This is a
reprint of the following article:
“Will You, O
Yahweh, not return and revive us,
that Your people may rejoice in You?”
THE NEED OF THE TIMES
TODAY, revival is not a
very common word in the Christian’s vocabulary, except for a remnant who
thirst for “Rivers of Living Water.” A few books on this topic will be found
on the shelves of Christian bookstores, but you are more likely to find
revival books in the second-hand shops, than in the new books section.
Books about old time revivals can be blessing for believers who yearn for a
deeper work of God than they are seeing at present.
This series of articles
is seeking to encourage readers to …
“seek the Lord until He comes and rains righteousness
It is the writer’s deep
conviction that we will not see great blessing on the Mission Field, and
throughout the world, unless and until we have genuine spiritual revival.
Gimmicks, heavy beat music, and bright lights will never produce the revival
What is Revival?
Firstly the negative:
Revival is not great evangelistic crusades, or special meetings. Revival is
not special programs, or entertainment in the pulpit. Revival is not
emotionalism, or going into ecstatic experiences. Revival is not the special
activity of some sect or ism.
But positively: Revival
is a work of God that brings Christians and the church back to the normal
New Testament standard. Revival is a work of the Holy Spirit in and amongst
Christians. It is a work that convicts believers of their sin and shallow
living. It convicts them of their pride, bitterness, complacency,
selfishness and worldliness. It is a work that humbles Christians, and
claims their full surrender to Christ. Revival is a time when Christians
begin to really pray and witness. It is a time when Christians are truly
filled with the Holy Spirit.
wrote of revival amongst the American Indians: “The power of God seemed to
descend upon the assembly ‘like a rushing mighty wind,’ and with it, an
astonishing energy that broke down all before it. I stood amazed at the
influence that seized the audience almost universally, and could compare it
to nothing more aptly than the irresistible force of a mighty torrent ...
almost all persons of all ages were bowed down with concern together, and
scarcely any one was able to withstand the shock of this surprising
There are two types of
1. Individual or personal
revival which is a rectifying work in one’s own life.
2. Widespread revival -
in a church, district, nation or continent. This grows out of individual
revivals - it is personal revival spreading like a flame in the community.
Revival begins in
Christians, but soon reaches to the world around. A genuine revival usually
affects the whole community. The world at large is convicted of its sin of
rejecting Christ. Sinners are drawn irresistibly to the Messiah, and into
His saving experience. Hotels, theatres, clubs and dance halls very often
close because of want of trade.
ARTHUR WALLIS has
written: “It is characteristic of revivals that there have been seasons when
sins that have long hindered blessing, are exposed, confessed and forgiven.
Relationships, wrecked by pride, envy and evil-speaking are wonderfully
restored when the hearts of the saints melt in the fires of revival.”
Revival is a time when
righteousness pervades the community. It is a time when men know there is a
living God. It is a Divine work that exalts the Lord Jesus, and glorifies
Yahweh, the Almighty God. I ask, what true Christian would not desire to see
such a movement as this?
What is the purpose of
revival? To counteract the spiritual decline in the church, and to bring it
back to the New Testament standard of holiness and soul-winning. Revival is
not an end in itself. It is simply the means of bringing the church back to
its right sanctified walk. An individual who needs revival is one living a
sub-normal Christian life. A church that needs revival is a sub-normal
Of the revival in
Northampton, USA, in 1735, JONATHAN EDWARDS wrote :
“There was scarcely a
person in the town, old or young, left unconcerned about the great things of
the eternal world. Those who were wont to be the vainest and loosest and
those who had been most disposed to think and speak slightly of vital and
experimental religion were now generally subject to great awakenings. And
the work of conversion increased more and more. Souls did, as it were, come
by flocks to Jesus Christ. From day to day for many months together might be
seen evident instances of sinners brought out of darkness into marvellous
light, delivered from the miry clay and set upon a rock, with a new song of
praise to God in their mouths.
“This work of God, as it
was carried on, and as the number of true saints multiplied, soon made a
glorious alteration in the town. In the spring and summer following, 1735,
the town seemed to be full of the presence of God. It never was so full of
love or of joy, and yet so full of distress as it was then.
“There were remarkable
tokens of God’s Presence in almost every house. It was a time of joy in
families on account of salvation being brought to them. Parents were
rejoicing over their children as newborn, and husbands over their wives, and
wives over their husbands.”
CHARLES FINNEY was a
revivalist whom God used greatly in the USA in the early 19th century. It
was said that wherever Finney went, the fire fell.
Finney was born in the
USA in 1792, and was mightily used to reach multitudes of men and women, so
much so that it was estimated that he was instrumental in the conversion of
Once, entering a factory
and walking around, he was recognised by many working there. Among the work
people was a young lady who whispered a foolish remark to her companion, and
laughed. Finney stopped and looked at her with grief. Instantly, she
stopped; her thread broke, and she was so agitated that she could not
re-join it. She looked out of the window in an effort to compose herself,
then tried again, striving to regain her self-command. At length she sat
down overcome with her feelings. Finney then approached her, and soon she
manifested a deep sense of sin.
The feeling of concern
soon spread through the factory, and within a few hours almost every person
employed there was under the convicting power of the Spirit, so much so that
the owner, though a worldly man, was astounded and requested to have the
factory work stopped, and a prayer meeting held. In a few days he and nearly
all the employees there - about 3,000 - were converted.
appearance, his compassion, and his rebuking of the levity of the young
woman, brought her under conviction, with the consequent revival.
Concerning the revival
which transformed the city of Rochester under Finney’s ministry in 1830, the
district attorney observed many years after, “I have been examining the
records of the criminal courts, and I find that whereas our city has
increased since the revival threefold, there are not one-third as many
prosecutions as there had been up to that time. This is the wonderful
influence the revival had upon the community.”
Some Christians are
sceptical of the subject of Revival, and of movements of the Holy Spirit.
Extremism of some groups or movements has been to blame for much of the
scepticism. On the other hand, some Christians just don’t want to be
revived. They are careless, complacent and contented.
revival is a big topic. We see that revival is not presented as an alternate
possibility, but as the essential requirement.
Before we study revival
promises, and just in case there should be a doubt in the reader’s mind
about the possibility of revival, let us remember; it is God’s direct will
that His people should live on a Scriptural, New Testament level of
“Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
(I Peter 1:16)
“... that we should be holy and without blame before Him
in love.” (Ephesians
When the Lord sees
spiritual decline in an assembly, He calls that assembly to repentance. We
see this strongly in His last words to the Church - the messages recorded in
Revelation 2 & 3. His call is to repent, and do the first works. Y’shua
calls people back to their first state - of love and zeal for Himself. In
this light we see that revival is not an option, but a Divine
Surely the Love of Christ
constrains us! Surely our love for Him, longs to see His name exalted!
Surely we long that our own individual lives should be to the praise of His
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for
Me with all your heart.”
To answer further, the
question, What is revival? I enclose the following account of the tremendous
revival that swept America in 1857, and which was felt all over the world.
The 1857 Revival
The conditions in 1857
were like those facing the Church today. The USA was much smaller than now,
but the sins and the untoward conditions were about the same. During the
time prior to that Divine visitation, Americans were living in idle luxury.
Wines were plentiful. The
theatre and the dance halls gripped a pleasure-bent people. Divorce was
easy in the new states. Feminine smokers were numerous. Free love,
gambling, robbery, murder, and mob-administration were widespread
everywhere. Sunday was a day of pleasure.
Cults like Spiritism and
Mormonism captured the minds of thousands. The churches were torn with
strife. Carnality prevailed in them. Preaching was largely of the letter and
not in the Spirit.
The nation was generally
prosperous. Railroads and water transportation expanded trade. New towns and
cities sprang up everywhere. National and international trade greatly
increased. Buying, selling and money making occupied the minds of business
men to the exclusion of better things.
Secular reading was sold cheaply. Large numbers of papers and books were
brought by eager readers. English and American authors were enjoying great
popularity. Infidelity and atheism were rampant. The writings of Tom
Paine and of European infidels were read by multitudes.
Prosperity gave the
people much leisure for reading and discussion. Multitudes turned from the
churches and busied themselves in politics, education and amusements. The
consciences of men became hardened, and indifference to spiritual religion
conditions drove devout Christians to seek closer fellowship with one
another in prayer. Tens of thousands met in stated places for noon-time
prayer. God heard their united cry and gave them an astounding visitation of
spiritual power, for which the people of God in our land in this generation,
will do well to pray.
In a time of general
forgetfulness of God, a series of unfavorable providences paved the way for
a general repentance.
First, there came a time
of economic instability. Banks failed everywhere. Those that did remain open
closed once a week for examination. Wealthy people became paupers
overnight. Everyone came into financial distress. Unemployment became
general. Thousands who had been accustomed to comfort or luxury suffered
Prayer meetings sprang up
everywhere. One prayer meeting in New York City had a regular attendance of
over five thousand. Ministers had special gatherings for waiting upon God.
So, by economic failure
and unemployment, God turned the hearts of the people back again to Himself.
Answers to prayer were
astounding. God took men and matters in hand. The supernatural was
pre-eminent. A spiritual epidemic of conviction of sin broke out, first in
New England, then in adjacent states. It spread over the land and crossed
The work of God appeared
in most unlikely places. Passengers on ships at sea were struck with a sense
of guiltiness and sought the grace of a forgiving God. Upon arrival at port
they learned what God was doing in America.
Aged sinners, hardened
sceptics, and whole families, even of Jews, were being brought to Christ.
The deaf and dumb were being dealt with in like manner by the Spirit of God.
New churches were springing up everywhere. Theological errors were
Scarcely any books would
sell but books of religion. Spurgeon tells us in very temperate language
that upon the most reliable authority he could say that “in some New England
towns you can scarce find one unconverted person.” Tidings of the heavenly
visitation spread far and wide, and everywhere Christians were aroused to
seek from God a similar visitation.
Ireland - 1859
Tidings of the work of
God in America reached Ireland. The reports stirred in saints there the
spirit of expectancy and prayer. They began to realize that God had in mind
for His people greater blessing than they had ever imagined. As they prayed,
revival fires began to break out in all places of intercession.
Dr. H. Grattan Guinness
authenticated reports of this spreading work of grace by securing from a
goodly number of highly respected ministers, reports of its progress. These
accounts made it evident that Ireland was experiencing in 1859,
demonstrations of the Spirit similar to those being witnessed in America.
God was dealing with
multitudes there. The Spirit of grace and supplication was mightily poured
out upon the people of God. Meetings for prayer in some places were called
as many as ten times every week. The largest places were soon filled with
Nothing like its spread
and power had been witnessed in Ireland in over a century. Great numbers
were added to the various congregations. The Lord seemed to descend in a
rich shower of blessing. In their homes, on the street, at work, as well as
in the churches, people were smitten with an unshakeable conviction of sin.
Some were utterly
prostrated physically; but in the majority of cases it was found that this
was evidently the work of the Holy Spirit rather than any bodily weakness or
Out of distress, souls
were lifted into calm. A deep solemnity, earnestness, and diligence
possessed the converts. In all of them, conscience was awakened quietly, but
the stirring of the heart was deep and abiding.
Everywhere there was a
decided increase of Christian love, a respect for ministers, a holy regard
for the observance of the Lord’s Day, and an enlarged attendance at the
services of the church. Worship, the ordinances, Bible study and prayer -
social and public - were the food for these newly awakened souls.
