Rev. Donnie L. Martin, pastor of Parkview Baptist Church, Leland, Mississippi, shares, “I remember when I was in my early teens, God settled in on Crestview Baptist Church in Petal, Mississippi with a great demonstration of His power and presence. Bro. Manley Beasley was preaching a revival meeting for us that week. One particular night, God’s presence came in such mighty conviction, that people were standing and confessing sin and getting right with one another. There was an awesomeness about the atmosphere. That service lasted until after midnight. At one point, people were even lying prostrate on the floor in the agony of conviction. Before that meeting was over, about two thirds of the church got saved. People were calling the pastor’s house at two and three o’clock in the morning under conviction. I have never forgotten those days.”
Hymn writer Baylus Benjamin McKinney (1886-1952) penned these powerful words in 1925: “Coming now to Thee O Christ my Lord, / Trusting only in Thy precious word / Let my humble pray’r to The be heard / And send a great revival in my soul Chorus: Send a great revival in my soul(in my soul) / Send a great revival in my soul(in my soul) / Let the Holy Spirit come and take control / And send a great revival in my soul / Send the Holy Spirit now within / Burning out the dross and guilt of sin / Let Thy mighty works of grace begin / Oh, send a great revival in my soul / Send a great revival, Lord, in me / Help me that I may rejoice in Thee / Give me strength to win the victory/ And send a great revival in my soul / Help me go for Thee, dear Lord, today / To some lonely soul that’s gone astray / Help me lead them in the homeward way / Oh, send a great revival in my soul”.
Dr. Elmer Towns, co-founder of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and dean of the school of religion, says, “Revival is ‘God’s pouring His presence on His people more. God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh.’ Revival is when God’s presence is manifest and flows among His people.”
Dr. Andrew Alexander Bonar (1810-1892), friend and biographer of Robert Murray M’Cheyne, states, “Revivals begin with God’s own people. Oh, what responsibility this lays on the children of God. If you grieve Him away from yourselves or hinder His visit, then the poor perishing world suffers sorely.”
Luke records a great revival in the Book of Acts. Please notice the following characteristics of this great first century revival.
I. The prayer meeting before Revival
What power there is in prayer! Prayer puts us in touch with God on a private line. Prayer brings to us the will of the God about what we should do. Prayer lifts the lost souls on our hearts to the throne of grace. Prayer brings the solution to unsolved problems. Prayer burdens us with lost souls, but at the same time gives us strength to win them. Prayer makes us humble in the sight of God, and fearless in the presence of men and devils. Revivals are born in prayer meetings. The amount of praying we do indicates the measure of our interest, and there can be no revival when God’s people are incidentally interested.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon explains, “Every revival has been commenced and attended by a large amount of prayer. In the city of New York at the present moment, there is not, I believe, one single hour of the day, wherein Christians are not gathered together for prayer. One church opens its doors from five o’clock till six, for prayer; another church opens from six to seven, and summons its praying men to offer the sacrifice of supplication. Six o’clock is past, and men are gone to their labor. Another class find it then convenient—such as those, perhaps, who go to business at eight or nine-and from seven to eight there is another prayer meeting. From eight to nine there is another, in another part of the city, and what is most marvelous, at high noon, from twelve to one, in the midst of the city of New York, there is held a prayer meeting in a large room, which is crammed to the doors every day, with hundreds standing outside. This prayer meeting is made up of merchants of the city, who can spare a quarter of an hour to go in and say a word of prayer, and then leave again; and then a fresh company come in to fill up the ranks, so that it is supposed that many hundreds assemble in that one place for prayer during the appointed hour. This is the explanation of the revival.”
Maybe you have seen a television commercial for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company that talks about the “if” in life. Charles Haddon Spurgeon states a series of “ifs” related to his desire to have a similar revival in England. He explains, “If this were done in London-if we for once would outvie old Rome, who kept her monks in her sanctuaries, always at prayer, both by night and by day,—if we together could keep up one golden chain of prayer, link after link of holy brotherhood being joined together in supplication, then might we expect an abundant outpouring of the Divine Spirit from the Lord our God.”
