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My Appointment with God
March 23, 1968, began like any other Saturday morning for me. I was eighteen years old and would be turning nineteen in just over a month. I had no clue that my life was about to be radically changed. I didn’t know it, but I had an appointment with God.
Like most 18-year-olds, I was occupied with stuff. I was in my first year of college and loving being on my own and wondering what the future held. I wasn’t in the driver’s seat. I was just along for the ride and wondering where it would take me.
I sensed from a very young age that the Lord had a plan for my life, but I had no idea what it was. I remember at the age of five or six laying out in the backyard at night and looking up at the stars and wondering where I fit into all of this.
I did this often enough that my mother became concerned. She would ask what I was doing out there for hours at a time. I didn’t really know. I was just wondering and imagining what could be.
But my life was basically planned up through graduation from high school. I had to finish that before I thought about anything else. So, although I believed the Lord had a plan for my life, it was off in the future, and I wasn’t really concerned.
However, in my senior year of high school in 1967, they had “career days” where people would come and speak to us about our future. That renewed my interest, and I started seeking to know what God’s will for my life was.
I asked many people at my church how to find God’s will, but they didn’t seem to know any more than I did. They gave vague answers, similar to the way people said you would know the right person to marry when they came along. There would be a feeling or bells and whistles or just a knowing. I wanted something more than that.
In that senior year of high school, I started reading the Bible from cover to cover. I knew my answer was in there someplace. I even bought the five-volume Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible and read that. I would stay up to the wee hours of the morning reading and searching for my answer.
Then at a church retreat in Cloudcroft, New Mexico, over the Christmas holidays in 1967, I heard a man quote Romans 12:1–2, which says,
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
The last part of that second verse just jumped out at me. That’s what I had been looking for. I wanted to know God’s will for my life. These verses were telling me how to do that.
I needed to be a “living sacrifice” and “renew my mind,” but what did that mean? This started me on a crash course of meditating on those verses, seeking God’s instruction about how to do that. For the next four months, I focused and prayed about those verses nearly exclusively. It led to my first real revelation of Scripture.
The Lord showed me His will for my life was to be a living sacrifice. That was His will, and then how He used me (my vocation) was just a by-product. I learned that a “living sacrifice” was not just a one-time event. A sacrifice meant something had to die, and it had to be me.
Although I didn’t totally understand how to renew my mind, I knew it was connected to God’s Word. I was focused on the Lord and His Word as never before. This is what led up to my March 23 appointment with the Lord. I wanted to be a living sacrifice, but I couldn’t do this by myself. An animal doesn’t sacrifice itself. Someone else has to do it. I could crawl up on the altar, but the fire of God had to come and consume me.
That is where I was. I was waiting on God to help me do this.
I was a very religious person. I had heard about the Lord my entire life and loved Him to the degree I knew Him. One Sunday in my Baptist church when I was eight years old, the pastor preached a message entitled “A Tour of Hell.”
He was very dramatic and took us on an imaginary tour of who was in hell. There were not only the thieves and murders, but he spoke about all the good people who were in hell. They lived relatively good lives, but they trusted in their goodness instead of trusting in Jesus for their salvation.
This shook me to my core.
I had thought that if I just lived a good life, the Lord would accept me. Now, I was being told that being good wasn’t enough. I needed to be “born again.” What was that?
When I got home from church that morning, I asked my dad what the pastor was talking about. He explained what true salvation was, and I prayed with him and got “born again” right there in my bedroom with my dad. Praise God for my parents who shared their love of Jesus with me.
I didn’t have a dramatic experience, but when I prayed and received the salvation Jesus provided for me, there was just a perfect peace that came over me. I knew in my heart that everything was now right with God. I had a peace I had never had before and was assured that I was forgiven.
The next day in my third-grade class at school, my friends could tell I was different. They asked what happened to me, and I told them I got saved. I remember they made fun of me and thought that was silly, but I didn’t care. I knew I had received something I didn’t have before. I really got saved.
Then I went to church.
I began to hear that in order to keep pleasing God, I had to live a holy life and do all the right things and avoid all of the wrong things. I swallowed that hook, line, and sinker.
I became a human doing instead of a human being. I was doing anything and everything they told me to do. Although I was an introvert, during my teenage years, I went out witnessing on the normal Thursday night visitation and even started a special Tuesday night youth visitation.
I was petrified speaking to people, but I was even more afraid that the Lord wouldn’t love me or answer my prayers if I didn’t witness to others. I forced myself by fearing God’s rejection more than I feared people’s rejection.
