A Missionary Recalls Revival
By R. A. Paulson
I write this letter (dated April 19, 1945, French Equatorial Africa) as a call to the battle. We need reinforcements or the devil will throw us back. As long as Moses’ arms were up in prayer, Joshua and the warriors prevailed against Amalek; but the minute Moses weakened and his arms went down, the enemy prevailed. Yes, dear friends, the battle is on.
The Holy Spirit has come down with power on our work at Kembe. F. B. Meyer said, “Whenever in the world the Holy Spirit comes down in mighty power among men, there is always an uprising of evil spirits to resist it.” Why some of us have never known much about the devil is because we haven’t known much about the Holy Spirit. If you ever begin to live by the power of the Holy Spirit, all hell will be there to stop you.
The devil has been battling us through the elements from the first day we set foot on his territory at Kembe. ...At the time these things happened, we didn’t know why Satan was striking so hard by these physical means. Nor was he only striking in the physical but in the spiritual realm as well. Several of the Christians had fallen under his onslaught and were out of fellowship, which caused the heathen around about great joy.
Yes, friends, the devil had us on the run, not only the sheep but the shepherd as well, meaning myself. We were trying to fight the battle in our own strength and were being defeated on every hand because we were in a low spiritual state. Sin had crept in, sin of the worst kind – unbelief, prayerlessness, not taking God at His Word, letting God’s work crowd God out. All of this goes with unbelief. It is the sin that made Christ weep. It is the sin that breaks God’s heart today as He sees His church falling steadily back because of its prayerlessness and consequent powerlessness.
I praise God that He didn’t let this continue but brought me to a place of utter despair and weakness. At our 1944 Missionary Field Conference at Crampel, He caused me to cry to Him for forgiveness and pardon. I surrendered to Him and laid my all on the altar in complete obedience.
Words cannot express the way the Holy Spirit moved among us – filling and empowering for this service. God’s presence could be felt all over the whole mission station at Crampel. Many others can testify to the same thing in their lives. We began to realize what Pentecost must have been like and why Peter and the rest who were so weak and powerless before became like lions in their fearlessness.
We went back to Kembe with the Lord of Glory ruling our hearts and with the faith that the One who began His reign through our lives would also continue it. The Bible became a new living Book and flashed forth the Glory of God. The Spirit of prayer was upon us. It was harder not to pray than to pray.
I realized that the church didn’t need more teaching, more preaching. What they needed was the Lord of Glory reigning in their hearts and the Holy Spirit’s power enabling them to walk and witness of the living Christ within them.
God put a burden of prayer on my heart for an outpouring of His Spirit and also gave the right message to convict our believers of their low spiritual condition and unbelief. It was on Saturday evening of January 27, about two months after our revival at Conference, that we were blessed with God’s gracious visitations. There were 23 of us gathered. I was closing the meeting when the Spirit moved upon us with such power as to make the believers fall on the ground with their faces in the dust.
What groans, agony, heart cries as they confessed their sins. O God…have mercy…Thanks God…Thanks for the Lord Jesus. He touched their hard hearts and the wells of living water sprang up. The tears were streaming down their dusty faces.
This mighty work of the Spirit continued for three hours. What a prayer meeting! The villagers who heard us praying came out of curiosity and were also brought low before God. When we closed this meeting, they went to our mission village nearby and gathered there. They testified and sang songs and continued in prayer all night.
Souls are being born again. The church has been revived. Backsliders who had taken other wives put them away with such conviction of sin that they wept all night. The deacons couldn’t sleep at night for the great burden of prayer. Prayer meetings are popular because the Holy Spirit is here with power. There were hundreds of answers to prayer. The God who seemed far away is now very near, even in their hearts.
One chief, a professor, awoke at dawn under great conviction and began to pray. He began to tremble quite violently, so much so that his bamboo bed shook. His wife said, “Ngangou (Strong-Man), what ails you? I have never seen you act like this before.”
He said, “Woman, let me be. God is talking to me.” Yes, by the tears rolling down his cheeks and the look of joy on his face when he gave his testimony in the Sunday morning service, you could tell he had had an experience.
With regretful hearts, we left the work at Kembe in the heat of the revival, even as Philip left Samaria. The revival goes on and is spreading. Man’s fire goes out when he leaves but this fire is of God and no man can quench it – nothing except man’s sin.
Remember the words of F. B. Meyer in the beginning of this letter that when the Holy Spirit comes down in power, the evil spirits resist it. That is why we ask your prayers for the church here in Bangassou where revival is needed.
The great need of the hour is revival for the whole world, and I believe that it is coming. It is near, friends, nearer than we think. Let us pray and expect God to answer. We were seeing and are going to see great things here in Africa and to the uttermost parts of the earth for we have a God whose name is: “Thou That Hearest Prayer.”
If we are really in the battle, the fighting must be done on our knees. Who will join us?
– Reprinted from an earlier Herald.