When I was in the closet committing suicide there was so much oppression upon my life that I just thought that death was the best thing for me. I was not a confessing Christian during that part of my life. I was working for the Government of Canada as an Auditor. I had experienced great success in my university years which resulted in my being recruited into the top ranks of the Government of Canada, but this did not satisfy me or fill the void that was blank inside my heart.
One year prior to my suicide attempt, I went through a marriage break-up. My first wife and I both struggled with depression and anxiety. We often fought like cats and dogs with each other. We had two small daughters who were three and six years old and I spent most of my free time with them in their young lives. Yet, during that one year of separation, I only saw them for about a week in a whole year. This was very hard on me.
I had finished two degrees in five years. I became an agnostic through that process and even dabbled in witchcraft. The darkness that was around my life was so intense that I rarely had a moment where I did not feel tormented with murderous thoughts for my own life. I couldn’t see anything good about my life. I had read many books about the afterlife that painted it as simply a place that you disappear into. I believed that I came from darkness and would return to it. There would be no consequences for my death. I would simply fade out into eternity – like gas disappearing into the sky.
When I was a boy, my idea of God was formed through attending church with my parents, but when their divorce occurred, we stopped going to church. I continued to go with my grandparents once or twice a year. When I was 15, I became a Christian, went to Bible College, and became a pastor; but at 21, my ministry fell apart. The Pastor I worked with kicked me out of the church over a minor disagreement about theology. The pain of that moment is hard to put into words. I had been prophesying that a revival was going to take place in that church and three months after I was kicked out, the revival began. I thought to myself, if that is the kind of God you are to reward those that hurt people, I want nothing to do you or your church.
I became an agnostic while I studied for my BA in Philosophy and Political Science. When I gave up on God, I became a womaniser and drank all the time. I got married when I was 20, but the marriage was so difficult that it fell apart within eight years.
That long, hard season brought me to what I thought was the end - the day that I was hanging in the closet. I would literally hear voices taunting me to kill myself. I would often see spirits in my room like dark shadows. I knew they were there but still did not believe in God.
I had called my mother the day that I was planning to die. At this point in her life she had had an encounter with God. She tried to talk me out of killing myself but I cut her off and said, “Mom I am only calling to say goodbye. Please tell my daughters and my sister that I love them very much, and I love you mom.”
She hung up the phone thinking to herself, “There are two things I can do. I can call the police and they will not make it in time, or (and this is what she did) I can dance and start singing "AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.” She told me later that when she did this, a great peace came over her and she went to sleep like a baby.
While I was in the closet, just after her intercession, I started to see stars and black out. I was on my knees, leaning forward on a cable TV cord that was tied to a bar in the closet. In that moment of my final breath, I heard God speak for the first time in years. He said, “What are you doing - I have a plan for your life?” I was shocked and tried to convince myself that it was my own mind speaking and began to hang once again. Again, I started to black out and see stars, and again I heard God speak saying “What are you doing - I have a plan for your life?”
I was scared now, because I thought, “If God is speaking to me, then perhaps there is a hell and I might be heading toward it.” I jumped up and ran out of the closet and went to my bed. I stood on it and started jumping up and down waving my fist at the ceiling and at God. I said, “How dare you speak to me after all of these years?” I passed out in a frenzy, and went to sleep.
That night I had an encounter with God. I was lying on my bed when all of a sudden a tornado-like wind came into my room and sucked me up and through the ceiling and into the sky. I was dangling over my house about three hundred feet in the air. I was terrified looking down, but then I started to fly like one with authority. It was night-time, but I could see towns in the distance lit up by their street lights. I started to fly toward them. As I came to the town, I landed in the streets and started to run. There were people with me. We pulled rifles off of our backs and began to shoot at dark shadows running in front of us. The darkness would break from them and they turned to white and had red hearts. They ran and formed an army that ran with me through the town to free others the same way.
I woke up knowing that God had a plan for my life. I have learned since that this dream represented the healing and prophetic ministry that I now walk in. I now travel around the earth preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.
After I had that amazing encounter, it took me two more years to commit my life to Christ. Since 2004, I have been on fire for the Lord. I have ministered to tens of thousands of people around the globe in many nations. I have not stopped running for the Lord. Many have been saved, delivered and healed; and we have raised up many others to walk the way that we do.
