by H. Robb French
It is extremely significant to note that the great revivals of more modern times have been preceded and accompanied by an earnest spirit of fasting and praying on the part of God’s people. There was a noticeable absence of fanfare and high-powered advertising, which we fear often serves as a cheap and easy substitute for the price to be paid for a true spiritual awakening.
Evan Roberts prayed so much and so earnestly for a revival that it is said his landlady turned him out, thinking he had lost his mind. Hundreds of prayer meetings, some of them lasting all night, sprang up all over Wales, and in this wake came a mighty revival.
Finney, again, and again, and again stressed the fact that the revivals of his day came in answer to a great volume of earnest believing prayer. Father Nash and Abel Clary became leading spirits in this ministry of intercession and soul-travail.
Jonathan Goforth prayed so fervently for a revival in China that some feared he was going insane.
“Praying Hyde” and two others prayed for twenty-one days and nights, eating and sleeping but little, and God answered by sending that great Sialkot convention and the subsequent revival.
A number of instances might be referred to in our own day when groups of people have banded together to pray till revival came, whether it took ten hours, ten days or ten years, and God has graciously answered prayer. The Lord made good unto them the words of the promise: “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him?”
We must make the necessary confessions and adjustments, to clear the channel.
But such instances are all too infrequent and too far between. Evidently we like to eat and sleep too well, or we are just too lazy! It is so much easier and quicker to precipitate a human stir by human methods than to pay the price for a Holy Ghost revival. In the next place, it is vitally important to note another fulfilled condition of these far-reaching revivals, namely: a spirit of deep humility and penitence on the part of God’s people. In the Welsh Revival the general cry was, “Lord, bend me!”
John Hyde was sorely distressed because the great outpourings of the Holy Ghost were not occurring on his field of labor. He came to the inevitable conclusion that only one thing could prevent it, and that was sin in the church.” “Since I am a part of the church,” he reasoned, “there must be sin in me.” He arose and humbly confessed in his life some point of defeat, of long standing. A spirit of contrition seized a number of others, who proceeded to make confessions and adjustments, and the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit that followed is now a well-known matter of history.
There is no cheap and easy substitute for the price to be paid for a true spiritual awakening.
Mr. Goforth declared, “We cannot too strongly emphasize our conviction that all hindrance in the church is due to sin.” He further said: “Restless and discontented, I was led to a more intensive study of the Scriptures. The test, ‘Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberedest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.’ (Matt. 5: 23,24) came with great emphasis to my heart.”
He then further states how there had been a difficulty between himself and another missionary, but that it was supposed to have been settled. As he earnestly prayed for revival, while insisting that all was clear, the Lord seemed to say to him, “You hypocrite, you know you do not treat one another as brethren!”
All these revivals came as the result of the church and church leaders humbling themselves in the dust of humility and making the necessary confessions and adjustments, to clear the channel.