Ministers were busier
with souls than doctors are with patients in time of epidemic diseases. They
were reaping a mighty harvest of precious souls, and were deeply solemnized
by what they saw and heard. Thousands were brought face to face with God,
and seemed to stand at His bar for their numerous and forgotten sins.
The general effect upon
the public mind was such as to strike terror in indifferent souls, and to
awaken them thoroughly and lead them to repentance. Able-bodied men got a
sight of their sins, and discovered them-selves under the just condemnation
The most healthy and
vigorous women, whom you would least expect to come under revival influence,
were commonly among the first to feel the convicting power of the Spirit of
God. Converts were numbered by groups instead of individuals. All ages were
affected. It mattered not whether the subjects were nine or ninety.
This remarkable movement
was both healthy and encouraging. The Divine influence came upon some as a
mighty rushing wind; and upon others as rain upon newly-cut lawns.
‘altars’ were ‘erected.’ Taverns were neglected. Reconciliations were
effected, and a spirit of love and unity prevailed among ministers and
members of different religious communions.
The Lord had done great
The Promise Of Revival
“Are there any among the idols of the
nations who cause rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Is it not You,
O YHWH our God? Therefore we will wait for You – our confident
expectation is in You, for You are the One who does all this.” (Jeremiah
Can we expect any special working
of God - a mighty revival in these days?
There are many pessimistic and
fatalistic Christians in the world who would say, “No! Endtimes are
here!” But I don’t think there is a Christian in Heaven who would give
The Word of God is loaded with
promises which Adonai Yahweh is waiting to make real through His people.
We all believe that He is
able to do
super-abundantly, but the doubt seems to be, “Will God bless us now?”
or, “Is it His will?”
We have already mentioned, last
issue, that Revival is the means of bringing the Church back to New
Testament principles. We must confess that it is God’s direct will that
believers live by the New Testament standards of faith, holiness and
witness. Then I ask, “Has God changed His mind?” No! Absolutely
God has often used revival
throughout the centuries. Has God’s work now finished? No! Certainly
In these tremendous days, revival
should be our great longing and expectancy. The Word of God is our hope,
for the Sovereign Master has given many promises of Revival. But the
promise comes alive to those who are longing for, and seeking the LORD,
and His greatest honour and exaltation.
Look at this definite promise of
“If I shut up the heavens and there is no
rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send
pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My
Name humble themselves and pray, and seek My Face
and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven,
will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
If we are willing to be challenged
to pray for great things, Jeremiah 33:3 will do it:
“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and
show you great and mighty things which you do not know.”
Isaiah 44:3 is the promise for us
if we are truly thirsting for blessing (not just singing about it!):
“For I will pour water on him who is
thirsty, and floods on the dry ground: I will pour out My Spirit upon
your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring.”
In 1949, Yahweh made this promise
real to the small expectant group of believers in the Hebrides Islands
(Scotland). The Islands were flooded by God.
We must recall also Hosea 10:12:
“Sow for yourselves righteousness, and reap
the fruit of mercy. Break up your fallow, unplowed ground, for it
is time to seek YHWH until He comes and rains righteousness on you.”
If we have ever needed revival, we
need it now - in the 21st century. And the New Testament declares:
“Now is the accepted time. Look! Now is the
day of Salvation.”
(2 Corinthians 6:2)
Malachi 3:10 is a promise very
precious to the writer. This is a great revival promise. Our Father
gives us a vision of how great a blessing we can expect. The promise is
not to the half-hearted, the complacent, or the self-centred. It is for
the thirsty, hungry and desperate - for believers who really long for a
blessing so great that we will not be able to fully receive it. Notice
the challenge made by the Almighty:
“‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse
so that there may be food in My House, and prove Me now in this,’
says YHWH of Hosts, ‘whether I will not open for you the windows of
heaven and pour on you such blessing so that there will not be
space to contain it’.”
not in the future -
If you will obey, you will prove Me, says the LORD.
There was a woman living in New
Jersey, in an area where there had once been a revival. Upon her spirit
came the impression that there would be yet another, and so she asked
the minister and elders to convene a “conference.”
They were not so minded, and so
with fixed intention, the woman arranged for seats to be specially made,
so she could hold meetings in her own house. Scarcely had she opened her
doors for meetings when the Spirit of God came down with great power,
and the sleepy church members found themselves confronted with convicted
sinners. And they could but say, “The LORD is in this place and I knew
This sister proved the Lord. So
could we, if ... !
The promises of blessing are not
confined to the Old Testament. The Messiah called aloud so all could
“‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me
and drink. Whoever believes and trusts in Me, as the Scripture
has said, rivers of living water will flow from his innermost being.’ By
this He meant the Holy Spirit.”
This is no little blessing - this
is torrents of blessing from Holy Spirit.
Let us remember God’s direct will:
“The LORD is not willing that any should
perish,” but ‘’desires all men to be saved.”
(2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4)
The Master’s words encourage us to
believe and to ask for that which will
glorify His Name:
“And whatever you ask in My Name, that will
I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask
anything in My Name, I will do it.”
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you,
and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that
your fruit should remain; that whatever you ask of the Father in My
Name, He may give to you.” (John
If these words mean anything, they
mean something very important. The Messiah does not say yes, when He
The Rain of Blessing
Here are a few of the general
promises of revival. If we will ponder them, our hearts must be filled
with expectancy and hope.
“O God, You are my God; I earnestly seek
You; my soul has thirsted for You, my flesh has longed for You, in a dry
and weary land where there is no water. I have gazed upon You in the
sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory.” (Psalm
The Bible gives us this specific
promise of blessing concerning the last days.
“Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the
coming of the Master. See how the farmer waits expectantly for the
precious ‘fruit of the earth,’ waiting patiently until the land
receives the early and late rains. You too be patient. Establish
your hearts, for the coming of the Master is near.” (James
In this exhortation, James
encourages believers to be patient in view of two things: the
expectation of the “late rain” that will produce the ingathering of
precious fruit; and the Master’s imminent Return.
The Father is waiting, and He will
remain patient until He reaps the endtime harvest of precious souls.
After that, His wrath will fall.
2 Peter 3 also reminds us of this
truth. Why has the Master not yet returned? Why has God not already
judged the earth? Because He is longsuffering, not willing that any
should perish. God is waiting for the precious fruit of the earth.
Now what does “early and late
(Be aware that there is an
erroneous teaching out there which uses “latter rain” to apply to a
“spiritual phenomenon” by which advanced Christians become “manifest
sons of God.” It’s a dangerous teaching.)
This term, “early and late rain,”
however, is used a number of times in Scripture. The people of Old
Testament times knew its meaning very well. It applied to the seasonal
rains in the Middle East. The season commenced with great downpours of
rain, and finished with very heavy rains. In between the two great
rains, there were many smaller, intermittent rains. The first rains are
called “early or former rain,” the final as the “late or latter rains.”
In my first year in India I
experienced such seasonal rains. By the 15th June, the ground and air
was so hot that the heavens burst, and down came drenching rain. After a
few days it reduced to smaller but almost daily showers. At the end of
three months the final rains came. I will not forget that late rain (I
was waiting in a bus shed). It seemed as if the sky would break.
In Scripture the “early and late
rain” is used to illustrate spiritual blessing.
Isaiah 44:3 links water with the
Holy Spirit blessing:
“For I will pour water on him who is
thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit
on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring,”
as also does the Saviour’s words
in John 7:37-39 …
“‘Whoever believes and trusts in Me
… rivers of living water will flow from his innermost being.’ By this He
meant the Holy Spirit.”
Hosea 6:2, 3 speaks about revival
and relates it to the late rain:
“He will revive us after two days …
His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like
the heavy rain, like the late rain, watering the earth.”
“They do not say in their heart, ‘Let us
now stand in awe of YHWH our God, who gives rain in its season, both the
former and the late rain, and who keeps for us the appointed
weeks of the harvest’.”
Joel gives a precious promise,
firstly to Israel.
“He has given you the early rain
abundantly, and will cause the rain to come down for you, the early and
late rain as before. The threshing floors will be full of grain, and the
vats will overflow with the new wine and oil ... And after this I will
pour out My Spirit on all people.”
(Joel 2:23-24, 32)
This will surely be fulfilled to
Israel. But it has an application to the church age, as Peter, by
inspiration of the Holy Spirit, declared at Pentecost.
This church age began with a great
and mighty rain of Holy Spirit blessing at Pentecost ... this continued
for many years. The following centuries right up until these last days
have had the intermittent showers of blessing.
Now in these last days, an endtime
downpour will surely come. As we look at the times - the return of the
Jews to Israel, the Middle East situation, the alignment of the nations,
the European Union, terrorism, lawlessness, calamities and trouble
everywhere, we cannot but believe that we are in the last days.
From Scripture we also learn that
the last days will be characterized by
and this we also see today. Perhaps less than 1/10th of Christendom,
today, is actually Christian. Worldwide movements aiming at uniting all
religions are tools being used to prepare the way for the reign of the
The endtime rain will not come
upon apostate Christendom, but upon the faithful remnant, although, no
doubt, many may be saved from the apostasy as the power of God moves in
the church and the nations.
We cannot say how long the
downpour will last. It could be several years, it could be one
weekend. But certainly the final ingathering will take place. The
Master is patiently waiting for it.
The Holy Spirit is working in
mighty ways in nations of the world such as China and Nepal today. Could
this be part of the latter rain? How we should be awake, and on our
knees, obedient to His every word!
“Ask YHWH for rain at the time of the late
rain – YHWH who makes the storm clouds;
and He will give them showers of rain,
vegetation in the field to each man.”
For any readers who may be
sceptical of the possibility of revival today, I close this chapter with
two reports of revival, in different settings - Canada and the Solomon
Islands - that have taken place in the last half century.
Canada - 1972
In Portland, Oregon, the Book of
Acts came alive in 1972:
“More than 2,000 Christians have
discovered the power of the Holy Spirit. Many with suicidal tendencies,
mental depressions, and strange behaviour patterns - have been
completely delivered! Hundreds of marriages have been healed; in some
cases parties were separated and had filed for divorce. Scores of
pastors confessed the sin of pride, self-effort and frustration in their
ministries but now are experiencing joy and boldness in preaching the
“Within my own life, God had to
touch my son physically, and bring other things to bear upon my soul
until 1 was completely crushed and wanted more than anything else to be
a broken vessel, available for His use in whatever way He saw fit, and
that for His glory.
“Restitutions are being made and
the secular press is aware that something unusual is happening. The New
York Times, and a New Jersey radio station, called up long distance
enquiring as to what is taking place in Portland, Oregon.
“Some have asked for the formula,
and some have come to the meetings merely to see something spectacular,
and so missed the blessing. But others, on their faces before God, with
broken and contrite hearts, and with all humility, prayed:
“O, God, turn the searchlight of
Your Holy Spirit upon me and reveal anything in my life that is
displeasing to You. I confess it as sin. I give You every area of my
life - my home, my family, my possessions, my future, my will. Now fill
me with the Holy Spirit, and I thank You for doing so.”
“The outgrowth of the revival is
evangelism, but judgment must begin at the house of God. At one of the
meetings, a young woman concerned about her rebellious children, first
gave herself to the Lord, then committed her children to the Lord. When
she got home at 3:00 a.m., she found that her children had accepted
Christ at the very moment that she had turned them over to the Lord.”
