By Leonard Sankey
Let me be honest and transparent with the reader: frankly, I, personally, need revival. We all have times when we need that renewing of our spiritual lives. Even the New Testament church needed its time of refreshing.
Peter and John had been called to account before the Jewish authorities for doing a good deed. Sometimes, in our own lives it may seem we come to a similar place. We do something, and mean it for good, but someway our good intentions are twisted in the minds of others, and we are called to account for doing a good deed. In this New Testament incident, Peter and John, through the power of God, had given physical bounty to a lame man, who then went walking and leaping and praising God in the temple.
In too many of our churches, anything approaching the healed man’s demonstration of active worship would be greeted by baleful glances, and attempts would be made to squelch an honest man’s exuberance. Blessedly, it didn’t seem to bother Peter and John, nor the Lord, but it was offensive to the temple hierarchy.
So the Jewish council put the apostles on trial, finally admitting that no crime had been committed, but exhorted them not to teach any more in the name of Jesus.
When Peter and John were released from the council, they went to their own company, shared what the council had said, and then the whole assembly went to prayer. They prayed for boldness in the face of opposition, and that prayer was answered, as we read in Acts 4:31: “They were all filled with the Holy Ghost and spake the word with boldness.” They prayed a specific prayer and God gave them a specific answer. Thus with us, when we bring a specific need to God in prayer, then our faith should expect that God will give us what we ask for (subject to the biblical laws, patterns, and promises relating to prayer.)
So as the early church was refreshed by a blessed outpouring of the Spirit, so we, too, come now before the Lord to confess our need, to plead for the renewing of Spirit in our individual lives, in our homes, in our churches.
It appears to me that, lamentably, the signs of spiritual deterioration are seen among us all too frequently. I detest attempting to name “things” because it appears so negative, and no one wants negatives to be introduced.
Among the factors I see that to call for a response from heaven, lethargy in true worship, scant attention given to prayer, and the lack of spiritual discipline. Besides, some of our people are not only on a detour from the norms of our conservative churches, but too many are defecting from our ranks. We must understand that we can’t fill our eyes and minds with the swill of Hollywood productions and expect to keep a fervent love for God intact. Music and sports, filled with the spirit of the world, rather than the Spirit of God, have a debilitating effect on spiritual life.
So, also, there are too many who cover their lack of spiritual life by a convincing outward appearance. How is it Jesus put it in His day?… outwardly they appear clean and righteous, but inwardly they are full of dead men’s bones. Sourness and contentions and jealousies and religious intrigue and backbiting and nasty tempers and gossiping… no wonder the music of heaven is silenced in so many homes, hearts and churches. And as was pointed out in a sister publication, we have, too often, lost the passion for our core message, that of entire sanctification as a personal and knowable experience, and the resultant life of holiness. And yet, that’s who we are supposed to be.
Dear brothers and sisters: I know of no better time to begin a renewed search for revival than now! If you have been praying for personal and corporate revival – pray on! If you have been languishing in spirit – pray now, and ask to restore the joy of His salvation.
Revival is the need of the conservative holiness churches.
Spirit of the living God, flow fresh through me
Break me: break the crustiness, the hardness of unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment.
Melt me: melt the iciness of claiming my own rights, my own way, and my aloofness from a brother/sister.
Mold me: mold the vessel of my life, even as the potter molds the clay
Fill me: fill me with the Spirit and let the music of heaven begin anew and afresh in my heart.
Use me: “Surely there’s a work that I can do.”