The GOSPEL TRUTH
THE REVIVAL WE NEED
OSWALD J. SMITH
With a Foreword
BY REV. JONATHAN GOFORTH, D.D.
The Christian Alliance Publishing Company
260 West 44th Street, New York, N.Y.
MANIFESTATIONS OF GOD'S POWER
DAY by day we have been meeting as usual for prayer. Today we began at 9:30 this morning and continued until after 3:00. We have been asking God to break us for many weeks. About 2:00 this afternoon I was praying when suddenly I stopped and began to praise God. Tears flowed copiously. All I could do was to sob out, "They're lost ! They're lost ! They're lost !" And so I wept and prayed for the people.
At the meeting tonight, one who had been convicted but had not yet been saved, testified, her face radiant. It was clear that she was genuinely saved and had tasted of the Lord's abounding joy.
During the past few days the burdens have been very heavy. There is much opposition, but have been burdened in prayer, and some tears have been shed in private for poor perishing souls. Yet how cold is my heart, how little my concern. Oh, for an exhibition of God's power in greater measure, a greater manifestation of His presence!
Have had a few precious hours today with Dr. Hooper. Oh, how my heart hungers! Ezra, chapters 8 and 9 have been very precious. Truly, God has opened my eyes to some of the abominations of the Church. But, oh, for a glimpse of my own heart! What abominations must be hidden there! The Lord help me to sigh and cry, for the heathen have come into His inheritance, the Canaanites into the sanctuary.
Everything seems tied up. No more breaks. Work appears to be stopped. But let me to my knees. Results must come. Why should I preach without souls? Lord fulfill Thy Word, begin with some one else. Let something happen. Spirit of God, reveal the hindrance.
God has begun with some one else. During the prayer following my message tonight, two broke down and wept. One got through, I believe. The other left under conviction.
Another testified tonight. For weeks she has been under conviction, so great that she was afraid to sleep at night, but she is now happy and knows that she is saved.
Faith rises. The heavens have seemed like brass, but this afternoon in prayer nothing appeared to be impossible. God is enabling me to believe. O, Lord give me souls. Of what use is preaching if souls are not saved?
It seemed impossible to ask for things this evening. I could only praise and thank Him for all He is going to do. Never have I had such an experience before. The conviction, the certainty that He is working is marvelous.
My Sunday School superintendent has just 'phoned me to say that when he asked a certain person to teach a class she just broke out weeping, saying, she could not because she was not right herself. He prayed with her but she did not get peace. Now he wants me to join him on her behalf. For weeks she confessed she had been under conviction.
Am finding God's Word most precious. How it reveals the abominations of my heart!--doubt, unbelief, spiritual pride, coldness, prayerlessness, powerlessness and indifference, as well as the awful abomination of the Church,--the lack of separation, the worldiness of the membership, ungodly choirs, worldly methods of raising money, such as bazaars, concerts, entertainments, etc., the failure to differentiate between the holy and the profane, the clean and the unclean. Do we need a revival? God knows we do. It matters not how holy a church may be, nor how famous as a spiritual center, if souls are not saved, sinners awakened and convicted, there is something radically wrong.
At the meeting tonight both the young women for whom we had been pleading came out bright, glorious and clear. They gave splendid testimonies and wept much. Oh, how I praise Him! He is working, convicting and saving. All honor to His name!
Both of those convicted at the last meeting testified clearly tonight. They are now saved and happy. One has been on our prayer-list just seven days. Praise God!
Spent about three hours in prayer with Dr. Hooper today with much profit.
Dr. Hooper and I met at eleven this morning and continued in prayer until three in the afternoon. God worked this evening. A young man whom I thought was saved entered my study and astonished me by stating that he had never been born again. This was on Sunday. Tonight he came and sat in the back seat. The doctor and I pleaded long for him in prayer. Had asked God to convict him, to bring him back and cause him to come right out and weep over his sins. I placed three chairs facing the people in the front for the penitent form. At the invitation he walked forward at once and knelt down. Soon he was shaking with great convulsive sobs. Nothing could check them. He pled for mercy and soon knew his sins were pardoned. With tears streaming down his cheeks, he stood up and faced the people and told them that he was saved.
