Hunger and the Need for Revival #2 of 2
EVAN ROBERTS AND THE WELSH REVIVAL OF 1904:
One of my favorite revival stories was the Welsh revival of 1904. There was a 26 year old intern named Evan Roberts who was in charge of the youth group. He had been praying for revival for eleven years. He said, “Lord, send revival!” You would have thought that after eleven years of praying for something and nothing happening that he would have given up and said, “I guess revival’s never going to happen here.” He said, “No, I believe God’s Word is true. We’re going to pray, and we’re not going to stop until we see a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit.” He felt God was going to pour out a mighty spirit of revival on Wales. He prayed, “Bend me, O Lord!” He was saying, “Make me flexible, Lord. Whatever you want to do, come and move, Lord.”
Evan Roberts went to his pastor and said, “Revival’s going to come to our nation.” The pastor said, “Sure, one of these days God’s going to send revival.” But Roberts said, “No, there’s something in my spirit that says that God is going to move, God wants to do something right now, and we need to get the church to pray for revival.”
The pastor said, “You can call forward anyone who wants to stay after church to pray and talk about revival.” After the service, only seventeen people stayed, mostly youth and young adults. I love young people, and their openness to the things of the Kingdom of God. When you preach God’s Word to the youth, and you tell them what God said they could do, they will go and do it. Older people in the church can get stuck in the rut and mentality that says, “We’ve never done it that way before.” We need to be open to what God wants to do in our midst, even if it’s something new. We want to experience the new things that God wants to do.
Evan Roberts and seventeen other people ended up at the altar, crying out to God until 2:00 am, saying, “Lord, send revival.” That next week, 60 people came to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. In the next one and a half years, there was a revival that shook Wales, in which 1,000,000 people saved, all because a small group of believers started praying for revival. This revival changed the culture. The bars and liquor stores shut down, and the entire police force was dismissed because crime was all but nonexistent. There was a radical transformation of righteousness that took place in the society.
It was funny because as people got saved, work at the coal mines was brought to a near standstill. The mules that pulled the wagons were so used to hearing foul language from the workers that, after the men were saved and stopped swearing, the mules no longer recognized their voices or commands. The whole culture was changed.
These hungry believers would pray from 1-5 in the morning, and the prayer meetings grew to have two thousand people. If you want to gauge the spiritual hunger in a church, take a look at how many people attend the prayer meeting. Sometimes people will come to church on Sunday mornings to see their friends, or because they like the music or the preacher. People might attend home groups because they enjoy a good meal or the fellowship. But at the prayer meeting there are no frills. You’re not coming for the food and you’re not coming for the worship. You’re coming for one reason alone – God. Hunger for God. When we see the people of God begin to make the prayer meeting a priority, you will know that revival is near. When the people of God seek Him with all of their hearts, and say, “I want more of You,” you will know that revival is near.
AIMEE SEMPLE MCPHERSON: THE FOURSQUARE GOSPEL:
Aimee Semple McPherson, the founder of the Foursquare Gospel Church, was a woman mightily used by God. She was a little Canadian farm-girl from Ingersoll, Ontario who felt the call of God upon her life as a teenager, and travelled around the world, telling people about Jesus. The Foursquare Gospel Church was birthed out of Holy Spirit empowered healing revival meetings. When she set up her base of operations in Los Angeles, people would come from all over the world to receive a healing touch from Jesus. The walls of the church were lined with the wheelchairs of people who had been healed. These are the roots of the Foursquare Church. We need to remember our roots.
I remember my own personal journey deeper into the supernatural things of God. I was a youth pastor at Bible Fellowship Church in Surrey, BC, and I got to a place where I was tired of the usual, and I prayed, “God, I’m sick of hearing about revival and the supernatural, and not seeing it.” Whenever you look at the life of Jesus in the Bible, you see Him preaching the Gospel, and healing the sick. Preaching and doing. When Jesus commissioned His disciples, He said, “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matt. 10:7-8). Jesus said, “Preach the Gospel, and do the stuff.” Throughout the whole New Testament, the church preached the Gospel and did the stuff. I wondered why we weren’t seeing that anymore. Sure, we saw one person get healed here or there, but why weren’t we seeing more of that today?
