There are those who say that we should pray for revival, but it is up to God when He sends it, or whether He
sends it at all. It is right to constantly work and pray for revival, they affirm, but it is God who, in His sovereign
will, determines when to send it. It is not for us to assume that it is up to us as to whether revival comes or not.
Our task is by faith and humble, penitent obedience, to make ourselves ready for whatever God, in His
sovereign will, decides to do.
This is a similar argument to the one dealt with in Encourager No.18, so some of the material used there may well overlap with what I am presenting here. But it is necessary to deal separately with this line of thinking, as there are many well meaning and sincere believers who would say that it is right to pray for revival, but who would maintain that this position is the right one to adopt. They believe that God may send revival if we pray for it, but it is entirely up to Him if or when He sends it
1.Now it is true that, in His infinite wisdom, God knows how and when to answer our prayers. He may well not answer our prayers straight away, especially when He knows we are not ready to receive what we are asking for. He alone knows when the time is right, but He withholds blessing only when He knows we are not yet ready to receive. This is why we have to continually ask Him to change us, have His way in our lives and make us fit to receive what He wants to give us, and make us pure channels through which He can move. When God finds those clean, dedicated channels, He will flow through them, for He longs to do so. When He knows we are really in earnest, are desperate for Him, seeking only His glory, seeking nothing for ourselves, and are prepared to pay any price for it, He will answer. He cannot refuse because He yearns to answer our prayers and exceed all our expectations. He sent His only Son to die for us, that with Him we might have all things. He is longing to give what Jesus paid for. He will never withhold what can be ours if we are in the position to receive it. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Ps.84:11)
Therefore, when we pray in the way that He has said, for something that we know is His will; and nothing can be more in accordance with His will than what we call revival, for we are praying for God to fulfil His promises, to revive His work, to restore the honour of His name, to take away the reproach of sin, to exalt righteousness in our nation, that His glory be seen in our land; then we have every right to expect a quick answer. He answered Abraham quickly, (Gen.18:20-33&19:29), and Moses, (Ex.32:9-14), and Elijah,(1Ki.18:36-39), and Daniel,(Dan.9:20-23), and Jesus promised that God would hear the prayers of His people who cry to Him day and night, and would avenge them speedily. (Lk.18:7-8). He knows our days are like grass, and we are on the earth only for a little while, so His mercy is on those who fear Him, who keep His covenant and do His commandments. (Ps.103:15-18)
Therefore, it is not true to the character and the word of God to say that we can pray according to His will, but only hope that God may answer them if He sees fit to do so. His word tells us that it is up to us to be obedient, to pray with boldness and faith, and to confidently expect our prayers to be answered. To say that we have no right to expect that God will answer our prayers speedily, and give what he has promised, shows the most serious lack of faith in God, in His power, His goodness, His faithfulness and His promise keeping. While it is true that God alone knows the right time to pour out the Spirit, for He, alone, knows when all the conditions have been met, nevertheless, He is a God who keeps His promises, so we have every right to expect Him to answer our prayers for Him to do what He has promised. It may well be that He has a lot of work to do in us before we are clean channels of blessing, which makes it all the more urgent for us to make sure that the Holy Spirit is having His way in our lives, so we are not the cause of revival being withheld.