I’ve never said a cuss word, smoked a cigarette, or tasted liquor. I’ve never even tasted coffee—not that I have anything against coffee. The scripture says we can drink any deadly thing and it will not harm us, so we have scripture for that (Mark 16:18). But I would have given up chewing gum if I thought that pleased the Lord.
I wouldn’t even go swimming where there were girls present because my church called that “mixed bathing.” That sounded more evil than mixed swimming, and I wouldn’t do it. I did compromise on that a few times, but I felt terrible about it.
I never used profanity but would become condemned if I even heard it or saw a profane word scribbled in a bathroom stall. I didn’t write it, but I would feel guilty for days for seeing what someone else had written. I became totally afraid of this world and being contaminated by it. I had become a religious Pharisee. I didn’t plan on becoming that. It just happened.
My dad was sick all of my young life. He actually died when I was two years old, but our Baptist church held an all-night prayer meeting for him, and he rose from the dead as they were wheeling him down to the morgue. Although he was alive, he was still sickly and not able to do much. He was the vice-president of an insurance company, but he had a recliner in his office and had to rest midday to make it through the day.
He was the chairman of the deacons in our Baptist church, but they didn’t preach healing, and therefore, he really didn’t have faith for that. The emphasis was on salvation, and they defined salvation as just the initial born-again experience. That’s what they preached every service, and it got me born again at a young age. But by my understanding, after you got saved by grace, you had to maintain that relationship by your good works. I became saved and stuck.
I was living better than anyone I knew. I don’t say that in pride. It was just the way it was. My older brother and sister were raised in the same home and same church, but it didn’t seem to affect them the way it did me. I wanted to please the Lord with all my heart but thought it was all about what I did, not what Jesus did.
When I was eleven, my dad’s condition became critical. He spent weeks in the hospital, and my mom stayed with him. My brother and I were farmed out to a wonderful older couple in our church. My sister was in college. My dad was under an oxygen tent, and they wouldn’t let me in to see him, fearing I might bring in some cold or sickness. I was isolated from both my parents for over a month.
I prayed and even fasted for my dad’s healing. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I gave it all I had. It was to no avail. He died just three weeks after I had turned twelve years old.
I remember being at his funeral. Our church was packed out with over 600 people there. I heard people talking about what a great man my dad was. I hadn’t known him the way they were describing him. I was impressed. Since I’ve grown up, I’ve had some describe him as the most godly man they knew. He was just Dad to me, and I was missing him.
And as I sat on the front row, looking at my father’s body lying in an open casket, the pastor sang my dad’s favorite song, “How Great Thou Art.” It seemed so ironic to me. All of us had prayed for his healing, and yet he died. If God was so great, why didn’t He answer our prayers? My pastor told me his death was God’s will. Why would God do that to me and my family?
As the pastor was singing that song, I prayed, “Lord, if You are great, reveal Yourself to me. Show me Your plan for my life.” It was a very simple prayer by a twelve-year-old, but I meant it, and I believe the Lord heard it.
My life continued on, but there was a soberness that my father’s death brought to me that my friends didn’t have. Outwardly, I probably appeared the same, but my laughter was always tempered with a seriousness about life. When my friends would be just totally silly, I would think about my dad and realize that life was too short to just “goof off.” I wanted to make my life count. I wanted to do more than just have fun.
That was an underlying thought from then on. But as I shared, my life was planned for me through high school graduation, so it was pushed to the back burner.
In my first year of college, I was just taking the necessary courses to get them out of the way, but I still had no direction from the Lord as to what He wanted me to do with my life. But those verses from Romans 12 gave me a focus, and I was now intent on being a living sacrifice, whatever that was, and renewing my mind. I was hungry to learn more about this and discover God’s purpose and plan for me, but how, when, and where?
Then March 23, 1968, dawned.
I don’t remember what I did during the day of March 23, 1968, but I never will forget that evening. I met my friends and some of the leaders of my church at 10 p.m. for our weekly prayer meeting. We had been praying from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. every Saturday night for a long time.
That will give you some idea of how religious I was. On a Saturday night, my best friends and I would meet for prayer.
We wouldn’t be out at the movies or running around with the gang. We would pray.
It wasn’t as good as it sounds. Our prayers were very superficial. I would pray the same basic prayer just about every time. It consisted of telling the Lord how sorry I was for being a sinner. I would repent, even though I might not have anything specific to repent for. I was told I sinned all the time, whether I knew it or not, so I would just confess sin in general. I would pray for others if they had a request, and then we would always ask the Lord to send revival.
