"Dedicated to strengthening and encouraging the Body of Christ."

What Cost Revival?

By M. L. Goodman

    "Go through the midst of the city…and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof" (Eze. 9:4).

    The day described in this Scripture was to Jerusalem a time of destruction, despair and great foreboding. In Jerusalem there appeared a linen-girdled man with the inkhorn, carrying out instructions to mark the men "that sigh and cry" for the ever-present abominations which called for and deserved the very judgment that was imminent.

    A weakness of human nature is that we can become conditioned to these abominations until they fail to concern us as they should. We imbibe the worldly spirit of our surroundings, and the evil colorings of society, until imperceptibly a creeping paralysis spreads over our souls. Our senses are dulled. We fail to appraise our peril.

    The great souls of Bible fame who moved the arm of God in intercessory prayer were men who acquired the capacity of soul to identify themselves with the need of the men and nations whom they desired to help and lead to salvation.

    Fervent prayer from anguished souls is all too scarce these days. When Moses climbed to the crest of Sinai with the burden of a backslidden, idolatrous nation pulling at the strings of his heart, he did not recite mechanical, beautifully phrased prayers.

    Remove your shoes as you come near, cover your eyes, but listen to the prayer of Moses: "Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin –; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written" (Ex. 32:31-32). Here a great soul is absorbed in an agony of intercession. With one hand on offended Deity, and the other on the sinning nation, Moses refused to remove either hand until God moved into action with a favorable answer!

    Daniel, who is listed as one of the holiest men that ever graced this planet, prayed thus, "We have sinned, and have rebelled, even by departing from Thy precepts and from Thy judgments" (Dan. 9:5). To pray effectually he, too, identified himself with his subjects of prayer.

    We must pray if we are to check the insidiously subtle trends that are evident among us today. "If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land" (2 Chron. 7:14).

    May I submit two more Scriptures bearing on this matter of intercessory prayer. "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again till Christ be formed in you" (Gal. 4:19) and "I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh" (Rom. 9:2-3). The language here may appear absurd unless, and until, you are familiar with the type of agonizing, prevailing, effectual prayer of which the apostle speaks.

    Have you ever experienced the birth pangs of soul travail when you thus are divinely enabled to identify yourself with the sinner and his sin? If so, your lips may emit groans that cannot be uttered in words! The Psalmist said, "I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart" (Psa. 38:8).

    The tearless and nearly prayerless holiness of our generation is producing an earthbound inertia, so engrossed in the immediacies, that the ultimate issues are lost in the low-hanging fog of a hell-spawned materialism.

    We are rich, but cannot command our wealth. We have talent, but it is unyielded and undedicated. We have potentialities to take a large share of this planet for God, but they are about 75 percent neutralized by the greatly materialistic philosophy of our times.

    Much of Protestantism has lost its protest. It was shocking to see this caption in a religious periodical: "Why Are Sixty Million Protestants Tongue-tied?" Should the linen-girdled man come through the average church, I wonder how many of our members would have a mark on their foreheads.

    The Keswick Journal had this to say concerning the revival in the Hebrides some years ago: "More people are attending prayer meetings in Lewis today than attended public worship on the Sabbath day before the outbreak of the revival. Social evils were swept away as by a flood.

    "In the communities touched by this gracious movement, you have men and women living for God, family worship in nearly every home; five or six prayer meetings a week in the parish; and ministers and leaders building up the young men and women in the faith. Of all the hundreds who turned to Christ in the first gracious wave of the Holy Spirit, until now, only four young men have ceased to attend the prayer meetings."

    It is not enough to recognize the ever-present and apparent abominations; but we must sigh and cry. That is where the trouble comes. All too few of us are sufficiently concerned to sigh and cry. Laodicean lukewarmness, humanism and materialism, like a creeping paralysis, is locking our lips and chilling our hearts. The subtle endtime trends are insidiously creeping in among the ranks of our Zion.

    Jesus warned of three primary hindrances to the Gospel taking root and being successful in thorny ground of lives: "The cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things" (Mark 4:19).

    Reader, do you find yourself being gradually conditioned to these last day trends? Do the abominations of the day appall you? Or are you becoming accustomed to the evils of the times? And are we willing to surrender to the weak, sickly, anemic, insipid religiosity of our day, most of which irreverently looks to God as one too good to damn them, and they too good to be damned. This is a day in which church membership is socially popular, and sinning church members are by and large equally accepted.

    The time has come for us to find a prayer retreat somewhere and do some sober soul searching. Let us pray until we pray; pray until the immediacies are lost sight of in the revelation of the ultimate; pray until the earth-bound fogs lift, and we get a clear vision of the eternal; pray until our souls are submerged into an agonizing travail for the lost; pray until our perspective of God’s program for the Gospel is clear.

    Pray! Pray! Pray! Thus we will sigh and cry for the abominations about us, until we bear the mark of the linen-girdled man with the inkhorn.

    – From Revival.