Conditions Of Revival
It is extremely significant to note that great revivals of more modern times have been preceded and accompanied by an earnest spirit of fasting and prayer on the part of God's people. There has been a noticeable absence of fanfare and high-powered advertising, which we fear often serve as a cheap and easy substitute for the price to be paid for a true spiritual awakening.
Evan Roberts prayed so much and so earnestly for a revival that it is said his landlady turned him out, thinking he had lost his mind. Hundreds of prayer meetings, some of them lasting all night, sprang up all over Wales and in this wake came a mighty revival.
Finney again and again stressed the fact that revivals of his day came in answer to a great volume of earnest believing prayer. Father Nash and Abel Clary became leading spirits in this ministry of intercession and soul travail.
Jonathan Goforth prayed so earnestly for a revival in China that some feared he was going insane.
Praying Hyde and two others prayed for twenty-one days and nights, eating and sleeping but little, and God answered by sending that great Sialkot convention and the subsequent revival.
A number of instances might be referred to in our own day where groups of people have banded together to pray until a revival came, whether it took ten hours, ten days, or ten years, and God has graciously answered prayer. The Lord made good to them the promise, "And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him" (Luke 18:7).
But such instances are all too infrequent and too far between. Evidently we like to eat and sleep too well, or are we just too lazy? It is so much easier and quicker to precipitate a human stir by human methods than to pay the price for a Holy Ghost revival.
Spirit of Humility and Penitence
In the next place it is vitally important to note another fulfilled condition of these far reaching revivals: a spirit of deep humility and penitence on the part of God's people.
In the Welsh revival the general cry was, "Lord, bend me!"
John Hyde was sorely distressed because of the great outpourings of the Holy Ghost of other days were not occurring on his field of labor. He came to the inevitable conclusion that only one thing could prevent it and that was sin in the church. He reasoned, "There must be sin in me." He arose and humbly confessed some point of defect of long standing in his life. A spirit of contrition seized a number of others who proceeded to make confessions and adjustment, and the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit that followed is now a well-known matter of history.
Mr. Goforth declares, "We cannot emphasize too strongly our conviction that all hindrance in the church is due to sin." He further says, "Restless and discontented, I was led to a more intensive study of the Scriptures." The text, "Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, go thy way: first, be reconciled to thy brother and then come and offer thy gift" (Matt. 5:23-24), came with great emphasis to his heart.
He then goes on to state how there had been a difficulty between himself and another missionary, but that it was supposed to have been settled. As he earnestly prayed for a revival, and insisted that all was clear, the Lord seemed to say to him, "You hypocrite, you know you do not treat one another as brethren." After Goforth broke before the Lord and obeyed, the blessing of God attended his ministry in a wonderful way.
These revivals came as a result of the church and church leaders humbling themselves in the dust and making the confessions and adjustments necessary to clear the channel.
– Selected from The Immanuel Missionary.