Wednesday, August 26, 2015

.Pray for revival

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I have been part of two mini revivals in my life.  Let me say quickly that I am not talking about revival meetings that often take place at campgrounds and churches.  The revival that I am talking about is a Christian revival; it is an increased spiritual interest or renewal in the life of a church congregation or society with a local, national or global effect. This should be distinguished from the use of the term "revival" to refer to an evangelistic meeting or series of meeting.

The first one  I experienced took place at the Grand Rapids School of the Bible and Music in 1974.  I was a freshmen at the time.  My friends and I in our dorm, Victor Hall, had been praying fervently for weeks.  We were praying for a revival.  One Spring  morning, I had read in my devotions that, "Nothing is impossible with God."  I had been wanting to give a testimony in chapel but protocol dictated a person had to stand up before seven hundred people and share their story. At that time I was not yet called to preach and I was very fearful of speaking in public.  In fact I had recently bought a book on how to be an effective public speaker. But God would show me on this morning that He could speak through me with power and conquer my fear. We traveled to chapel on a bus and often all of us students would sing hymns on our way to the school.

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 When it came testimony time, I knew God wanted me to say something but I was frozen with fear in my chair. I finally told myself that I was going to trust God. I stood up from my seat and suddenly there were seven hundred pairs of eyes staring at me, including the President of the College and many of my  professors. Now I was committed! I walked up in front of chapel took the microphone and began to speak.  I told them that I had been afraid but I decided to stand up and say a word for God.  When I was finished, many of them began to clap and yell, "Way to go preacher." After this other students began one by one to stand up and give their testimonies. The President of the Grand Rapids School of Bible of and Music came to the podium and said that because of the obvious movement of the Spirit of God he would cancel classes for that day. For about three hours young men and women shared stories of God's grace. Often during other historical revivals, believers have been convicted of hidden sin and  unbelievers are saved. At our mini revival at GRSBM I remember one young man standing up and saying, "I have been coming to school every day and I have been parking in a no parking zone."  He was weeping as he confessed his deception and his lack of respect for authority. This is a perfect example of the Holy Spirit's work in revival. There were similar stories related and I have never forgotten the impact of this in my own life!

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The second time I experienced a mini revival was while I was a Missionary Apprentice in Edinburgh, Scotland.  The missionary that I was working with took us to a place in Edinburgh called, "The Mound."  It was a place where anyone could come and speak to small groups of people about their passion.  My passion and the rest of my team was evangelism.  I went to a place where some young men had gathered and they were listening to an elderly man teach from the Bible.  (It was 1976 and I was 21 years old).
They were mocking him at the time; I mean really giving it to him.  I decided to lend some support so I spoke out and said that I agreed with the preacher of the gospel. He then, turned to me and said, "Young man would you like to say a word?"

As I begin to speak many people rushed to where I was standing.  I don't think that before this time I had ever preached but I had been part of an Evangelism Explosion team in my church and I had learned a gospel outline. So I began to preach, just using that outline.

The devil does not like gospel presentations and preaching.
The minute I opened my mouth, I saw a man out of the corner of my eye walking fast toward meHe began to say the Lord's name in vain and other blasphemies and he would not stop. I preached on.  I also began to encounter questions from others and one in particular came from a man who was a Buddhist.  His disciple was with him.  The Lord immediately brought Scripture to my mind and I was able to refute his false teaching.  Afterward a young couple told me that they were living together but "because of tonight" they decided to get married and make things right with their parents. People from many churches were praying for us six missionaries that night. We,too, had prayed for revival and for souls to be saved and God answered the prayers of all of us.  I hope that some of those we met were truly saved that night and that some day I will see them in Heaven. There is no greater joy than that! 

I would like to challenge you to pray for a revival in your own heart and then in the hearts and lives of others. Wouldn't it be great to see God move in that way? 
It would be an event you wouldn't forget!