My prayers were typically three minutes or less. It was modeled after what I heard others do and was more formality than an actual conversation with the Lord. I think my public prayers were directed to those around me, not the Lord. I didn’t want to look “unspiritual” in front of my friends.
That Saturday night, I was standing around joking with my friends when Marion Warren, our youth director, just fell on his face and started praying. We all hit our knees and started listening as Marion just poured out his heart to the Lord.
Marion didn’t pray like the rest of us. He had a personal conversation with the Lord. He would stop right in the middle of his prayer and listen and then respond to what the Lord said to him. It wasn’t a monologue but a real conversation.
I always enjoyed listening to Marion pray and was even inspired by it, but I had to make sure I always prayed before him. There was nothing left for me to say after Marion got through. He not only prayed in a way I never had, but he would pray for twenty minutes or more.
Instead of praying with Marion that evening, I was thinking, “What is everyone going to think of my prayer after this? I won’t have anything left to say. I certainly can’t pray like Marion. I’m going to be embarrassed.” I was mad and thinking how rude Marion was to not let me go first.
That’s when God showed up. The appointed time had come.
I don’t know how this happened, but suddenly, I saw my carnal self from God’s point of view. It was like a curtain was pulled back and for the first time, I saw my total hypocrisy. I was playing to the grandstands. I was praying so I would be accepted with my Christian friends. It was all about me, not the Lord.
I also saw beyond just my prayer life. I saw that everything I did was to earn the praise of people, not God. I always read my daily Bible readings so I could get credit for it on my envelope every Sunday. All my visits for the church were so I would look good to other people. The pastor would have me stand in front of the church and tell how many visits I had made and how many people I had pray “the sinner’s prayer” with me.
Everything I was doing was to make me look good to people. The Lord showed me I didn’t care about the people I witnessed to. He reminded me of times I actually prayed and asked Him to not let anyone be home when I knocked on their door because I got credit for making the effort, even if no one was home.
And when they were home, I had a memorized spiel I went through and then asked them, “Is there any reason you don’t want to pray for salvation with me right now?” Most people would pray with me just to get rid of me. There were very few people so hardhearted that they would tell me, “No.” I think many prayed with me because I was so nervous. They felt pity for me. But I’m not sure anyone was actually saved.
I didn’t actually care if they were saved or not. It was all about me, not them. I was forcing myself to make these visits so I could earn pats on the back from my church people and, hopefully, an answered prayer or two from the Lord. I was doing this all for me.
As an introvert, I was very fearful of rejection. I couldn’t look at a person I didn’t already know and speak to them. I was so fearful that I would say or do something that would make me look bad that I just wouldn’t say anything. I remember a man passing me on the street and saying, “Hi.” He was two blocks down the street, and I was in my car before I got a “Hi” back out to him.
I craved acceptance but thought it was only available through performance, so I was performing the best I knew how. However, I never felt like it was enough. It was like I was on a treadmill going faster and faster, and I was fearful that if I stopped for even a moment, that treadmill would knock me off my feet.
This spilled over into my relationship with the Lord. I was saved, but I had no confidence that the Lord was pleased with me. I believed He loved me enough to save me from hell, but I didn’t think He liked me. I didn’t like myself. How could Almighty God like me if I didn’t like me? So, I would just try a little harder.
I was doing all the right things for all the wrong reasons. I had become a modern-day Pharisee. Everything I did was for the praise of men. I looked good on the outside, but inwardly, I was a mess, and for the first time in my life, I knew it.
This wasn’t something someone else told me or that I learned because of some major failure in my life. This was direct revelation from the Lord that went far beyond words. I knew these things instantly with such clarity that it is still vivid to me today. I’ve never gotten over it.
I had been comparing myself with others, which Paul said wasn’t wise (2 Cor. 10:12). Compared to others, I looked pretty good, but who wants to be the best sinner that gets rejected by God. All have sinned and come short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23).
When God shined His light of truth on me, I saw myself compared to Him. I might have gotten the praises of men, but God knew my heart, and it was full of self. I now know that self-righteousness is the greatest sin of all. The Lord didn’t rebuke the harlots and thieves. It was the religious, self-righteous people who got His stinging rebukes (Matt. 23).