Solomon Islands - 1970
George Strachan reported: “Sunday,
we went ashore at Kobiloko. Many were crying and leaders were disturbed
that they could not stop it. There appeared to be no real cause - yet
their distress was real. The church was full of concerned faces, but a
spirit of relief came when we explained that this was godly sorrow which
we had been praying for, for years. Those crying were taken to a
separate building and the meeting commenced. When we explained to those
who were crying that they should accept God’s provision by
faith, there was a change, and weeping turned to great joy.
“Of those present and in distress,
some had seen visions of Jesus on the Cross, others angels, and still
others saw a bright light, and were overcome by their own sinfulness.
One or two had seen the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, while one
girl saw Hell and just sobbed for her relatives. Then release came and
they returned to the meeting.
“All was in order, till the call
was given after the message. Then there was a surge forward, and many
broke into strong crying, both men and women. They were left perhaps ten
minutes, then there started outbursts of joy and praise. It spread over
the whole meeting and continued for another fifteen minutes. What joy!
What praise! What glory! What hallelujahs! Some stood on their seats and
just shouted praise to God. It was tremendous, such as I had never seen
or heard in all my life. Glory to God, revival had really come to the
“If My people who are
by My Name humble themselves and pray, and seek My Face and turn from
their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin
and heal their land.”
IN this day of Grace,
and especially when things are going comfortably, many Christians do not
like to think or remember that there are commands and conditions in
God’s Word that must be applied before any revival, individual or
national, can take place.
Some sincere believers think that
man can do nothing to bring revival. But it has been truly written, “We
cannot make revival, but we can prepare for it.”
Spiritual revival is imperative
according to our Master’s words in Revelation 2 & 3; therefore we must
listen to His commands and conditions. But as we study these, we realise
that they are meant to lead us to the true spiritual life that God
intends for us.
In 2 Chronicles 7:14, Yahweh gives
four conditions to Solomon and the Israelites, if they are to see His
blessing in the natural realm. We should understand these are also
conditions for spiritual blessing today.
God addresses His people, who are
called by His Name. The LORD’s people today, in general, are called
“Christians” (Christ’s ones - Messianic believers). And it is to
that the Almighty speaks.
1. Humble Themselves
“If My people humble themselves.”
The first condition is humility.
If we are to see spiritual blessing, we must begin here. Unless we start
with our own pride and reluctance to submit to the Lord, it is no good
praying for revival. And yet our tendency is to avoid any hurt to
“self.” We would rather first start praying, rather than humbling
In the New Testament we are
“Humble yourselves in the Presence of the
Master.” (James 4:10)
“Clothe yourselves with humility … humble
yourselves, then, under the mighty hand of God.”
(1 Peter 5:5-6)
We are to humble
ourselves in the sight of God - not just in the sight of men. Our Master
does not want mock or superficial humility.
Pride is no small sin. It is
called an abomination
6:16-17). Pride panders to
all our carnal tendencies. How many sins come from our pride - the
pride, anger, bitterness and hatred that fills our souls when an adverse
word is spoken about us; unless we are humbled under God’s Hand!
One of the most
subtle and abominable sins is spiritual pride. And yet it is not
uncommon among God’s people. We become proud of our gifts, our
attainments, our work for the Lord, what we have given to God, and what
He has done through us.
What pride it is when we pat
ourselves on the back in word, thought or attitude, when blessings come
from the Master Himself. Our pride is an insult to the Holy One, and
robs Him of His Glory.
Spiritual pride of denomination,
non-denomination, or inter-denomination is a major reason that the
Heavenly Father has not always answered our prayers. Sometimes we
seem to think that Yahweh should bless through me, or my group; and if
He worked through another group, we should be quite hurt, and
disappointed. This shows the falsity of our motives, and our pride.
True humility in Scripture means
submission to God. James presents it this way:
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the
humble. Submit therefore to God.”
If we would be humble, let us
submit to God. Submission means death to “self” - an essential condition
for Christian discipleship.
What a terrible mistake it is for
us to seek to preserve our carnal natures. We are commanded to reckon
ourselves dead to sin - death to the carnal nature. But we are to yield
ourselves (gladly) to God (Romans 6:11, 13); or as Paul exhorts:
“Present your bodies a living and holy
sacrifice, acceptable to God.”
Pride is the enemy of these
requirements. Pride would seek to justify itself.
In a life of continuous submission
to God, there is no room for pandering to the flesh. If we are indeed
sub-missive to the Master, no matter what assails us - circumstances, or
men’s evil words, thoughts and actions, we will remain at His feet in
humility. Our lives will take on a spiritual outlook, and we will abhor
the things that seek to promote our flesh and pride.
When we take the deliberate step
of humbling ourselves, by submission to God, our lives will be prepared
for the next important condition for revival.
“If My people pray.”
The meaning of the word “pray” in
this verse, is intercession - prayer for others - interceding for the
church and the world; or, as in Ezekiel, “standing in the gap.”
This is the second condition for
revival. And no doubt, all genuine believers agree that prayer is
Brethren, I need not to convince
you that prayer is necessary, but maybe I do need to convince you that
the work of prayer is not for a few special “prayer warriors” - it is
for you! For every one of us!
Intercession is vitally essential
before the windows of Heaven can be opened; before the Lord can heal the
land. Intercession is not praying for yourself; it is not worship, it
is more than asking petitions. Intercession is entering into the
spiritual realm where the actual battle rages. What happens in the
physical world, is the result of the victory won, or not won, in the
Intercession is a spiritual fight
against the adversary and his hosts of wickedness. It
We might naturally recoil from
such conflict, but the Master has called us to engage in this
supernatural, spiritual warfare.
One of the instruments of the
revival in Wales
in 1904 was EVAN ROBERTS.
Burdened for Wales, this young man asked the Lord for 100,000 souls. The
Almighty answered; and Wales was on fire with revival. Roberts paid the
price and fought against the powers of darkness.
One Monday night his congregation
numbered seventeen. “I explained to them the purpose of my mission, and
told them what the Spirit had wrought and was working at New Quay and
Newcastle Emlyn. And I urged them to prepare for an outpouring of the
The meeting was hard, the people
unresponsive. Three times Roberts resorted to prayer, then returned to
his appeal for total commitment and a public confession of Christ. In
the end all seventeen yielded, among them, his brother and three
Next morning Evan Roberts found
himself in conflict with Satan. The whole project was presented to him
as presumptuous and delusory. But he fought through. Six more made
public confession at the next meeting.
On Wednesday evening people were
eager to listen as he vividly explained the vision the Spirit had given
him, and outlined his programme for revival:
1 Confession of all past sins
2 Repentance and restitution
3 Surrender to the Holy Spirit and
4 Public confession of Christ
Roberts urged each person to take
these four steps. But the meeting was silent and unresponsive. The
preacher went down on his knees and pleaded for the convicting power of
the Spirit. Gradually the people yielded until in the end twenty persons
had stood up and made public commitment to Christ.
As the meetings progressed they
grew in numbers and went on into the early hours of the morning. The
Spirit’s outpouring that followed was the beginning of the great flood
of revival. From now on no preacher needed to persuade the people to do
anything. God the Holy Spirit had taken over. The people flocked in
crowds to the chapels. Often there was no preaching. The people sang and
prayed and testified as the Spirit led them, and the holy fire leapt
from village to village and from town to town.
The Father has raised
us up to sit in Heavenly places with Christ.
(Eph. 1:20, 21; 2:6). He has
provided His own armour for us to engage in the war - not armchairs for
relaxing, for there can never be relaxation or discharge until the Lord
This ministry takes time,
strength, self-denial and sacrifice. We talk about intercession,
we believe in intercession, but our talk and belief is not intercession.
We need to practice
intercession - be doers of the
Instead, we usually make excuses
about our neglect of this holy necessity. We say we have so much
to do. Our work for the Lord takes so much time. I am convicted that our
excuses are vain.
“Let every man examine himself!”
(1 Corinthians 11:28)
First, how much time
do I spend in intercession per day? 10 or 15 minutes? Secondly, how much
time do I spend in reading newspapers? In eating, in idle talk, in
relaxation? Are the newspapers, chatting, eating and relaxing more
important than intercession - more important than translating the
victory of the Messiah at Calvary into reality in our lives?
Away with our excuses! How many
precious hours are spent by Christians in listening to the radio;
watching the devil’s vision - television - which is one of the greatest
soul-destroying abominations; or these days, surfing the Net?
Beloved, be delivered from the
world. Why should we give any time to the world’s cause, while
Yahweh the Eternal One is seeking intercessors for His cause?
The operation of the Holy Spirit
depends on man’s obedience.
“And we are witnesses of these things; and so
is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who are obeying
Him.” (Acts 5:32)
The supernatural working of the
Holy Spirit in revival power is something that no man can fully
describe. There are, however, features of the Lewis revival which
characterize revivals of the past also, one of which is the
spirit of expectancy.
In Lewis there was a group of men
who seemed to be living on the high plane of implicit confidence in
God. They were assured absolutely that revival had come.
Not far from this praying group of
men were two godly women, 84 and 82 years of age. They had interceded
for many years for an awakening. On the same night that God gave
assurance to the men, God spoke to them as they spent the night in
prayer. “In two weeks, I shall send upon this community the greatest
Spiritual Awakening it has known.”
It was revealed to them that
Duncan Campbell would be the instrument used.
A wire was sent to Campbell, but
when he received it, he was already booked for another meeting. He
replied: “It is impossible for me to come at this time, but keep on
praying and I will come next year.”
When the reply was given to the
sisters, they answered: “That is what man has said. God has said that he
will be here in two weeks.” Strangely enough, Campbell’s engagement was
cancelled and within a fortnight he was in Barvas.
The first meeting was held in the
old parish church. Many people had gathered in great expectancy of a
great moving of God, but strangely enough, nothing happened. It was
just an ordinary service.
Seeing the disappointment upon the
preacher’s face, one of the praying deacons came up to him: “Don’t be
discouraged,” he said, “It is coming. I already hear the rumbling of
Heaven’s chariot wheels; we will have another night of prayer, and then
we will see what God is going to do.”
Three o’clock in the morning; God
swept in and about a dozen were laid prostrate upon the floor, and lay
there speechless. Something had happened! God had moved into
as He had promised. Revival had come, and men and women were going to
As they left that cottage that
morning, they found men and women seeking God! Lights were
burning in the homes along the road. No one seemed to think of sleep.
Three men were found lying by the roadside, in a torment of
crying for God to have mercy upon them. The Spirit of God was moving
into action, and soon the parish of Barvas was to be stirred from end to
In the days of Isaiah and Ezekiel,
Adonai Yahweh “wondered that there was no intercessor.” Today He
must still be wondering why there are not more intercessors.
Alexander Whyte wrote: “My
brethren, will nothing teach you to pray? Will all His examples, and
all His promises, and all your own needs, and cares, and distresses, not
teach you to pray? Will you not tell your Saviour what a dislike, even
to downright antipathy, you have at secret prayer; how little you
attempt it, and how soon you are weary of it? Only pray, O you
prayerless people of His, and the Heaven will soon open to you also, and
you will hear your Father’s voice, and the Holy Ghost will descend like
a dove upon you.”
We often sacrifice many things,
and work for the Heavenly Master, but fail in this, the most important
work of intercession.
