How to Promote Revivals
D. L. Moody.
Believe in Revival
First, we must believe in revivals. I do not see "how any one who reads his Bible can say one word against revivals. Why, look at the great revivals in Moses' time, and those under Joshua and David and Josiah. Think of the great gathering that Ezra had, when all the people stood in the street all day for a revival meeting. Moreover, every denomination that I know anything about, is the result of some revival. The Episcopalians say that they are apostolic. That takes them back to Pentecost, when three thousand were converted in a single day. The Lutherans proclaim in their very name the great revival under Luther. The Quakers sprang from the revival under George Fox, the Methodists from that under the Wesleys, and more than that, four-fifths of the names on the church rolls today are those of persons converted in a revival. They make the best workers. They are more likely to hold out. A man converted and entering a cold church is like a baby thrown into a snow drift. But in times of revival the church is warm, ready to receive the new-born souls. I don't believe in spasmodic efforts, when the church rouses for a few days, only to go back to sleep again for a year or five years; but God has his special harvest seasons in nature, why not in grace? The longer I live, the more I believe in revivals.
Prepare the Way for Revival
But second, we must get things out of the way for a revival. When the Saviour came of old, John cried, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord." I believe that in many places the Spirit of the Lord is grieved, and His blessing is withheld, simply because we crowd Him out of our churches. We hold meetings during the week of prayer, and Christians are getting warmed and revived, and the hearts of sinners are melting, but the moment the week is over we clear the way for the sociables and lectures and concerts, things which distract the mind of the unconverted, and scatter their serious thoughts. Shall it be so in your churches this winter, brethren? Will you gratify the eyes and ears of the people around you without making one earnest effort to save their perishing souls? How important it is that the meetings should be continued, that room should be made for the Lord to work. What a wave of blessing would sweep over this country if our churches would all agree to let all these things go this winter, and give themselves with all their might to the work of saving souls!
Pray For Revival
And third, if we want a revival in our churches, we must pray for it. It isn't great preaching that we want, brethren, so much as it is great praying. The work is the Lord's, not man's; and if Gabriel were to preach to a church six months, not a soul would be revived, not a sinner would be converted, without the Holy Spirit. All our quickening must come from His blessed presence and power. And the earnest, importunate prayer of one person, one poor humble brother or sister who will not let God go without an answer, may call down the blessing. One of the first series of meetings I ever attended was started by a poor, sick man, who, lying flat on his back, became so exercised over the condition of the church that he could not rest. The church was dead, and the young folks around all unsaved. He sent for the brethren of the church, and entreated them to pray for a revival. But they were too cold, and too much wrapped up in the world. Then he sent for the sisters, and begged them to pray, and at last a few of them did so. The Lord revived their hearts. Others were added to them, and when I came they had been before God many days entreating for a blessing. The first night I preached, all was cold. It seemed like beating the air. But that night at midnight the son of one of the elders came down to his father's room, crying out, "Father, pray for my lost soul." The Lord came suddenly to his Temple, and we had a great blessing. Now, is there any one so weak or humble that he or she can't do as much as that sick man did? You can pray yourself, and perhaps you can get some one else to unite with you in prayer, and the Lord will add to your numbers, and your own souls will be revived. And once let the church be set on fire of God, and there will be no trouble about the unconverted. Red hot coals will kindle a fire wherever they fall.
Work For Revival
But fourth, and last, not only pray for revival, but work for it. Many folks act as if the verse in the Bible were, “Let him that heareth pray, come." They pray for their friends, their children—they have prayed for them for years, but they have never said, come. "Let him that heareth say, come." How many men in this city today only need an invitation to bring them to Christ! How many mothers have talked to their children about their behavior, their dress, their studies, but never one word about their souls! "Ah," you say, "I can't talk to them when my own life is so inconsistent!" And that is true. The less any Christian indulging in known sin says about religion the better; but that does not lessen, it only increases, our responsibility. It is as if a father should command a child to do something, and the child should tie up his own hands, and say, “Father, I can't." Come out from that sin —from all sin—for the sake of the souls who are stumbling over you into perdition. Don't wait a moment. Go to them and confess your unfaithfulness, and ask them right then and there to come to Christ. Would not the Spirit use such a witness as that would be?
Take Responsibility For Revival
Brethren, we have this matter of a revival very largely in our own hands. God is ready—are we? Do we really want a revival more than anything else in the world? Are we praying for it? Are we determined to pray for it until it comes! Are we living such lives that God can hear us? "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." Are we saying "Come," as well as praying it? The Lord help us all to prepare the way of the Lord, that He may come among us in power.— D. L. Moody, S. S. Times.