Saturday, November 24, 2007

The causes of true revival

Every revival has been commenced and attended by a large amount of prayer. In the city of New York at the present moment, there is not I believe, one single hour of the day, wherein Christians are not gathered together for prayer. One church opens its doors from five o’clock till six, for prayer; another church opens from six to seven, and summons its praying men to offer the sacrifice of supplication. Six o’clock is past, and men are gone to their labor; Another class find it then convenient such as those, perhaps, who go to business at eight or nine — and from seven to eight there is another prayer meeting. From eight to nine there is another, in another part of the city, and what is most marvellous, at high noon, from twelve to one, in the midst of the city of New York, there is held a prayer meeting in a large room, which is crammed to the doors every day, with hundreds standing outside. This prayer meeting is made up of merchants of the city, who can spare a quarter of an hour to go in and say a word of prayer, and then leave again; and then a fresh company come in to fill up the ranks so that it is supposed that many hundreds assemble in that one place for prayer during the appointed hour. This is the explanation of the revival.

If this were done in London — if we for once would outvie old Rome, who kept her monks in her sanctuaries, always at prayer, both by night and by day, — if we together could keep up one golden chain of prayer, link after link of holy brotherhood being joined together in supplication, then might we expect an abundant outpouring of the Divine Spirit from the Lord our God. The Holy Spirit as the actual agent — the Word preached, and the prayers of the people as the instruments — and we have thus explained the cause of a true revival of religion.

From a sermon entitled "The Great Revival," delivered March 28, 1858.

Flickr photo by Roberto Ferrari; some rights reserved.

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