I beseech you brethren, by the
love you have for your great Redeemer, to stand in the gap, until He
A. T. Pierson has written: “From
the day of Pentecost, there has been not one great spiritual awakening
in any land which has not begun in a union of prayer, though among two
or three; no such outward, upper movement has continued after such
prayer meetings have declined.”
Concern for the Souls of Sinners
“In the Fall of 1825, there lived
a woman in Oneida County who was in feeble health, who had never been in
a powerful revival. Her soul became exercised to the point of
agony for the souls of sinners in the land.
“She did not know what ailed her,
but nevertheless she kept on praying, until it seemed as though agony
would destroy her body. At length she became full of joy, and exclaimed,
‘God has come! God has come! There is no mistake about it, the work has
begun and is going on all over the region.’
“And sure enough, the work began,
and her family were almost all converted, and the work spread all over
the country. She had prevailed with God in prayer. She had travailed in
birth for souls, and she knew it.”
“Lectures on Revivals.”
God Can Use a Stammerer
No revival, as such, had occurred
in a certain town for many years, whilst the Church was almost extinct.
An aged man, a retired blacksmith, lived there, but so stammering was
his tongue that it was painful to hear him speak. One Friday he sat in
his shop alone and there became greatly exercised about the state of the
church and that of the impenitent. His agitation became so great that he
locked the door and spent the afternoon in prayer.
On the following Sunday he asked
the minister to appoint a “conference meeting” which after some
hesitation the minister did, at the same time fearing that few would be
present. The gathering was to be in the house. Imagine their surprise
when there assembled more than could be accommodated!
For a time all were silent until
one man broke out in tears, and asked if any would pray for him? Another
followed and yet another until many were brought under deep conviction.
A remarkable feature was that they discovered that their concern
occurred the very hour when the aged man had been praying. A powerful
John Livingston, when he heard of
the blessing in Ulster, came and preached at Hollywood on a Communion
Sunday. He spent the previous night in prayer, and as a result of that
sermon 2,000 souls turned to God.
3. Seek The Face OF GOD
“If My people seek My Face.”
Here is a necessity
that we are all too often prone to forget - to seek the Face of God.
This is not especially intercession, but it is the seeking of the
Presence of the Master Himself, and the knowledge of His will -
fellowship and guidance.
God made man, planned, worked and
provided for his redemption. Believers, He has justified and seated in
Heavenly places, in Christ. God now desires the worship, adoration and
close fellowship of His people.
“For the Father is seeking such people to
worship Him.” (John 4:23)
We have been brought so near to
God, in position, having being justified; but alas, we may be very far
from God in spiritual fellowship.
The Father longs for the communion
of His children; the Son seeks fellowship with His beloved.
How cold is a child
who seldom approaches his father except to ask for something. Or an
espoused who does not enjoy the blessing of her lover’s presence. And
yet so often our love for our Saviour is lukewarm. Our fellowship with
God is so lacking. We are exhorted:
“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to
you.” (James 4:8)
It is possible for us to be very
busy serving the Lord, and yet be far from Him. First things first. Like
Mary we need to worship Him. Our presence at a worship meeting, or a
conference, does not guarantee that our hearts are close to God. In
thought they may be far away. It may be that we have suffered
heart-departure from the Lord; we may have lost the joy of our
first-love. We need to continually draw near, and seek His Presence.
Evangelistic work, numerous meetings, and even intercession, cannot
replace fellowship with God.
Friendship with the world is one
reason for our departure from God’s presence. How we should shun the
world’s influences, and crave the pure loveliness of the Holy One.
James 4:4 also says:
“Do you not know that friendship with the world
is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever decides to be a friend of the
world becomes an enemy of God.”
The early church was concerned
with being delivered from the World. Today Christians seem to be
concerned with how far they can go into the world, and still remain
“safe.” The world will draw us away from God.
We need also to seek the Face of
the Lord for the knowledge of His will - for his direction and
As we intercede for others and
pray for revival, we seek also His face for what He would have us do,
individually, each day.
How much of our “Christian work”
is Christ’s work? How often do we make our own plans, and then ask God
to bless? How often is the Holy Spirit grieved and quenched by
Christians ignoring God’s Presence?
How often the Head of the Church
is forgotten and His authority reduced to nominal recognition, as though
Jesus were but a patron of man’s organisation to whom no reference or
report needs to be made.
Committees and church meetings
must seek the Lord’s mind, in all things. It is not enough to simply
“have a prayer,” and then go ahead and make our own plans. God’s Word
should be consulted, and constant reference made to the risen Saviour,
as though He were bodily present.
We need the
consciousness of His Presence. Without Him we will not see revival
“In Your Presence is fullness of joy.”
4. Turn From Wicked Ways
“If My people turn from their wicked ways.”
What a terrible condition they are
in, when God’s people need to be commanded to turn from their wicked
ways. How terrible it is today, that the Church has largely forgotten
her holy calling, and is practicing or condoning wicked ways.
Some will answer, “But God was
here speaking to Israel, not to Christians.” True, but in the NT there
are similar weighty words to believers. Christians need to repent! It is
imperative that we turn from our wicked ways, so that revival may come.
It is not enough that
we confess our sins, we must turn from them. To confess our sins and not
forsake them is to tell God what we intend to do. Paul writes:
“Awake to righteousness, and do not sin!”
(I Corinthians 15:34)
“Let everyone who names the Name of the Messiah
turn away from wickedness.” (2
The Scriptures search
the believer for those sins that linger in the heart. In James 4:8 God
“Cleanse your hands, you sinners:
and purify your hearts you
Think for a moment of
how terrible double-minded-ness is. Maybe we have become double-minded
about the Master’s demand for holiness in our lives. We know we should
be holy, but we are often satisfied with a sub-normal - a carnal life.
Now-a-days many Christians are
afraid of the term “holiness.” We should rather recoil from the thought
in our lives. We usually criticize the idea of “sinless perfection,” but
much more we should judge our own state of sinful
YHWH our God has
exhorted, pleaded and commanded us to pursue holiness.
“Just as He who called you is set-apart and
holy, you also be set-apart and holy in all your
behaviour; because it is written, you shall be set-apart, for I am
A Brethren leader, Montague
Goodman, once challenged a convention of believers:
“If we are God’s people we are committed to a
holy life. If we are not a holy people, we are nothing at all, and
worse than nothing.”
The keynote to Mosaic worship and
to the blessing of the people of Israel, was the words engraved on the
golden plate the high priest wore - “Holiness unto the Lord.” God
demands that His people be holy, for all believers in this age are
priests unto God.
I Peter 2:5 says we
are “a holy priesthood.” We are also called the “Temple of the Holy
Spirit.” Therefore how imperative it is that we be holy!
Because of our very relationship
to God, we need to be holy. Are we not called by a holy God
(1 Pet 1:16);
saved by a holy Sacrifice
indwelt by the Holy Spirit
6:19)? Are we not called
a holy priesthood
(1 Pet. 2:9),
a holy nation
(1 Pet. 2:9),
and a holy temple
(Eph. 2:21)? Is our Bible
not the Holy Scriptures
and is our heavenly home
not God’s holy habitation
Is our calling not a holy
(2 Tim 1:9), and are we not
told to lift up holy hands
(1 Tim 2:8)?
Our conversation, our walk then,
The key to understanding the
meaning of holiness, and experiencing holiness, is
Firstly, we have been separated
unto God, and by God.
2 Thessalonians 2:13)
Secondly, we are to separate
ourselves from the world, and from all sin, and present ourselves to
Corinthians 6:17, Romans 12:1-2)
This brings us back to our text:
“If My people ... turn from
their wicked ways.”
Our repentance must be continuous.
It is not enough to look back on the past and say, “I repented so many
years ago, or, I consecrated myself so many weeks ago.” We must maintain
our separation to God. Unless we maintain this, we will find sin
creeping in and regaining its power over us.
“What partnership have righteousness and
lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? … Therefore
come out from among them and be separate, says YHWH, and do not touch
what is unclean; and I will receive you. … Let us cleanse ourselves from
all defilement of body and spirit, perfecting holiness in reverence,
standing in awe of God.” (2
Corinthians 6:14, 17, 7:1)
If we feel our weakness, failure
and uncleanness, let us remember the Lord has provided the basis and
power for our holiness - His Sacrifice at Calvary, the Holy Spirit’s
filling, and our Advocate in Heaven.
In 1949, some believers on the
Isle of Lewis, Scotland, became concerned about the spiritual condition
of their people. Spiritual men and women decided to do something about
it. They published in their leading newspapers, an appeal to the people
to become awakened to the state of things. They mentioned the fact that
the Lord’s Day was being profaned, worship services were unattended by
the masses, and mentioned the light regard given to the vows of those
who were church members.
“The Presbytery affectionately
plead with their people - especially with the youth of the Church, to
take these matters to heart and to make serious inquiry as to what must
be the end should there be no repentance; and they called upon every
individual as before God to examine his or her life in the light of that
responsibility which pertains to us all, that happily, in the Divine
mercy, we may be visited with the spirit of repentance and may turn
again unto the Lord whom we have so grieved with our iniquities and
A group of men in the church at
Barvas were deeply concerned. They met several nights a week in a wooden
barn and poured out their hearts to God. It came to them that God is a
2 Chronicles 7:14 flashed to their
minds. They put their faith in the divine promise:
“If My people who are called by My Name humble
themselves and pray, and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and heal their
That night they entered into a
solemn covenant with God, to hold to, and to prevail in prayer
until revival came!
And there was expectancy.
One night, after several months of
prayer, this group of men was wrestling in prayer. Then one young
man arose from his knees and read Psalm 24:
“Who may ascend into the Mountain of YHWH? And who may stand in His
Holy Place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart … he shall receive
blessing from YHWH and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”
Then he said: “We have been
praying for months, pleading for revival. Are our hands clean? Are our
hearts pure?” All fell on their knees in confession of sin. Heaven came
down, and the barn was filled with the glory of God. All of them felt
they had victory and that the revival had begun.
We Have Our Part
Let us remember also that we have
our part - we must turn from our wicked ways.
Here we should be definite and
frank with ourselves. It is folly to preserve the ‘“flesh.” If we fail
to acknowledge our sins, we fail to turn from them. We should read
passages such as the following and let the Spirit of God reveal the dark
Ephesians 4:14-32, 5:1-25
people, who are called by My Name (believers), humble themselves
(submission), and pray (Intercession), and seek My Face (worship
and guidance), and turn from their wicked ways (separation,
holiness), then (and only then) I will hear from Heaven, and
will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Four Major Hindrances
“Quench not the Spirit”
(1 Thessalonians 5:19)
IN THE MASTER’s messages to the
seven Asian Churches (Revelation 2 - 3), we see widespread sins
hindering revival and God’s blessing – the sins of departure from first
love, worldliness, spiritual idolatry, compromise, tolerance of evil,
resting on past reputation, as well as complacency, pride and
lukewarmness. (See our booklet, “Personal to the Churches.”)
Let us now consider
four of the other major hindrances to revival.
Much of the Church is sorely in
need of revival today, and sins that are preventing revival should be
We may all feel that we are
getting tired of hearing
about sin. But my reader,
we should be getting to utterly
the presence of sin – not
only in the world, but in the church, and in our own lives.
We need to have every sin in our
lives exposed by the Light of the Word of God, so that we may flee with
our sin-sick souls to the Saviour, for His deliverance and
We sing rather glibly, “Search me,
O God, and know my thoughts I pray,” but immediately put up the wall of
self-defence and self-righteousness. We need to declare war on
sin - firstly in our own lives.
