After a time of prayer and seeking the Lord concerning the City of Anoka and our group, Anoka Awakening, I read a summary on the book of Nehemiah that had been sent to me a couple of weeks earlier. As I read “Nehemiah: Rebuilding the Walls” from an Old Testament series by Ray Steadman, the presence of God seemed to steadily build. I began seeing parallels between the story he told and my involvement with Anoka Awakening. I believe God set out a plan for me to be carried out over the coming year, 2017, in the City of Anoka. (Read the article here.)

The group, Anoka Awakening, has for some time been discussing the ideas of other groups that were operating in the prophetic closing gates and renaming them for the good of their cities. In the story of Nehemiah there are 10 gates that are dealt with in a certain order. Can these gates and their names be matched up to gates within our city? The gates had specific names and meanings. As we proceed to discover the history and importance of the city and the area points of interest, perhaps it will all flow together.

Nehemiah existed in a time frame along with Ezra and Esther. Although we are not prophets as were Nehemiah and Ezra, nor the Queen of Persia, such as Esther, our trio has been brought together in Anoka for this hour of time. Like Nancy, God has brought me into partnership with Steve in Anoka. We have different stories, differing roles and passions, but God has knit them, and us, into a group that is unified for His plan.

We have the three of us with three areas of ministry: street ministry, spiritual warfare, and healing and deliverance. Three areas that overlap as the one team seeks to carry out the will of God as He leads us. A look at the story of Nehemiah shows, I believe, a plan for taking the City of Anoka for the Kingdom of God. At the very least I am moving forward based upon what I had heard previously, that God likes us to have a plan to give him something to work with. I believe that God wants to work with us, not dictate to us. I believe He leads us into things that He would have us to do in a variety of ways and circumstances. We are His instruments of grace. It is His will that is the priority and that is to be carried out, and that is what I seek to do as I walk in obedience to the best of my ability. So I will develop this plan and pursue it, ready at any moment to veer from it as the Lord leads me, or the group, to do so.

It may have taken 52 days to rebuild the walls, plus planning, travel, etc. I have at this time a one year plan; 52 weeks as opposed to 52 days. It may be a complete plan or it may just be the beginning. God knows and I will likely know at some point in the future, be it near or far. It is the parallel of the points that I am concerned with, not the details of the story. I believe there is a pattern that is related to where He has led me so far. There are many more points in the story to discover and the pattern, I believe, can be followed in the rebuilding of our spiritual walls that will result in a great impact on the reality of life in the city.

First, the tale begins with Nehemiah having a heavy burden, a passion, for the city of Jerusalem and the people that were meant to dwell there. My journey begins in like manner with a great passion for the residents of the City of Anoka, my city.

Second, he seeks God for the plan and for favor from the King. I likewise asked God for the plan and for His favor, the favor of The King, as well as of those in the city with whom I would need to encounter. As Nehemiah did, I and others have confessed and repented for the rejection of God by the people. We also recognize the justice of God in His righteous dealing with the city, but we seek His mercy. We have also committed ourselves to serving the Lord as we seek His restoration in our city and for salvation and grace for the people.

Third, Nehemiah devised a plan and put it into effect with the wisdom of God. He did not rush to activate people for the sake of being busy and accomplishing his own will. Neither have I, nor Anoka Awakening, sought to build plans and programs based on the wisdom of man in order to build monuments to ourselves and our accomplishments. We have only ministered as led by God and what He has placed in front of us. As the Lord opens the doors along this journey, we look forward to seeing it flourish as other believers are involved in the fulfillment of God’s calling for their ministry and service to Him.

Fourth, Nehemiah rode around the walls of the city and assessed the ruins. He did so under the cover of darkness. He surveys the land without the watchful eye of the enemies and does not prematurely alert them to his intention to rebuild the walls. Before engaging with Anoka Awakening, I had been instructed by the Lord to walk the perimeter of the city. Holy Spirit led me in prayer for every aspect of the city during that walk. I have since walked every street within the city among other ministry work within the city. After making the assessment, Nehemiah developed the plan. God, in His timing, brought together people and ministries to form Anoka Awakening and I believe He is now giving us another plan to carry out through the coming year.

Fifth, Nehemiah enacted the plan of reconstruction. In the coming months we will also enact a plan that comes together as the Lord leads us. The people in Jerusalem were willing to do the work and were committed to the project. They got involved and began to do the necessary work. In Anoka, many have come expressing interest in our city and ministering to it. We have learned who those are that are committed and those who persevere through tough or dry times. They are involved and doing the work of ministering to the people and the city. Nehemiah assigned the portions of the wall to be worked on to those who lived closest to it. The workers in Anoka take care of the areas in which Holy Spirit has given to them gifts and anointing. The workers in Anoka have a personal stake in the work just as those who worked in the days of Nehemiah.

The work centered on the ten gates of the city. Each gate had a unique name and thus they had differing purposes or meanings. The next task in our journey of restoration is to identify the gates and their meanings. It is the Lord who will lead us into the truth and define the roles for each gate. Our task is to hear from Him and to carry out His intentions in obedience. We must seek Him in worship and prayer that is intentional about hearing from Him concerning this matter.

When the work was completed, the people came together and celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles. The Word was read with explanation. The people were not only told what the Word of God said, but it was explained to them also so they had understanding. The people determined to walk in obedience to the call of God on their lives as they had understanding. Their gifts were recognized and they served accordingly. They also worshipped and celebrated together.

The Feast of Tabernacles in 2017 is October 5-11. This plan will call for a city celebration of worship in early to mid-October. Leading up to that gathering will be ten months of dealing with the gates, one per month beginning in December, 2016. More detailed plans to follow.


John Schaenzer, Anoka Awakening