[anzac] "PRAYER Brought REVIVAL"

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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2006 19:17:30 -0600
"PRAYER brought REVIVAL"
-by J. Edwin Orr.

[J. Edwin Orr was one of the foremost authorities on Revival in the
last century. This article, based on one of his messages, is
adapted from articles reproduced in the National Fellowship for 
Revival newsletters in New Zealand and Australia].
-------------------------------------

Dr A. T. Pierson once said, 'There has never been a spiritual 
awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united 
prayer.' Let me recount what God has done through concerted, 
united, sustained prayer. 

Not many people realize that in the wake of the American 
Revolution (following 1776-1781) there was a moral slump. 
Drunkenness became epidemic. Out of a population of five million, 
300,000 were confirmed drunkards; they were burying fifteen 
thousand of them each year. Profanity was of the most shocking 
kind. For the first time in the history of the American settlement, 
women were afraid to go out at night for fear of assault. Bank 
robberies were a daily occurrence. 

What about the churches? The Methodists were losing more 
members than they were gaining. The Baptists said that they had 
their most wintry season. The Presbyterians in general assembly 
deplored the nation's ungodliness. In a typical Congregational 
church, the Rev. Samuel Shepherd of Lennos, Massachusetts, in 
sixteen years had not taken one young person into fellowship. 
The Lutherans were so languishing that they discussed uniting with 
Episcopalians who were even worse off. The Protestant Episcopal 
Bishop of New York, Bishop Samuel Provost, quit functioning; he 
had confirmed no one for so long that he decided he was out of 
work, so he took up other employment. 

The Chief Justice of the United States, John Marshall, wrote to the 
Bishop of Virginia, James Madison, that the Church 'was too far 
gone ever to be redeemed.' Voltaire averred and Tom Paine echoed, 
'Christianity will be forgotten in thirty years. 

Take the liberal arts colleges at that time. A poll taken at Harvard 
had  discovered not one believer in the whole student body. They 
took a poll at Princeton, a much more evangelical place, where 
they discovered only two believers in the student body, and only 
five that did not belong to the filthy speech movement of that day.
Students rioted. They held a mock communion at Williams College, 
and they put on antiChristian plays at Dartmouth. They burned 
down the Nassau Hall at Princeton. They forced the resignation of 
the president of Harvard. They took a Bible out of a local 
Presbyterian church in New Jersey, and they burnt it in a public
bonfire. Christians were so few on campus in the 1790's that they 
met in secret, like a communist cell, and kept their minutes in 
code so that no one would know.

How did the situation change? It came through a concert of prayer. 

There was a Scottish Presbyterian minister in Edinburgh named 
John Erskine, who published a Memorial (as he called it) pleading 
with the people of Scotland and elsewhere to unite in prayer for 
the revival of religion. He sent one copy of this little book to 
Jonathan Edwards in New England. The great theologian was so
moved he wrote a response which grew longer than a letter, so 
that finally he published it is a book entitled 'A Humble Attempt to 
Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of all God's People 
in Extraordinary Prayer for the Revival of Religion and the 
Advancement of Christ's Kingdom on Earth, pursuant to Scripture
Promises and Prophecies...' 

Is not this what is missing so much from all our evangelistic efforts: 
explicit agreement, visible unity, unusual prayer? 

1792 - 1800 

This movement had started in Britain through William Carey, 
Andrew Fuller and John Sutcliffe and other leaders who began what 
the British called the Union of Prayer. Hence, the year after John 
Wesley died (he died in 1791), the second great awakening began 
and swept Great Britain. 

In New England, there was a man of prayer named Isaac Backus, 
a Baptist pastor, who in 1794, when conditions were at their worst, 
addressed an urgent plea for prayer for revival to pastors of every 
Christian denomination in the United States. 

Churches knew that their backs were to the wall. All the churches 
adopted the plan until America, like Britain was interlaced with a 
network of prayer meetings, which set aside the first Monday of 
each month to pray. It was not long before revival came. 

When the revival reached the frontier in Kentucky, it encountered a 
people really wild and irreligious. Congress had discovered that in 
Kentucky there had not been more than one court of justice held 
in five years. Peter Cartwright, Methodist evangelist, wrote that 
when his father had settled in Logan County, it was known as 
Rogue's Harbour. The decent people in Kentucky formed regiments 
of vigilantes to fight for law and order, then fought a pitched battle 
with outlaws and lost. 

