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Paying The Price of Revival (Part Two)
by Stuart Robinson
Revd Dr Stuart Robinson is the Senior Pastor at the Blackburn Baptist Church, Victoria, Australia.
Luke 11: 1 - "Lord teach us to pray."
The social impact of reformed lives was incredible.
William Wilberforce, William Pitt, Edmund Bourke, and Charles Fox, all
touched by this movement, worked ceaselessly for the abolition of the
slave trade in 1807. William Buxton worked on for the emancipation of
all slaves in the British Empire and saw it happen in 1834. John Howard
and Elizabeth Fry gave their lives to radically reform the prison
system. Florence Nightingale founded modern nursing. Ashley Cooper, the
seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, came to the rescue of the working poor to
end their sixteen-hour, seven-day-a-week work grind. He worked to stop
exploitation of women and children in coal mines, the suffocation of
boys as sweeps in chimneys. He established public parks and gymnasia,
gardens, public libraries, night schools and choral societies.
The prayer movement had a tremendous impact, but waned until the middle of the 19th century. Then God started something up in Canada, and the necessity to pray was picked up in New York. A quiet man called Jeremiah Lanphier had been appointed by the Dutch Reformed Church as a missionary to the central business district. Because the church was in decline and the life of the city was somewhat similar, he did not know what to do. He was a layman. He called a prayer meeting in the city to be held at noon each Wednesday . Its first meeting was on the 23rd September 1857. Eventually five other men turned up. Two weeks later, they decided to move to a daily schedule of prayer. Within six months, 10,000 men were gathering to pray and that movement spread across America. Surprise, surprise! Within two years there were one million new believers added to the church.
The movement swept out to touch England, Scotland, Wales and Ulster. Ireland was as tough a nut to crack as any. But when news reached Ireland of what was happening in America, James McQuilkan gathered three young men to meet for prayer in the Kells schoolhouse on March 14, 1859. They prayed and prayed for revival within a couple of months a similar prayer meeting was launched in Belfast. By September 21, 20,000 people assembled to pray for the whole of Ireland. It was later estimated that 100,000 converts resulted directly from these prayer movements in Ireland. It has also been estimated that in the years 1859-60 1,150,000 people were added to the church, wherever concerts of prayer were in operation.
Many would be aware of the Welsh Revival this century. lt
commenced in October 1904. It was spontaneous and was characterized by
simultaneous, lengthy prayer meetings. 1n the first two months, 70,000
people came to the Lord. In 1905 in London alone, the Wesleyan
Methodists increased from their base membership of 54,785 by an
additional 50,021 people. Coming closer in time and nearer to Australia,
in the Enga churches in Papua New Guinea there was a desperate spiritual
state 20 years ago. To redress the situation, people there committed
themselves to pray. Prayer meetings began amongst pastors, missionaries
and Bible College students. It spread out to the villages. In some
villages, groups of people agreed to pray together every day until God
sent new life to the church.
Spectacular growth is occurring in Argentina. Jose Luis
Vasquez saw his church explode from 600 to 4,500 with a constituency of
10,000 members in five years following a visit from Carlos Annacondia.
Hector Gimenez started his church from zero in 1983. His congregation
now numbers 70,000. Omar Cabrera started his church in 1972 with 15
members. There is now a combined membership of 90,000 members. Peter
Wagner, who is intensely investigating what lies behind such effective
ministry, has arrived at the conclusion that powerful intercessory
prayer is the chief weapon. Much of it is happening in a Pentecostal,
charismatic environment but the structure or doctrine is not the
essential thing. Walter Hollenwager, a prolific researcher into
Pentecostalism said that for them, from the earliest Pentecostals
onwards, it was more important to pray than to organize (1972:29).
Wherever that principle is invoked, amazing things happen. East Germany
started to form small groups of ten to twelve persons committed to meet
to pray for peace.
Will we "pray the price"?
Today there is great pressure from many directions in our
society to work harder, to become smarter, to produce results, or to be
moved aside. The church in many Western countries is in danger of
absorbing this mentality into its own attitudes and practices,
forgetting that in the divine-human endeavor, success comes not by might
nor by power but by a gracious release of God"s Holy Spirit (Zechariah
4:6). Years ago, R. A. Torrey (1974:190) said, "We live in a day
characterized by the multiplication of man"s machinery and the
diminution of God"s power. The great cry of our day is work, work, work!
Organize, organize, organize! Give us some new society! Tell us some new
methods! Devise some new machinery! But the great need of our day is
prayer, more prayer and better prayer." Friends, in the church in the
west we now have the most up to date, state of the art technology
available to communicate the Gospel.
David Bryant(1984)i Concerts of Prayer Ventura, California: Ventura Paul Y Cho (1984) i Prayer: Key to Revival. Waco, Texas: Word. S D Gordon (1983) "Prayer, the greatest thing; Australia's New Day, April, 40. Walter J Hollenwager (1972) The Pentecostals. Minneapolis, Minnesota:Augsburg. Greg 0"Connor (1990) "Miracles in Cuba; New Day, May. Devid Shibley (1985) i Let"s Pray in the Harvest. Rockwall, Texas: Church on the Rock R A Torrey (1974) i The Power of Prayer. Grand Rapids, Michigan Zondervan. Bob J Whillhite (1988) i Why pray? Altamonte Springs, Florida: Creation House.
Copyright Stuart Robinson. First published by the Australian Baptist Missionary Society, 1992. Used by permission.
This article may be freely reproduced for non-profit ministry purposes but may not be sold in any way. For permission to use articles in your ministry, e-mail the editor, John Edmiston at email@example.com. Source: http://www.globalchristians.org/starterkit/gospel1.htm. Used with permission from John Edmiston - www.globalchristians.org
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