Prayerlessness Is The Foe Of Revival
By M. W. Knapp
Spirit-given, heaven-sent revival, whether it be in the heart of one person or in a community, begins in the secret chamber of prevailing prayer. Anything that hinders steadfastness in prayer is a foe to revival. In order for one to pray effectively for revival, the following conditions must be met:
All sin must be given up.
He must pray with pure motives.
He must be willing that God shall use him, as He may will, to aid in the revival.
He must persist in pleading – until he feels sure that God hears and answers (Luke 18:1-8; 11:1-13).
He must make humble confession and when in his power, restitution where he may have wronged others.
He must be free from an unforgiving spirit. God has expressly declared that He will not heed the prayer of an unforgiving person (Matt. 6:12, 14-15; Mark 11:22-26).
He must be ready to seek a reconciliation with any who may have trespassed against him (Matt. 5:21-24).
He must pray in faith, “nothing wavering” (Jas. 1:5-7).
He must be willing to give the glory to God, not to his prayers or personal work or exhortation or sermons (1 Cor. 10:31).
Prayer Brings Revival
James Duncan, preaching with great unction and power, was asked what was the secret of such powerful preaching. “The secret,” he said, was “thirteen hours of consecutive prayer.”
When asked the secret of his spiritual power, Charles Spurgeon said: “Knee work! Knee work!”
Livingston of Shotts, on two different occasions, preached with such power that in each service 500 were converted. Both sermons were preceded by a night of prayer.
Charles Finney, after spending a day in the woods in prayer and fasting, preached at night in a phenomenally irreligious congregation. The sermon was accompanied by such divine power that the whole congregation, except one man, fell prostrate upon the floor, and voiced their agony under conviction of sin, in such loud outcries that the preacher was forced to stop.
Of John Vassar, the Tract Society colporteur, successful almost beyond comparison in his personal dealings with men, his pastor says: “He absolutely prayed day and night – prayed about everything, prayed for almost everything, prayed with almost everybody he met.
“He prayed when he went out and when he came in. He prayed before every religious service, and then prayed all the way through it. I have occupied the same room with him night after night, and rarely went to sleep without hearing him at prayer, or awoke without finding him in prayer.”