiting to take him home. And sure enough the boat was right where God said it would be. Patrick was super relieved to be back home, but he had changed. God was really GOD to him now. Patrick couldn’t get the Irish people out of his heart. In a dream, God led him to go back to Ireland as a MISSIONARY. And so he did.
The rest is history. Actually, I guess you could say it’s ALL history, but the point is that God used Patrick to TRANSFORM Ireland with the Gospel of Jesus. This Patrick is who we now know as Saint Patrick. He made some incredible disciples and after just about 100 years, Ireland was sending missionaries all over the world. For centuries, they sent more missionaries to the nations than any other country on earth.
Fast forward to today… Ireland has declined spiritually so much that a high percentage of the folks don’t even go to church anymore, which makes me ask the question, “Does God really finish what He starts?” In other words, is today’s Ireland still called by God to send the Gospel to the nations?
Romans 11:29 says, “For God’s gifts and His call can never be withdrawn.” So I’d say the answer to my question is, yes. The calling is still valid.
About 13 years ago, God sort of just dropped Ireland onto the hearts of my wife and I, promising Ireland would experience total spiritual TRANSFORMATION, affecting every facet of their culture and nation. His calling on the nation has never changed! Once again, they will be a nation with an unusually strong devotion to Jesus, and they’ll go to the nations in droves, sharing the Gospel, making disciples and planting churches. I’m not making this stuff up! I wholeheartedly believe Ireland is a KEY player in God’s plans and purposes in the earth.
We’ve taken a Caleb Zone there every summer for 13 years, and I’ve been several times in the winter. We pray in churches, meet with pastors, priests and others to encourage them to believe God for transforming revival and to PREPARE for it by leading out in discipleship and Lifegroups in their churches. And here at home, we’ve been meeting weekly for 11 years to pray for Ireland.
The first few years we made trips there, folks just didn’t get it. I mean, they appreciated our prayers, for sure. And God has, from the beginning, given us a lot of favor with folks. But hopelessness has prevailed for so long in the churches there, that it has been like pulling teeth in many instances to get them to open their ears to what God is saying.
So here’s the cool part. As we’ve gone back year after year, praying our hearts out in tons of churches and key locations, we’re starting to see the beginning of some breakthroughs. This past summer, we met with a Catholic Bishop and five of the priests in his diocese who have been studying evangelism and discipleship, putting both into practice in their parishes. Each of them knows Jesus personally, and shares with their congregations the need to receive Jesus into their hearts personally…and then to go and make disciples. I even was asked to speak at Sunday mass in one of these parishes! In case you don’t know, that just doesn’t happen…at least, not in Ireland.
Our team came home sensing from God that NOW is the time to really invest in prayer for Ireland.
If you’d like to get in on the action, here are a couple of things you can do:
- Check out the Pray For Ireland blog and subscribe to our list to get blog updates.
- Join us on Wednesday afternoons from 4 p.m. – 5 p.m to pray for Ireland. (Danny Mulkey’s office – located in the main office building)
- Pray for spiritual breakthrough in Ireland.
I’m not kidding…we can affect ALL of the nations by praying for Ireland.
By Danny Mulkey, Elder and Caleb Zone Pastor