At the same time I saw my ungodliness, I saw the absolute purity, holiness, and glory of God. I didn’t see this with my physical eyes, but I saw it clearly in my heart. God revealed Himself to me in a way that goes beyond words. I knew that there was no good thing in my flesh. All my pride went out the window, and I repented in sackcloth and ashes.
You may find this hard to believe, but I actually thought the Lord was going to kill me right there in that Saturday night prayer meeting. When I saw how sinful I was, I assumed that was the first time the Lord had seen it. And my religious teaching taught me that God was an angry, vengeful, harsh taskmaster that demanded perfection. After all, I was told it was God who killed my dad. I was afraid the Lord showed up and revealed my sinfulness because He was going to kill me on the spot.
That made me start confessing everything the Lord was showing me and repenting of my hypocrisy in hopes that if I died, I would go to heaven instead of hell. As I have said, I hadn’t physically done a lot of bad things, but Jesus said if you’ve lusted in your heart, you’re guilty of adultery. I hadn’t committed sexual sins physically, but I had thought it in my heart, so I repented out loud, in front of God and everyone in that prayer meeting, and I started naming names.
I hadn’t physically killed anyone, but Jesus said if you’ve hated in your heart, you’re guilty of murder. I confessed everyone I had been angry at, jealous off, gossiped about, and everything else I could think of.
I prayed for an hour and a half, just turning myself inside out and confessing not only everything I had ever done, but even everything I ever would do. I was crawling up on that altar to become a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1), not knowing if the Lord would accept me or reject me. But I was not leaving any part of me off that altar.
Finally, I was just in a puddle of tears on the floor, waiting to see how the Lord would respond. I was totally shocked to see that I was a total hypocrite, but what happened next was even more amazing.
After turning myself inside out in front of the leaders of my church and my friends, I didn’t know what any of them would think about me. Whatever reputation I ever had was ruined, and for the first time in my life, I didn’t care. All I wanted was to know what the Lord thought of me.
I had turned away from myself and wanting people’s approval. All I wanted was the Lord.
As I lay on the floor, everyone in the prayer meeting was stunned. They didn’t know how to respond, and neither did I. I didn’t have any more to give. I gave it all, and there was nothing left to say. I couldn’t cry anymore or repent anymore. I had no idea what to do next.
As I lay there, just as suddenly and miraculously as the veil was removed from my eyes to see my hypocrisy and self-righteousness, I now felt the love of God come over me in a tangible way. I had believed that the Lord loved me, but now I felt it. It was like waves of liquid love flowing over me. That’s the way Charles Finney described a similar experience he had.
Instead of the Lord killing me or expressing some other form of rejection, I got caught up in the love of God in a way I never knew was possible. I was overwhelmed by His love. God is love (1 John 4:8), and I was enveloped, saturated, and immersed in Him.
I started praising God and giving Him thanks, and for the first time in my life, I knew His love for me had nothing to do with me. He didn’t love me because I was lovely, but because He is love.
Before this, the only time I ever felt like God was even remotely pleased with me was connected to something good that I had done. And because I never did anything perfectly, I never felt His perfect love.
Linking His love for me to my goodness, or lack thereof, stopped me from experiencing Him as He wanted to reveal Himself. I was under the deception that I had to earn His love, and because I knew me, I knew that at my best, I still fell short. Praise God, I now realized He didn’t give me what I deserved. It wasn’t what I did but what Jesus did for me. I didn’t deserve God’s love, and my attempt to earn it was what was blocking its flow.
For the first time in my life, I knew that God’s love for me had nothing to do with me and everything to do with what Jesus did for me. I felt pure, unconditional love. There was nothing I could do to make God love me more, nor anything I could do to make God love me less. He loved me period. That was that.
This transformed my life. It continues to transform my life. I’ve never gotten over it, and I never will. This was the turning point in my life.
I had become a living sacrifice, just like Romans 12:1 talks about. I know that may sound arrogant to some, but that’s exactly what happened, and I knew it.
Prior to that experience, I would repent and “re-dedicate” myself to the Lord every time we had a revival service. If I would have had a “re-dedicator,” I would have worn mine out. I knew there was something more, and I thought re-dedicating myself to the Lord was the way to get it.
But I found out there is no such word as “re-dedicate.” If something is totally dedicated, it can’t become “un-dedicated,” otherwise it wasn’t truly dedicated in the first place. I gave everything to the Lord, and I knew it.
The next morning, I asked to get up and speak to the whole church. I had never done that before, but I had never had an experience like that before. I told the people that they would never see me “re-dedicate” my life again. I suspect some of the people thought that was a bad thing, but I told them I gave the Lord everything, and there was nothing left to give.