I started seeking God and prayed, “Lord, I want to know you more. I want to encounter your person, your presence, and your power. If the Bible is true, and you are who this book says you are, then I want to experience it for myself.” I would seek God in prayer at my office at the church. I would lie down on the floor and cry out, “God, I want you to come down right now.” I would stay on the floor until the presence and power of the Holy Spirit would fill that office. I had friends who would hear that I was spending these extended periods of time praying, and seeing God’s Holy Spirit being poured out, and they would say, “We want to come and soak in God’s presence, too.” As they came into the presence of God in my office, they would start weeping as the anointing of God came upon them, and their hunger was stirred up for more of God.
As a youth pastor, I took our youth group on a journey deeper into the things of God. Our youth would gather for worship on a Wednesday night, and God would show up and literally everyone in the room would be on their faces, crying out to God. Young people would be coming forward, running to the altar and crying out, saying, “I need to be made right with God. I need to be saved!” These were youth who had been in church their whole lives, but they realized that they had never submitted their lives to the Lordship of Jesus. Young people’s lives were radically changed. My prayer remains, “Lord, send revival!”
Over the years, I’ve seen glimpses of revival, but I haven’t seen a full blown revival yet. I’ve heard the stories of what God is doing around the world, and for the most part, it’s in third world countries. Someone preaches the Word, the people believe it, and revival happens. Why? Because they have nothing there but God. Here in North America we have so many luxuries. We don’t need to know Jesus as Healer, because we can go to the doctor. We don’t need to know Jesus as Provider, because we can go to the bank and get a loan. We don’t need to know Jesus as the Prince of Peace, because we can take drugs to calm us down. This is the world we live in today.
Many people in Canada don’t realize their need for God. They’re looking to all of these other sources to find their fulfillment instead of going to God. What would happen if we set aside all of these things that we go to for satisfaction and went to God alone? Let’s fast from TV and computers and sports and other worldly pleasures, and cry out to God and say, “I want only you to satisfy me in my life. I want more of You, Lord. I’m not content with what I’ve experienced so far.” Let’s pray this simple but powerful little prayer: “More, Lord!”
Here is a story of what happened one time in the Bible when God poured out His Spirit in a worship service and they caught a glimpse of revival:
“When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house. When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying: For He is good, For His mercy endures forever.” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3).
The fire fell after Solomon prayed. If we want to see revival fire fall, we must first seek God’s face in prayer. When God begins to move in a service, the fire from God will fall. It most likely won’t be a literal fire that you will be able to see with your natural eyes, but the fire of God will come into hearts just like it happened in Acts 2:4.
Jesus wants to baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:16). When the fire of God falls, we are restored to a place of passion and zeal for more of God in our lives. When the fire falls, it consumes the offering and sacrifices. If we want to see revival fire fall, there has to be sacrifices. Not just a sacrifice of finances, but also of time, of energy, of gifts – whatever it takes to have more of God in our midst.
The next thing that happened in this story is the glory of the Lord filled the temple. There was so much of the presence and power of God manifested in that place that the priests could not even stand up to minister. They were flat out on their faces in the presence of God, because His glory was so strong and so heavy. How can we see revival fire fall like this in our midst?
FOUR KEYS TO GETTING READY FOR REVIVAL:
“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).
In this passage of Scripture, God gives us four keys to getting ready for revival. If we will humble ourselves, and pray, and seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways, God has promised that He would hear from Heaven, forgive our sins, and send revival. This kind of a Heaven-sent revival will do much more than just impact the people in the church; it will also spill over into our communities, and our nation – the land. Before God will do what He has promised to do, there are four things that we must do first.