There was a ScotchIrish Presbyterian minister named James 
McGready whose chief claim to fame was that he was so ugly that 
he attracted attention. McGready settled in Logan County, pastor 
of three little churches. He wrote in his diary that the winter of 
1799 for the most part was 'weeping and mourning with the people 
of God.' Lawlessness prevailed everywhere. 

McGready was such a man of prayer that not only did he promote 
the concert of prayer every first Monday of the month, but he got 
his people to pray for him at sunset on Saturday evening and 
sunrise Sunday morning. Then in the summer of 1800 come the 
great Kentucky revival. Eleven thousand people came to a 
communion service. McGready hollered for help, regardless of denomination. 

Out of that second great awakening, came the whole modern 
missionary movement and its societies. Out of it came the 
abolition of slavery, popular education, Bible Societies, Sunday 
Schools, and many social benefits accompanying the evangelistic drive. 

1858 - 1860 

Following the second great awakening, which began in 1792 just 
after the death of John Wesley and continued into the turn of the 
century, conditions again deteriorated. This is illustrated from the 
United States. 

The country was seriously divided over the issue of slavery, and 
second, people were making money lavishly. 

In September 1857, a man of prayer, Jeremiah Lanphier, started a 
businessmen's prayer meeting in the upper room of the Dutch 
Reformed Church Consistory Building in Manhattan. In response to 
his advertisement, only six people out of a population of a million 
showed up. But the following week there were fourteen, and then 
twenty-three when it was decided to meet everyday for prayer. By 
late winter they were filling the Dutch Reformed Church, then the 
Methodist Church on John Street, then Trinity Episcopal Church 
on Broadway at Wall Street. In February and March of 1858, every 
church and public hall in down town New York was filled. 

Horace Greeley, the famous editor, sent a reporter with horse and 
buggy racing round the prayer meetings to see how many men 
were praying. In one hour he could get to only twelve meetings, but 
he counted 6,100 men attending. 

Then a landslide of prayer began, which overflowed to the churches 
in the evenings. People began to be converted, ten thousand a 
week in New York City alone. The movement spread throughout 
New England, the church bells bringing people to prayer at eight 
in the morning, twelve noon, and six in the evening. The revival 
raced up the Hudson and down the Mohawk, where the Baptists, 
for example, had so many people to baptise that they went down 
to the river, cut a big hole in the ice, and baptised them in the 
cold water. When Baptists do that they are really on fire! 

More than a million people were converted to God in one year out 
of a population of thirty million. Then that same revival jumped the 
Atlantic, appeared in Ulster, Scotland and Wales, then England, 
parts of Europe, South Africa and South India anywhere there 
was an evangelical cause. It sent mission pioneers to many 
countries. Effects were felt for forty years. Having begun in a 
movement of prayer, it was sustained by a movement of prayer. 

1904 - 1905 

That movement lasted for a generation, but at the turn of the 
century there was need of awakening again. A general movement 
of prayer began, with special prayer meetings at Moody Bible 
Institute, at Keswick Conventions in England, and places as far 
apart as Melbourne, Wonsan in Korea, and the Nilgiri Hills of India. 
So all around the world believers were praying that there might be 
another great awakening in the twentieth century. 

* * * 

In the revival of 1905, I read of a young man who became a famous 
professor, Kenneth Scott Latourette. He reported that, at Yale in 
1905, 25% of the student body were enrolled in prayer meetings 
and in Bible study. 

As far as churches were concerned, the ministers of Atlantic City 
reported that of a population of fifty thousand there were only fifty 
adults left unconverted.

Take Portland in Oregon: two hundred and forty major stores 
closed from 11 to 2 each day to enable people to attend prayer 
meetings, signing an agreement so that no one would cheat and stay open. 

Take First Baptist Church of Paducah in Kentucky: the pastor, an 
old man, Dr J. J. Cheek, took a thousand members in two months 
and died of overwork, the Southern Baptists saying, 'a glorious 
ending to a devoted ministry.' 

That is what was happening in the United States in 1905. But how 
did it begin? 

* * * 

Most people have heard of the Welsh Revival which started in 1904. 
It began as a movement of prayer. 

Seth Joshua, the Presbyterian evangelist, came to Newcastle 
Emlyn College where a former coal miner, Evan Roberts aged 26, 
was studying for the ministry. The students were so moved that 
they asked if they could attend Joshua's next campaign nearby. 
So they cancelled classes to go to Blaenanerch where Seth
Joshua prayed publicly, 'O God, bend us.' 

