Revival Forum 1989: Powerful Staggering Interview with Leonard Ravenhill
Note: This interview featured two moderators and Leonard Ravenhill where they asking Ravenhill a series of questions about prayer and revival.
Life Action Ministries | REVIVAL FORUM 1989
L1: What is the greatest need in the Church today, as you would see it, from what you've observed? I'm sure if we digested some of your books that we may have insight into it. But what would you perviece, Brother Ravenhill, to be the greatest need in the church in America, specifically, today?
RH: I won't give you my opinion, I will give you a Bible opinion from Jeremiah chapter 2, verse 13, "My people have committed two evils, they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters and hewn them out cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water." It's amazing to me when every pastor that comes [and says,] "Oh, I'm in a mega-church. You know we get 4,000 Sunday [morning]..." It's got nothing to do with your church. Every church in America nearly is filled Sunday morning.
How many people do you have in your prayer meeting? The prayer meeting is almost died. Not just in Presbyterian churches, but in Pentecostal churches, in Baptist churches. I have a prayer meeting Thursday morning for pastors, about 20 come, some come 200 miles, some come 300 miles round trip. And the last five or six weeks, we've all ended up on the floor in tears, praying for one thing – revival. Nobody is praying for his church. I believe the spiritual condition of America at this moment is lower than it was in the revival of the 1700's with Jonathan Edwards. We have forsaken God, particularly we have forsaken the prayer meeting.
What would happen if you had a choir, say like you have at First Baptist or somewhere, say either like First Baptist in Dallas or the good brother's First Baptist Church in Atlanta? (and I stayed there a month once.) You have about 200 people in the choir. What if only 10% turned up for choir rehearsal on Friday night? Do you think you might get the resignation of the choir master? But supposing a guy with 26,000 members had 10% come to the prayer meeting? He'd die of shock.
But you see, we have had people... just a year ago now we finished our 500th prayer meeting every Friday night. And it was a prayer meeting.
In most churches now, the preacher preaches Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. Forget it. One of the young pastors that comes to us, he got moved by the power of God, he went to his church and said, "Look, I'm going to preach Sunday morning, Sunday night but not Wednesday night, we're going to pray." He's in a country church, he went from 60 Wednesday night to 6. They don't want to pray.
We had a prayer meeting where people drove four, five and six hours. And there were people that came, and they belonged to famous churches in California, and they came over and said, "Look. We know why has God brought us in this area. We need to learn to pray. We went to a very popular church. It's attended by dozens, hundreds of film stars and others but there is no prayer life there." But you know what happened? When they had come 3 or 4 times, they quit. Do you know why? Because we have men that used to mumble in their prayers and it pleased God to educate them in the Spirit... And I would go on Friday night, and there was one full-blooded American Indian... He was dying in the gutter, snow falling on him. He was a victim of drugs and drink. And God awakened him and he got wonderfully saved. And he got an anointing in prayer. To hear that man pray for the American Indians. They're the most neglected people in America today. And the Indians somehow don't go after them. You can't go on the [American Indian] reservations, they'll kill you. Or they'll say, "Listen. You stole our land. You stole our oil. You stole our mineral rights. You stole our fishing rights. Get out of here."
And I've told him, "Stay with it. Stay to your people, with your people. Don't let someone else wear your crown."
You see, some of us, we're walking around eternity and God is going to put a crown on my head but I didn't do the job so He passes it on to Dale and he's going to wear it for a billion years! Every time I see him, "That should have been my crown." But that's my fault. It's not the devil's fault. "No man take thy crown." [Revelation 3:11 KJV]. That's a warning against deacons. But anyhow, let not any man take your crown. God has given you a job do it, [even] if you die.
That's what it takes.
I2: Brother Leonard, what is the nature and the content and the direction of those prayer meetings? For the average lay person who has not been able to attend, where do you begin, what do you pray for, what do you target, what happens in those prayer meetings that are so unusual and what are the kinds of prayer meetings that we need to start having in our churches?