God’s plan is being fulfilled in my life daily, and it is now 14 years later. I am still going strong. I have remarried, to my wife Lydia and we have five children together. They travel with me from town to town, and we together are seeing a mighty work of God take place in our time.
Darren and his daughter Miriam on a US missionary journey
When I first started to take my family on ministry trips, I didn’t have much faith for it. In those days, I was working full-time during the week for the Government of Canada. I spent my weekends and holidays by preaching wherever the doors opened in Canada and the USA. I had learned to have faith for solo trips, but the idea of traveling with my wife Lydia and our five children was harder for me. I didn’t think I could do it. Our oldest child is 8 and our youngest is now 2 at the time of this writing. We started these trips when our oldest was only 4.5 years old.
I traveled many times into Texas, Kansas, and Kentucky; and even across Canada to preach the gospel by myself even with no money to do it. I probably did 15 to 20 trips in this way. There were many times that I went on these trips that I would only have $100.00 in my pocket. If money didn’t come in, there would be no way I that I would be able to pay for these trips; which often cost me thousands of dollars. The faith factor is still the case as I travel with my family today. We have no idea how we are going to pay for everything. Sometimes we don’t even know how we are going to pay for the next day.
When I traveled by myself, I started to host conferences in Houston, Texas. I worked with ministries from that city and brought together healing and prophetic ministries just to see what God would do. I would pay them to get there and even paid them a generous honorarium. Those speakers left very happy, and I have worked with them time and time again. The conferences weren’t caused by or about money in the bank. The conferences happened because I had faith. As I said, sometimes I showed up in town with just a few dollars in my pocket and yet God provided.
It was about four years ago when the Lord began to challenge me to take my family with me on these trips. I couldn’t imagine how I was going to pay for my family to minister across the USA. The cost of gas, food, accommodation alone would be thousands of dollars.
The first time I took them, I went to a conference in New Jersey, where not only did I not get paid for speaking but in fact had to pay registration in order to be there. My wife and I went with our four sons. Our youngest was 2 months old. This was before baby girl was born. I remember the fear that I experienced on this trip. We didn’t have any extra money at that time. I used my credit card to get us into the USA and to pay for registration for the event. I had anxiety because there was no extra for what needed to be done in the month ahead. I was trusting God completely and I didn’t know if I could do this.
However, we ended up having a wonderful time as a family. It was restful, but also life changing. We ministered and we were also ministered to. There was an East Indian family there, with their three children, and they were from Kuwait. We became good friends that week and have remained friends ever since. They have actually come to our house in Canada.
The strangest thing happened that week. A good friend of mine from Florida randomly sent me money through PayPal. I woke up one morning at the event and there were two email notifications on my phone. The total sum that she sent was about $1500.00, which was the exact amount that our trip cost! She had no idea of our financial need and yet she sent that money to us. I was so encouraged. I knew that God wanted us to travel as a family in ministry. That week was very special. People really noticed the family. They were ministered to by all of us. My eyes were opened to a new possibility for our lives.
Since that time we have traveled around the world as a family. That first trip now seems like a trip to the mall compared to some of the faith trips that we have gone on! We have driven 32,000 km across the USA preaching in over 30 towns this year. This is a family of seven in a van over many hours. We have flown to Australia, where we had no idea where we were going to stay. We knew very few people but God blessed us so much. We raised $10,000 in two and a half weeks for the air tickets for that trip. Most of the people that gave to us were friends through Facebook!
In Australia, I preached in 20 churches in six of the seven states. Our ministry increased amazingly. Thousands and thousands of people were watching us through Facebook. We ended up surrounded by an incredible community of believers that adopted us gracefully into their lives. We spent nine in that glorious country and were fed, housed, and even given a vehicle to drive. They never once asked us for money for any of it. They sacrificed amazingly for the gospel sake.
Our friends in Australia testified to miraculous provision for them as they took care of us. One family in particular really opened up their lives to us – the Woodley’s of Adelaide. Many times, people came to their house giving them food for all of us to eat, and other times people handed them money to take care of our needs. They had four children of their own along with five of ours in a house they just moved into. They were a great blessing to us.
Another lady in Australia opened her house to us for six weeks. She fed us and traveled with us everywhere we went. The kids began to think of her as family. Her name is Carol Forsten. She was the good friend of Julie-Anne Powell who was the main organizer of our trip there. If it wasn’t for Julie’s faith for this trip it would not have happened. She kept pushing for me to bring the family and if she didn’t I am not sure I would have.
