You Can Experience And Share Revival
By Wesley L. Duewel (1916 – 2016)
God has ordained times of spiritual renewal characterized by new life and power, spiritual joy and blessing, and new fragrance and fruitfulness for the Lord. We commonly term this experience “revival.” These periods of special blessing come all too seldom, and some church groups seem never to experience them. Even those pastors and people who seek to live in continuing revival tell of times of spiritual dryness which they cannot trace to any specific disobedience or willful neglect. All Christians again and again need a fresh touch of God upon their lives. Indeed, “times of refreshing” come from the Lord (Acts. 3:19).
The more spiritual a person or work, the more urgent it becomes to have frequent visitations of God. It is the difference between mere survival and life abundant; between evangelical orthodoxy and evangelical vitality; between being content with the status quo and experiencing thrilling new anointings of the Holy Spirit and making thrilling new breakthroughs for God.
When Should You Pray for Personal Revival?
How do you know when your own hearts needs spiritual reviving? When do you know it is time to apply yourself to prayerfully seeking new refreshing and blessing from the Lord? Here are a few suggestions. Pray:
• When you sense a spiritual listlessness, a continuing lack of spiritual appetite for the Word, prayer, and the fellowship of the church.
• When God’s Word seldom truly blesses you; when you only rarely hunger for more time to read and feast on God’s Word; when you seldom sense the Spirit speaking to you as you read God’s Word.
• When you sense a lack of deep humility, Spirit-born graciousness, and loving patience.
• When you lack real compassion for people suffering and in need; when you feel little true concern for people without Christ, and little sense of personal responsibility for God’s presence and blessing in your local church or group.
• When prayer is more of a duty than a joy; when God seldom places on your heart people who need prayer; when you seldom truly sense God’s nearness when you pray.
When Should You Pray for Group Revival?
How do you know when you need to be deeply and prayerfully concerned for fresh revival in your local church or any group of which you are a participating member?
• When your group prayer is lifeless; when people do not seem eager to lead in prayer; when there are few and only half-hearted praises to God for what He is doing.
• When church or group services are seldom marked by a sense of God being present and speaking personally to people; when worship seems to lack spontaneity, joy, and overflowing thanksgiving.
• When members seem apathetic about the seriousness of sin or fail to demonstrate a strong sense of ethical and moral responsibility; when the church lacks vision and deep concern for bringing their community and new people to Christ.
• When people are seldom led by God’s Spirit to witness to others, assist people in need, or bring encouragement to others; when giving for God’s cause is joyless, reluctant, and inadequate; when people lack vision for what God desires to do through them as a group.
• When there is interpersonal tension, party spirit or unforgiveness in the church or group.
Your Prayer Prepares the Way for Revival
You can help prepare the way for new spiritual awakening, for a real visitation of God’s Holy Spirit upon God’s people, and the moral and spiritual renewal that true revival brings. These simple suggestions and thrilling illustrations may guide you.
1. Ask the Holy Spirit to deepen your hunger. God’s initial preparation for revival always begins in the heart of one or more people as they hunger for God’s renewed presence and power. Someone has said, when God plans blessing for His people, He calls the church to prayer. If you have hunger to see God work among His people, that holy desire comes from the Holy Spirit. Ask God to deepen your hunger for His divine working in your own life, in your church or group, or wherever in the world you are led to focus your prayer.
2. Ask God to give you His prayer burden for revival. A prayer burden is a precious gift of God entrusted to you for the fulfilling of His purpose. Whether for revival in your own heart or church or on some mission field, God delights in assigning special spiritual responsibility to His intercessors.
A godly Christian brother in Britain many decades ago was one of God’s hidden intercessors (Isa. 62:6-7). He prayed constantly for the work of one of the great missionary societies working in China. After his death, someone found in his diary more than twenty listings of the name of the mission stations in China, with notes indicating that God had enabled him to pray the prayer of faith for revival in that place. Upon investigation they found that, indeed, God had sent spiritual awakening to each of these places over a period of years, in the exact order in which His hidden intercessor had indicated God had helped him claim by faith the mighty working of God’s Spirit!
No one knew of this prayer warrior until after his death; but God kept the record. What rewards and holy surprises heaven will disclose when God’s children who travailed in prayer receive their special rewards!
3. Ask God to give you some promise to claim by faith. God keeps His covenants; His promises are true. Ask God to impress upon your heart some promise on which to stand by faith as you pray for revival. A promise which has been used again and again is found in Second Chronicles 7:14. But there are many other wonderful promises in God’s Word. The Holy Spirit may impress any one of these on your heart.