God promises, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Spurgeon further explains, “The Holy Spirit, as the actual agent—the Word preached, and the prayers of the people, as the instruments—and we have thus explained the cause of a true revival of religion.”
II. The prime mover in Revival.
On the day of Pentecost the power of God came upon these 120 people in a strange form. The sound was like a great wind, as when a storm is breaking in its full force. In appearance it was like tongues of fire resting upon each of them. In effect it was like an electric current which is suddenly turned on a sleeping motor which suddenly leaps into action and becomes a dynamic moving thing.
These 120 people suddenly lost all their fears and timidity. They were charged and surcharged with a strange new power; and from now on they would rely upon this power to preach the word, win the lost, heal the sick, and face a hostile world. It was the same power which they had seen their Savior use while on earth, to heal the sick and raise the dead. To them it had been a strange, hidden power! The power of the Holy Spirit! That power of the Holy Spirit is the only real power the New Testament church had. It is the only power which can convict a lost soul, and the only power which can save a lost soul. It was the power which generated the great Pentecostal Revival, and it is absolutely essential to a revival today.”
Jesus explains the following about the work of the Holy Spirit, “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you,” (John 16:5-15).
Dr. Pope continues, “Shortly after his resurrection Jesus stood before his disciples and said, ‘Receive ye the Holy Spirit.’ John 20:22. You can’t use something you don’t possess. The battery in your car is a very unattractive part of the car, but it is a very necessary part of it. Do you ever go out on a cold morning and try to start your car and it only grunted when you pressed the starter? You turned on the lights; but they were a pale sickly yellow. You pressed the horn and it just growled! The trouble was that your battery had been called on so much, and had given out so much more than it had received, that it is now powerless. You are going to have to take it down to a station and let them hook it up; and for 30 minutes it will stand there and receive—just receive. Then again it will have the power it had lost. We Christian have so many occasions to give out spiritual energy that the supply becomes exhausted, and we can’t give out much more until we have first received more.”
Historian James Gilchrist Lawson (1874-1946) shares the following in Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians, “[Dwight L.] Moody [1837-1899] continued to hunger for a deepening of his own spiritual life and experience. He had been greatly used of God, but felt that there were much greater things in store for him. The year 1871 was a critical one with him. He realized more and more how little he was fitted by personal acquirements for his work, and how much he needed to be qualified for service by the Holy Spirit’s power. This realization was deepened by conversations he had with two ladies who sat on the front pew in his church. He could see by the expression of their faces that they were praying. At the close of the service they would say to him, ‘We have been praying for you.’ ‘Why don’t you pray for the people?’ Mr. Moody would ask. ‘Because you need the power of the Spirit,’ was the reply. ‘I need the power! Why,’ said he, in relating the incident afterwards, ‘I thought I had power. I had the largest congregation in Chicago, and there were many conversions. I was in a sense satisfied. But right along those two godly women kept praying for me, and their earnest talk about anointing for special service set me thinking. I asked them to come and talk with me, and they poured out their hearts in prayer that I might receive the filling of the Holy Spirit. There came a great hunger into my soul. I did not know what it was. I began to cry out as I never did before. I really felt that I did not want to live if I could not have this power for service.’”
In his hymn titled “Brethren, We Have Met To Worship” George Atkins, shares the following: “Brethren, we have met to worship and adore the Lord our God. Will you pray with all your power, while we try to preach the Word? All is vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down; / brethren, pray and holy manna will be showered all around.”
Dr. Bob Barker, Sr., (1915-1994) longtime pastor of the First Baptist Church of Chickasaw, Alabama, shares the following in his book titled Coffee With The Parson, “Pentecost means plenty-cost. That statement startles me! Pentecost was when the Holy Spirit came in power. Pentecost, when three thousand persons were saved, means plenty-cost! Pentecost did mean then, and does mean now, plenty-cost!” Dr. Barker continues, “Pentecost meant the plenty-cost of Calvary, for before there can be any Pentecostal experience there must be a Calvary. Calvary must be magnified in preaching. There can be no discounting of the cleansing blood of Jesus.”