Something very basic to the character of God is at stake here. If God is a God of law and order, which the natural world shows us He is, and His word tells us He is; if for everything that happens there is a cause, which the natural law shows us there is, and which His word tells us there is; if, therefore, we can depend upon those laws of cause and effect, which the natural world shows us we can, and Godís word tells us we can; if Godís nature remains the same, which the Bible tells us is so; and if God is a faithful covenant keeping God, which His word tells us is so; then God must be dependable and faithful and keep His promises; everything He does must have a cause and all acts of revival and awakening, or lack of them, must be due to a cause. The sending must be due to the conditions for God to fulfil His promises having been fulfilled, and the not sending must be due to the conditions not being fulfilled. Therefore, we can have an absolute assurance that God will hear and will act, if we fulfil the conditions. "God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should change His mind. Has He promised, and will He not do it? Has He spoken and will He not fulfil it?" (Nu.23: 19)
Let us hear what J. Porter has to say about this. After referring to the prayer of Moses on behalf of Godís people, when he offered himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole people of Israel, Porter goes on to say: "How intense must have been his love for the people, his desire for their preservation and his understanding of Godís heart, so that his petition was answered. That cold, passionless acquiescence, which is so fearful of interfering with the divine sovereignty that it does not dare to ask any matter in confidence, but qualifies everything with `If it be Thy will,` is sickly to God, and an offence to Him. It distrusts the goodness of God at every step, and treats His promises as a lie. It is baptized infidelity, rather than reverence and humility, attributing to God secret purposes at variance with His nature and His oath."
Therefore, let there be no more lack of faith in God and His word. While God alone can send revivals and awakenings, and He alone knows when all the conditions have been met, nevertheless, we must maintain that He sends them, not for some arbitrary reason unknown to us, but when the conditions have been met; otherwise we are forced to conclude that God is an unfaithful God who does not keep His promises. Such a thought is, obviously, completely unacceptable to true believers. Preachers like Wesley and Whitefield quite simply believed that God would honour His word when preached as the Word of God, and God honoured their faith and obedience. When we do not believe what God has promised, and act on it, we are dishonouring Him.
But what about those who have prayed for revival, but have not seen their prayers answered. We must affirm, in order to maintain the character and faithfulness of God, that, in such cases, the conditions could not have been met, especially with regard to the type of prayer. (see also Section 6)
Some people point out that good men did not always have success, but only on occasions; the times, they say, when God decided He would give them success. In response to that, I would say; if God is a dependable, promise keeping God, and we know that He is, then there had to be reasons why certain people had success on some occasions and not on others. We do not know all the hindrances that could have been present to stop a blessing, nor do we know all the people who were praying before each success. In the same way, those who affirm that revivals just happen, and are not due to people meeting the conditions, cannot prove that nobody fulfilled the conditions and thereby brought the power of God down, as they cannot know of all the saints who were praying at the time. What we do know of some of the intercessors praying behind the scenes in so many places at different times in history would substantiate the view that God poured out His Spirit when His people met the conditions. "Every revival of which we have any record," said E.M. Bounds, "has been bathed in prayer." "God does nothing, but in answer to prayer," affirmed Wesley, and he should know, far better than anyone alive today. "If the blessing comes," wrote Arthur Wallis, "we can be sure that someone, somewhere, has met the conditions and paid the price." "When a revival occurs," said Finney, "you may be sure that there had been somebody on the watchtower, constant in prayer till the blessing came."
Finney knew the truth of this in personal experience. It is no coincidence that the greatest revival in the history of the world, as regards its effect on the community, that in Rochester, New York State, in 1830-1831, was never repeated, because Daniel Nash, possibly the greatest human interceder of all time, who drained himself praying for that revival, died soon after the revival finished. This record is, to me, the most compelling evidence of the direct link between prayer and revival and awakening, and of God answering faith filled prayers for revival straightaway.
A more recent example is that of the Smith sisters in Lewis. To them, God was a covenant keeping God, and so they prayed, "Lord, you have promised to send revival. If You do not, how shall we ever be able to trust Your word again?" Their trust was strong and complete. They laid hold on the promises of God, and received the things for which they prevailed.
Leonard Ravenhill, therefore, had every justification for stating that "the prayer records of the saints stack the vaults of heaven. What a time we shall have one day when that prayer record is read. What mighty Hallelujahs its reading will raise. Think of all those who have prayed, and yet how scanty are the records of deliverance wrought by a faithful God in answer to persistent, believing prayers."