Today we see a sin-sick Church,
and a sin-sodden world. Why? Because of a long history of sin-tolerance.
And one of the great sins we tolerate is called
1. Right With God But Wrong with Man?
We talk about our standing and our
relationship with the Master – we’re justified, sanctified, temples of
the Holy Spirit, and seated with the Messiah in Heavenly Places, but at
the same time we tolerate enmity in our hearts against our brother or
sister. We’re “right with God” but wrong with man! Is that possible? We
fool ourselves! What type of Christianity is this? When we hold a
controversy against another person, God holds a controversy against us!
Again we sing, rather weakly, “I
surrender all - all to Jesus I surrender. All to Him I freely give.” But
the Holy One replies, “I will not receive an offering at your hand -
your hands are full of blood - full of hatred, bitterness, wrath, anger,
unforgiveness, evil-speaking, murmuring, gossip, slander, malice, envy,
The Psalmist asks:
“Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? He who has clean hands and
a pure heart.” (Psalm 24:4)
For this reason, we are commanded:
“Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you
We say murder is terrible. Y’shua
“But I say to you that whoever nurses any anger against his brother will
be subject to judgment.” (Matthew 5:22)
One reason for the Church’s
powerlessness and emptiness today, is the enmity that exists amongst the
believers. Today hatred is not only in the world, but in the interaction
Again, our Master has definite
teaching on this:
“If you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that
your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front
of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and
offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24)
This will mean humility - dropping
of the pride - especially if you think there is more fault on the other
side. But our relationships must be put right - relationships in the
family, in the Church, in our work, in the town, or wherever they are
not right. What a disgrace - how unbiblical it is when Christians hold
grudges against each other.
How about looking around the
meeting next Sunday morning and seeing if there is ill-feeling when you
view each saint! And the believers to whom you are never very friendly,
why not go out of your way to show concern – Christian love? And don’t
forget the strangers!
The great revivalist, JONATHAN
“Abundance has been lately done at
making up differences, confessing faults one to another, and to making
restitution; probably more within these two years, than was done in 30
As the prophet Hosea said, it is
time to break up our fallow ground - our stony hearts - and to seek YHWH
until He comes to rain righteousness on us. (Hosea 10:12). It is time
our hatred turned to love; our bitterness changed to joy; our wrath to
blessing; and our evil speaking to prayer.
“Let the peace of the Messiah rule in your hearts.” (Colossians 3:15)
2. The Self-Life
Yes, we need to make war on sin.
It is time we sleepy Christians woke up and saw what sin is doing!
We should take stock of what is happening around us - the utter ruin
that sin is causing.
We should also see what sin does
in our own lives – it robs us of spiritual strength; robs the Father of
His glory; robs the Son of His fruit, and robs the Holy Spirit of
vessels He could use.
We know for sure that Satan is not
half-hearted in his war on the saints (1 Peter 5:8-9). Just take a look
into the church, or perhaps even into your own life, and see what havoc
the evil one has done. But look at the church again, and see how
half-hearted it is in the war against sin, the flesh and the devil.
It seems that many of us
Christians adopt a policy of peaceful co-existence with sin and the
devil. Let us not be deceived; peaceful co-existence in the devil’s
vocabulary means surrender of righteousness and holiness. We must
never compromise and seek to “come to terms” with sin!
Our war against sin may mean that
we ourselves will get hurt. It will definitely mean that our flesh – our
self-life – will receive strong blows. But should we not welcome that?
Our self-life needs to be “put to death” – that is, rendered inoperative
by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Self is one of our great enemies –
probably the worst – and pandering to it is a great hindrance to
revival. We may make excuses for it, but our selfishness, our
self-centredness, and our self-gratification is grieving God. We may not
regard ourselves as selfish, but self is evident in many ways.
How we protect ourselves! We often forget that we are to die daily. We
are not called to preserve our carnal life but to render it inoperative.
It is to be, “not I, but Christ who lives in me.”
Have you noticed that often
the world seems to revolve around “me?”
I seem to be the one who matters most. We say, “Oh that’s only natural.”
But the Master needs to be the centre of our lives. Every moment needs
to revolve around Him.
“It is God that justifies. Who is he who condemns?” The self-life would
vindicate and justify itself, but the spiritual man, even though he may
be accounted as a sheep for the slaughter, rests on the Word of God. “It
is God that justifies.”
Oh that stubborn will that
we have! How reluctant it is to yield everything to God. It may yield in
many things - maybe 95% of things, but it will resist in some areas. It
will obey on certain conditions – on the provision that it can have some
say in the matter.
Many Christians are not willing
for God’s greater blessing (and they may never have it!) Many want
revival to come in the Church, but they are not willing to be revived in
their own personal lives.
The Sovereign Yahweh says, “If you are willing and obedient, you shall
eat the best of the land.” (Isaiah
We need to surrender our wills to
God – to be willing to obey Him at any cost; willing to see Him work in
any way He chooses; willing to suffer shame and loss; willing to take
that humble place as a bond-servant of Christ.
‘‘Do you not know that … you are not your own? For you have been bought
with a price.” (1 Corinthians 6 19-20)
“Woe to those who are at
ease in Zion,” cries the prophet Amos (6:1). Today we are an ease-loving
generation. It’s not only in the world; we Christians are often allured
by the lust for comfort. There is nothing wrong with being comfortable,
except that we are supposed to be on a battlefield.
There is nothing wrong with
comforts, except that we spend too much of our Master’s resources in
getting them for ourselves, and use too much of His time in enjoying the
comforts. We hate being discomforted!
It is a great pity that we are not
as concerned with taking up the armour of God as we are of taking to the
arm-chair for “the old man.”
When things go wrong we are
inclined to pity ourselves. In all circumstances, however, we have the
assurance of the Heavenly Father, “I have loved you,” and, “All things
work together for good,” etc. What excuse then is there for self-pity?
Yes, we have self-pity over our
small, or big, troubles, but consider others around us who are sliding
into Hell daily. Are we such Jonahs that we have such pity for our “own
little bush,” but we have little pity for those perishing all around us?
An exhibition of the self-life is our touchiness. Praise the LORD if you
are free from this sin. It is a sin that plagues many, and that grieves
the Holy Spirit. We often justify touchiness with, “that’s just a part
of my temperament.” But from this sin springs many others - bitterness,
hatred, strife, division, gossip, and evil thoughts. We need to humble
ourselves before the Holy One or our pride will yet ruin us.
The Word of God says that in the
last days, men will be lovers of themselves. (2 Timothy 2:3). That is
not surprising seeing the natural man is naturally egotistical. But
what a disgrace, how unscriptural it is, when followers of Y’shua the
Messiah, who loved not His own life, can be called “lovers of
“He who claims that he lives and remains in Him (the Messiah),
should himself walk in the same manner as He walked.”
(1 John 2:6)
3. Wrong Motives
Revival is the great need in the
21st century lukewarm “Laodicean church.” Praise the LORD, many
believers are feeling the burden and are praying earnestly for the
outpouring of the Holy Spirit in this our day.
But let us consider the motive for
our praying for and desiring revival. James tells us that sometimes we
do not receive the answer to our pleas because we “ask amiss.” (James
4:3). If our motive is wrong, we need not expect anything of the Lord.
Our motive is something that we
should think about, and ask, “Is it pure or impure?” for we are exhorted
in Hebrews 10:22 to, “Draw near with a true heart.”
A wrong motive is often the reason
why God holds back His blessing. Let us stop and ask, “Why do I want
revival?” Is it so that we may consume the blessing on our own
pleasures? Or for such reasons as ...
Is our prayer for revival
motivated by selfishness? Is there any thought of personal gain or
advancement? Is there a hope that revival will fulfil my personal
Publicity and fame.
This is a trap especially
for Christian leaders. We may seem to be praying and working for revival
for the Lord’s glory but underneath there may be a subtle desire for our
own approval or spiritual reputation. We may test ourselves by asking,
“Would I be happy to remain in the background and unseen in a time of
Some would seek revival for the sake of church reputation. The assembly
may be known as spiritual, and there is a concern that it should not
lose its reputation.
To seek revival simply to build up our church roll and attendance
is also an impure motive, as is also seeking revival for the sake of
filling the church treasury or building fund.
Some are so concerned for
the advance of their own denomination that this becomes the motive in
praying for revival. Any group seeking revival only in its own
denomination needs to check its motives. The Church, the Body of Christ,
is not a denomination, but it comprises all true born again believers,
irrespective of “label.” And it is not God’s will to
revive just one section of the Church. And be sure, it would be hard to
find one assembly where revival is not needed!
Revival can not be “owned” by one
group, just as rain will not fall only on one field. Woe to that group
who would seek to control and own the fire of God. So each one needs to
test his motive; if revival began in another group, a different
denomination, which is “not as Biblical and spiritual as mine,” would I
be as thankful as if revival started with my group?
Alas, many would be offended and
would oppose or doubt a work of God in another group. But if our motives
are pure, we will yearn to see genuine revival everywhere, and we’ll
genuinely praise the LORD wherever we see the work of His mighty Arm.
These wrong motives, and all
others, need to be guarded against lest we “pray amiss.” It is so easy
to pray for a right thing with a wrong motive. The only true motive for
seeking revival is that Yahweh-Y’shua may be glorified, His Name
honoured, and His purpose fulfilled.
To desire one’s spiritual growth,
the increase in the church, the evangelization of the town or the world,
and the salvation of sinners, is right and good. We should long for
these, but these desires, in themselves, are not the highest and pure
motive for revival. These are secondary motives.
We usually think of the desperate
need of unsaved souls. But most important is
of Yahweh and of His Anointed One.
It is the LORD’s Glory that is at stake. Any prayer that does not have
as its prime motive, the Glory
of God, is a prayer
that ‘‘asks” amiss.
Remember, man was made for God’s
(Isa. 43:7, 21, 25 Eph. 1:12);
God promised Israel blessing “for My holy Name’s sake”
36:21-22. Isa. 48:9); “that
I may be glorified.” (Isa. 60:21). So we need to see beyond our
spiritual needs and the salvation of souls, and see the Glory of God.
Oh, just look around and see how
the Name of Christ is blasphemed; how His gracious mercy is mocked and
rejected; how His Word is torn asunder – and not just by the world, but
also by some calling themselves “Christians” (modernists). See how His
Spirit is grieved; His love is despised; and His truth is turned into a
lie. Oh how God’s Glory is spurned!
This is the thing that should set
us praying for revival. We should be concerned for the LORD’s Name and
His Glory, and our prayers should take on more of the plea; “Father,
remember Your Name and Your Glory. Hallowed be Your Name. For Your Holy
Name’s sake revive us. Let not Your people profane Your Name, and let
Your Name be great among the heathen. Oh Yahweh have pity upon Your Holy
Name, and let Your Glory be revealed.”
Of course Yahweh glorifies Himself
in the salvation of souls, and in the revival of believers, but let us
always have a passion for His Glory.
“For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; for how can My Name
be profaned? And My Glory I will not give to another.”
Another reason why revival is
hindered is plain unbelief. It may be covered by various excuses or
arguments, but underneath there is this God-dishonouring, soul-damning
In the world, unbelief is the
greatest sin, for amongst those who have heard the Gospel, this is the
primary sin that consigns them to Hell.
In the Church also, unbelief is
one of the greatest sins because it destroys or hinders the spiritual
life and vitality of the Body of Christ.
