Evangelistic meetings were scheduled in a church, and a revival was expected. The evangelist who was invited came at the appointed time. The meetings were held, and the so-called revival came to an end. What were the results? – Nothing. Why? Is the time of revivals over?
No, we can still experience a revival in our time if we want it. We can have a revival if we pray, wrestle, and work for it. We can have a revival if we pay the price. It is not the unsaved of the world who have to pay this price but the saved – the Church. It is the Church that has to put itself under the burden of praying and wrestling with God for the salvation of immortal souls. In order to do this, the Church must feel her responsibility and realize her duty toward God and man.
The need for revival
The great necessity is obvious. We only need to look around a little to see the low spiritual state of those who profess to be Christians, the carelessness and indecision among the unsaved, and the appalling conditions in many places. The influence of the media, the superficiality of many religious leaders, the alarming conditions in schools, the ungodly morals, the unbelief coming in like a flood are enough reasons to break our hearts. We live in a time of feverish pursuit of riches, regardless of how they are obtained; in a time of indifferent consciences; growing selfishness; and screaming godlessness. If we look around us just a little, we will see that this is indeed the case.
In view of these facts, it is clear to us that something must be done; indeed, something must be done immediately to control the progression of sin. God has done His part: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). He could do no more.
The responsibility now rests on the people of God. If people are to be saved, they must believe. If they are to believe, the good news must be brought to them. Who shall bring it to them, if not those whose hearts are inflamed with the love of God and who have a great burden of soul for the lost?! This burden for the salvation of the lost comes only through earnest prayer.
Years ago, when special evangelistic meetings were planned in a certain place, the members were handed a slip of paper with the following five challenging questions:
1. Do I desire revival so much that I pray continually and earnestly for it?
2. Do I desire revival so much that I search my heart and ask God to fix what displeases Him?
3. Do I desire revival so much that I attend prayer meetings even if it requires a sacrifice of time and convenience?
4. Do I desire revival so much that I seek opportunities to talk to and pray for the unconverted?
5. Do I desire revival so much that I pray and work for it, even if the answer does not come immediately?
Do these questions affect you so much, dear reader, that you immediately prayerfully consider them? If so, is it not reasonable to assume that you answer them affirmatively? If you say “yes” to each and every question, then I dare say that revival will come.
What preceded the great revival on the day of Pentecost? Was it not the events of the Passion Week and the responsibility placed on the disciples by the Master, the command to wait for the promise of the Holy Spirit, and the earnest prayer in the upper room? We need not wonder that “a people was born at once” and that the Lord added daily to the Church those who were being saved.
Think of the mighty Reformation of the sixteenth century. Much wrestling in prayer preceded it. It was Luther’s habit to spend three of the best hours of the day in prayer. He was not alone. Thousands sighed and wept. In the huts of the Black Forest, in the Swiss mountains were hearts that burned for the Lord’s cause. Indeed, almost everywhere in Western Europe the distress of souls was felt, and the cry for deliverance went up to heaven. No wonder the Reformation came. What was accomplished in the most unfavorable circumstances of the past can certainly be accomplished now. The call goes out to us. What should we do to experience revival?
Nothing would please God more, and nothing would be more conducive to the growth and prosperity of the Church, than a deep, spiritual longing for genuine revival and a holy zeal and desire for the salvation of many souls. We may lament that we are too few and do not have the resources to bring about a great evangelistic campaign for the salvation of the lost. But let us remember that more valuable than large numbers, than wealth and organization, is the blessing of a sincere, deep, genuine spiritual awakening in the Church. God is on the side of right and will give success to any sincere effort on our part to bring souls into His kingdom. Let us stand under the burden as a whole Church! Let us pray persistently, wrestle, work, and believe that the Lord can give us revival even today.