2. The reasoning and reluctance that we are seeking to answer shows a misunderstanding of the sovereignty of God. "Many people have supposed Godís sovereignty to be something very different from what it is, according to the word of God. They have supposed it to be such an arbitrary disposal of events, and particularly of the gift of His Spirit, as precluded a rational employment of means for promoting a revival of religion. But there is no evidence from the Bible that God exercises any such sovereignty as that. There are no facts to prove it. But everything goes to show that God has connected means with the end through all the departments of His government, in nature and in grace. He neither administers providence nor grace with that sort of sovereignty that dispenses with the use of means.
And yet some people are terribly alarmed at all direct efforts to promote a revival, and they cry out, `You are trying to get up a revival in your own strength, you are interfering with the sovereignty of GodÖ.It is very wrong for you to attempt to get up a revival just because you think a revival is needed.` This is just such preaching as the devil wants. For men cannot do the devilís work more effectively than by preaching up the sovereignty of
God as a reason why we should not put forth efforts to produce a revival." (C. Finney)
Such thinking reminds me of the Quietists in the 18th Century, who believed in leaving everything to God, and not doing anything unless moved by God to do so. If the great evangelists at that time had not rejected this Quietist doctrine, there would have been no Evangelical Revival, and the whole history of the Western World would have been very different. We should be very thankful that they did reject it, and decided to obey the plain commands of Scripture. They went out and preached the truths of God in the power of the Spirit, and trusted Him for the outcome.
In the same way, if we want to see God work in our day, we need to obey Him, and act in faith. Faith, according to the book of Hebrews, is believing God for the impossible, laying hold on God, and risking everything for Him. Those who say we must not take matters into our own hands, but just wait for God to do everything, are showing that they do not have Biblical faith. They are not believing for the impossible. They are not laying hold on God, and telling Him He must come to help them. They are not willing to risk everything for Him. They want everything safe. "We will pray for revival, but we wonít risk anything for it. We wonít risk our reputations by asking God to do something now. We will leave it to God." This is a Christianity with no risks, which is completely unworthy of the New Testament, and also completely unworthy of all those who have suffered and those who are still suffering for the name of Christ today, because they have risked all in following Christ. The Bible makes it very clear that only those who have a self-denying, risk taking faith are acceptable and pleasing to God.
This is why we need to reject all weak notions of leaving things to God when He is calling us to a strong, obedient faith; telling Him we mean business, expecting Him to answer, and not giving up until He does so. That is the kind of faith He honours.
3. The most obvious answer to this objection is the record of those who have prayed down the power of God, and seen Him come to their aid quickly. We have already noted the examples of Daniel Nash and the Smith sisters. We will point out a few more.
Exactly 100 years ago in Pyongyang, Korea, the missionaries there heard about the awakening that had taken place in the Khassia Hills in India, and started to pray every day at noon. After a month, not seeing any result, some of them stopped, but the others decided, not just to carry on, but to give more time to pray, praying every day from 4 p.m. for three to four hours. After months of praying in this way, the Lord answered, and the resulting reviving has come down to us as one of the great moves of God.
We could mention the missionaries in what was then the Belgian Congo, in 1953, who all agreed to pray in their own mission stations every day for God to break through the sterility and stagnation they were experiencing. In response to their prayers, they saw the power of God change their situation in ways that they had never thought possible, with the worst people being dramatically converted, and everyone being affected to such an extent that they were convicted of the slightest grieving of the Holy Spirit.
Jonathan Goforth was a missionary in China, completely yielded to Christ, and open to the Holy Spirit. In 1905, when he heard about the Awakening in Wales, he and others prayed earnestly for the Holy Spirit to work powerfully in China also. In February 1906, their prayers were answered when the Spirit came down on a meeting, and from then onwards, Goforth had the most incredible success wherever he went, seeing the Spirit bring deep conviction of sin. Chinese men, who would never normally cry or lose face in public, broke down in tears, and confessed to the most awful sins.