RH: Well, we have different targets. I call it "target praying." For instance, one week we pray for all the husbands of the wives or fathers of the children who are there whose daddies were not saved. Maybe they're not even church members. We concentrate on unsaved fathers, unsaved husbands. Another time we concentrate on teenagers.
You see, there is something about covenanting in prayer. I went to Dr. [A. W.] Tozer's church and I stayed there for two weeks. And I had the privilege of praying with him. He's a wonderful man. He wasn't the greatest preacher I ever heard but he had an intimacy with God like nobody else. And I remember one day he said, "Len, don't let anybody diminish your appetite or zeal for prayer."
He said, "I'll tell you what happened in World War 1, the finest young men in our church went to war. They were drafted, 30 of them. And we covenanted with their parents and their wives. We covenanted in prayer that not one of those men would get killed or seriously injured." And every man came back. The only one that was lame was his own son. But he said that if we can covenant in prayer like that, why can't you covenant in prayer in one of your churches. [For example] not one of our girls in our churches is going to get pregnant. Not one of our boys is going to go into drink. We're not just going to raise nice healthy children, we're going to do more than that. We want to produce spiritual offspring.
And the reason those super stars that came to our prayer meetings didn't continue, well, they heard men that were praying with anointing. Again, they heard this fellow crying with tears for the different tribes in America. It's astounding, there are 2.25 [million] American Indians. Where's David Brainard today? There isn't a Brainard there.
I1: How do we have a right to pray for revival, when in the 20th Century there are so many people who believe theologically that things are just going to get worse and worse and worse and God is certainly not going to send a revival, so why are you wasting your time praying that God will send one?
RH: Well, you get a nucleus of people. You get together and talk with the deacons and others. What it says here, "They have forsaken Me." So, what?
How many of you deacons come to a prayer meetings? One night I was standing on the platform with Charles Stanley, there were maybe over a thousand people there. I think he has 50 deacons and I said, "Charles, where are your fifty deacons tonight?"
He said, "Well, I can count 15."
I said, "Well, fire the rest."
What did they do in the Upper Room when the Holy Ghost came? They gave themselves continually to fundraising. Did they? What did they do?
Give ourselves continually to prayer.
I like the figure, maybe I'm going to speak on it one day, I think Hannah is the best example of an intercessor that I know. There are all the qualifications. She had grief. She suffered. She [was] mocked. And yet year by year, it wasn't [just] once, they scorned her. But when she was pregnant, she didn't care a hill of beans about anybody.
Well, let me say this too. I think that there is a danger of seeking revival to justify my ministry, to prove we're the best people in town. We mentioned it with Paul this morning. What does it say in Malachi? "The Lord whom we seek." We're not seeking Him. We're seeking revival. We're seeking healing. We're seeking miracles. It's not that we need. If we get God, we get all that's needed. And revival is when God comes down.
[Pick up that book for me please.]
Here's a little book I hope you will all get. It's "Come Down Lord." It's a good book, of course it's from England, but apart from that, get a copy if you can. It's published by Banner of Truth. But I marked this page 23. "Now this is revival..."
I think revival is the most prostituted word that we have in our vocabulary today, either revival or faith. We don't know much about either. Revival stops the traffic. As dear Tozer used to say, "Leonard, when revival comes, it changes the moral climate of a community." Taverns close down. Night clubs close down. There's a war going on now. Dear God, if ever we need to put on the whole armor of God, it's today.
How many of you men have the book "The Whole Armor of God" by Gurnall? Do you have it? Let me see your hands. Oh good, only two out of all of you. It's a wonderful book. It's 1130 pages, it's $36. We can send dear Nancy an address [and] we can get it for $18. It was written like most of the classics in the 1600s and it's the most stirring [thing.] I gave [David] Wilkerson a copy of that 5 years ago, when I came back, he said, "Hey, while you're at it..." We have a vacation in the Bahamas, we should be there now. We had a free flight and a free holidays but this glorious atmosphere here, you know, where you can freeze every night is more attractive. So, uh...