Just before our trip to Australia, we went to the USA. Our good friends from Bancroft, Ontario loaned us their big van for that trip because it was very spacious. We owned a small Dodge, Caravan at the time which was very impractical for the trip. We took it on one 10,000 km journey and it proved to be very inefficient. I would have to tell my wife you can bring the stroller or the playpen as a bed, but not both. She was not impressed with me at all.
Our friend’s van was 16 years old. The engine gave out once in Northern, New York in -20 Celsius weather. It just happened to run out in the same town that our good friends lived in. They brought us to their home, and used their AAA membership to tow the vehicle to a garage. Thankfully, the van was back on the road in five hours.
We had to have someone fix the van in nearly every town we went to on that 10,000 km trip. The driver’s window never opened on that trip, and then the door stopped opening as well. I use to have to get in and out of the van on the passenger side. Then the electrical started to go too. We literally had thousands of people praying for us to get a new van. I jokingly told people on that trip if you want to improve your prayer life do a 10,000 km missions trip in an old van.
Our last trip to the USA, which ended a few weeks ago, we raised enough money in Australia to purchase a 5 year old van. Within the first two or three days of that trip I hit a pothole on the highway which led to the front end of the van suffering greatly. By the time we got home 6 weeks later we needed new tires and an alignment. The van rattled down the road and the only reason that I didn’t stop for repair is because God kept saying you are alright, you will make it home. The van also kept cutting out when we would slow down. It cut out ten or twelve times but would restart right away. We drove 12,000 on that trip. On that trip we had people praying that we would get a brand new van (I’m laughing now).
We started that trip by heading into a hurricane in Florida. We got there the day after it ended. I wouldn’t stop doing what I do for anything. I have seen hundreds of miracles. I have heard people tell me that their lives have been changed forever. I have seen people healed, delivered and set free. I have seen miracles take place I never imagined could take place. God has been faithful as we have gone and for that reason I continue to go.
These trips cost so much money. We believe for literally tens of thousands of dollars to fund the needs of these journeys. They are very tiring. We have stayed in dozens of hotels and have probably eaten at 100 to 200 restaurants. This is not easy. You have to learn to eat healthy and that can be hard to do on the road. Some days we just go the grocery store and buy bags of fruit, bread and cheese and eat as we drive. But God is good and provides for all of our needs. I have never ran out of money on a trip and my expenses have always been covered. Our friends that have encountered we will never forget. They are some of the most generous and precious people in the earth.
We have experienced supernatural provision in ways that you can only encounter when you step out in faith - the way that we have. There have been times that people have given us houses in beautiful places just so we could rest. Complete strangers have opened up their houses for us to stay. People in restaurants have paid for meals. We have made friends all around the earth that will continue in our hearts forever.
My wife and five children have been in places that you would only dream of getting to. We have walked the streets of great American cities and stood in deserts, near oceans, been on mountain tops. The kids are home schooled, which works very well with our lifestyle. To aid their education we bring them to Museums, zoos, space centers in different cities and different countries. They have seen animals and sea creatures all over the world. Their education is incredible and very unique.
My kids know the difference between continents, states, provinces and countries. They remember people who were kind to them along the way and look forward to seeing them again. We are planning more trips over the next couple of years. My oldest son said to me when we were in Australia, “Dad you know where I really would like to go?” He said, “I would like to go to Israel, particularly Jerusalem.” So right now I am in the process planning an Israel trip for the family for 2017. I have no idea how we will do that but we will and we will have amazing stories to tell of our adventures.
Please keep us in your prayers. Pray that God is with us protecting us and strengthening us to face the miles that we will have to journey in order to do his will. Pray that we will have the courage to go places that no one else will go to as families in order to reach the nations for the Lord.
There are times that I feel like I don’t want to do another thing. All the ambition that propelled me in my past season seems dead and I idly sit wondering if I will ever sail forward again. There are times I feel very weary and need to rest. In these hours it is important to stop and seek the Lord.
Like you, I have had many prophetic words given to me in my life, and I have had many prophetic dreams. Many times people have prophesied things over me or I have seen things in the spirit which I know I will be a part of and will come to pass. But then the time between that word and its fulfillment can be a long time ,which might leave you wondering if these words really originated with God or whether they were the conjuring’s of your mind or someone else’s mind.