This first key is to humble ourselves, and admit our need for God. Too many people are too self-reliant. They haven’t humbled themselves and said, “God, I need you. I’m desperate for you.” It’s like the story I heard once of a young woman went to her pastor and said, “Pastor, I’m struggling with a sin, and I want your help. I come to church on Sunday and I can’t help thinking I’m the prettiest girl in the congregation. I know I shouldn’t think that, but I can’t help it. Please help me.” The pastor replied, “Mary, don’t worry about it. In your case it’s not a sin. It’s just a horrible mistake.” We need to humble ourselves. If we don’t, God will humble us. Humility simply means we acknowledge our need for God.
I was so thrilled a couple of years ago when our elementary school in Beausejour reinstituted praying the Lord’s Prayer. Every morning, the children in our Early Years School are humbling themselves and acknowledging that they need the Lord. I believe in the power of prayer. When you get hundreds students who are praying every day in our community, saying, “God, we want your Kingdom to come, and we want your will to be done,” don’t tell me that’s not going to make a difference. God is doing something in our community, but we need to humble ourselves, and say, “God, we need you. We’re not content with what we’ve got. This is good, but we want more.”
The pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle said, “God is attracted to weakness. He can’t resist those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need Him. Our weakness, in fact, makes room for His power.” (Jim Cymbala, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire). God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. There are so many examples in the Bible of insignificant people, like the little shepherd boy David who faced the giant Goliath and defeated him, because he said, “I am weak, I am small, I am nothing. But with God on my side, all things are possible.”
We need to pray big prayers. We need to pray in boldness and faith. The Bible says that, “God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” (Ephesians 3:20). If we were to believe the truth of that Scripture, it would revolutionize our prayer lives. Jesus said, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:24). If the church of Jesus Christ would begin to take Him at His Word, and believe that He is a prayer answering God, we would see revival. People don’t pray more than they do because they don’t really believe that God answers prayer.
One of my favorite revival preachers said this, “Faith’s supreme longing is for the return of the glory that has departed from the sanctuary… If we today could rediscover the virtue in that Name, the victory in that Name, the violence in that Name, we could set this world alight for God.” (Leonard Ravenhill, Revival Praying). It’s time for us to start taking God at His Word, believing the promise, and praying like we really believe that prayer changes things.
3. SEEK GOD’S FACE:
There is a big difference between saying your prayers, and seeking God’s face. Too many people have been seeking God’s hands, but not His face. They want the blessings of God – healing, peace, and prosperity – but they don’t want Him. It’s time to start seeking God’s face and not just His hands or His benefits. The Psalmist said, “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory.” (Psalm 63:1-2).
Revival isn’t a formula; it’s about falling in love with Jesus again. A formula isn’t going to bring revival. Revival will happen when our heart’s cry is, “I want to know God more.” That’s revival, when we say, “Jesus, you’re my number one passion.”
“God chasers are after the fresh presence of the Almighty. Sometimes their pursuit raises the eyebrows of the existing church, but usually they lead the church from a place of dryness back into the place of His presence. It’s simply not enough to know about God. We have churches filled with people who can win Bible trivia contests but who don’t know Him.” (Tommy Tenney, The God Chasers). There’s more to being a Christian than just following a bunch of rules – it’s about knowing Him. It’s time to get hungry, and pursue the presence of the Almighty. Our community will change when we change first, and that will happen when we seek His face.
The fourth key to getting ready for revival is to turn from our wicked ways. If we want God to come and bring revival, we need to prepare our hearts first. If we compromise with sin, we won’t be hungry for the presence of God, because it won’t be comfortable for us. We prepare our hearts through repentance. Repentance precedes revival. Before Jesus came to the Earth for the first time 2,000 years ago, he sent a messenger to prepare the way.
“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.” (Matthew 3:1-3). Before Jesus will come again in revival, we must repent.
The prophet Malachi said: “Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” Says the Lord of hosts. “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire And like launderer’s soap.” (Malachi 3:1-2).
God wants to revive the church. Before that happens, we must humble ourselves, and pray, and seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways. Let’s cry out to God together and say, “Lord, revive me, and revive your work in the midst of the years. Send revival!”
Pastor Chris Jordan
This is a sample chapter from The Beausejour Pulpit.
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