As I have been reading about the great revivals of God in the earlier days of this country and around the world. I hear many say, oh how we need revival! We need a mighty move of God across this land. The world and our nation are morally decaying. I would like to share in part a few stories that I have read from, “Revival Fires” by Wesley Duewel. What is different today than in those days of Spiritual Awakenings? What is missing today?
Charles Finney was greatly used of God in 1825 to spread the fires of revival to central New York. On a Thursday night the Lord brought much brokenness in the leadership of the church where he was preaching. It was on Sunday that God gave Finney a “burden of prayer.” The power of the Holy Spirit was so powerful that the people were gripped with conviction that they could not contain their emotions. Everyone that came into that town felt the overwhelming sense of God’s presence. The town was FULL of praying. As one would walk around town the sound of praying was everywhere. Finney lists the striking characteristics of the great moving of God and number one on his list was prevailing prayer. According to the Boston Recorder in the 4 months of 1831, 362 places experienced revivals. It was a day of prevailing prayer.
In 1898 while visiting the Keswick convention a Hindu woman named Pandita Ramabai, who had been converted pled with the 4,000 that attended to pray for a Spiritual movement in India like in America. She was at the time caring for some 2,000 girls in Bombay. For several months’ “prayer continued,” and 1200 girls accepted Christ as their Savior. Later another 600 were saved. Pandita started a prayer circle of 10 girls to pray for the salvation of others. That began to spread and encompass many other groups, and many were saved.
A man called, Rev. John Hyde in 1852 began to pray for revival. It was 12 years before he was granted his prayers. He would spend whole nights praying. Hyde became known as the “wrestler with God, a prince prevailing.”
As I read these and other accounts of the great awakenings of old, a couple of things stand out to me about them. God had given them the “burden of prayer.” It seems to me that we are asking for revival without asking for the “burden” (carrying a load, heavy laden, burdensome) to pray. God is the initiator. We cannot even pray without God impowering us. The second thing I noticed, it was months and even many years before God chose to answer their requests. We live in such a microwave society, our expectations are, “I want it yesterday.” We need to ask ourselves, are we willing to ask for the “burden” (carry the heavy load that will cost us time and energy). Are we willing to continue until God chooses to pour out His power on this land and receive the glory that is due Him. Each one must answer that question for themselves.