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Banned!? Asleep in the Light by Keith Green

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matt 28: 18-20 ESV

John Wesley died on the 2nd March 1791. On horseback, preaching two or three times a day. He was well travelled. It is said he rode 250,000 miles, gave away 30,000 pounds and preached more than 40,000 sermons. In one of his famous sermons he exclaimed:

Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.

Keith Green

21st October 1953, saw the birth of a man who was yet to catch the fire and enthusiasm for evangelism in a whole new dimension. Burn indeed he did. An evangelist at heart and a musician by gifting, Keith Gordon Green however died young at the tender age of twenty eight in 1982.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. – 1Co 9:24 ESV

However short Keith Green’s life was, his music and lyrical content are the stuff of legend. No wonder he was taken early to join in worship in that celestial city he sang of that God has been working on for the last two thousand years. But his memoirs remain with us to inspire and beckon us to bring others to the knowledge of God’s grace. Songs written by Green include Your Love Broke Through, You Put This Love In My Heart, and Asleep in the Light, as well as the popular modern hymns O Lord, You’re Beautiful and There Is A Redeemer.

In the words of Mark Anthony in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, here indeed was a gospel lyricist, when comes another? This day I pay tribute to the one song that I consider his swan song and an evangelist’s anthem, Asleep in the Light.

Asleep in the Light is a song that should be banned in any church that has sold out with out reaching out. Its a song that should not grace any i-pod unless you want to remain awake in the night wondering what ever happened to that sales man who knocked on your door that you will never see again or that bus driver who took you to work.

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? Rom 10:14 ESV

Excerpts from Asleep in the Light:

“Oh bless me Lord, bless me Lord”

You know it’s all I ever hear

No one aches, no one hurts

No one even sheds one tear

But He cries, He weeps, He bleeds

And He cares for your needs

And you just lay back

And keep soaking it in,

Oh, can’t you see it’s such a sin?

The world is sleeping in the dark

That the church just can’t fight

Cause it’s asleep in the light

How can you be so dead

When you’ve been so well fed

Jesus rose from the grave

And you, you can’t even get out of bed                  By Keith Green (1953-1982)

In Keith’s life there was never an option called compromise.  After reaching unprecedented success and fame following the release of his first album, Keith was later to write the following extract:

At concerts I get countless questions about this, and I also get lots of letters and even some long-distance phone calls from many people who feel they are only “called” into the music “ministry.” One day I began to ask myself why so few have ever asked me how to become a missionary, or even a local street preacher, or how to disciple a new believer. It seems everyone would prefer the “bright lights” of what they think a music ministry would be, rather than the mud and obscurity of the mission field, or the streets of the ghetto, or even the true spiritual sweetness of just being a nobody whom the Lord uses mightily in small “everyday” ways.

My answer to their question is almost always the same. “Are you willing to never play music again? Are you willing to be a nothing? Are you willing to go anywhere and do anything for Christ? Are you willing to stay right where you are and let the Lord do great things through you, though no one may seem to notice at all?”

ARE You?

“This generation of Christians is responsible for this generation of souls on the earth!” – K. Green

Youtube: Asleep in the Light

Links: Last Days Ministries

Christ, our Light

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?
Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983)
Clippings from My Notebook: writings of and sayings collected, Nashville: T. Nelson, 1982, p. 64

……Many Christians world wide are praying for Spiritual Revival to sweep across our globe. Some are seeing incredible revivals in their areas, such as parts of Africa, South America, Asia and Oceania.

—–But what does it take to experience revival where you are? First and foremost, Spiritual Revivals are not the work of human hands. Despite the advances in technology and media, man made programs do not generate nor guarantee Spiritual Revivals. They are the product of the Sovereign Work of God, but it is a Work that is done in response to the devotion of even one godly man or woman.

—–In 1867, an evangelist challenged a young man with the words,

“The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in
a man (or woman) who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.”