The Word of God is very definite
about the necessity of belief - faith. We enter the Way through faith,
and we walk in the Way by faith. So the Christian life has no place for
Some Christians do not believe
revival is possible - and for them, except for the grace of God, it will
The Scripture says: “Let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the
one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.
For that man should not presume that he will receive anything from the
Master, being a double-minded man, and unstable in all his
ways.” (James 1:6-8)
Unbelieving believers! They will
tell the world to believe, but they themselves cannot believe. Faith is
not just for the beginning of the Christian life, but for the whole of
the life. By faith we sit, by faith we walk, stand, and conquer; by
faith we see the windows of Heaven opened.
The Heavens may seem as iron, the
difficulties around us may be very great, the mountains unassailable,
the rivers uncrossable, but what have these things to do with the
Christian? They are things that exist for faith to conquer.
“With God all things are possible.”
D. L. MOODY faced an impossible
task. One Monday night during his great London Campaign, Moody preached
to 5,000 men who professed to be atheists, sceptics, and free-thinkers.
But of that meeting, and of the rest of that week, we read:
“In an instant the Holy Spirit
seemed to have broken loose upon that great crowd of enemies of Jesus
Christ, and 500 men sprang to their feet, tears running down their
faces, shouting, “I will, I will
(come to Christ).”
“Quickly the meeting was closed in
order that personal work might begin. From that night until the end of
the week nearly 2,000 men were won from the ranks of Satan into the army
of the Lord. The permanency of that work of God was well attested. Those
evil clubs never recovered their footing. God swept them away in His
mercy, by His Gospel.”
Unbelief is an Insult to God!
How the Head of the Body must be
grieved at our modern, materialistic, unbelieving Church. Look at the
average prayer meeting and the few who gather, and then dare to suggest
the Church is believing.
Unbelief says, “What is the use of
prayer meetings - they are wearisome? What is the use of praying -
nothing will happen?” The inward attitude may be such, although the
stated excuse may be, “I get home too late - I have so much to do,” and
a hundred and one other excuses. If we really believed, on the other
hand, prayer would take a high priority.
But even the few of us who do
gather for prayer - do we pray in faith? Do we really believe we are
bringing petitions to the King? Do we expect anything to happen? Prayer
is so often formal, and a kind of superstitious observance. We feel we
should pray (and so we should) but if our prayers are not in faith, our
words are as useless, for ...
“Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who
comes to God (YHWH the eternally-existing One) must believe that
He exists, and that He is a Rewarder of those who earnestly seek
Him out.” (Hebrews 11:6)
God responds to, and rewards,
believing prayer. In May, 1860, a special day of prayer was called for
the second Sunday in July by the Presbyterian Church. In Edinburgh,
Glasgow, and as far afield as Aberdeen, intercessions took place seeking
an abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Interest in revival was
quickened, and there was a marked increase in corporate prayer.
Approximately 20,000 gathered on
Glasgow Green at the commencement of the movement, whilst in September a
report indicated that similar size crowds were gathering there. An
adjoining theatre was opened where enquirers were dealt with. Richard
Weaver was one of the speakers on those occasions, and so heavy was the
work that he, with the other two speakers, collapsed with fatigue.
Unbelief is a heart condition.
It is a sign that the heart is not right with God, a sign of heart
departure from God. This, of course, is a natural tendency and as we
detect it, we must turn our eyes to our Master, Y’shua, where they
should always be. If we look around us, unbelief will creep in as it did
with Peter, when he started walking on the sea.
But some will argue that we can’t
expect revival now, as these are the last days. Foolish philosophy! The
disciples believed they were in the last days, but that only urged them
on more. What if Whitfield and Wesley sat down and said, “It is too
late; we are in the last days?” But often this is just an excuse to
cover complacency and carnality.
Do you mean to say that we can’t
expect greater blessing than we are having today? Do you mean that God
is content for His people to live below the New Testament standard?
Unbelief be removed! As long as the Holy Spirit lives and works on the
earth, revival is a very real possibility.
Some believers catch a vision of
what the Almighty can do, but then they give it up. The answer may be
delayed, and so they lose faith, and again are filled with unbelief.
In Hebrews 10:35 we read:
“Do not throw away your confidence which has a great reward; for you
have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you
may receive the promise.”
Faith is persistent. Unbelief is a
highway robber that robs us of God’s blessing.
Failure to Enter
We read that the Israelites could
not enter the Promised Land because of their unbelief. (Heb. 3:16). And
the church, likewise, fails to enter into the richest blessing of God
today because of the same sin.
During the Messiah’s life on
earth, He could not - did not - do many mighty works in certain places
because of the people’s unbelief. (Matt. 13:58. Mk. 6:5). The Master
marveled at their unbelief! How much more He must marvel at the unbelief
of His own blood-bought body -people who have been given His many
promises, all of which are ‘yea and amen.’ Do His tremendous promises
mean so little to us?
“Whatever you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them,
and you will have them.” (Mark
11:24 also Matthew 17:20).
If “whatever” does not include
revival, then what does the word mean? But the promise must be
appropriated by faith. Faith is daring.
Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees
And looks to God alone;
Laughs at impossibilities,
And cries, ‘It shall be
DUNCAN CAMPBELL tells of praying
with a group of believers in the Hebrides Islands in 1949:
“I found myself battling and
getting nowhere as the hours passed. After midnight, between 12 and 1
a.m., I turned to a young man in the meeting and said, ‘I feel led of
God to ask you to pray.’ And that dear man rose to his feet and prayed,
and in his prayer he uttered words such as I had never heard in a prayer
before. He said:
‘Lord, You made a promise; are You
going to fulfil it? God, will You be true to Your covenant? You have
said that You would pour water on the thirsty and floods upon the dry
ground. I do not know how others stand in Your presence, but if I know
my own heart, I know where I stand, and I tell You now that I am
thirsty. Oh, I am thirsty for a manifestation of the man of Your right
“And then he said this: ‘Lord,
before I sit down, I want to tell You that Your honour is at stake’.”
Have you ever prayed like that?
Here is a man praying the prayer of faith. I love to believe that angels
and archangels were looking over the battlements of Glory and saying to
one another: “This is a man who believes God. There is a man who dares
to stand solid on the promise of God and take from the throne what the
throne has promised.”
Believe it, or disbelieve it - and
you can verify this if you like - the house shook like a leaf.
The dishes rattled on the sideboard, and an elder standing beside me
said, “Mr. Campbell, an earth tremor.” I said, “Yes!” Then I pronounced
the benediction immediately and walked out to find the community alive
with an awareness of God.
“Come, let us return to
He has torn us to
pieces, but He will heal us;
He has injured us, but
He will bind up our wounds.
He will revive us after
He will raise us up on
the third day
that we may live before
“So let us know, let us
press on to know YHWH.
His going forth is as
certain as the dawn;
and He will come to us
like the heavy rain,
like the late rain,
watering the earth.”
Agreeing For Revival
“If two of you shall agree”
MATTHEW 18:19 is a wonderful
promise given by the Lord to His people.
“If two of
you shall agree on earth concerning anything that they shall ask, it
shall be done for them of My Father which is in Heaven.”
Let these words sink into our
minds. If words mean anything, this promise means something great. The
Lord promises that God will do anything that we shall ask if we are
We know full well that “anything”
does not include something that it is not in accord with the will of
God, The interpretation of the promise lies in the importance of the
word agree. If we are to
receive what we unitedly ask for, we need to consider the word, agree.
To agree means more than to simply
say “we both (or all) want this thing.” It is more than outward unity.
Two may agree that they want revival, but may greatly differ in motive
for wanting it. Another two may agree in motive for revival, but
disagree as to when they want revival.
Another two “agreeing” for revival
may have different ideas as to how to prepare, or how to expect revival.
You may have 100 people all wanting revival but for as many
personalities, there may be disagreements.
It does not mean that we all need
to be clones, exactly agreeing on every detail about everything. But it
does mean a unity of the Spirit - a unity in pursuing the will of God.
Agreement in prayer is a unity
brought about by the Holy Spirit. It is the harmony of the Spirit. Have
you heard an orchestra tuning up? It sounds like chaos, but then the
conductor comes, and with one plunge of his baton, he produces harmony.
Without the baton - the direction
of the Holy Spirit - an assembly of saints can meet together for prayer,
but accomplish nothing, because the harmony of the Heavenly Master is
We need to open our minds and
hearts for the Spirit to create His unity amongst us. We need to come in
one accord. No doubt it is for this reason that prior to and in times of
revival, the Spirit gathers the Lord’s people together very often. It is
not uncommon in such times for believers to pray together for several
hours a day.
Often it seems that we go to
prayer meetings in a dutiful type of way, with no particular requests in
our mind, or burden on our hearts. Then by the time the preliminaries —
the hymns, remarks, message, etc. (not that these are useless) are over,
there is hardly 15 minutes for prayer before the hour is up and we are
on the way home. We don’t give the Spirit a chance. Nor is there any
real desire to wait
before the Lord.
In their committee meetings,
elders should not merely “commit things to the Lord,” but should
in prayer. In our prayer gatherings we should not merely repeat the
“points for prayer,” but should
on the Lord. We are usually more keen to be finished and on the way
home, than to wait,
but wait we should!
“Wait for YHWH! Be strong, and let your heart
take courage. Yes, wait for YHWH!”
I am not talking about “tarrying
meetings” where people wait to receive the Holy Spirit. We don’t need to
wait to receive the Spirit - we have received Him already if we are born
again believers - but we wait for the mind of the Spirit - the unity of
I often wonder how much we grieve
the Spirit by hastening through prayer, and by not waiting for His mind
and direction. 15 minute prayer meetings once a month are not going to
produce a burden, and the harmony of the Spirit we need to seek the LORD
The Holy Spirit is seeking to
bring us to a unity in prayer where our
hearts are prepared,
and when we can pray with one
mind, asking in faith
for His mighty work. This is what happened at Pentecost.
‘‘They continued with one accord in prayer and
Meeting often for prayer does not
necessarily mean full-size church meetings. We should meet in small
groups whenever and wherever possible. We need not wait for the elders
to start extra meetings, but we should pray in twos or threes, whenever
we meet. Isn’t it true that so often we will spend an hour or two
chit-chatting, but don’t spend even one or two minutes in prayer?
When we visit Christian friends -
let us pray with them. We must get over our shyness and reluctance to
pray with others.
If we determined today to pray
with people whenever possible, that itself could be the beginning of
revival in our lives. Selah! (Think about it!)
1859 - THE REVIVAL IN Ireland
Burdened for revival, four
young men in Ulster, Ireland, met together for prayer. This, led to the
holding of a meeting in Ahoghill on 14th March, 1859, and such numbers
attended that it was deemed prudent to transfer the gathering to the
open air owing to the danger of the galleries caving in.
Expectation ran high as 3,000
people stood in chilling rain, where, moved by fervour reminiscent of
apostolic days, hundreds fell on their knees in the mud of the streets.
So began a movement of the Spirit
which gathered momentum and manifested itself in remarkable
demonstrations. Prayer meetings sprang up all hours of the day and
night, the evangelical Churches being opened at all times to meet the
spontaneous interest generated. On one occasion a crowd of about 5,000
met in the unlikely and uncongenial precincts of a quarry!
