Will We Pray For Revival?                              by WA  McKay


     We are apt to regard a revival as a kind of miracle or as some arbitrary manifestation of the Almighty’s power, given in his own time and without any reference to any action of his Church as a preparation for it.  There is no use trying to “work up a revival,” we often hear said.  “A Revival,” it is urged, “depends upon the sovereign will of God, and we are not to move until there are unmistakable signs that God is about to commence a work of salvation, lest we run before we are sent, and injure the cause of the Church.” All such reasoning is based upon an erroneous conception of the divine method. 


     Undoubtedly a revival is a work of God, otherwise we need not pray, “O Lord, revive thy work.”  But God works through means in the spiritual as in the natural world; and he has ordained that his people shall be co-workers with him in extending his kingdom. They are to plant and to water, in order that he may give increase. It is the Spirit that quickens believers and converts sinners; and the Spirit is given not in any arbitrary manner or without regard to the human will, but in answer to prayer and to render the human agency successful.  A revival is thus in an important sense the result of means employed by the Church.  If the Church is seeking a revival, she must “awake and put on her strength;” she must stir herself to take hold of God.  Isaiah said: “As soon as Zion travailed she brought forth children;” and it is true of the Church today…


     And if we want a revival we must pray for it.  “I would rather,” says Moody, “pray like Daniel than preach like Gabriel.”  We cannot explain the “why” or the “how,” but we know by revelation and experience that true prayer will give birth to revival.  The reason many congregations have no revival is because they do not pray.  Ah, my readers, don’t criticize your minister, and complain that he does not preach well enough, until you are sure that you yourself have done your full duty in the case.  Don’t say, “It is Moses’ fault that the Amalekites prevail,” when God has told you to hold up Moses’ hands and you have not done it.  When the Church groans and travails in pain and pours forth loud cries and tears, then the blessing will come, the life will be manifested. 


     When God promises to give a new heart and a new spirit to Israel, he says, “I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them.” When God promises to give to Christ the nations for his heritage, he promises it in answer to prayer. “Ask of me and I will give thee.”  When he would give life to the dead and dry bones in the open valley, he directs his servant to pray, “Come from the four winds, O Spirit, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” When Elijah prayed the nation was reformed; when Hezekiah prayed, the people were healed; when the disciples prayed, Pentecost appeared; when John Wesley and his companions prayed, England was revived; when John Knox prayed, Scotland was refreshed; when the Sabbath-school teachers at Tannybrake prayed, eleven thousand were added to the Church in one year;  when Luther prayed the papacy was shaken; when Baxter prayed Kidderminster was aroused; and in the lives of Whitefield, Payson, Edwards, Tennent, whole nights of prayer were succeeded by whole days of soul-winning.  To your knees, then ye Christians! Plead until the windows open, plead until the springs unlock, plead until the clouds part, plead until the rains descend, plead until the floods of blessing come.



Reference: Outpourings of the Spirit by Rev. W.A. McKay (1890)