Pattie Mallette may not be a familiar name to most of us, but her pop star son, Justin Bieber, is a household name in many parts of the world. In earlier articles, I have written about the remarkable spiritual transformation taking place in Justin’s life.
Dale Hurd writing for Christ for All Nations tells the story about Pattie’s spiritual journey. Incredibly, it started at the Toronto revival, also called the Toronto Blessing, that broke out in a Vineyard Church in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in January 1994. The church originally called Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship has since been renamed Catch the Fire Toronto and is pastored by John and Carol Arnott.
Pattie shared her journey to faith at the 2018 Light the Fire Again conference held at the same building, the Attwell Center, where the Toronto revival broke out.
In the early 1990s, Pattie became a Christian in a hospital room shortly after a failed suicide attempt. She was led to the Lord and mentored by a couple who attended the Vineyard church where the revival broke out.
Shortly after becoming a Christian, Pattie became pregnant with Justin. Unmarried she was concerned that she would be rejected by her Christian family. However, instead of rejection the church fully accepted her.
Speaking of the Arnotts, Pattie said:
“You taught them to love me where I was at. I remember coming back here in 1994 when I was staying in a pregnancy home. I remember the church leaders praying over me and prophesying that it was going to birth revival.”
Not only was her birth prophetically connected to a revival, Patti also recalled an incident that took place a few years later at the church when Justin was 12, before gaining fame through his YouTube videos. A group grabbed Justin and carried him around the room as a prophetic sign:
“The 20-somethings picked him up as a sign to upholding the next generation and they marched him around the room. And they had no idea what God was going to do.”
I don’t believe this is a reference to the Toronto revival, but a revival that is yet to take place.
Later while travailing in prayer, Pattie sensed God asking her to “take back the arts.” With the remarkable spiritual turn around taking place in Justin’s life, Pattie’s family is now heavily involved in the music industry, where God has significantly placed several other Christians as well.
Members of our congregation attended the Toronto Blessing shortly after it broke out and when they came back, revival broke out in our church and one of the manifestations that came with it was travailing in the spirit.
The Apostle Paul actually refers to this experience. He does it in an odd way by talking about it without explaining what was actually going on. This suggests that Paul believed the Romans would completely understand what he was referring to:
26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27 NASV)
The best way to explain it is the Holy Spirit, who knows God’s will, begins to pray or intercede through us.
I remember when it first happened to me. You literally feel physical heavings inside you and it is something that is so intense that you and others can actually see it happening. The physical heaving often leads to groaning (called groaning in the Spirit) and at times I have felt a soreness after because of how intense it was. Some liken it to birthing.
These Holy Spirit heavings can become so intense that it is impossible to stand and people often find themselves lying on the floor rolling as the Holy Spirit prays through them.
My wife, who is an intercessor, has experienced this several times. She would be thinking about something and would suddenly feel the Holy Spirit welling up insider her wanting to pray about it.
I remember one time we were in the kitchen getting coffee and the Holy Spirit began moving on her. I grabbed her coffee cup just before she hit the floor. In retrospect, I probably should have grabbed her instead, but it was happening so often back then, we just got used to it.
This plus other physical manifestations such as uncontrollable laughing, spiritual drunkeness (Ephesians 5:18) and being slain in the spirit were probably the most controversial part of the Toronto Blessing and gave people reasons to reject it if they wanted to.
Though we look at these manifestations as being very odd, they were similar to what happened in other great revivals such as Azusa Street that took place in Los Angeles in 1906.
Aside from these unusual manifestations, the Toronto Blessing provided significant emotional healing for many including myself as God desired to heal people from the emotional scars of living life. I believe in some ways prophecy was taken to a heightened level during the revival as well.
The Toronto Blessing also became somewhat controversial because of its connection to the 1948 North Battleford Revival and the latter rain movement.
Because of its location in Toronto near the airport, it provided easy access. Hundreds of thousands of people from around the world visited the revival. In December 1994, the Toronto Blessing was declared the city’s greatest tourist attraction.
A year after it started, Charisma Magazine estimated that 11,000 churches (4,000 in England and 7,000 in the US) had already been impacted by the revival.
- Justin Bieber’s mom recalls prophecies over her son at Toronto’s ‘Light the Fire’ gathering: Breaking Christian News
- Toronto Blessing: Wikipedia