I2: How do you address the people who say, that we are living in a day and age where everything is getting worse and worse and worse. There is no way God's going to send revival. Let's hang on for dear life, pray for the Rapture. But you have no right to believe and to storm the Throne of Heaven in faith believing that God is going to send a revival. He tells you in the Bible that things are going to get worse and worse.
How do you answer those people?
RH: I answered it this week this way. When the world population was 5 million, did God love it? Yes. Does He love it less when it is 5 billion? If God isn't willing that any should perish when it is 5 million, is He more willing that many should perish now?
You see the trouble in the world today, the stagnation in America, the moral desolation in America, is not due to the strength of humanism. It is because of the weakness of evangelism. People don't get born again when they come to the altar. They come damned and they leave it damned. They're not born. People can't be born in 5 minutes, put off 10 million sins and transgressions and violations of the Law of God. They can't change a way of life, put off the old man, put on the new man by just standing there in tears. [11:55] As I told you last night, when I heard that guy say on TV, "Come forward, it will only take a few minutes," I went to bed and cried. I said he's the leading evangelist in America telling people who are dead in trespasses and sins...they're not bad, they're dead.
[In] the Prodigal Son, [the father] didn't say my son is bad, he says he's dead. It's no fun to work on a congregation. Maybe I said yesterday, 100 years ago that great art critic in England, what was his name? John? John Ruskin said, "Preaching is 30 minutes to raise the dead." I thought that was facetious. It's scriptural. All those lovely people you have, executive people, deacons, nice people, wealthy people, poor people, hippies, yuppies, whatever you got, there they are – they're dead. And we're the ones that transmit life. But my dear brother, I believe we're going to see a Pentecost that will out Pentecost Pentecost. And I'll tell you what, nobody is going to stick his name on it. Swaggert has had his chance to evangelize the world and has all messed it up. Oral Roberts, they've had millions of dollars, what have they done? They brought disgrace to the Name. People ridicule it but God is a jealous God.
God's going to raise up men. I've prayed for Romanians and [those] behind the Iron Curtain, every day of my life. People want to tell me now that God has bypassed America. Don't waste your time. Why? Was it as dead in the days of Jonathan Edwards?
What is revival? Well, I think it was an old America... I think it was Ian Bounds who said, "[It's] the breath of God on a situation that threatens to become a corpse." We're very near death in America. There's no time for a new Reformation in the denominations. God will raise up new men with new vision. I want to preach on vision tonight, God willing. And we've got to have vision and passion. God has got to upset our whole schedules, our lifestyle, our way of eating, our way of living, our way of socializing in the Church, God help us. Sure you can get half your church if you put a chicken supper before the prayer meeting. They'll come for the chicken supper. You got the chickens, you got the crowd. Because they're all chicken. But anyhow... I believe that there is going to be an awakening.
Ok, God has given me the privilege of knowing praying men. There's a little fellowship of people in a town called Zion, Illinois. Do you know where that is? And it's still there. There are one or two original people who were there with Darry [?]. And I went there and they asked me to talk to the man and he is upstairs in bed. Normally he speaks with a mic to the congregation downstairs every morning. And do you know what happened to him? I walked in and he thanked me, he said, "Mr. Ravenhill, you do me an honor. I've read your books." I said, " Please. Don't say a word." My mother said that if ever you go in to see royalty you never turn your back. And I back pedaled to the door, and I said, "I want to thank you."
Do you know that man, Andrews? God called him to go to Israel and he mastered Hebrew. And when he got there, God said, Go back. He said, "But people gave me money." " Do as I say. Go back. Intercede for America."
What did he do? For 30 years, he prayed from 10 o'clock in the night till 5 o'clock in the morning by himself. Oh, you talk about David Brainard and I'm talking about our day. I'm talking about a man I've talked with. When they carried him in that little wooden casket out of that room, it was the first time he had been out of the house in 12 years, never out of the house.
How does a man maintain his fire? He is not only seeing men are lost, men are not merely lost in your church, they're robbers. They're robbing God of the right to use their personality. They're robbing God of the right to use their time. They're robbing God of the right to use their tongue. Dear God, Saturday they shout until they're hoarse. They're frantic on Saturday at sports arena. They're frozen on Sunday.