From Ballymena, the movement
spread in May of that year to Belfast, the capital of the northern
provinces, at that time having a population of 120,000. Here Churches
were crowded, and united Prayer Gatherings were held, at the first of
which the Mayor was in the chair. A new, dynamic and purposefulness
characterised Christians and “people were added daily to the Lord.”
Out of the Belfast Revival mass
open-air Prayer Meetings were held in the city’s beautiful Botanical
Gardens, the first of such meetings attracting a company of 15,000
As the weeks sped by the Awakening
showed no sign of abating, and there was an atmosphere of expectation
and fervor existing on every hand. People of all ages and in various
walks of life were wrought upon by the Spirit.
In Coleraine in County Derry some
of the most amazing scenes in the whole God-created movement were
witnessed. A school boy came under such deep conviction of sin as to be
quite incapable of continuing his studies. The kindly teacher sent him
away in the company of another boy, already converted.
On their way home the boys noticed
an empty house, which they entered in order to pray. Here the boy under
conviction entered into peace, and returned to the classroom to tell his
teacher: “I am so happy; I have the Lord Jesus in my heart.”
The effect was electric, and the
boys, one by one, slipped quietly outside and knelt in prayer, each one
apart. The Spirit was so manifest in convicting power that the master
asked the converted boys to go out-side and comfort those that were
In a few moments the whole school
was upon its knees and the wail of distress was heard in the street
outside. Neighbours and passers-by came flocking in.
Every room was filled with men,
women, and children, seeking God.
The ministers of the town, and prayerful men were sent for, and the
whole day was spent in directing these mourners to the Lord Jesus. That
school proved to be, for many, the House of God and the very Gate of
So the flame spread, and
schoolgirls, teachers, parents and neighbours all felt the spiritual
movement, and remained together until eleven o’clock.
“So mightily grew the Word of God”
Stories of blessing could be
multiplied many times in other towns in widely separated areas.
Nor was the movement confined to
predominantly Protestant areas, for even in towns where Roman
Catholicism was strongly entrenched, the Breath of God was felt. The
City of Dublin was specially visited by those who had experienced
blessing in the Northern Counties. Seekers after salvation appeared in
every meeting. Prayer Gatherings marked by deep fervency were held and
unity of purpose was felt in all directions.
It was said concerning the Revival
that some were suddenly pierced as by a sharp sword, and their agonized
cry for help was heard in the streets and in the fields.
A farmer returning from the market
in Ballymena with his mind wholly intent on the day’s bargain. He
pauses, takes out some money and begins to count it. Suddenly an
awful Presence envelops him. In a moment his only thought is that he is
a sinner standing on the brink of hell. His silver is scattered, and he
falls upon the dust of the highway, crying out for mercy.
Time For Revival
“It is time to seek the LORD till He comes and rains righteousness
last chapter we considered various hindrances to revival. And here is
another hindrance; many Christians don’t want revival
But when is the time for revival,
I ask, if it is not now? Revival is needed when any spiritual decline
has begun. Hosea has a word on the subject.
“It is time to seek the lord,
till He comes and rains righteousness upon you.”
The Lord says, "It
time!" Not, it
be time, but it
We may look for revival in the future, but we have not been given the
future, and we may not have it. But we do have the present. If we don’t
want revival now, will we ever want it?
YHWH says, “ ‘At the acceptable
time I heard you, and in the Day of Salvation I helped you.’
I tell you, now is ‘the well-accepted time’;
now is ‘The
Day of Salvation’.” (2
Often the expecting of revival in
the future is simply an excuse for not wanting it now. Sometimes it is
not convenient to have revival now. There is something else to attend to
at present; some worldly object which needs to be gained; some business
to attend to; just this “something” that must be finished first. But
revival will never be convenient for our carnal plans.
Another excuse for not expecting
(and probably not wanting) revival now is: “It’s the Lord’s work, and
you can’t force God to work until it is His time.” That’s true, but it
may be that our passive attitude does not hunger for God’s blessing.
True, revival is God’s work, but there is a human element. We are called
upon to prepare the ground for revival. Again Hosea says ...
“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy;
break up your fallow ground: for is time to seek
Psalm 110:3, sheds some light on
“Your people shall be willing in the day of
When God is moving He finds
willing people. And I believe it is true to say that when God’s people
are willing, they will find God moving.
Now is the time to seek the
Master’s Face if there is any spiritual decline in our lives. If we
do not love the Saviour as much as we once did, now is the time for
us to be revived. If our witness and service for Him has grown weak at
all, it is time to seek His fullness. And if we admit there is a need
for a deeper experience of the Lord, it is sin to continue in a state
where we are not seeking the Lord.
Whenever we see a need for revival
in the church, or for awakening in the world, it is sin to continue in
an uncaring attitude. We should set about bringing revival through the
means and principles which God has established - especially prayer.
There is one more thing that we
need to agree on for revival - it is
for revival. I suggest that the present time would be a good time for
revival! In individual and collective prayer, we should seek the Lord’s
and expect His reviving work to begin in the days and months ahead.
What a difference it would make in
our own lives, if we prayed sincerely, “Lord, revive me now - today. Not
tomorrow, Lord, right now!
Master, I can’t go on another day without Your blessing.”
This praying would show some real
thirst for God. Jacob came to this stage when he wrestled with the Lord
in Genesis 32, and cried out in desperation,
“I will not let You go unless You bless me.”
JOHN KNOX the Scottish Reformer
was a mighty man of prayer, he also prayed in desperation:
“O Lord, give me Scotland,
or I die!”
After a time of stillness again
“O Lord, give me Scotland,
or I die !”
Once more deep silence. Then
again the cry with more intense pathos,
“O Lord, give me
Scotland, or I die!”
God gave him Scotland!
If ever the man and the hour
struck together it was when John Knox landed in Scotland in 1559, and
commenced his history-changing tour, preaching “root and branch reform.”
His trumpet-like call sounded over mountain and moor, and within a few
weeks the chief centres of Scotland were won for the Protestant faith.
But how do we pray these days? So
often I fear we pray with an attitude that says, “Lord, bless me. Lord,
send us revival - send it tomorrow, or the next day, or next week, next
month, or next year. And if the blessing doesn’t come, well, Lord, You
know best. Of course I know I need revival, and the church needs
revival, but to be candid, Lord, I am contented to go on as I am; and I
really don’t have time for anything extra these days. So Lord, I’ll just
leave it up to You.”
Let us examine our prayers and
attitudes. Now - today is the day for revival. We urge sinners to repent
now - in case they are in Hell tomorrow. We say,
“Now is the accepted time, now is
the day of Salvation.”
(2 Corinthians 6:2)
But when it comes to ourselves we
is the accepted time,
is the day of revival.”
May the Lord awaken us to this
vital matter, so that we may be able to say,
“But NOW have I kept Your Word.” (Psalm
REVIVAL, THE NEED OF THE TIMES
A Surrendered Life under God’s Control
“Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy
and acceptable to God”
“Be filled with the Holy
THIS REPORT IS BY
THE following report describes how a
man of God determined to fulfil revival conditions.
Jonathan Goforth had gone into a
period of retirement to recover from the exhaustion he suffered from the
harrowing experiences of the Boxer persecution. He thought back over his
thirteen years as a Presbyterian missionary in China. They were barren
years. Up till now he had argued that you could not expect a harvest all at
once. The sowing had to be done first. But now the years were passing and
there was no spiritual harvest. This was not right.
Restless and discontented, he returned
to an intensive study of the Scriptures: “Every passage that had any bearing
on the price of accession of power became life and breath to me. There were
a number of books on revival in my library. These I read over repeatedly. So
much did it become an obsession with me that my wife began to fear that my
mind would not stand it. Of great inspiration to me were the reports
of the Welsh revival of 1904 and 1905. Plainly, revival was not a thing of
the past. Slowly the realisation began to dawn upon me that I had tapped a
mine of infinite possibility.”
Then a friend in India sent him a
little pamphlet of selections from the writings of Charles Finney. On the
cover was a quotation of Finney’s which said that a farmer might just as
well pray for a temporal harvest without fulfilling the laws of nature, as
for Christians to expect a great ingathering of souls by simply asking,
without fulfilling the laws governing spiritual harvest.
“If Finney is right,” he vowed, “then
I am going to find out what those laws are and obey them whatever it costs.”
As he gave himself to grayer and Bible
study, God began to deal with him. He graphically describes the Spirit’s
conviction concerning resentment against a brother missionary. It came to
a head in a meeting during which Goforth was speaking. He was talking to the
people while in his heart the Holy Spirit was speaking to him. In the midst
of his address, the speaker answered the voice within: “Right, Lord, I’ll go
straight round to his house tonight and apologise.”
Jonathan soon found that Finney was
right. He was speaking to a crowd of Chinese at a fair when he saw
conviction move over the faces of his congregation. An evangelist standing
just behind the speaker said, “Oh, these people are being moved, just as
they were by Peter’s sermon at Pentecost.”
Later the same day as Jonathan was
conducting a meeting with a team of ten native evangelists, the same thing
“Conviction was written over every
face. I called for decisions and the whole audience stood up as one man,
crying, “We want to follow this Jesus.” I expected one of the evangelists
would be ready to take my place, but what was my surprise when I turned
round to find the whole band standing there motionless, looking on in
Now a great change came. It was as if
the people melted. They would begin to pray but broke down weeping. “For
almost twenty years we missionaries had been working among the Honanese and
had longed in vain to see a tear of penitence roll down a Chinese cheek.”
The tears were rolling now and it seemed like a miracle.
IN 1907 our ardent seeker went with
Dr. R D Mackay to Korea where a remarkable revival movement was in progress.
Here was a God-sent opportunity to explore further the secrets of revival.
Jonathan Goforth soon traced this great movement back to its source. The
missionaries at Pingyang had heard of the revival in the Khasi Hills of
India, and had made a firm agreement to pray together every day at noon
until a similar blessing was poured out upon them.
After a month one brother said, “We
are spending a lot of time and nothing comes of it. Let us give the
meeting up.” The majority disagreed and determined to spend more time in
prayer, though now they changed the time from 12 noon to four in the
afternoon. After many months the blessing came.
Jonathan was tremendously impressed by
all he saw and experienced in Korea. He says: “It is one thing
to read about revival in books. To witness its working with one’s own eyes
and to feel its atmosphere with one’s own heart is a different thing
altogether. Korea made me feel that this was God’s plan for setting the
world aflame ... Those missionaries were just ordinary people. I did not
notice any outstanding figure among them. It was in prayer they were
different ... They seemed to carry us right up to the throne of God.”
On the way back to Honan via
Manchuria, Jonathan stayed at several mission stations and always told the
story of the Korean revival. Everywhere a deep impression was made. At one
gathering of missionaries he spoke at length, then realising that the time
had gone he cut out the last hymn and closed the meeting. He looked up but
no-one moved. All remained in prayer.
“The stillness of death seemed to
pervade the assembly. For at least six minutes no-one stirred.” Gradually
suppressed sobs were heard here and there. Then followed a season of mutual
confessions and reconciliations, and the beginning of revival among the
missionaries. They covenanted to pray each afternoon at four o’clock until
the revival came.
IN February 1908, Jonathan Goforth
traveled north to Manchuria, by invitation, in order to
conduct special services there. He began at Mukden amid a cold unresponsive
He says: “I knew I had a message of
God, but I had no method. I could deliver an address and let the people pray
and that was all.” That, however, proved to be God’s method.