He went home rejoicing in his Saviour. Praise God! He answers prayer. Oh, the joy of soul-winning! The sweetest music I have ever listened to is the cry of a penitent sinner coming home to God. Am determined to cast ease aside and give myself unreservedly to this great work.
After much thought and supplication I set aside this week for prayer and announced a meeting to be held every night except Saturday. Tonight's meeting was truly wonderful. The Holy Spirit so filled one of our number that for the first time in her life she broke out in public prayer. We all felt the power of God. The people refused to go home and so the meeting continued until after eleven o'clock.
This has been the most wonderful week of all. Seldom have our meetings closed until after ten o'clock. The people would not go. God has poured out His Spirit. Conviction has been real. Much soul anguish. Blinded eyes have been opened, sins confessed and put away. Many who never prayed before in public and some whom I thought never could, have broken down and prayed with many tears. The burden for souls has been laid upon several, both young and old. The presence of God has been most real, and oh, what singing! Not the lips only but the hearts.
At the close of the service tonight a quarter after ten, I asked the people, and there was a large attendance, what they wanted done in the future. They were unanimous to continue the meetings. So next week we are to go on again every night. Glory be to God! How graciously He has answered! It is not of man but of Him. God has answered prayer
Prayer has been most difficult all week in spite of God's blessing. Satan seems to be fighting continuously. The heavens have been like brass. This afternoon I went to my study and tried to pray. It was impossible. So hard was I opposed that I finally threw myself down and ceased to struggle, but after awhile I arose determined to win. Then victory came. The powers of darkness seemed to leave and I was enabled to pray for over an hour.
Another wonderful week has passed. The meetings have grown in depth and power. More have been saved.
A shower at last. Praise be to God! Room packed. During the meeting I was in an agony almost to bursting, so heavy was the burden. At the close I gave an invitation. We sang two verses but no one came. Then we sang, "Like a Mighty Sea," our grand old favorite. During the first two verses I was still in agony. The load lifted as we started the third verse. Oh, how they sang! Soul and heart in every word. But I had given up hope of results. Suddenly a woman came forward and knelt at the front. Soon a second followed. Then two or three others. I stepped up to a fourth who was under deep conviction and spoke only a word or two. Almost immediately her eyes rifled with tears, her head dropped and in a moment she was on her face before God. There were six altogether. Oh, what a night! Finally I dismissed the people and told them to go home, but they still stayed, unwilling to leave. Tears flowed freely, sobs were heard as they wept out their confessions of sin. God worked and soon many had risen to testify of sins forgiven. Oh, the joy that filled our hearts!
The work of God still prospers. Souls are saved every week. Wonderful meeting tonight. Last Thursday night a young university student was saved. He came some weeks ago and went away determined he would never come again. Next week he found himself in the meeting once more, much against his will. For weeks he fought but kept coming. God was working with him. Conviction deepened. He was most miserable. Last Thursday night however, he yielded. Another man stood beside him so that he could not get out, but he pushed the chair in front of him away and knelt down before every one. God saved him and we broke out as usual with, "'Tis done, the great transaction's done." Tonight he bore glorious testimony.
Another saved tonight. It was her first meeting. She literally sobbed out her prayer. Oh, this a glorious work! To God be the praise!
Two more. One, a leading member, exclaimed, "I thought I was a Christian; I have been a member of the church so long, but tonight I see myself a guilty sinner." The other, a woman for whom we have long prayed and who has been under deep conviction and most miserable, came and sought pardon. Both were saved. I myself always thought she was a Christian. Oh, how God works! May He save many more church members who are in a false experience.