In November 1953, Duncan Campbell had a mission in Duirnish on the Isle of Skye. The church there did not even have a prayer meeting, but Duncan and those who prayed dared to believe that "He was faithful, who had promised," so they pleaded His promises, and cried out to Him in faith and in desperation, along with people in other places. During the second week of the mission, God broke through. An awareness of God came over the meeting, people sought the Lord, and the whole community was changed. People who had been "complete strangers to grace and to God rejoiced in their salvation."
Murdo MacLennon of Carloway in Lewis, heard that Duncan Campbell had accepted his invitation and would be coming to Carloway in six weeks time. "To your knees, Godís people," he said. "Seek Godís glory only from first to last: Confess and put away all known sin: Fully dedicate your bodies and spirits to God, so that you become channels of blessing: Believe God, and rely on His people to raise the spiritually dead. Pray day and night for Duncan Campbell, a) that he will be kept in health and strength, b) that he will come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ, and endued with power from on high, and c) that God would use him in the salvation of precious souls. If these conditions are fulfilled," he said, "I will guarantee you that God will open the windows of heaven to pour out His blessing, and there will be no room to receive it. O my friends, do not be a tool of the devilÖ.People of God, pray, pray, pray."
That is the kind of faith that God is looking for, and it was not surprising that He answered their pleadings. In the second week of the mission, He broke through and did a great work there.
Finally, I must include a reference to Oberlin College in America. They had almost continual revival there while Finney was the president, but on one occasion he came back to the college and found that the revival had died down. "You must make a covenant with the Lord," he said to the students, " that you will pray at least three times every day until His manifest presence is restored." The students did so, and within a week, the Spirit was poured out. This is a wonderful example, not only of prayers being answered quickly, but also showing how relatively "easy" it was for revival to be restored when they had only recently lost it. In Britain, it is so long since this land has known it, that it will take much more for the Spirit to break through, but if we have the faith to believe that He will answer when we meet the conditions, all things are possible.
4. Another reason for rejecting the view that we have to wait, and leave the timing to God is that people have taken revival with them from one place to another. When the visitors to revival places have gone back to their own areas or countries, or have just heard about what God has done elsewhere, they have never said to their own people: "Pray for revival, and then leave it to God, for He may send it in His time!" On the contrary, fired with zeal and enthusiasm, they have said, "If you want to see God working in the same way, you must pray earnestly and expectantly for God to answer, and He will do so." Catching the enthusiasm, they prayed in faith, and God sent what they asked for quickly.
In Dundee, Robert Murray M`Cheyne recounted revival stories to his congregation at St. Peterís, inspiring them to seek God for revival, prayers which He soon answered.
Humphrey Jones took the fire of revival from the U.S.A. to Wales in 1858, through preaching and getting the people to pray every day for God to do the same for them as He had done in America. Within weeks, the awakening, which was the greatest work of God that Wales has ever experienced, had started.
The 1904-6 Awakening in Wales was carried, directly or indirectly, to at least 35 other countries. Of course, the revival wasnít carried at all. Only the enthusiasm was carried. The other revivals took place because people prayed earnestly and urgently for God to work there and then. That is still what God is waiting for.
5. Revival cannot be a matter of God deciding where and when to send it, because not only are revivals spread by people, they are checked, hindered and even stopped by people opposing them, as we noted before. If the place and the time were all of Godís choosing, then man could not hinder or stop them. But even in the strongest revivals, some people oppose the work of God, and succeed in doing so. Individuals, churches, and even whole villages and towns have stood against revivals, and remained opposed to God. But in some of these places, where people entered into a spiritual battle against the forces of darkness, the opposition of the devil has been broken down, and Godís power has been shown.
All this is far removed from a passive "Leave it to God when He sends it" approach. It is on a different spiritual wavelength. God calls us to battle, and the "Leave it to God" attitude will leave the forces of evil in control. We need a much more pro-active stance to win the day. "Soldiers of Christ, arise, and put your armour on."
6. Another reason, and possibly the major reason, for rejecting the idea that God will send revival in His time, when He thinks best, if we just carry on praying, is that you cannot pray in the way that has been shown to be necessary to bring down revival if you think God may or may not choose to answer them, for such beliefs are bound to affect the way you pray. If you believe that you cannot actually pray down revival, but that it is up to God when or whether He answers, this will change the way you pray. It will dampen and subdue the fervency of your prayers, and, therefore, make them ineffective.