4. Humble your heart before God in prayer. Tell God how unworthy you are to intercede for this need. God gives great grace and revival to those humbling themselves before God’s throne (Isa. 57:15).
5. Ask God to lead you to a prayer partner. Then agree in prayer. As your concern deepens, God may lead you to someone who already shares your vision and burden, or who will quickly become one in spirit with you. As His children agree in prayer (Matt. 18:19), God’s answers are speeded.
The full history of how God uses the prayers of His children to prepare for revival is seldom known in this world. My dear friend Duncan Campbell, minister of the Church of Scotland and for many years the principal of the Faith Mission Training Home and Bible College in Edinburgh, shared with me some of the beginnings of the amazing Hebrides revival, known as “The Lewis Awakening.”
Two elderly women in the village of Barvas on the island of Lewis began nightly prayer times when they agreed together to pray for God to send revival to their community. Night after night they interceded before God. After some months, unknown to them, several godly young men began to meet nightly on the other edge of the village to pray for revival.
As the ladies prayed on, God revealed to them that the well-known Rev. Duncan Campbell would come to Barvas to lead them. When they wrote to him, he regretfully declined the invitation, saying his schedule was too crowded. They replied, “You may say you will not come, but God says you are coming!”
Some time later the pastor of the local Presbyterian church, James M. MacKay, attended one of the British Isles conventions. While there, Dr. T. Fitch suggested that he invite Mr. Campbell for special meetings.
In December 1949, Duncan Campbell finally reached the Hebrides to begin a series of meetings. After several nights God’s awesome presence fell upon the village, bringing deep conviction of sin. From there, the revival spread from village to village in a series of waves, continuing from 1949 through 1953, until the life of whole communities was transformed.
Many people, suddenly convicted by the Holy Spirit as they sat in their homes, fell on their faces before God and were powerfully converted. Others were seized by the Spirit as they walked down the street and dropped to their knees to pray. One night alone so many people were praying outside the police station that the officers had to send for the minister and Duncan Campbell.
Drinking houses were closed for lack of business. Buses came from across the island, bringing crowds to the meetings. Services lasted at times till two and three in the morning. Churches which had had an attendance of only four or five on Sunday mornings were now crowded week after week. Prayer meetings became the center of village life in many communities. The revival came from God, but as far as it can be humanly known, it began as God led two elderly ladies to agree together in prayer.
6. Invite others to join in special prayer meetings for revival. Local meetings can be called for the purpose of seeking God’s face. Letters may be sent to people even in distant places to join in intercession until God answers. Revival came to the OMS work in Peking, China, after the missionaries prayed and fasted each noon for six weeks. Some of the national pastors asked to join the group. Revival fell, spreading first to our city churches in Peking and then out to the village churches.
The great revival that swept America in 1857-58 was known as “The Revival of the United Prayer Meeting.” It began when one man invited some others to pray with him at noon on September 23, 1857, in the Dutch Reformed North Church in New York City. Gradually the crowds increased. As news of the prayer meeting reached outlying cities, other prayer groups sprang up.
After six months, ten thousand businessmen were meeting daily at noon in New York City alone. By May, fifty thousand had been converted in that city. United prayer meetings began to spread across New England, down the Ohio Valley to Texas, and across to the West Coast. Much of the United States and Canada was covered by this spirit of intercession fostered in the united prayer meetings.
Methodists reported eight thousand conversions in their churches in one week. Baptists reported seventeen thousand conversions over a three-week period. For two years there was an average increase of ten thousand weekly in the membership of churches across America. It is conservatively estimated that, of the total U.S. population of thirty million at that time, at least one million came to Christ in two years’ time.
That is nationwide revival. That is the sovereign working of God calling people to prayer and mightily answering that prayer. From the human standpoint, it began with one man in one city starting one prayer meeting for revival.
7. Do not grow weary of holding on in prayer. Prayer for local or national revival may continue for months or even several years before the full answer comes. Don’t give up. In God’s time revival will come if you persevere in prayer (Gal. 6:9).
Remember, you cannot choose the way God will work in revival. You cannot choose the people God will use in helping to bring revival. God has ordained to work through human instrumentality. You may never know all the people God was using in preparing the way for revival. But of this you can be sure, it is always God’s will to convict people of sin and bring them to repentance. It is always His will to visit His people anew with spiritual blessing and revival. Are you willing to be one of God’s channels for revival? Whatever He says to you, do it, and He will bless.
– Quoted from Touch the World through Prayer by Wesley L. Duewel. Copyright 1986. Used by permission of the Duewel Literature Trust, Inc., Greenwood, Indiana. Dr. Duewel’s books may be purchased by calling (317) 881-6755, Ext. 361.