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At twenty-three years of age, shortly after I had been led to a full surrender to Christ, I was introduced to a book which would shape my thinking to this present day. The book was entitled, Why Revival Tarries. It was written by an Englishman, Leonard Ravenhill; a man who practiced what he preached, and shaped a generation with a fresh vision of what it meant to be Christian; and especially what it meant to be called to preach in the Name of Christ. Here is what this voice from God had to say. Ravenhill wrote:
“…But where are the Elijahs of God? We know Elijah was “a man of like passions as we are,” (from James 5:17) but, alas, we are not men of like prayer as he was! One praying man stands as a majority with God! Today God is bypassing men — not because they are too ignorant, but because they are too self-sufficient. Brethren, our abilities are our handicaps…!
(Ravenhill describes Israel in Elijah’s day like I would describe much of American religion today. He declares)…“Darkness covered the land and gross darkness the people…they were drinking iniquity like water…All this was among a people who claimed Abraham as their father, and whose forbearers cried unto the Lord…But out of this measureless backsliding, God raised up a man — not a committee, not a [denomination], not an angel — but a MAN, and a man of like passions as we! God “sought for a man,” (Ezekiel 22:30) not to preach, but “to stand in the gap.” Therefore the blessed Holy Spirit could write the life of Elijah in two words: “He prayed.” No man can do more than that for God or for men. If the Church today had as many agonizers as she has [organizers] we would have a revival in a year!
(Ravenhill continues) “Brethren, if we will do God’s work in God’s way at God’s time with God’s power, we shall have God’s blessing and the devil’s curses. When God opens the windows of heaven to bless us, the devil will open the door of hell to blast us. God’s smile means the devil’s frown! Mere preachers may help anybody and hurt nobody; but prophets will stir everybody and madden somebody. The preacher may go with the crowd; the prophet goes against it. A man freed, fired, and filled with God will be branded…because his tongue is a two-edged sword; unbalanced because the weight of preaching opinion is against him. The preacher will be heralded; the prophet hounded.
“The price is high. God does not want partnership with us, but ownership of us! (emphasis added)
“Does God ever need more patience with His people than when they are ‘praying?’ We tell Him what to do and how to do it…In short, we do everything except pray. No Bible School can teach us this. What Bible School has ‘Prayer’ on its curriculum? The most important thing a man can study is the prayer part of the Book [the Bible]. But where is this taught? Let us strip off the last bandage and declare that many of our presidents and teachers do not pray, shed no tears, know no travail. Can they teach what they do not know? (emphasis added)
“The man who can get believers to praying would, under God, usher in the greatest revival that the world has ever known. There is no fault in God. He is able. God ‘is able to do…according to the power that worketh in us.’ God’s problem today is not Communism, nor yet Romanism, nor Liberalism, nor Modernism. God’s problem is — dead fundamentalism!
Ravenhill quotes James Gilmour of Mongolia: “Do we not rest too much in our day on the arm of the flesh? Cannot the same wonders be done now as of old?…Oh, that God would give me more practical faith in Him! Where is now the Lord God of Elijah? He is waiting for Elijah to call on Him!”
(Why Revival Tarries, Leonard Ravenhill; Bethany Fellowship, 1959; pp. 36-42)
Church leader: Are we agonizing with God!? REMEMBER: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16, emphasis added)
Think about it; because if you don’t, someone else will do your thinking for you – and for your children! And you won’t like what that brings to you. I’m Don Pinson; this has been Think About It.