—–The young man heard that challenge and thought to himself, “I want to be that man!” That young man’s name was Dwight L. Moody who went on to preach the Gospel to 100 million people, build a Bible Institute and incite spiritual revival across two nations! An examination of Spiritual Revivals past will reveal that they are always born in the hearts of consecrated people.

—–God looks into the hearts of people. He will use any man or woman whose heart is “wholly consecrated to Him”. You and I must ask ourselves, ‘How important to us is it to be used of God?’, for He will not use wishy washy, double minded, fence sitting or worldly minded Believers. We must choose where we want our lives to count … either for God or in the world … the value of which D.L. Moody described as ‘dust on a balance’.

—–What is God looking for? He is looking for a person who is willing to fulfill His conditions for revival as outlined in 2 Chronicles 7:14.

———-“and (if) My people who are called by My name
—————humble themselves and
—————pray and
—————seek My face and
—————turn from their wicked ways,
———–then I
—————will hear from heaven,
—————will forgive their sin and
—————will heal their land.”

  • Whose ‘people’ is God speaking to?
  • How are they described?
  • What are God’s four conditions?
  • What are God’s three promises?

—–The context of 2 Chronicles 7:14 is the dedication of the just completed Temple which Solomon built in Jerusalem in response to God’s Word to his father, King David. Solomon offers a prayer on behalf of the nation, beseeching the Almighty to be merciful toward them when, during future times of trials, they pray with a contrite heart toward the City and Temple of His Name. In the quiet of the night, God appears to Solomon and gives him the answer to his prayer. In God’s answer is found this verse outlining His conditions for national spiritual healing. He begins …

(If) ‘My people who are called by My Name …
—–God’s conditions for national spiritual revival are limited to His people, and only to His people. To be specific, the people that are called by God’s Name … the Israelites in the Old Testament and through His Son, the Christians in the New.
—–If it were up to me, I would have put these conditions on the nonbelievers. After all, aren’t they the ones who need to be revived? But God’s ways are not our ways, but higher than our ways!
—–God does not require every citizen to respond to His offer, but He does require His people to, because He has chosen to work through us! Why? I don’t know, but if we fail, God’s healing will not come. So what does He require of us?

‘Humble Themselves and Pray’
—–The four conditions required by God of His people can be grouped into two pairs with the latter condition in each pair dependent on the first. In the first pair, most people would have put Prayer as the first condition. But prayer without humility is a wasted activity. Only the genuinely humble person can offer a sincere prayer, for he alone is convinced of his helplessness and God’s all powerfulness.
—–But be sure of this, no one can make us humble. They may humiliate us, but that will only result in anger or resentment, not humility. Only we can humble ourselves, just as Jesus humbled Himself when He obeyed His Father and willingly gave His life for us (Philippians 2:8). If we are not humble, it is not because we cannot be, but because we will not be.
—–Pride is what keeps us from humility. Our belief that we can fulfill our own needs … that we can take care of ourselves … that we don’t need help, thank you! But the truth is that we can’t and that we do. And the greater truth is that we are completely dependent on God, our Creator and Sustainer, who provides our daily needs, the strength to make it through each day and every breath we take! We need Him whether we know Him or not, for without God’s mercy, each of us would drop dead as surely as a rock hitting the ground. Nothing good happens without His involvement, and until we open our eyes to this truth, we will never pray with the fervency that shakes the throne of the Almighty.

