[b]Weeping between the porch and the altar[/b]
[i]by Leonard Ravenhill[/i]
"Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare Thy people O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them. Wherefore should they say among the people, Where is your God?"(Joel 2:17)
I spent an afternoon in Wales in 1931 or 32 with an old man who had been one of the right hand men in the Salvation Army revival back in the 1880's. The man was eighty years of age. He told me about the amazing things that happened in their revivals. The men that would sit in the back seats, almost the scum of the earth, came in just to get warm, but they would get so worried when the old preacher William Booth was preaching one of his hell-fire messages, that they shred their hymn books. Begby, in his definitive work on William Booth, in the first volume I think, talks about the holiness meetings. And he said, "When the Holy Ghost came down and men resisted the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of God would lift people from the back of the sanctuary and carry them over the audience and drop them at the altar." And we think we've seen everything because two or three people get healed.
You cannot standardize revival. I am not thinking of a church revival; I'm thinking of a national revival. There is only one hope for America and that is that we have a Divine intervention in the nation. Forget your denomination, forget your empty seats.
Let's see first of all how God grieves over the sin of the people, and after all, when you look in the Old Testament, God's argument was not with the Amalekites, and Hitites and all the other "ites". God's problem in the Old Testament was Israel. God's problem today is not communism, Mormonism, Moonism or any other "ism." God's problem is His church today. We are so worldly.
A city wide crusade can cost two million dollars. Revival doesn't cost a red cent, except broken hearts. You can stage your revival; you can stage a city wide crusade; you cannot stage Revival. Revival is a mysterious divine intervention. I think one of the most awesome tasks given to man was given to John Baptist, when God said, "Prepare YE the way of the Lord."
You know, you talk about revival in this country and everybody has got tunnel vision. They think revival must come like Finney had it. We are not living in Finney's days. It would be nice to have him around, for sure, but we are not living in Finney's day. It is a new day. Iniquity has never swaggered like it swaggers now. You know what has happened in the last twenty three years in England? In the last twenty three years in England the Muslims have built 300 mosques and at the same time they were building their 300 mosques the Church of England has closed 660 churches. Does it drive us to despair? There are more people lost in this world at the moment than in any period in history. And yet we go on as though we were on the edge of the millennium instead of on the edge of judgment.
I believe the key to revival is given here in Joel, "Let the priests, the ministers of God, weep between the altar and the door posts."
I was preaching in a well known college two years ago. I was preaching on Hannah, because I think Hannah is typical of the true intercessor. The intercessor believes, "The thing will happen through me. I have to stand in the gap." You know, when you talk about intercessors we always go back and say, "Well, America's had some of the best intercessors." You're right; we had. We had praying Payson of Portland back in the eighteen hundreds. The floor in his room was as hard as this metal and yet there were two grooves side by side where his knees used to rub in the floor.
What about Jonathan Goforth that went out and had revival in China? What about John Hyde, one of the greatest men ever in prayer?
You know, the first thing that really moved me to God after I got saved? Somebody gave me an abridged edition of the life of David Brainard. I just could not believe it; I could not take it in. Could a man be so utterly selfless?
The thing that is crippling us is our prosperity. Materialism is choking the church as well as the world. We want ease and comfort. When I read of a young man that could walk out in the snow, snow up to his chin sometimes, wrestling in prayer from sunrise to sunset with a tubercular body...When I read about a man that wrestled in prayer like that, I was dumbfounded.
And since the church I went to was pretty sleepy and I was only about seventeen, I went out into Sherwood forest - I lived on the edge of it - and started praying by myself at night. We have some bracken there, and it grows seven or eight feet high, I used to creep in it and weep and groan and pray for revival. And revival came. Because I prayed? No, No. I was one of a number.
But a man called George Jefferys came. Very humble... He never stopped to meet you... never mentioned money...He just came there, they sang about one chorus, but the ministry and the authority of God was upon him, and again the Acts of the Apostles were repeated. I don't think that a move of miracles like that is the only answer. In fact I think we could by-pass that. In the last thirty years America has had more healing crusades than all the nations of the world put together.
What we need now is
A revival of holiness!
A revival of character!
A revival of people who are utterly selfless!
Preparing to lay their lives on the altar for God!
Paul Koffman went to Nagaland, India, to see what happened and expected something like Finney. When he got there saw signs and wonders and miracles, cripples were healed, blind people were seeing, every distorted, perverted thing was put right. So what? Hey, did you ever hear of a revival like this? The government has made an inquiry. Why has the drink traffic gone down? Why is it the kids are behaving in the street? Why are we not having a problem with drugs? Why is the nation convulsed? Why is the government inquirying? They were the most rebellious, lawless state in India and now they are the calmest. The crime has gone. People are civilized and gentle and loving. Well, it's the same old story. They discovered a group of people, underground people, who had been praying twenty years for revival.
No man - I don't care how colossal his intellect - No man is greater than his prayer life.
To stand before men on behalf of God is one thing. To stand before God on behalf of men is something entirely different.
We've urged people to tithe, haven't we? But we only mean their money. You see, we want a "revival" which is a painless Pentecost. We want something that won't disturb our status quo. It's "easy street" everywhere else, so why not here?
There never has been a revival that I can trace, that hasn't been birthed back there with true, true, true intercession.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon