by Leonard Ravenhill
These men have not staggered at the promises of God. These are men who laughed at impossibilities and cried, “It shall be done!” Do we laugh at the impossibilities or do we find them a good reason for quitting? Do we cry, “It shall be done” or do we just cry?
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3 Jn. 2).
What a prayer! It breathes confidence and sparkles with assurance. Read it carefully. This is a great test. How many of us could welcome physical health comparable to the health of our souls?
In this day of wonder drugs and “shots,” some would settle for capsule Christianity. There is none. The “Hill Difficulty” as Bunyan put it, still is without escalator or elevator. Soul health is vital to individual progress and the Church’s corporate conquest. Of the saints of old one wrote, “They climbed the steep ascent to Heaven, through peril, toil, and pain.” Indeed, that was the way the Master went. Should not the servant tread it still?
Some would settle for capsule Christianity. There is none.
Many are the diseases the soul can know. Spiritual polio is infinitely worse than its physical counterpart.
Cataracts can grow on spiritual eyes too. Soul sickness causes blurred vision and reduced action. Satan schemes to sap vitality. Only the soul in full spiritual health prays. Prayer demands strength of the soul and body. Weaklings cannot be warriors. Prayer demands stamina as spiritual equipment so as to stand long hours of siege on satanic strongholds.
Prayer leads to faith, faith to vision, vision to action, and action on to suffering for righteousness’ sake. At what stage have we stopped?
With all clarity I say that I feel evangelism as we know it today is nearly at the end of the road. Where, Oh where, is revival? Who will sow in tears that he, or others, may reap in joy? Who will wed his soul to grief? Who will hide in the prayer closet, and travail until revival is brought to birth?
Revival is costly. The crowds are great. The stirring is well-reported. The converts are many. But—and it is terrible but—the abiding fruit is disastrously meager. As Americans say, “I am sticking my neck out” here, but say it I must, modern evangelism is the enemy of true revival.
Duncan Campbell, the Scotch preacher whom God has used to prepare the way for true revival, told me that backsliding is almost unknown in the Hebrides, whereas shallow evangelism leaves a sickening blight of backsliding.
In modern evangelism, the birth pangs of spiritual travail are missing. In spiritual as well as the natural birth, there must be travail to bring forth. To get prayer answered, we must know the Lord and love and obey His Word. If we heed not God’s Word, He will not heed our prayers. “If a man love me, he will keep My words” (Jn. 14:23).
In spiritual as well as the natural birth, there must be travail to bring forth.
“We had better do no praying at all, than do little praying.” So said E. M. Bounds. Prayer is not enough. We must have target praying, and prayer that holds on like a limpet. John Hyde would pray until he knew God’s will in matters about which he had guidance.
Our praying is too general. We aim at nothing and hit nothing. The blind man cried, “Have mercy upon us!” How he needed it! But Jesus touched him not. Jesus then asked him, “What will ye that I shall do unto you?” He saw the point, asked for sight and got it! He expressed, he expected, and he experienced! Blessed is the man that can pray like that!
Men who have prayed have made history. Men who have prayed have changed history. Tell me, where are such men of prayer today? Men who stagger not at the promises of God — men who laugh at the impossibility and cry, “It shall be done.” Or do we just cry?
Impiety and impurity fills the land. This is too big a task for evangelism. A genuine Holy Ghost revival is the need of the world at this hour! Sin sick? Let Him cleanse you. Soul sick? Let Him heal you, endue you with power from on high,- strengthen you with might by His Spirit on the inner man, then you shall know the blessedness of soul prosperity.