Heart-Cry For Revival
By Wesley L. Duewel (1916 – 2016)
Will there be at least one great revival before Jesus comes again? I greatly suspect there will be. One reason why is this: God has privileged me these last few years to minister in many countries, and wherever I go I find God’s choice children hungering for revival. I find it in place after place. I believe that it is the Holy Spirit who is the author of this holy hunger that brings us at times to tears before our Lord, as we long to see His church revived and to see all that will take place when that mighty revival comes.
Often when the atmosphere becomes saturated with revival, people who have withstood the prayers of family and friends and church, yield to the grace of God. And I know that Jesus wants a beautiful bride, holy and without spot or wrinkle. Revival does wonderful things for the Bride of Christ. It makes us more like Jesus.
I believe the greatest longing for revival in the church is in the heart of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. I believe the hunger in our hearts is but a minor reflection of the deep, deep hunger in the heart of God.
Not only has God created the desire for revival in our hearts, but history testifies that God sends revival. Isaiah 64:1-2 records that prophet’s heart-cry for revival: “Oh, that Thou wouldest rend the heavens, that Thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at Thy presence, as when the melting fire burneth...make Thy name known...that the nations may tremble at Thy presence.”
It was occasional times of revival that spared Israel to survive until the Son of Man was born. Satan attacked that nation, doing everything in his power to prevent the fulfillment of Scripture in the Messiah’s coming. There were revivals under Jehoshaphat and under Josiah. When it came to King Ahaz, it seemed too late. It seemed everything was gone. King Ahaz did his best to crush the worship of Jehovah. He put idols in the street corners of every town and village, the Bible says, and finally ordered the temple to be closed and the fire put out on the altar. Idolatry prevailed across the country.
Yet in two week’s time, the tide turned! When wicked King Ahaz died, the very next day, when Hezekiah took charge, he gave the orders for the temple doors to be unlocked and for the Levites to clean out the temple. For two weeks they were sweeping and cleaning and carrying out the trash.
When they came and reported to Hezekiah, “It’s all clean,” – he gave the orders, “Tomorrow morning the worship starts.” Leading citizens came to the temple and the worship of the Lord began. The song of the Lord was sung again; the fire was lit on the altar of the Lord; the nation was turned around.
God is a God of revival, and history testifies that God sends revival. You remember the condition of Britain when God raised up John Wesley and George Whitefield. The Prime Minister was openly flaunting immorality. Some of the social occasions of the nobility and the royalty advertised all the wine you wanted to drink, and your neighbor’s wife as well. Sin was so corrupt at that time, it was unsafe to be alone outside of the cities of London, Manchester and Birmingham. People traveled in armed bands with escorts because there were armed roving bands of hoodlums roaming the countryside. But it wasn’t too late! England had revival because God had Wesley, Whitefield and a people of God. It’s never too late for God!
Carriers of Revival
God has raised up people who became persons of revival, or maybe I should say, carriers of revival. Can man carry revival? Of himself he cannot, but he can be used.
Charles G. Finney seemed to be a carrier of revival. Year after year he would go from place to place, to where he felt led. He would stay there for two or three months or until revival would come. From the time of his conversion he seemed to be on fire for God. After he received an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon him, he carried that fire with him. Revival came again and again wherever he went.
Jonathan Goforth was a faithful missionary in North China. Someone sent him a leaflet in a letter which had several pages of Finney’s writings. After reading it he said to his wife, “If Finney is right I’m going to prove it.” Someone providentially sent him a copy of the life of Charles Finney. He was all the more stirred up.
About that time the foreign missionary secretary from the Canadian Presbyterian Church in Toronto, arrived in North China and spent a few weeks there. He said to Mr. Goforth, “I’m hearing reports about revival in Korea. I’m going to go there to check it out to see if it is genuine or not. Would you like to go with me?”
Goforth was ready in heart, so he went with him and they saw what God was doing. Jonathan Goforth came back to China. The first night he was back he was asked to tell the story of what he had found in Korea, and revival began in China. Goforth moved from station to station, place to place, and every place that he stopped, revival came.