‘Seek My Face and Turn From Their Wicked Ways’
—–God ratchets up the conditions of His offer with the second pair. It is not enough to Humble ourselves nor to Pray. He desires us to Seek His Face. There are at least two instances of people seeing, or asking to see God’s face.
—–One was when Jacob wrestled with God and said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.” The second was when Moses asked to see God’s glory and was told, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” First, how do you explain the seeming contradiction? Simply, that Jacob saw the face of God filtered through the form of a theophany, the physical and visible manifestation of Jesus in the Old Testament, while Moses was asking to see God’s face in all it’s glory. No sinner can survive the unfiltered vision of the Holy God and live!
—–So what is God requiring of us? That we stand before Him person to person, face to face, stripped bare of our superficiality and completely naked to His omniscient gaze, open to His search of our hearts and our minds, and giving Him absolute freedom to take, alter or replace anything He deems evil, or dirty, or harmful to us … Anything!
—–Only when you truly gaze into the eyes of the One who is pure holiness, of the One who loves you supremely just as you are, of the One who was willing to sacrifice His very Son for you, will you be willing to turn from the pleasures that cling to your flesh, that hold you a prisoner in your lusts, that keeps you from being all that God wants you to be. Only then will you be able to break free from the spell that draws you to the forces of darkness and turn towards the pure light of God.
—--And turn you must! For unless you do, your faith is lacking in conviction. God will not be mocked! He will not be swayed by sweet words, or by expressed emotions or by feigned obedience. His holy pleasure will only come upon those who will take their stand with Him, who will resist the temptations of the dark lord and turn their backs on the empty promises of this world.
—–This will be possible for those who have humbled themselves before the Almighty, who have covenanted to walk with Him in continuous prayer and who have been captured by His Glorious Being. For them, the rejection of the world’s pleasures comes freely for they have seen what has captured the godly men and women of old … the eternal joy, peace and glory of God’s presence!
—–Don’t you desire to be numbered among them? To align your life with the things that really matter and count for eternity? For to them, God makes the following promises:

‘Then I Will Hear From Heaven’
—–Doesn’t God always hear? Of course He does, but in Scripture, when God says He hears, He is saying He will answer as well (see 1 John 5:14-15)! Those who will meet His conditions will see their prayers fulfilled! And the reason is simple. The ones meeting God’s conditions have so tuned their hearts to His that their every prayer is His Prayer and His Will as well.

‘Will Forgive Their Sin’
—–To hear the words, ‘I forgive you’, from the lips of God is a salve to the penitent sinner. It is the promise of a new start, of a new life and of a new relationship with God.
—–With forgiveness comes renewal and the restoration of our intimacy with our heavenly Father, resulting in spiritual growth. But God’s promise also extends to the physical realm.

‘And Heal Their Land’
—–When God’s people fulfill God’s conditions, all people experience God’s blessings. Scripture reveals the relationship between the spiritual world and the physical. Natural catastrophes can be a sign of God’s judgment and prosperity an indication of His pleasure.

—–Is your ‘Land’ in need of God’s healing? Is your community or nation falling away from God’s morals? Is the love of pleasure, wealth, or social status replacing the love for neighbors? Are natural catastrophes occurring that destroy the land’s productivity and life?
—–The ultimate solution is in the hands of God’s people. They are the key to God’s forgiveness and healing that can revive all people to a new spiritual awareness and relationship with the Creator.

—–And it starts with one godly person who will say, ‘I want to be that man!’

Is that person you?


Often when we “confess” to God, we confess wrong words, attitudes and actions to him.

However, it is also good to confess those things we should have said and thought and done.

The Book of Common Prayer is helpful in this regard. In our prayers, we need to admit to the Lord:

“We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done.”