Evan Roberts went forward where he prayed with great agony, 'O 
God, bend me.' 

Upon his return he could not concentrate on his studies. He went 
to the principal of his college and explained, 'I keep hearing a 
voice that tells me I must go home and speak to our young people 
in my home church. Principal Phillips, is that the voice of the devil 
or the voice of the Spirit?' 

Principal Phillips answered wisely, 'The devil never gives orders 
like that. You can have a week off.' 

So he went back home to Loughor and announced to the pastor, 
'I've come to preach.' 

The pastor was not at all convinced, but asked, 'How about 
speaking at the prayer meeting on Monday?' 

He did not even let him speak to the prayer meeting, but told the 
praying people, 'Our young brother, Evan Roberts, feels he has a 
message for you if you care to wait.' 

Seventeen people waited behind, and were impressed with the 
directness of the young man's words. 

Evan Roberts told his fellow members, 'I have a message for you 
from God. 

* You must confess any known sin to God and put any wrong 
done to others right. 

* Second, you must put away any doubtful habit. 

* Third, you must obey the Spirit promptly. 

* Finally, you must confess your faith in Christ publicly.' 

By ten o'clock all seventeen had responded. The pastor was so 
pleased that he asked, 'How about your speaking at the mission 
service tomorrow night? Midweek service Wednesday night?' 

He preached all week, and was asked to stay another week. Then 
the break came. 

Suddenly the dull ecclesiastical columns in the Welsh papers changed: 

'Great crowds of people drawn to Loughor.' 

The main road between Llanelly and Swansea on which the church 
was situated was packed with people trying to get into the church. 
Shopkeepers closed early to find a place in the big church. 

Now the news was out. A reporter was sent down and he 
described vividly what he saw: a strange meeting which closed at 
4.25 in the morning, and even then people did not seem willing to 
go home. There was a very British summary: 'I felt that this was 
no ordinary gathering.' 

Next day, every grocery shop in that industrial valley was emptied 
of groceries by people attending the meetings, and on Sunday 
every church was filled. 

The movement went like a tidal wave over Wales, in five months 
there being a hundred thousand people converted throughout the 
country. Five years later, Dr J. V. Morgan wrote a book to debunk 
the revival, his main criticism being that, of a hundred thousand 
joining the churches in five months of excitement, after five years 
only seventy-five thousand still stood in the membership of those
churches! 

The social impact was astounding. For example, judges were 
presented with white gloves, not a case to try; no robberies, no 
burglaries, no rapes, no murders, and no embezzlements, nothing. 
District councils held emergency meetings to discuss what to do 
with the police now that they were unemployed. 

In one place the sergeant of police was sent for and asked, 'What 
do you do with your time?' 

He replied, 'Before the revival, we had two main jobs, to prevent 
crime and to control crowds, as at football games. Since the revival 
started there is practically no crime. So we just go with the crowds.' 

A councillor asked, 'What does that mean?' 

The sergeant replied, 'You know where the crowds are. They are 
packing out the churches.' 

'But how does that affect the police?' 

He was told, 'We have seventeen police in our station, but we have 
three quartets, and if any church wants a quartet to sing, they 
simply call the  police station.' 

As the revival swept Wales, drunkenness was cut in half. There 
was a wave of bankruptcies, but nearly all taverns. There was even 
a slowdown in the mines, for so many Welsh coal miners were 
converted and stopped using bad language that the horses that 
dragged the coal trucks in the mines could not understand what
was being said to them. 

That revival also affected sexual moral standards. I had discovered 
through the figures given by British government experts that in 
Radnorshire and Merionethshire the illegitimate birth rate had 
dropped 44% within a year of the beginning of the revival. 

The revival swept Britain, Scandinavia, Germany, North America, 
Australasia, Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Chile. 

As always, it began through a movement of prayer. 

What do we mean by extraordinary prayer? We share ordinary 
prayer in regular worship services, before meals, and the like. But 
when people are found getting up at six in the morning to pray, or 
having a half night of prayer until midnight, or giving up their lunch 
time to pray at noonday prayer meetings, that is extraordinary 
prayer. It must be united and concerted. 
__________________________________ 
(c) Renewal Journal #1 (93:1), Brisbane, Australia, pp. 1318. 
http://www.renewaljournal.com/ 
[Reproduction is allowed as long as the copyright remains intact 
with the text]. 
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