History shows that it is only the fervent, determined, agonizing prayers that really break through into the heavenlies, and bring revival down. James tells that it is the earnest prayer that is effective. (Js.5:16) The meaning is that it is the prayer which is inspired and energised by the Spirit towards a definite aim, that is powerful and effective. A person can pray that kind of prayer only when he or she becomes desperate for God to answer, and people become desperate when they will not take no for an answer, when they say they must have it now, for they are not prepared to go on any longer without having what they are after. So the prayers that say, we will pray to God, but we will leave it to Him when He answers, will never bring down revival. Only the earnest pleadings, only the crying out prayers, only the telling God He must do it prayers, only the "I will not let you go unless you answer" prayers will bring down revival. If you have any doubts in your mind regarding Godís willingness to send what you ask for now, this will, of necessity, negatively affect the way you pray, and you will not be able to pray in the way that has been shown to bring the power of God down. You have to believe that God will hear and answer your prayer as soon as He can, or they will not be answered. If we have any doubts in our minds, the Bible assures us we will receive nothing from the Lord. That is why I have seen people praying for revival over many years, and not seeing any answer. They are no nearer to seeing revival than when they started. The "we leave it to you, God" prayers will never succeed. "Blessings of great magnitude," wrote Alexander Cumming, "are associated with ardour and perseverance in prayer ÖIt is the invariable constitution of the kingdom of heaven that blessings of great magnitude are not imparted except to prayers of the deepest urgency." As Leonard Ravenhill said, "We will see revival, only when we are no longer willing to live without it."
Richard Owen Roberts, writing of Moses` praying for the Children of Israel, and Paul praying for the Jews, who were both willing to be blotted out of Godís book for the sake of His people, said: "Is it not evident that prayer for revival must be passionate, so passionate that no cost is too great to pay?"
Brian Edwards sadly concludes his book on praying for revival by saying that all we can do is: a) make it our business to find out what God is doing in the world today, b) continue doing the work for God that we do, c) admit how bad the conditions in our churches are, d) keep our appetite for revival alive, and e) attend the prayer meeting and pray for revival, using the words of the Bible. Now all this is right and necessary, but it is nowhere near what we should be doing. It is so cold, so lifeless, so academic. There is no fire, no passion, no pleading, no urgency, no laying hold on God, and we have shown how necessary these are in order to obtain Godís best.
How much more appropriate are the words of Jack Hayford. "When faced with a spiritual challenge," he wrote, "we should become indignant with the devil for the way he has destroyed the Lordís workÖIn times like this, we need to be vicious in our prayer life, and strike down the work of the devil. Often we are begging when we should be battling. We are contented when we should be contending. We are being feeble when we should be forcible. We are articulating our words with anxiety when we should be affirming Godís words with authority. We are seeking release from our problems when we should be seeking a release of divine intervention in this world."
The prayers of Daniel Nash, to which I have referred, are a vindication of the type of prayer that is necessary to break the powers of darkness and release the powers of heaven. The kind of prayer that says, "Send revival, but in your time Lord," would not have achieved anything then, nor will achieve anything now. Only the heartfelt, passionate, intensive, sacrificial, believing prayer that will not be denied, as seen in the lives of people like Daniel Nash and his fellow intercessors, will bring down the power.
When Jonathan Goforth visited Korea, to experience the reality of the awakening there, he found churches that had covenanted to pray daily for fire from heaven, and not to rest until it came, in accordance with Is.62:6-7. In Lewis, in 1949, those who were praying made a solemn covenant with God that they would seek His face until the King of glory came in, until He rained righteousness on them, and until He made the church a praise in the earth. This was why, in both cases, they received their answers speedily. God honours those who put Him to the test.