I didn’t know how to describe what had happened, but I said, “I was filled with the Holy Spirit last night.” You could hear the gasps in the audience. If I had told them I had committed some terrible sin, they might have forgiven me. But to say I was filled with the Holy Spirit was near blasphemy. Paul and Peter were filled with the Spirit, but they were in the Bible. Things like that didn’t happen today, and certainly not to Andy Wommack.
After the service, the pastor tried to straighten me out, but it was too late. I knew the Lord loved me, and no one was going to talk me out of it. I’m sure I didn’t use as much wisdom as I should have, but I was just an 18-year-old kid who was on fire for God. I didn’t know exactly what had happened, and I didn’t know how to share it, but I knew I would never be the same.
My closest friend who was in that prayer meeting with me was touched too. We both didn’t sleep that Saturday night. In fact, I went months without a full night’s sleep. I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep more than an hour or two at a time. I couldn’t sit still to eat a meal. I would just grab something to keep from starving to death, but the Lord had lit this sacrifice with a holy fire that was consuming me.
That Saturday night appointment with God was only the beginning, but what a glorious beginning. If I had not renewed my mind through the Word of God, I’m convinced that experience wouldn’t have kept me all these years. It’s God’s Word that transformed my life, but that encounter jump-started my walk with the Lord and placed a fire in my heart that is still burning today.
It showed me that the love of God is more real and more tangible than I had thought possible. It opened my eyes to what could be, but it didn’t give me the understanding to keep the fire burning.
As Luke 24:32 says,
“And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”
As the emotion wore off, it was the truth of God’s Word that kept the fire lit.
I encourage you to take Romans 12:1–2 and meditate on those verses until it becomes a revelation to you. Your experience won’t be the same as mine, but the principles are the same.
God loves you completely, separate from your performance. That’s what the Bible calls grace. What you do affects you and others, but it doesn’t affect God’s love for you. Living a holy life will help you love God more, but it won’t make God love you more. He loves you because you have accepted Jesus and what He did for you. That’s truly good news.
If you would like more teaching on this, I encourage you to get my teaching on Spirit, Soul & Body. That’s how the Lord began to explain to me what I had experienced. Those truths are the real foundation of my life. The encounter touched me emotionally, but the truth of God’s Word is what set me free (John 8:32). It will set you free too.
Choosing to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior is the most important decision you’ll ever make!
God’s Word promises “that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:9–10). “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13).
By His grace, God has already done everything to provide salvation. Your part is simply to believe and receive.
Pray out loud, “Jesus, I confess that You are my Lord and Savior. I believe in my heart that God raised You from the dead. By faith in Your Word, I receive salvation now. Thank You for saving me!”
The very moment you commit your life to Jesus Christ, the truth of His Word instantly comes to pass in your spirit. If you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, there’s a brand-new you!
As His child, your loving heavenly Father wants to give you the supernatural power you need to live this new life.
“For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. How
much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
(Luke 11:10 and 13).
All you have to do is ask, believe, and receive!
Pray, “Father, I recognize my need for Your power to live this new life. Please fill me with Your Holy Spirit. By faith, I receive it right now! Thank You for baptizing me! Holy Spirit, You are welcome in my life!”
Congratulations! The Lord promised that He would give the Holy Spirit to all who asked Him in faith (Luke 11:10-13). If you believe His promise, you’re filled with God’s supernatural power!
Some syllables from a language you don’t recognize will rise up from your heart to your mouth (1 Cor. 14:14). As you speak them out loud by faith, you’re releasing God’s power from within and building yourself up in the spirit (1 Cor. 14:4). You can do this whenever and wherever you like!
It doesn’t really matter whether you felt anything or not when you prayed to receive the Lord and His Spirit. If you believed in your heart that you received, then God’s Word promises you did. “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24). God always honors His Word. Believe it!
Please call our Helpline for individual prayer and to receive some free materials we have just for those of you who have prayed to receive Jesus as your Savior and/or to receive this baptism of the Holy Spirit. Our Helpline is open seven days a week. Just call 719-635-1111, on weekdays twenty-four hours a day and on Saturdays and Sundays from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mountain time.
Please contact me and let me know that you’ve prayed to receive Jesus as your Savior or be filled with the Holy Spirit. I would like to rejoice with you and help you understand more fully what has taken place in your life. Welcome to your new life!