In the United Pentecostal Church Int'l, the vast majority of business is accomplished by the election process. Pastors, presbyters, superintendents are voted in, resolutions are passed, departmental directors are elected, committees are formed, etc.
How much of all this business is our personal agenda, and how much of it is reflective of the Will of God actually being achieved? Do our elections always reflect the will of the Lord? Or is it possible that sometimes my personal feelings or desires get in the way?
First, is prayer able to cause the Will of God to be accomplished? Yes...look at the casting of the lots for the replacement of Judas Iscariot.
Acts 1:24-26: 24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, 25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. 26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.The brethren prayed, and then cast lots, and the lot fell on Matthias.
I believe there are other instances where prayer was made before a decision, and that prayer allowed the Will of God to be known.
Whether or not we, as an organization, will ever reach that place again, I do not know; sadly, I tend to think that we won't. The reason being, we have grown too large, too political, and there are too many personal agendas on the table for every man to feel like, "Whatever decision is made, I will accept the outcome as the Will of the Lord."
Perfect example: just last summer (2006), a few weeks leading up to our General Conference, a gentleman called for a season of prayer and fasting, "earnestly seeking the will of God" to be done concerning an upcoming Resolution. This dear brother gave a heartwarming story of how a young convert had, at one time, questioned whether the brethren prayed before the GC business sessions so they could find the mind of God. This brother went on to state that he "was smitten in [his] heart", and in telling his story, related that we---regardless of which side we were on---should find a place of prayer and fasting, and go into the Business Session knowing the mind of God.
The problem is, this dear brother had already made up his mind what the will of God was. Subsequent emails changed dramatically in their tone to the point this same man was calling for prayer against the "spiritual terrorists who are out to destroy the UPCI".
Could God have moved him to change his vote? It's possible...but how many of us---and yes, I said "us"---are pliable enough in God's hand that, even if it goes against what we feel is right and best for ourselves, our families, our churches, our organization, that we will submit and vote "No" when we had planned for months to vote "Yes"?
This is why it is so imperative that we walk in the Spirit, live in the Spirit, and have the mind of Christ.
1 Cor 2:11, 16: 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
The only way we will ever truly know the mind and will of God---for our own lives, for the lives of those whom we have been trusted to oversee, for the purpose, direction, and leadership of this great movement---is to have the Spirit of God, the mind of Christ. According to this passage of scripture, without these things, we will continue setting our own agendas, and feeling like our will is God's will...when it's supposed to be the other way around.
It's like the age-old story of a church of 150 people, beautiful sanctuary, six-figure tithes, in the suburbs of a major metro area...17 preachers will feel like it's "the will of God" for them to be the pastor of that assembly. But how many of those 17 would accept the will of God if He told them to go pastor that little dinky church of 23 senior citizens in Birdscuffle, USA?
Until we can learn to walk in the Spirit and recognize the direction of the Holy Ghost, voting will always reflect the will and agenda of men...never of God.
God just gets lucky sometimes that enough of us vote His way.