Finney tells the story of a man who visited a church where a revival was taking place. When he heard the believers there telling God that they would not be denied the answer to their prayers, and that He had to give what He had promised, he was shocked at their boldness, insisting that Christians shouldnít pray like that. But their prayers were answered, his were not. "Real prevailing prayer," said Finney, "is when believers have been worked upon by the Holy Spirit to such a holy boldness, that when they look back on it afterwards, they are amazed at themselves for daring to exercise such demanding insistence with God. Yet these are the prayers that prevail and obtain the blessing."
7. Following on from the last point, there are those who say that we should not think we can organize prayer for revival and awakening, as if we are in control, because the ability to pray is a spiritual gift, something that cannot be created artificially.
There is an element of truth in this, insofar that to pray in the insistent, demanding way we have spoken about requires great help from the Holy Spirit. We cannot do it on our own, and it is right to draw attention to this. We need what Finney called "the spirit of prayer," or what can be termed "the spirit of grace and supplication," in order to have our hearts and spirits extended and drawn out to God. However, this is not something that we have to wait for, but something we should seek. We have a good God, a gracious God, a faithful God, who longs to give all that we need, especially this gift, so that we can pray more effectively for the greatest mercies He is wanting to give. At the same time, we are to pray with all the determination and faith that the Lord can give us, for we are told to pray and not give up, and to pray without ceasing. We never have to wait for anything before we can pray. The Lord Jesus Christ is constantly interceding for us, while the Holy Spirit is always seeking to pray in us and through us. As we respond to His promptings, and ask for His help, He will enable us to pray with more and more confidence and faith.
8. To say that revival is a "sovereign" work of God, and He will send it when He thinks best is a very similar sentiment to that expressed to William Carey when he wanted to evangelise the Indians. "If God wants to convert the heathen, He`ll do it without your help," Carey was told. Just about every Christian would now agree that such an attitude is incompatible with the plain commands of Scripture, where we are told to make disciples of all peoples, and the example of the Early Church, who went everywhere, spreading the gospel. We have all been given abilities and responsibilities by God, and He expects us to use the abilities to fulfil the responsibilities, even while, at the same time, depending on His help and direction. We cannot hide behind a lazy unbelief that says God must do it all, when He has told us what to do. In the same way, we cannot hide behind a lazy unbelief that says we leave it to God to send revival, when He has plainly given us commands to pray, directions as to how to pray, and examples to follow, of people who had their prayers answered.
9. John Ferguson quotes: Hab.2:2-3 and Ps.102:13. " These show," he says, "that the time scale for revival is for God to set, and not for us to demand." The first verses in Habakkuk refer to the vision that the prophet had regarding the destruction of the Chaldeans, and are, therefore, nothing to do with revival. The other verse in Psalm102 states: "You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favour to her; the appointed time has come." This refers to the fulfilment of a prophecy such as the seventy years of exile predicted by Jeremiah. It was the set time for God to act. Again, it is nothing to do with revival. On the other hand, we could use this verse, and say to God, it is time for You to arise and have pity on Your Church. It is the time to show favour to her, (v.13); it is the time to rebuild Zion, Your Church, and appear in your glory, (v.16) ; it is the time for the nations to fear the name of the Lord, and all the rulers of the earth to revere your glory,(v.15), for it is always time for God to act. His set time is always now. (2 Cor.6:2) As Thomas Charles said, "Unless we are favoured with frequent revivals, the Church loses its reputation, and iniquity flourishes. So Godís set time for revival is always now. If God did set the times, He would obviously set very frequent revivals, for the last thing He would want would be the flourishing of iniquity. The fact that we havenít seen them for so long, His Church has lost its reputation, and iniquity has flourished in this country, proves that He has not set the times.
