|Revival Descends on the Wings of Prayer|
They were some of the most awesome moments I've ever experienced in my Christian life. I actually learned in those days the true meaning of fasting before I had any intellectual understanding of the term. I couldn't eat even though I tried. When I awakened in the mornings, my heart longed to have time with the Savior. There was such a sense of the presence of God that many of us couldn't help spending hours in the prayer room. It was as though time stood still. Those were days of heaven on earth. It was my first encounter as a young Christian with what many called "revival."
My wife, Tex, and I had just gotten married when revival came. I had been asked by a godly pastor in Monroe, Louisiana to conduct youth evangelistic meetings in his church. I attempted to meet with his young people but found very little interest. However, the dear pastor kept encouraging me, "I've been praying," he would say, "and God is going to do something wonderful." I only wished that I had his faith.
The evangelistic youth meetings began on Wednesday evening in the pastor's church. But very few young people could be found. It was early 1970, and young people were dropping out of church en masse. Psychedelic drugs were proliferating in the youth sub-culture. The Viet Nam war was raging. Racial tensions were escalating. There was very little interest in spiritual things.
But that pastor didn't have his eyes on the culture or his circumstances. He had his gaze fixed upon the Savior. He prayed - and prayed - and prayed. He refused to give up. He just kept saying, "I've been praying, and God is going to do something wonderful." But nothing wonderful happened on that first Wednesday evening. I preached my heart out to the small gathering. No one responded. I preached with all my might on Thursday. Again nothing happened. No one responded during the appeal that I extended to the people.
However, as the service was about to conclude, a man came to the front of the church and prayed with the pastor. He then stood and asked the people, especially the young people, to forgive him. He confessed that he had been a poor example to the youth. The moment that he sat down, something very special happened. God visited that church. I don't have any other words to describe what actually transpired. The altar filled with Christians crying out to God, confessing sin, and receiving forgiveness.
The church was filled on Friday evening. God moved mightily. It was packed again Saturday evening. There was a record crowd on Sunday. The godly pastor once again approached me. "Sammy," he said, "this isn't the end of the revival. It's just the beginning. We must extend the services another week."
We did continue the meetings. However, we had to move into another building because of lack of space. We went to the university campus. The first building wouldn't hold the people. We had to move into another building. It wouldn't hold the people. We eventually ended up in the civic center with several thousand people in attendance. One of the most notorious drug dealers in the city was converted to Christ. Over forty years later, she's still living for Christ. Racial tensions eased as leaders in both racial groups came to Christ. The front page of the local newspaper told about the revival. The six o'clock news told about the revival. And even to this year, I still receive emails and letters from those who came to Christ during that meeting.
The meetings began with a handful of people and ended with thousands. But the revival began with a humble, holy, praying pastor. Revival always begins in this manner. Study the history of the great revivals. You'll find it descending on the wings of a small band of praying men and women - without exception. The church was born in a prayer meeting. It was sustained in a prayer meeting. The great worldwide missions movement was launched in a prayer meeting.
Ah - the glory of God always descends on the wings of prayer.
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