III. The premier Man of Revival.
Dr. Pope also explains, “The third characteristic of this great revival was that they worked. ‘Daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.’ Some people have hesitated about cooperating with the church visitation program, because they think it is something new and unscriptural. Well, it’s as old as Pentecost! They were practicing church visitation before any book of the New Testament was written. They were practicing it before Saul of Tarsus was converted. And they did a thorough job of it. The King James Version of the Bible says, they went into every house. They didn’t just take a preferred section of the city and go into those houses. They didn’t leave off certain houses because someone lived there who was too poor and ignorant; or because he was too rich and influential. They went into every house.
And notice again: they did it daily. Everyday they held their services of prayer and worship in the temple and then, everyday they went into the houses of the city doing personal work and soul-winning. Everyday. They didn’t wait until the revival was half over before they started; and they didn’t quit before the revival was finished. They kept up their visiting everyday.
And notice who these people were who were doing the visiting and going into the homes. They were not the Apostles. In Acts 8:4 we are told that even when persecution came upon them, and they were all scattered abroad, they went everywhere preaching the word. But the word used here for preaching actually means, ‘Heralds of salvation who were not apostles.’ These people were not preachers, but laymen who went into the homes proclaiming salvation through Jesus Christ. There were ten or eleven apostles in the revival, but the laymen and women didn’t leave the visiting to them.
Today churches sometimes hire a church visitor to do the church visiting. Sometimes it is the best they can do because the church members won’t do the visiting themselves. But a church visitor is a poor substitute for church visiting by the membership. It’s not that God just has a job to be done, and is satisfied when the church can hire someone to do it. God wants his church members to do that visiting so they will grown in grace, and get the blessing from winning souls to Christ. A Christian can’t hire someone to do the work which God wants that man, alone, to do. If you can hire someone to do your part of the visiting, how long will it be before you hire someone to attend church for you on Sunday morning; or someone to repent for you; or someone to stand before the judgment bar of God for you? It won’t work!”
Dr. Darrell W. Robinson, president Total Church Life Ministries, Inc., The Woodlands, Texas, and former pastor of Dauphin Way Baptist Church, Mobile, Alabama, warns about the “Super-Hired-Holy-Man Syndrome (SHHMS): The New Church Virus” in the fifth chapter of his highly recommended book titled Total Church Life: How To Be A First Century Church In A 21st Century World. Dr. Robinson explains, “We are even seeing signs of SHMMS in the procedures of starting new churches. A group of people come together and decide to start a new church. They decide to ‘pool’ their money. They hire a minister and expect him to do their ministering for them.
The preacher is paid to win souls, do the witnessing, visit the sick, and so forth. The people attend, listen to sermons, and give their money. If the church grows, they hire another minister to help the first minister do the ministering. This is a reversal of New Testament church life.”
Dr. Pope further explains, “Our revivals today fail because we have departed from the pattern of the great Pentecostal Revival; and they succeeded in the measure and to the degree they conform to it.”
Dr. Adrian P. Rogers (1931-2005), longtime pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, Memphis, Tennessee, shares the following in What Every Christian Ought to Know, “Show a person his rights, and you have a revolution. Teach him his responsibilities, and you’ll have a revival.”
Twenty years after the blast, an elderly Baptist deacon told Dr. Truett:
’I’ll never forget that scene in the Baptist Church after the explosion. The church was packed and jammed the next Wednesday night. Parents were sobbing in repentance.
There were so many converted, the pastor couldn’t keep count. We had all forgotten God and begun worshiping the things which the oil royalties could buy. But after the tragedy, in which almost every family in the town and in the surrounding area lost a child, we woke up to see what was important.’
Dr. White concludes, ‘Oh, may we wake up, and see what is really important! We need revival!
Coming now to Thee, O Christ my Lord
Trusting only in Thy precious Word,
Let my humble prayer to Thee be heard,
And send a great revival in my soul.
Send a great revival in my soul,
Send a great revival in my soul,
Let the Holy Spirit come and take control,
And send a great revival in my soul.’”
Will the Lord send a spiritual awakening or a rude awakening?
May we passionately and persistently pray for the Lord to send a great revival.
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