10. "There has long been the idea prevalent that promoting revival has something very peculiar to it, not to be judged by the ordinary rules of cause and effectÖ No doctrine is more dangerous than this to the prosperity of the Church, and nothing more absurd. Suppose a man were to go and preach this among farmers regarding their sowing of grain. Let him tell them that God is "sovereign," and will give them a crop only when it pleases him. Therefore, for them to plough and plant and labour as if they expected to raise a crop is very wrong, in that it amounts to taking the work out of the hands of God; that it is an interference with His "sovereignty," and that there is no connection between the means and the result on which they can depend. If all farmers were to believe such a doctrine, they would starve the world to death, for they know that God has ordained, (or nature works, if they will not admit Godís hand in all this), that a harvest comes when the farmer does the right things, and the conditions are right. It is nothing to do with God deciding when or if to send it. God has created the conditions. It is up to the farmers to fit in with them.
Yet the tragedy is that so many in the churches have been persuaded that promoting revivals is somehow so mysterious a subject of divine "sovereignty" that there is no natural connection between means and end. What has been the result of this? Generation after generation have gone to hell while the Church has been dreaming and waiting for God to save them without the use of means. It has been the most successful means of destroying souls. The connection is as clear in revival as when the farmer sows his grain."(Charles Finney)
Ferguson argues against this by saying that Finney saw revival just because it was easy to have revivals at that time, as the Spirit was being poured out in that period.
I agree that it was easier to have revivals at that time, because the people were more open to Christianity than they are today, and evil was not so rampant as it is today.
a) However, if it was so easy, and the revivals would have happened anyway: Why werenít there revivals in all the places that Finney didnít go to, during the same period? (and there were hundreds of them.)
b) If the revivals would have happened anyway, why did Finney find things so difficult at the beginning of every mission he went to, and things changed only after he had been preaching for some time, and only after people had been earnestly praying for some time, and only after the disunity and the opposition had been largely melted down?
c) If the revivals would have happened anyway, why did the people who were praying for Finney and for revival, including Deacon Truman, Billious Pond, Abel Clary and Daniel Nash have such a difficult time? Why did they agonize in prayer and fasting for days and weeks, if it was all going to happen anyway? Such a cynical attitude to Finney is an insult to those giants of prayer, whose praying was at a level of intensity that todayís critics are totally ignorant of, and the thongs of whose sandals these critics are not worthy to untie.
d) Historically, the total period of Finney`s ministry was not a period when the Spirit was being poured out. The Second Great Awakening is normally reckoned to be between the 1790`s and 1830, yet Finney`s great revivals at Rochester, New York, were all after 1830, and he was still seeing revival into the 1860`s. Furthermore, there was almost continual revival at Oberlin College right up to 1868, when Finney concluded his autobiography. For most of that period there were no revivals in other places.
e) If the revivals would have happened anyway, how was it that when people applied Finney`s methods in other places, such as in Hawaii and in Wales, that revival took place, when it didnít elsewhere?
f) How much more positive and spiritual was the attitude of Jonathan Goforth, who, when he read Finney`s Lectures on Revival and especially the section on farmers having to fulfil the laws of the harvest, said "I am going to find out what those laws are, and obey them, no matter what it costs." It was not surprising that Goforth soon experienced the outpouring of the Spirit, and was used in the most remarkable way as a channel of revival for many years. At the end of his record of some of Godís mighty acts, the missionary writes: "We wish to state most emphatically that Godís revival may be had when we will and where we will ÖOur reading of the word of God makes it inconceivable to us that the Holy Spirit should be willing, even for a day, to delay His work. We may be sure that where there is a lack of the fullness of God, it is ever due to manís lack of faith and obedience. If God the Holy Spirit is not glorifying Jesus Christ in the world today, as at Pentecost, it is we who are to blameÖ.The sin of unyieldedness alone can keep us from revival."
g) Awakenings teach us that Godís blessings in one generation are available to His children in any generation, when His requirements in 2 Chron.7:14 are met." (Malcolm Mc Dow)
h) "It is one thing to shout it, it is one thing to sing it, it is one thing to talk about revival; but give me a people on their faces, seeking to be rightly related to God, and when that happens, we will soon know the impact of God realization in our country." (Duncan Campbell)