A SIMPLE WAY TO PRAY

by Martin Luther

I will tell you as best I can what I do personally when I pray. May our dear Lord grant to you and to everybody to do it better than I! Amen. First, when I feel that I have become cool and joyless in prayer because of other tasks or thoughts (for the flesh and the devil always impede and obstruct prayer), I take my little Psalter, hurry to my room, or, if it be the day and hour for it, to the church where a congregation is assembled and, as time permits, I say quietly to myself and word-for-word the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and, if I have time, some words of Christ or of Paul, or some psalms, just as a child might do. It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last at night. Guard yourself carefully against those false, deluding ideas, which tell you, “Wait a little while. I will pray in an hour; first I must attend to this or that.” Such thoughts get you away from prayer into other affairs which so hold your attention and involve you that nothing comes of prayer for that day. It may well be that you may have some tasks which are as good, or better than prayer, especially in an emergency. There is a saying ascribed to St. Jerome that everything a believer does is prayer1 and a proverb, “He who works faithfully prays twice.” This can be said because a believer fears and honors God in his work and remembers the commandment not to wrong anyone, or to try to steal, defraud, or cheat. Such thoughts and such faith undoubtedly transform his work into prayer and a sacrifice of praise. On the other hand it is also true that the work of an unbeliever is outright cursing and so he who works faithlessly curses twice. While he does his work his thoughts are occupied with a neglect of God and violation of his law, how to take advantage of his neighbor, how to steal from him and defraud him. What else can such thoughts be but out and out curses against God and man, which makes one’s work and effort a double curse by which a man curses himself. In the end they are beggars and bunglers. It is of such continual prayer that Christ says in Luke 11, “Pray without ceasing,”2 because one must unceasingly guard against sin and wrong-doing, something one cannot do unless one fears God and keeps his commandment in mind, as Psalm 1 [:1, 2] says, “Blessed is he who meditates upon his law day and night.” Yet we must be careful not to break the habit of true prayer and imagine other works to be necessary which, after all, are nothing of the kind. Thus at the end we become lax and lazy, cool and listless toward prayer. The devil who besets us is not lazy or careless, and our flesh is too ready and eager to sin and is disinclined to the spirit of prayer. When your heart has been warmed by such recitation to yourself [of the Ten Commandments, the words of Christ, etc.] and is intent upon the matter, kneel or stand with your hands folded and your eyes toward heaven and speak or think as briefly as you can: O Heavenly Father, dear God, I am a poor unworthy sinner. I do not deserve to raise my eyes or hands toward thee or to pray. But because thou hast commanded us all to pray and hast promised to hear us and through thy dear Son Jesus Christ hast taught us best how and what to pray, I come to thee in obedience to thy word, trusting in thy gracious promise. I pray in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ together with all thy saints and Christians on earth as he has taught us: Our Father who art, etc., through the whole prayer, word for word. Then repeat one part or as much as you wish, perhaps the first petition: “Hallowed be thy name,” and say: “Yes, Lord God, dear Father, hallowed be thy name, both in us and throughout the whole world. Destroy and root out the abominations, idolatry, and heresy of the Turk, the pope, and all false teachers and fanatics who wrongly use thy name and in scandalous ways take it in vain and horribly blaspheme it. They insistently boast that they teach thy word and the laws of the church, though they really use the devil’s deceit and trickery in thy name to wretchedly seduce many poor souls throughout the world, even killing and shedding much innocent blood, and in such persecution they believe that they render thee a divine service. Dear Lord God, convert and restrain [them]. Convert those who are still to be converted that they with us and we with them may hallow and praise thy name, both with true and pure doctrine and with a good and holy life. Restrain those who are unwilling to be converted so that they be forced to cease from misusing, defiling, and dishonoring thy holy name and from misleading the poor people. Amen.”
A Simple Way to Pray continues here .

[http://www.blc.net.my/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/a-simple-way-to-pray-luther.pdf].

Prayer and Revival – J. Edwin Orr

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; 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 (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 Scotch-Irish 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 it’s 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 baptize that they went down to the river, cut a big hole in the ice, and baptized them in the cold water. When Baptists do that they are really on fire!

When the revival reached Chicago, a young shoe salesman went to the superintendent of the Plymouth Congregational Church, and asked if he might teach Sunday School. The superintendent said, ‘I am sorry, young fellow. I have sixteen teachers too many, but I will put you on the waiting list.’

