“We shall never see much change for the better in our churches in general until the prayer meeting occupies a higher place in the esteem of Christians.” wrote Charles Spurgeon in “Only A Prayer Meeting.”
The regular meeting of members of a congregation for the express purpose of uniting in earnest prayer is becoming rare in the average church. Many churches no longer even schedule prayer meetings, and in those churches that do, typically less than 10% of the members would participate.
In all too many churches, prayer meetings have become dull, cold and lifeless, lacking in Biblical focus and missionary purpose.
Friday 31 October is the birthday of the Evangelical churches. On 31 October 1517 Dr Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation with his bold stand at the Castle Church in Wittenberg.
Western civilisation has been blessed with the greatest freedoms, productivity and prosperity ever known in history. The liberty, standards of justice and creativity enjoyed in Western civilisation is a direct result of the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century.
Our Lord Jesus Christ taught: "But seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:33
It was Martin Luther's earnest quest for peace with God, and his intensive study of the Scriptures, which led him to challenge the unethical fund-raising tactics of the papacy and launch the Protestant Reformation. Luther's love for the Word of God and his dedication to truth led him to challenge the entire ecclesiastical and political authority of the Roman Catholic church and the Holy Roman Empire.
"Unless I am convinced by Scripture, or by clear reasoning, that I am in error for popes and councils have often erred and contradicted themselves I cannot recant, for I am subject to the Scriptures I have quoted; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. It is unsafe and dangerous to do anything against one's conscience. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. So help me God. Amen."
If God can change you, then God can use you to change some part of this world.
That our fallen world needs changing is beyond question. When our newspapers and films glamourise immorality, undermine traditional family values and encourage selfishness, greed and lust; when criminals escape justice by legal technicalities; when half of the world suffers under totalitarian dictatorships and persecution; when pornography, perversion, abortions, terrorism and the occult are increasing - then we know that this world needs to be changed.
But most Christians have abandoned their moral responsibility to bring the light of the Gospel into heathen darkness. Many Christians are allowing their own children to be brought up by godless humanism in state schools and entertained by occultism and pagan magic through Hollywood films and television.
We in South Africa are at a critical point. Both church and society are facing a multitude of serious crises that threaten not only our freedoms, but our very lives.
Over 3,000 white farmers, and their family members, have been murdered in the last 18 years, yet the Commandos have been dismantled. For over two and a half centuries the Commandos provided security for remote farmsteads. Now this protection is being removed. At the same time, the Firearms Control Act, which is seen in many circles as a prelude to the disarmament of many civilians, has made it very difficult for any civilian to obtain a firearm for self-defence.
Along with the crime wave, with an average of 20,000 murders a year, has come an explosion of the drug epidemic. More and more ministries are having to expend considerable time and resources on dealing with more and more drug addicts and victims of crime and violence.
“Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord and He will have mercy on him; and to our God for He will abundantly pardon .”
What is Revival?
Revivals are a sovereign move of God initiated by the Holy Spirit working through consecrated men and women. A study of the Revivals in the Bible, and in history, reveal that all Revivals begin with a deeper appreciation for the Holiness of God and a realisation of how offensive our sins must be in the sight of our Holy God.
It has been well said, that “Revivals are not churches filled with people, but people filled with God.”
Revivals involve a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Holiness of God, of the wrath of God against sin, and of the utter depravity of man.
In the book of Acts, it was said that these Christians who have turned the world upside down have come here also. In fact, Revivals turn things right side up: Restored relationships. Transformed communities. Drunkards made sober. Thieves returning stolen goods. Blasphemers sanctified. Marriages healed. Estranged children and parents reconciled. The selfish becoming sacrificial. Conversions. Miracles. Healings. Revived churches. Revitalised prayer meetings. Dynamic worship. Decisive action to seek first the Kingdom of God.
"Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?"
During a recent ministry trip to Wales, I had the privilege of being a speaker at a congress and preaching in a Welsh church. They were celebrating the Centenary of the Welsh Revival of 1904 to 1905.
Joseph Jenkins, a minister in New Quay, Cardiganshire had been seeking a deeper devotional life with the Lord and had experienced an intense love of God in his life. On 1 January 1904, he had a Deeper Spiritual Life Convention, encouraging others to seek the fire of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
Reformation Day Events
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The Church Needs a New Reformation and Revival
We desperately want God to bless our countries. However, we cannot expect a Holy God to bless those who are in rebellion to His Laws. We are facing a complex series of both internal and external threats.
Facing the Threats
Internally we are facing a renaissance of paganism. Externally we are facing an increasingly aggressive and radical form of Islamic Jihad. Even more seriously, there is a severe crisis in our churches. Most of our people are ignorant of history, and have a very superficial grasp of Scripture. As a result, many professing Christians are compromising, cowardly and ineffective. Our churches are filled with weak, worldly, lukewarm and inactive members. The salt has lost its flavour, and all too often the light is being hid under a bushel.