“Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord and He will have mercy on him; and to our God for He will abundantly pardon .”
What is Revival?
Revivals are a sovereign move of God initiated by the Holy Spirit working through consecrated men and women. A study of the Revivals in the Bible, and in history, reveal that all Revivals begin with a deeper appreciation for the Holiness of God and a realisation of how offensive our sins must be in the sight of our Holy God.
It has been well said, that “Revivals are not churches filled with people, but people filled with God.”
Revivals involve a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Holiness of God, of the wrath of God against sin, and of the utter depravity of man.
In the book of Acts, it was said that these Christians who have turned the world upside down have come here also. In fact, Revivals turn things right side up: Restored relationships. Transformed communities. Drunkards made sober. Thieves returning stolen goods. Blasphemers sanctified. Marriages healed. Estranged children and parents reconciled. The selfish becoming sacrificial. Conversions. Miracles. Healings. Revived churches. Revitalised prayer meetings. Dynamic worship. Decisive action to seek first the Kingdom of God.
“Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?”
During a recent mission to Europe, I had the privilege of visiting sites connected with the 1859 Ulster Revival. The local churches were celebrating the 150 th anniversary of this mighty move of God. I purchased a number of books on the Revival and had the privilege of travelling with two of the authors of these books, to key Revival sites and hearing their dynamic testimonies.
Can You Not Do Something More For God?
Rev. J.H. Moore exhorted young men in a Bible class to “Do something more for God. Could you not gather at least six of your careless neighbours … and spend one hour with them reading and searching the Word of God?”
The Prayer Meeting in a School House
In response James McQuilkin, Jeremiah Meneely, Robert Carlisle and John Wallace began a weekly prayer meeting in an old school house near Kells. They met every Friday night from September 1857 through the long and cold winter. As they read and meditated upon the Scripture their hearts began to burn with an unquenchable fire from heaven, which set all Ulster ablaze for God.
Answers to Prayer
They believed in the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit, the sufficiency of the Holy Scripture and the secret of Holy supplication. They studied the Word and prayed for three months before there were any visible results. Two more men joined their group and then on New Year’s Day, 1858, the first conversion took place as a result of the prayer meeting. By the end of 1858, about 50 young men were taking part in the weekly prayer meeting.
"We are in danger of forgetting truths for which previous generations gave their lives." Bishop Stephen Bradley
Are our churches changing the world, or is the world changing our churches?
If Martin Luther, John Calvin, R. C. Ryle, D. L. Moody or Charles Spurgeon were to walk into our Sunday morning service, what would they think? Would they be shocked at the type of clothes worn? Would they be able to recognise any of the great hymns of the Faith, or have drums and choruses taken over in your congregation?
What would they think of the preaching? Is the Word of God faithfully expounded? Or has anti-nomianism and existentialism taken over? Would they hear the Faith once delivered unto the saints or a cheap grace and easy believism? Would they find worship or worldliness? Spirituality or sensationalism? Education or entertainment? Would they find a congregation or an audience?
Were some of these 19th Century believers to visit our church would they find us praying or playing?
“Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?”
During a recent ministry trip to Wales, I had the privilege of being a speaker at a congress and preaching in a Welsh church. They were celebrating the Centenary of the Welsh Revival of 1904 to 1905.
Joseph Jenkins, a minister in New Quay, Cardiganshire had been seeking a deeper devotional life with the Lord and had experienced an intense love of God in his life. On 1 January 1904, he had a Deeper Spiritual Life Convention, encouraging others to seek the fire of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
I LOVE THE LORD WITH ALL MY HEART!
On the 14 th February 1904, at a Sunday church service, a 16-year-old girl, Florrie Evans stood to her feet and publicly confessed: “I love the Lord Jesus with all my heart.” As she spoke these words, the Holy Spirit seemed to fill the meeting.
Many saw this as the beginning of the Revival. After church meetings were held to seek the Lord’s presence and empowerment and many young people, particularly girls and women in their teens and early twenties, began spending extended periods of time in intense prayer, seeking the Lord’s face!
“Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His Commandments.”
The Bible tells us that God seeks
The family is the basic building block of society. The battle for the family is in the very frontline of the World War of Worldviews.
As a parent, one of my greatest desires and priorities is to bring up my children
“in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
I am to “train a child in the way he should go…”
My greatest concern is that my children grow up to love the Lord with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their mind, and with all their strength. I pray that my children will grow to love, to trust, obey, worship and serve God more consistently and more effectively than I have done.
This article is also available in PowerPoint format here.
John the Baptist was
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight.” - Matthew 3:3
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I’m not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
“For our God is a consuming fire.”
“When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from Heaven and consumed the burnt offering on the sacrifices: and the Glory of the Lord filled the temple.”
2 Chronicles 7:1
"We shall never see much change for the better in our churches in general until the prayer meeting occupies a higher place in the esteem of Christians.” wrote Charles Spurgeon in “Only A Prayer Meeting.”
The regular meeting of members of a congregation for the express purpose of uniting in earnest prayer is becoming rare in the average church. Many churches no longer even schedule prayer meetings, and in those churches that do, typically less than 10% of the members would participate.
In all too many churches, prayer meetings have become dull, cold and lifeless, lacking in Biblical focus and missionary purpose.
THE BAROMETER OF OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE
Erroll Hulse in “The Vital Place of the Prayer Meeting” writes: “You can tell with a fair degree of accuracy what the church is like by the demeanor or substance of the weekly prayer meeting. Is there genuine evangelistic concern? If so, it will be expressed in the prayers. Is there a heartfelt longing for the conversion of unconverted family members? If so, that is sure to surface. Is there a world vision and a fervent desire for Revival and the Glory of our Redeemer among the nations of the world? Such a burden cannot be suppressed…Intercession in the prayer meeting will soon reveal a loving church that cares for those who are oppressed and weighed down with trials and burdens. Those bearing trials too painful or personal to be described in public will nevertheless find comfort in the prayer meeting, for there the Holy Spirit is especially at work.”
“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly.”
For centuries the prayer meeting was a central part of church life, an indispensable part of the weekly programme. Yet today few Western churches have a prayer meeting.
What was once a major emphasis of church activities has either been relegated to the sidelines and ignored by most members, or it has been dispensed with altogether. Furthermore many prayer meetings today involve little prayer. Even in meetings set aside for prayer, other activities typically crowd in and leave little time for adoration, confession, intercession and thanksgiving to the Lord. We need to ask ourselves: Why is that?
When I was converted, more than 30 years ago, my local church had a dynamic men’s meeting, prayer meeting and outreach evening each week. However, television had been introduced into South Africa the previous year and was beginning to encroach upon the church’s activities. The men’s meeting was “temporarily suspended” because it clashed with “Rich Man, Poor Man”, a popular weekly TV programme. (Actually the men’s meeting never reconvened).
Reformation & Revival