The young man insisted, ‘I want to do something just now.’ ‘Well, start a class.’  ‘How do I start a class?’ ‘Get some boys off the street but don’t bring them here. Take them out into the country and after a month you will have control of them, so bring them in. They will be your class.’ He took them to a beach on Lake Michigan and he taught them Bible verses and Bible games. Then he took them to the Plymouth Congregational Church. The name of that young man was Dwight Lyman Moody, and that was the beginning of a ministry that lasted forty years.

Trinity Episcopal Church in Chicago had a hundred and twenty-one members in 1857; fourteen hundred in 1860. That was typical of the churches. 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.’ 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 councilor 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.

Clowney: A Biblical Theology of Prayer

Here’s a PDF of Edmund Clowney’s classic 39-page essay, A Biblical Theology of Prayer, courtesy of Beginning with Moses. It was originally published in Teach Us to Pray: Prayer in the Bible and the World, ed. D. A. Carson (Baker/Paternoster, 1990), 136-76, 336-38. (HT: TGC)

Below is an outline of Clowney’s essay:

I. PRAYER ADDRESSES THE PERSONAL GOD

A. God’s glory is personally revealed

1. In his works

2. In his name

3. In his presence

B. The response of prayer is personal

1. Prayer by persons in God’s image

2. Prayer by the whole person

C. The response of prayer is effective

II. PRAYER ADDRESSES THE COVENANT GOD

A. Prayer in the bond of the covenant relation

1. Prayer is grounded in God’s covenant

2. Prayer pleads the covenant relation

3. Prayer and the ceremonies of covenant worship

4. Prayer in the community of the covenant

B. God’s covenant Lordship shapes prayer

1. God’s zeal for pure worship

2. Our zeal for our Lord

a. Expressed in submission to his will

b. Expressed in confession seeking forgiveness

c. Petitions

d. Thanksgiving, praise, and hope

C. The renewal of the covenant restores and renews prayer

III. PRAYER ADDRESSES THE TRIUNE GOD

A. The renewal and fulfillment of prayer in Christ

1. Fulfillment of the petition of the faithful remnant

2. Fulfillment in Christ transforms prayer

a. Christ comes as Lord to receive prayer

b. Christ comes as Servant to offer prayer

3. Christ’s teaching renews prayer

a. Prayer to the Father

b. The prayer of trust

c. Prayer in the name of Jesus

4. Christ the Mediator of Prayer

a. The Mediator foreshadowed

b. His mediatorial office

c. His mediatorial sacrificed.

d. His mediatorial ministry

B. Prayer in the Spirit

1. The presence of the Spirit

2. The gifts of the Spirit

3. Union with Christ in the Spirit

C. Prayer to the Father

1. Prayer to the First Person of the Trinity

2. Prayer to the Father in the Son through the Spirit

Regarding Intercessory Prayer


“United prayer is useful inasmuch as God has promised extraordinary and special blessings in connection with it: “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” [Matthew 18:20]. “If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven” [Matthew 18:19]. God asks for agreement, and, once the saints agree, he pledges himself that the prayer of his agreeing ones shall be answered.

Why, see what accumulated force there is in prayer, when one after another pours out their passionate desires; when many seem to be tugging at the rope; when many seem to be knocking at mercy’s gate; when the mighty cries of many burning hearts come up to heaven. When, my beloved, you go and shake the very gates of heaven with the powerful battering-ram of holy passion, and sacred insistence, then will the kingdom of heaven forcefully advance. When first one, and then another, and yet another, throws their whole soul into the prayer, the kingdom of heaven is conquered and the victory is very great indeed.”

Charles Spurgeon

Vance Havner (1901 – 1986)

Vance Havner grew up in the hills of North Carolina in the early twentieth century. Licensed to preach at the age of twelve and ordained at fifteen, this “backwoods” Baptist preacher spent his life calling people to true repentance. Boldly proclaiming the Word of God for seventy-three years, Havner came to be loved and known for his exacting style and ingenious wordplay. In the passage below, he draws pointed parallels between the people of God during Elijah’s times—the Mt. Carmel confrontation (1 Kings 18:30-39)—and the Church of his times. As Havner observes, fire from heaven falls on faithful prophets not on slick public-relations professionals.