I sometimes feel despair because although I have been pushing into Christ and his thoughts for my life the things that he has spoken to me just don’t seem to quickly come to pass. Indeed, I have accomplished so much, but sometimes it can seem that the promises I have received are far too great for me to inherit and I am overwhelmed by it. In these moments I understand some of the pain that Joseph must have had when he sat in prison after he interpreted the dreams of the baker and the cup bearer. Two more years he sat; rotting and wondering when that grand dream he had as a teenager would come to pass. One day would bleed into the next; but the dream (that perhaps he wished would just disappear), grew more intense in his heart. Yet he still remained in the dark dungeon.
There is nothing that you can do to advance yourself. God opens the doors that no one else can open and he shuts the doors that can’t be re-opened (Isaiah 22:22). I have lived in the frustration of this. In fact, right now I carry a vision for stadiums to be filled with people. God placed that vision in my heart, but I have no idea how to advance that vision. It is here inside of me, haunting me. There are times that I fear that someone else will be given that task instead. I fear that he will take away from me what he spoke to me would happen. This becomes the area that I need consecration in. I have heard people say that words and visions are merely potential realities that you may enter into but they are not absolute realities. This thought puts the fear of God into me. In every way I wish to please my God, but I know that I have no ability on my own to make a prophetic word happen. Without the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit, there is no way for me to please God. So if God doesn’t lead me into the word, then it won’t happen. It is by his grace that I am saved and it is by his grace that I enter into the works that he has prepared for me.
The parts of me that wrestle with fear that God might not give me the good gifts that he has promised are the areas that need to be purged from my life. I have learned that fear is like a prison; and it is in there that God will often deal with the parts of our old nature that don’t line up with him. You and I may feel like paupers, prisoners or beggars. and that is alright. You are much like many of the characters that were used mightily in the Bible. He takes the poor and needy and places them in places of great power (1 Samuel 2:8). 1 Corinthians 1:26 says, “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.” If you feel that way, you are in good company.
You have to seek God with all you heart. He will open the way before you. He will lead you by the way of consecration and repentance. As your thoughts are renewed by the blood of the Lamb, you will become new and ready for the service that God has for you. Again, the Key is consecration and repentance: to turn from the old into the new. In a recent dream, I was in a shoe store located in heaven. There were so many beautiful shoes in that store that it was hard to make a choice! These were the nicest shoes I had seen in my life. An angel walked up to me and told me that I should wait for a pair of shoes that would be coming by the end of the month. I knew that these shoes would be amazing, but there were another pair that I bought in the interim. They were plain black shoes, and cost only $38, and yet they were very comfortable.
Now this detail might not mean very much to you, but I understood two things. First, from this dream, I have an expectation that come the end of the month, new things will start to happen. There is coming a change of seasons. New shoes represent to me a new day, or new thoughts, to walk through the doors that God has instore. Secondly, the $38 black boot is a sign of the need for repentance and consecration in order to enter into a new season. The number 38 is associated with consecration, and black to me represents the old nature and mourning. God wants to give us the oil of joy for mourning and this comes from a heart that is completely sold out to him.
I have learned that every time I move toward the new, that God has to work on some of the conditions of my old nature. In fact God daily works on our lives so that we become more and more free (Romans 12:2). It is for freedom that you have been set free (Galatians 5:1). However, when God’s freedom works in your heart, it brings you to a place of greater clarity, so that you can hear his voice and respond to it without fear or hesitation. The freer from the world I become, the more I am able to respond to the voice of God that prompts me into the works t he has prepared beforehand for me to do in Christ (Ephesians 2:10).
Consecration and repentance leads us to take on God’s thoughts for our lives. These thoughts are the new shoes that will carry us in the next season. My deepest prayer for you, is that you will be brave and turn to the Lord with all your heart. I know he has great things in store for you. It is his promise. He will change your every morning to make it blessed. Even through trials and anxieties, he will be the friend that sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).
As we are freed from the old, and walk in the new, the bars come down in our prisons and we come to the place where we can enter into prophetic fulfillment in our lives. So perhaps what is keeping you and I from entering, is a new thought - that we heal a fear from a previous season. That fear may be what is holding you back. So seek God for healing today, and he will come. He gives good gifts to his children and healing is the children’s bread. Get ready for your new shoes and your new day.
This blog is dedicated to the prophetic writings of Darren Canning