Nature of God to Revive
Not only does God send revival, but it is the nature of God to revive. God is a God of compassion. God is a God of love. God is a God who wants to pour out His Spirit. We have every biblical reason to believe that God is both willing and able to send times of refreshing in our day. It seems from history that the more widespread the hunger and prayer for revival, the more widespread the fire when revival comes.
God can do the same thing today. Surely the holy yearnings in the heart of Jesus for His Bride to be pure, spotless, and gleaming with His glory, can be answered again and again. Surely the holy yearnings of the Holy Spirit which He shares with us, God’s children, causing us to dare to believe to hold on for revival, can be answered. What about the holy groanings of the Holy Spirit that sometimes come to you and to me if we are walking close to God and if we’re carrying a prayer burden for revival, sometimes groanings almost too deep for words, where do those originate? Not in us, but in the heart of God. When we get that close to God we begin to realize what God’s longings are.
Do you remember how many times Jesus was disappointed with His disciples’ lack of faith? Oh, God forbid that our weak faith hinder the coming of new, mighty times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord! May we somehow be able to believe that His promises are for us. They are for today. This is still the dispensation of the Holy Spirit; this is still the age of grace; this is still an age of revival, refreshment, renewal – whatever term you want to use – this is still that period of human history when God wants to bless His church with new revelations of Himself, new outpourings of His Spirit.
Revival Is the Heart-Cry of God
I believe with all my heart that the heart-cry for revival has been born in the heart of God. I believe God longs to be gracious. I believe His heart of compassion is reaching out and I believe that somehow there is still much unfinished work for the church. Of course, Christ can make a quick work. Revival does in a few weeks, or if it lasts, in a year and a half or so, what has not been done in forty years before.
What speeds up the work when He comes in revival dimension and power? It seems as if He hovers over the church just as in the revival of 1858 and 1859 in this country, when the spark was lit by Jeremiah Lamphier. He started a prayer meeting in New York City, and in a matter of a few months there were prayer meetings all over the city. Then they began to spread across America.
In Washington, D.C., day after day the president of the United States went to the noon prayer meeting. Before many months were past there were more than 10,000 cities and towns across America where businessmen were shutting down their businesses at noon, every noon, and gathering together in a place large enough where they could assemble. Oftentimes on some of the business doors there was a paper saying, “Closed until after the prayer meeting.”
Who did the preaching? Nobody. They were not times of preaching. They were times of prayer. The assembly might sing a hymn and then people would get up and ask for prayer. They would pray for that and another request and another request. They would leave at one o’clock and go back to their businesses. It was an unusual movement of the Holy Spirit. There was a canopy of prayer, an incense of prayer especially over the eastern part of the United States.
If we could see the heart of God we would see how He is longing to bless and to come upon His people. He wants to come upon our church boards and commissions and conferences and all the things we have. He wants to become predominant. He wants to revive His glory.
Oh, that revival would come, that God would come down, like Isaiah prayed. David was the first one we know about who prayed for the Lord to come down in revival power: “Bow Thy heavens, O Lord, and come down…” (Psa. 144:5). Oh, may God come down upon our lives, that we will be dissatisfied with ordinary Christian living. Oh, that the glory of God might come upon us, His church! You remember how Isaiah prayed:
“Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before You! As when the fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make Your name known to Your enemies and cause the nations to quake before You! For when You did awesome things that we did not expect, You came down, and the mountains trembled before You. Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides You, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him. You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember Your ways” (Isa. 64:1-5).
That is what God wants to do again. It is nothing that we can work up. It is what God gives. We have a giving God. We have a gracious God. We have a God who loves to revive. We have a God who loves His church. We have a God who knows His church is not yet ready. Oh, may God send His cleansing work, His purifying work, His motivating work, His enlivening work!
Will you be a daily intercessor for revival? I believe God is waiting to prove Himself gracious. May God send revival fire to blaze in all of our hearts, in all of our churches, across our nation and the world!
– Condensed and edited from a message delivered at the 1998 “Heart-Cry for Revival” Conference.