The conditions today are just about much the same as they were in the times of Elijah. We’re living in a spiritual drought. There’s a famine of the hearing the Word of the Lord. Ahab and Jezebel sit in high places. Idolatry abounds. And yet God has His faithful remnant. We need an Elijah who can face Ahab and call convocation on Carmel, a confrontation with Baal, and a showdown with forces of evil.

We’re a little short on prophets. We need to rebuild the broken altar and put the sacrifice of a dedicated life thereupon. But before we can expect any fire from heaven, we must drench the altar. I’ve heard plenty of preaching about rebuilding the altar. I’ve heard sermons about presenting our body as living sacrifice. But the hardest lesson for anybody in Christian service to learn is that we cannot help God out in the slightest by warming up the altar in the energy of the flesh.

We try to start a fire of our own and think that’ll help out God’s fire. It won’t do it. We’re ashamed to be laughed at by the world. We don’t dare face the Midianites with Gideon’s band, so we mob-o-lize. We don’t mobilize, we mob-o-lize a multitude who know little and care less about spiritual warfare, who never have understood that the Bible is the Lord’s and the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. We’re afraid to face old Goliath today with sling and stone. We want to wear the latest equipment, and Saul’s armory is working overtime. We must be up-to-date and borrow all the technique of the world to do the work of God. But you can’t organize revivals as you do secular things, as the world puts on its drives and campaigns.

You can’t run a church as you would a business corporation. You can’t work up mere human enthusiasm to put over the work of the Lord. We all give lip service, of course, to the Holy Spirit: “Not by might nor power, but by my Spirit” (Zech. 4:6). We sing, “Kindle a flame of sacred love in these cold hearts of ours” (Isaac Watts, “Come Holy Spirit, Heavenly Dove,” 1707). But actually we’re so wired up to our own devices that if the fire doesn’t fall from heaven, we can turn on a switch and produce some false fire of our own. And if there’s no sound of a mighty rushing wind, we’ve got the bellows all set to blow hot air instead.

But God answers by fire, not by feelings, not by fame, not by finances. You can blow up quite a blaze today on Carmel. We can do it, yes. But people are not crying out today, “The LORD, he is the God” (1 Kings 18:39).1

Footnotes :

1 Vance Hanver, When God Breaks Through: Sermons on Revival, edited and complied by Dennis J. Hester (Grand Rapids, MI; Kregel Publications, 2003), 54-55.

Whitney Hopler

Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer

Sensing God’s presence with you when you pray is exhilarating, but feeling like you’re getting no response can be exasperating.  If you want to connect with God but don’t seem to be making contact through the way you usually pray, it could be time for to try a new approach.  There are many ways to pray – many paths of communication that can lead you closer to God.

Here are some different paths you can take to prayer:

“Guttural groaning”: When you feel pain or doubt so deeply that you can’t express verbally, you can simply groan in your spirit and God will hear.  The Holy Spirit within you will intercede to God the Father for you to express what you can’t put into words.  Guttural groaning will open your heart to God’s comfort, hope, and compassion.

“Skin, trees, blood, bread, and wine”: When you pray using your physical senses (such as seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, or tasting), you can deepen your connection to God.  Start by celebrating Communion for a powerful encounter with God.  Then try other sacramental approaches to prayer, like praying with other people whose faces you can see, touching someone you’re praying for, praying outside in nature, moving your body when you pray (kneeling, raising your hands, dancing, walking, making the sign of the cross, or anything else God may lead you to do).

“Desperation”: When you cry out to God from the depths of your helplessness, God hears you.  Don’t let either pride or insecurity keep you from praying when you feel desperate.  Remember that Jesus has given you the freedom and confidence you need to turn to God in the midst of desperate situations.  Open yourself up fully to receive His help.  Expect God to reach out to you.  Let the desperation you experience motivate you to pursue God more and develop deeper compassion for other people in need.