A very clear exhibition of God's power tonight. A young man standing against the door at the back cried out. The audience was startled. He said he had professed salvation two years ago, but that sin had crept in and he was not right with God. He had spent an awful week, but was determined to get through before he left. He came down the aisle and knelt at the front. God heard and answered. Oh, for more such fruit!
The hardest and most discouraging meeting we have yet had. Let a man who doesn't believe in a personal and very real devil begin to pray and work for a revival and he will soon meet the enemy and know something of his resisting powers. Surely he was present last night. Everything was dead and frozen. Nothing would go; neither prayers nor testimonies. I had a message prepared, but could not deliver it. All that I could do was to groan and weep in prayer. At the close of the meeting I announced that I was going to retire to the study to pray. Who followed me I did not know, for I was engaged with God. But I found afterward that there were at least a dozen surrounding me in prayer. It was a hard time. I prayed and broke down in the middle of it and sobbed until I was weak. I was determined to pray through and find out where we were. One by one the people left until at last there were but two of us. Some time after midnight the light slowly broke and many things were revealed. My own failures became apparent. Faith began to rise, and at three o'clock in the morning we left perfectly satisfied, weak in body but strong in faith. The battle had been won, and Satan defeated.
Tonight it was heaven. Oh, how our hearts sang for joy and how near God seemed! Heaven seemed open and faith was, within our grasp. We mounted up as eagles. God gave us full assurance. Nothing seemed impossible. I prayed four times during the meeting and a wonderful spirit of prayer was upon all. Over and over again we sang those glorious words of Wesley's:"Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees,
And looks to God alone;
Laughs at impossibilities
And cries: 'It shall be done!'"
This morning in my reading God gave me a precious word from Dent. 2:25. We have been meeting for prayer from 5 and 6 until 10 at night, but I find that Satan is at work as an angel of light. May God make us wise as serpents. Have been reading the diary of David Stoner. How I thank God for it! He is another Brainerd. Have been much helped, but, how ashamed and humble I feel as I read it! Oh, how he thirsted and searched after God! How he agonized and travailed! And he died at thirty-two.
What kind of an experience have I? Am I burdened for lost souls? Do I love to pray? Has my desire for the world gone? Do I hate sin? Am I filled with joy and the love of God? Do I get my prayers answered? Is there any hidden thing, any secret sin, or am I holy in heart and life? Have I spiritual discernment? Am I able to detect a Holy Spirit sermon? Can I tell when people are spiritual? Is my religion real? Do those at home believe in me? Am I truly representing Christ? Will people get a right view of Him from my life? Am I willing to let God search and try me? Is there anything false about my experience? Have I the clear witness of the Holy Spirit? Does my life magnify Jesus Christ? I must pray about these things.
A city full of churches,
Great preachers, lettered men,
Grand music, choirs and organs;
If these all fail, what then?
Good workers, eager, earnest,
Who labour hour by hour:
But where, oh where, my brothers!
Is God's Almighty power?
They want the very best.
Their plans and schemes are perfect,
They give themselves no rest;
They get the best of talent,
They try their uttermost,
But what they need, my brother,
Is God the Holy Ghost!
We may spend time and money
And preach from wisdom's lore,
But education only
Will keep God's people poor.
God wants not worldly wisdom.
He seeks no smiles to win;
But what is needed, brother,
Is that we deal with sin!
It is the Holy Spirit,
That quickeneth the soul.
God will not take man-worship,
Nor bow to man's control.
No human innovation,
No skill, or worldly art,
Can give a true repentance,
Or break the sinner's heart!
We may have human wisdom,
Grand singing, great success;
There may be fine equipment,
But these things do not bless.
God wants a pure, clean vessel,
Anointed lips and true,
A man filled with the Spirit,
To speak His message through.
Great God, revive us truly!
And keep us every day;
That men may all acknowledge
We live just as we pray.
The Lord's hand is not shortened,
He still delights to bless;
If we depart from evil
And all our sins confess.
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