December 18, 2017

Cry Aloud! Revive Us Again!

George Stiekes

O Lord, revive thy work Habakkuk 3:2

Wilbur Smith noted nine characteristics of revival in the Old Testament:

  1. They occurred in times of moral darkness and national depression;
  2. Each began in the heart of a consecrated servant of God who became the energizing power behind it;
  3. Each revival rested on the Word of God, and most were the result of proclaiming God’s Word with power;
  4. All resulted in a return to the worship of God;
  5. Each witnessed the destruction of idols where they existed;
  6. In each revival, there was a recorded separation from sin;
  7. In every revival the people returned to obeying God’s laws;
  8. There was a restoration of great joy and gladness;
  9. Each revival was followed by a period of national prosperity.

All of these revivals were experienced by God’s covenant people – Israel. Some add Jonah to this list, however, Jonah was more evangelistically oriented. There must be some type of spiritual life present before it can be revived. The emphasis in the Old Testament is on God’s people getting right with their maker and having their spiritual life restored and it always resulted in confession, repentance and a returning to God’s word and ways.

In the Revival that occurred in Wales in 1904-05, some of these nine characteristics took place, though sometimes in different ways.

  • There was a passionate enthusiasm among the crowds of people.
  • There was sobbing and weeping that could not be suppressed as the saints were getting right with God and with one another and grudges were healed.
  • There was a sense of the tragedy and shame of wasted lives.
  • The singing of spiritual songs and hymns were an important part of the meetings.
  • In the towns were the various revivals were being held, there was less cursing, drinking, idleness and gambling.
  • Besides the preaching of the Word of God, the people were sharing their testimonies about what God was doing in their lives through the revival and there was much time spent in prayer.
  • Stolen property and funds were returned.
  • Grocery stores gave testimony to improving sales because of money that had been diverted from local liquor sales.
  • At Ystradgynlais, some who had long quarreled about local politics and the administration of the Education Act were reconciled and united in the work of revival.
  • Parents were overcome with joyful tears and so choked up they could not speak when wayward children entered the services and returned to the Lord.
  • In the Iron and Coal Trades, non-unionists and unionists who formerly would not speak to one another were gathering at 5 a.m. to pray prior to doing the day’s work.

There will be no revival without prayer. Every believer should recognize that there are millions and millions of people who are going to a fiery, eternal, tormented hell. Can you imagine what our church prayer meetings would be like if every church member believed this truth. The meetings in Wales were typical where genuine revival has occurred. A period of extraordinary prayer preceded the meetings. Many of those who gathered early to pray for God to do a special work in them gathered following the meetings to thank God for what had taken place. When there were not church meetings, the saints would gather in homes for prayer and praise. It was not unusual for many of these gatherings to continue in prayer all night long.

Does any of this cause you inwardly to say, “Lord, do it again!” The question was asked in our last post: Do you really want revival? Just a quick glimpse of what is happening in our nation today ought to cause any believer to cry out for God to show Himself strong, first in our churches and then in our nation.

George Stiekes held successful pastorates in churches in Michigan and Washington among other places. He currently resides in North Carolina and blogs at Reverent Reflections. We recommend his ministry and republish his material by permission.

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