Do You Really Want A Revival?
By H. Pope
A revival is not a thing of chance. If it comes, it is because some one has set in motion spiritual forces which make a revival inevitable.
On one occasion when Dr. Lyman Beecher was pastor at Litchfield, Connecticut, a remarkable work of grace occurred. Its coming was sudden and unexpected. There had been no extra meetings, nor were there any indications of special interest such as usually precede an outpouring of the Spirit. No one could account for this strange manifestation of divine power.
When the interest had somewhat subsided, Dr. Beecher began to take up his pastoral work again, and called, among other places, at the house of a sick man who lived in the outskirts of the parish. The shut-in asked many questions about the revival and the various people who had been converted, and then told his pastor the following story:
He said that as he lay on his bed he had felt greatly depressed at the thought of his utter uselessness. Finally it occurred to him that he could at least pray for people if he could not visit and talk with them. He began to pray for his next neighbor, and then took the next house, and the next, until he had prayed his way to the end of the street, taking in every family and praying for every individual so far as he knew them.
Then he took another street, and another, until he prayed his way all through the parish. Then he began again and prayed his way through the parish a second time. Then came the revival which he was expecting, but which the church and pastor had had no intimation of, and for which, indeed, they do not appear to have been responsible.
When Dr. Beecher heard that story he said: "Now I know where that revival had its earthly origin. It was in the sick-room of that godly man."
Our Saviour has an intense concern for souls. During His earthly life He worked so zealously that He reminded His disciples of the passage which says, "The zeal of Thine house hath eaten me up" (Psa. 69:9). He arose early in the morning to pray; He often prayed all night, we may believe. He wept over Jerusalem; He even sweat blood under the crushing weight of His personal responsibility.
Christ expects His Church to share this concern for souls with Him. The Church is the bride of Christ and the mother of God's children. A husband and wife ought to think alike and feel alike. Their interests are identical, their hearts should throb as one. Unless the bride of Christ shares with her Lord in this concern for souls there will be no spiritual children born, for children are not born of one parent, in either the natural or the spiritual world.
It would be a calamity if children should be born under such conditions. You might as well put a babe in the arms of a dead mother as to put converts into the care of a cold, unsympathizing church. Those who have experience know that the hardest thing to accomplish in revival work is to secure an atmosphere which is favorable to the new birth, and after that the work is very easy.
On the other hand, where there is real concern for souls, conversions will occur.
A wife in England resolved to pray for her husband's conversion every day for a year. At the end of that period he was apparently as far from Christ as ever. She decided that she would try it six months longer. At the end of that time her husband was still indifferent. She was discouraged, and thought she might as well give him up.
But when she faced squarely the question of giving up as lost one whom God had manifestly entrusted to her spiritual care, she said to herself: "No, I will never give him up. I will pray for him as long as I live."
That very day, when her husband came home to dinner, he passed her in the hall and went upstairs. She waited for him until she became alarmed, and then went up to his room. There was her husband on his knees, crying to God for mercy. He became an earnest Christian worker.
"As soon as Zion travailed she brought forth her children" (Isa. 66:8). Let us not look for revival until we have become revived ourselves, for conviction of sin will not come to others until a concern for souls has come to us!