No sooner did he ask the people to
pray than the work of conviction became apparent. The work of the Spirit
began among the Christians. In meeting after meeting they stood up and
confessed their sins, sometimes tearing up their tickets of authority as
elders and announcing their resignations because they were unworthy.
Terrible sins were unmasked by the Holy Spirit - sins of adultery, and
theft, and murder. It was an awful shakeup in each church, with distressing
scenes as the leaders writhed under pains of conviction.
The Chinese Christians called this the
Little Judgment - the Judgment of the Holy Spirit by which they were brought
to a penitence that would save them from the Big Judgment at the Great White
Dr. Walter Phillips was at one
gathering when the Spirit first fell upon the church in Manchuria. His
description is typical of what happened in many parts of China:
“It was at Chinchow that I first came
into contact with the revival. Meetings had been going on there for a week,
hence I was ushered into the heart of things unprepared. In candor, I must
add, with a strong temperamental prejudice against ‘revival hysterics’ in
every form, mine is an unbiased witness.
“At once, on entering the church, one
was conscious of something unusual. The place was crowded to the door, and
tense, reverent attention sat on every face. The very singing was vibrant
with new joy and vigor ... The people knelt for prayer, silent at first, but
soon, one here and another there began to pray aloud. The voices grew and
gathered volume and blended into a great wave of united supplication that
swelled till it was almost a roar, and died down again into an undertone of
“Now I understood why the floor was so
wet - it was wet with pools of tears! The very air seemed electric -
I speak in all seriousness - and strange thrills coursed up and down one’s
body. Then above the sobbing, in strained, choking tones, a man began to
make public confession. Words of mine will fail to describe the awe and
terror and pity, of these confessions. It was not so much the enormity of
the sins disclosed, or the depths of iniquity sounded, that shocked one ...
it was the agony of the penitent, his groans and cries, and voice shaken
with sobs; it was the sight of men forced to their feet, and in spite of
their struggles, impelled, as it seemed, to lay bare their hearts that moved
one and brought the smarting tears to one’s own eyes.
“Never have I experienced anything
more nerve-racking than the spectacle of those souls stripped naked before
“So for hour after hour it went on,
till the strain was almost more than the onlooker could bear. Now it was a
big, strong farmer groveling on the floor, smiting his head on the bare
boards as he wailed unceasingly, ‘Lord! Lord!’
“Now a shrinking woman in a voice
scarcely above a whisper.
“Now a small boy from the school, with
tears streaking his piteous grimy little face, as he sobbed out: ‘I cannot
love my enemies. Last week I stole a farthing from my teacher. I am always
fighting and cursing. I beseech the pastor, elders and deacons to pray for
“And then again would swell that
wonderful deep organ tone of united prayer. And even as the prayer sank
again the ear caught a dull undertone of quiet sobbing, of desperate
entreaty from men and women, who, lost to their surroundings, were wrestling
AMONG the Chinese Christians the
terrible Boxer persecution of 1900 had left a legacy of hatred. Many of the
young people had seen their parents brutally murdered. Some of the
evangelists had returned home to find parents, wives and children dead. The
result was widespread bitterness and a desire for revenge which poisoned and
crippled the life of the church. All this was cleansed away as revival
torrents swept through the church.
Pastor Goforth, moved from the
astounding scenes in Manchuria, the province of Shansi, and then back again
in his own district of Honan, preaching three times a day in many places.
With only a few exceptions the scenes were always the same-conviction and
confession, and restitution and reconciliation, on the part of the
Christian; and then the cleansed church moving out in powerful
evangelism among the people.
The exhilarating sense of God’s
Presence was wonderful. Crowds thronged the meetings. Thousands were
converted and baptised. Demons were cast out. Sickness was healed. Opium
smokers and alcoholics were delivered. This glorious work went on for years,
renewing the church and saving the people.
So Jonathan Goforth found the secret
of revival. Let me underline four elements in the secret.
His own desperate longing for revival.
His search in the Scriptures and in
the writings of others who had found the secret.
His own brokenness and yieldedness as
the Spirit convicted and guided.
The covenanted praying on the part of the missionaries that persisted until
But the heart of the secret was
Jonathan himself. He was the pioneer of the revival.
As he himself said:
“Revival is simply the Spirit
fully controlling the
the Alternative to Revival
“Will You not return and revive us that Your people may rejoice in You? Show
us Your lovingkindness, O YHWH, and grant us Your salvation.”
THIS IS the heart cry of
God’s people who yearn for God to revive and restore true spiritual life to
the church. The psalmist here places the onus for revival on the LORD, for
ultimately it is only God who can revive. But at the same time, YHWH puts
the onus on His people, as we have seen in these articles.
“If I shut up the heavens and there is no rain, or if I
command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My
people, and My people who are called
by My Name humble themselves and
seek My Face and turn from their
wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin
and heal their land.”
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14)
If we are not willing to
fulfil these conditions, then we will not see genuine revival and healing in
our lands. We will continue to struggle with our pathetic efforts to win
souls and to keep the church together. That is an unacceptable alternative,
but we will accept it regardless!
Tell me though; are these
conditions so terribly difficult? Are they impossible?
Yes, true, it is very
difficult for some of us to humble ourselves; true, it is very difficult for
some Christians to pray; true it takes time to seek the Face of the LORD,
and some of us just don’t have that type of spare time; and, of course, some
of us just don’t want to give up our wicked ways!
We seem to think that
because there is an “if” in front of the above conditions, they are all
optional. But you know, these are not just Old Covenant commands. They are
very much New Covenant:
“… all of you, be submissive to one another, and
clothe yourselves with humility, for GOD
IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.
HUMBLE yourselves, then, under the
mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your
anxiety upon Him, because He cares, and is concerned about you.”
(1 Peter 5:5-7)
“PRAYING in the
Spirit at all times, with every
prayer and supplication. To this end, keep alert and
watch with all perseverance, interceding for all
the set-apart people of God.”
We are to
with a sense of
We are to
that it is effectual.
We are to
“DRAW NEAR to God
and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your
hands, you sinners; and purify
your hearts, you double-minded! Express your grief and
distress, mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and
your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in
the Presence of the Master and He will lift you up.”
“‘The Master knows those who are His,’ and, ‘Let
everyone who names the Name of the Messiah
turn away from wickedness’.”
(2 Timothy 2:19)
God does not hold out
revival as a type of special offer which we are free to accept or refuse as
we desire! And it is not offered as a “spiritual spectacular,” or as a boost
for the churches’ ailing finances and falling attendance. Revival is not a
bonus or a bonanza. It is an essential work of conviction and restoration
wherever there is spiritual decline. The purpose of revival is to bring
God’s people back to the spiritual state that Yahweh intended for them – to
the praise of His glorious Name!
If we have grown cold,
lukewarm or carnal in our individual, personal lives, there is no
acceptable alternative to revival. The unacceptable alternative for a
person, or a church which refuses to be revived, is barrenness, stagnation,
When personal revival is
refused, the possibility of wider revival is hindered. To refuse revival in
one’s life or assembly, is to grieve and quench the Spirit, and this must
provoke the discipline or judgment of the LORD.
“The Lord shall judge His people.”
“My son, do not regard lightly the
discipline of YHWH, the LORD, nor lose heart when you are rebuked
and corrected by Him; for YHWH disciplines those He loves.”
We do not like to accept
the possibility of judgment for believers. Unbelievers, we know, will all
stand at the Great White Throne. But for believers we read, “There is no
condemnation for those who are in the Messiah, Y’shua.” And yet the
Scripture clearly says …
“It is time for judgment to begin
with the household of God.”
(1 Peter 4:17)
There is a discipline
here and now; and there’s the Bema - the Judgment Seat of Christ -
ahead, for believers! Certainly there is a vast difference between the
and the fearful
Great White Throne.
The Bema -
the Judgment Seat, is an evaluation time when every believer will give
account of himself. The works believers have done as believers, will be
tested as to what sort they are – spiritual or carnal. It is the time when
the believer will receive his rewards for faithfulness, but he will also
suffer loss because of the carnality of his life; it will be burned up.
Obedience and faithfulness will be standards used for this evaluation.
“If any man’s work abides which he
hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be
burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by
(Romans 14:12. See also 2 Cor.
5:10, I Cor. 3:13, 15)
This is the coming
accounting day for every one of us who are saved.
The unbeliever, however,
has no rewards, and he will be judged and sentenced because of his rejection
of the pardon offered to Him which has been provided through the Messiah’s
sacrifice. And so he will reap the wages of his sin - death.
THE Ministry of
The Lord Jesus
disciplines His people constantly.
In Revelation 1 to 3 we
see the Saviour walking in the midst of the seven churches of Asia Minor.
He is presented there as the One whose eyes are like a flame of fire,
and His feet are like fine brass – this symbolises His searching and
penetrating judgment, and the divine firmness with which He judges evil in
In the seventh message,
the Master declares,
“As many as I love,
I rebuke and chasten.”
3:19). Here is the
reason for the disciplinary judgment of believers. God’s love! God did not
plan for us, and provide redemption at the cost of the life of His Beloved,
so that we might spend our crucial training years playing with sin,
compromising with the world, pleasing self, and feeding a carnal life.
If redemption and being
born into God’s family were the end goal, we might expect to escape
chastening. But God’s intention is that we go deeper into His life, that we
should rise higher in His grace and faith, and that we should reach out to
other souls who also need salvation. We are to grow, to become strong in the
Lord, and mature in His ways and work.
No wonder then that our
complacency (lukewarmness) is sickening to the Saviour! No wonder that God
allows trials to shake us! No wonder the spiritual conflict within us is
strong. And it’s no wonder Y’shua the Messiah says;
“If any man will come after Me, let
him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
We are not on a picnic,
brethren; we are on a pilgrim pathway, and that pathway involves warfare, as
well as training in righteousness and Godliness.
It is the Father’s
purpose that all His children should grow to maturity, to be conformed to
the image of His only begotten Son, and to participate ever more fully in
His life, His character, and His authority, and His joy.
When spiritual decline
sets in, however, grieving the spirit, hindering God’s purpose, and
dishonoring His Name, the Father’s love and purpose compels Him to minister
to that soul or church - to minister in rebuke and in comfort, in
chastisement and discipline, in breaking and in building up. He will use the
means He knows is best in each life and circumstance. He may use joy; He may
use sorrow and sickness, trials or tragedy. He may use ecstasy, but He may
use emptiness. He may even use depression and despair to bring a believer to
the end of himself, and then revive and rectify his life.
It may be possible,
however, that even after such a divine ministry, the believer continues to
resist and grieve the Spirit of God. The result will be barrenness,
stagnation and constant carnality. It could then come to a state where the
Lord fulfils His warning;
“I will remove your candlestick out
of its place.” (Revelation.
The believer’s witness
will dry up, and he will become like a dead man. Instead of being a vessel
of useful-ness and honour, he will become a vessel of dishonour.
“Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver
vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some are
for honour and some are for dishonour. Therefore, if a man cleanses
himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honour,
sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.”
(2 Timothy 2:20-21)
In these crucial endtimes,
may the Master find amongst us many whose lives He can touch and revive. May
He graciously minister to our needs, and make us vessels of honour; vessels
into which He may pour torrents of Living Water that will overflow to the
many perishing souls around us.
“Now may the God of peace Himself
sanctify you completely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved
blameless at the coming of our Master, Y’shua Messiah. Faithful is He who
calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”