“Mystery”: When your prayers go unanswered and you don’t know why, don’t hesitate to ask God questions and express your agony to Him.  Choose to trust God’s promise that He will do what’s best when you pray.  Realize that He may be using unanswered prayers to change you for the better as you go through difficult circumstances.  Understand that sometimes God will choose to give you something more valuable than answers to your prayers: Himself.  Get to know the Giver rather than just the gifts.  Make your ultimate goal in prayer to spend time with God instead of trying to get something from Him.  Ask God to help you surrender your will to His will and trust that He will work out every situation according to what’s best when you invite Him to do so.

“Absence”: When God feels far away, recognize that as a normal part of your spiritual journey, but remember that God hasn’t abandoned you.  He has promised always to be with you, but when you don’t sense His presence, you’re experiencing it in a whole new way.  During the time that you feel separated from God, He can wean you from your attachment to immature thoughts and feelings about Him and help you grow to eventually see Him in clearer ways, experience His love more deeply, and let it flow through you to others.

“An argument with God”: When you argue with God through prayer, you can actually grow closer to Him by engaging with Him in real, raw, and honest ways.  Be humble yet confident about confronting God about an issue in your life.  God would rather have you argue with Him than not care enough to confront Him about what’s troubling you.  Feel free to wrestle with God as part of the process of passionately pursuing Him.  Don’t be afraid to tell God: “I love you, but I’m mad and confused.”

“A long, slow journey”: When the answers to your prayers take a long time to come, you can learn to adjust your lifestyle to God’s timing.  Remember that prayer isn’t primarily about getting something from God right when you want it; instead, it’s about being with God and allowing Him to change you in the process.  Waiting on God helps you learn to trust God’s good plans for your life, even when you don’t understand or agree with His timing.  Ask God to give you the strength to be patient while you must wait.

“A dangerous activity”: When God responds to your prayers by calling you to grow as a person in uncomfortable ways or make difficult sacrifices to help others, praying can seem like a dangerous activity.  But remember that God wants to bless you – just on His terms, not yours.  While you may pray to be relieved of your cares, God wants to propel you into spiritual growth and service.  Invite Him to do the work He wants to do in your soul and through your life.  You’ll ultimately benefit in powerful ways from it.

“Paying attention”: When you meditate on Bible passages, you can listen to the themes of your own life as you notice the connections.  Ask yourself: “How is God’s Word intersecting in my life?”, “Am I meditating on a portion of God’s Word that is actually coming to life right now?”, and “How is Jesus leading me to follow Him through these circumstances?”.  As you pay closer attention to God’s work in your life, you’ll start to notice it at all times and in all situations.

“Feeling God’s heartbeat”: When you’re feeling sad or lonely, imagine yourself hugging God so closely that you can feel His heartbeat.  Rest in His presence, enjoying His company without any agenda to pursue with Him.  Contemplate the powerful reality that His Spirit lives in you.  Thank God for His great love for you.  Set aside time in your busy schedule to spend with God in silence regularly.  You’ll receive more peace from Him that will carry over into all of your activities.

“Love”: When you pursue intercessory prayer, you become immersed in God’s ongoing community of love.  Praying for others and allowing them to pray for you invites God to pour His love into all of your lives, drawing you all closer to Him in the process.

Adapted from The Folly of Prayer: Practicing the Presence and Absence of God, copyright 2009 by Matt Woodley. Published by IVP Books, a division of InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill., www.ivpress.com.
Matt Woodley is the senior pastor of Three Village Church, Long Island, New York. He is the coauthor, with his wife Julie and H. Norman Wright, of Surviving the Storms of Life and the author of Holy Fools. He has also written a number of articles published in Discipleship Journal and Leadership Journal as well as The Mars Hill Review.

Original publication date: February 3, 2010

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