And here is a man he said, "Listen, I am not a bit weary." And this is a staggering thing to me, he said, "Mr. Ravenhill, there is going to be an awakening before Jesus comes." And I forgot it till Martha [Ravenhill] reminded me the other day. He said, "There's going to be a revival that will sweep 1 billion people into the Kingdom of God." Well, that's a lot. But there are five billion in the world. And are four billion going to Hell?
There's a man around the country now. Manny, have you met Paul Kaynes? Well [Paul], I've ministered with him a few times lately, he's an amazing man. He used to get thirty and forty thousand people in his meetings. He deputized for Bill Branner. And then he disappeared. I heard of him in 1950 when I first came to America. I didn't meet him until about twenty years after and then I met him recently and he said in the meeting we're in, he said, "God has revealed to me that there is going to be a moving of the Spirit of God," and what? "And 1 billion people will be born again." And he mentioned your country dear brother, what did you call him, Sung? He mentioned your country, those other countries in the belly of Russia now, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania... Dear God, when I was a boy, we had a family that used to come from Estonia. I think there were what, 10 in the family? They all played different instruments and they set our church on fire. Well, where did they disappear to? Dear God, you say, my church have never prayed. Get some conditions from this brother of what is happening in their country.
You know the two most pleasent men in the world right now are the two biggest enemies of the Cross, one is the Pope and the other is Gorbachev. And they've fooled us. They fooled us. We may not have a collision with Communism. We'll have one with Romanism. It's a deadly enemy because it says Mary is co-redemptrix and Mary is a mediator before God.
But going back to this, there never has been a situation in the world as difficult as today. We've never had all the cults we have now. I see the nations being squashed like this. [Hands pushed together palm to palm.] This wall is moving in this way, it's the cults. This wall is moving this way, it's the occult. And these things are rampant.
My dear country of England, again, in the last 25 years they've closed 600 branch churches of the Church of England alone, leave out the Methodists and others. But in the place of 600 churches, we have now six hundred mosques. The greatest revival in the world right now is amongst the Muslims. Why? Because they're prepared to die. You can't scare them. "We're prepared to die." Our folk aren't prepared to live. Sure, they'll come to a camp meeting if they can ride horses or play tennis or some other thing. I know there's nothing wrong in that, but where's the passion? It's young men that see visions. I'm not trying to escape it.
I want to tell you before God. I'm in my 83rd year now. I have a bigger fire burning in my belly, if you like my heart, than ever in my life. And I'm determined by the grace of God to wage war. And I say I've got young men coming 300 miles to our prayer meeting. That's my consolation. I know that Mannly is stirring people in his area. Bill in his area.
Still God has a Remnant but the Remnant is not enough. We've got to return to the old ways. The fire has to burn. Dear God, the prayer meeting has to become the most attractive thing in the church.
You fire the deacons if they... When I went to the last church I was in I said, "Every deacon has to meet me half an hour before the service, any meeting." Friday night we meet at nine o'clock and pray till midnight.
You tell me about Spurgeon, Paul was showing me a little book the other day... Yes, sure he was a great man of... Did you know that in all the twenty years he was in that church, he never once made an altar call? Do you know what the deacons did for him? They went in the side room where he prayed and wept and groaned before God. Every time he went in the pulpit, the deacons put their arms under his armpits and carried him to the door to get him on the platform.
When old ladies, who visited him who knew him, told me about his prayer life; it's amazing. And no man is greater than his prayer life; I don't care how many church members he has.
And somebody told me the other day you like a favorite verse. And I know that I'm jumping around a bit. You know I think the greatest honor is, you know I don't have any doctorates either begged or borrowed or burned or anything else. I have no degrees. You can have 32 and still be frozen.
But one thing I covered, I want to be one of the ten most wanted men in Hell. I want the demons to say, "Jesus I know and Ravenhill I know." "Jesus I know and Dale I know." That's why the Devils oppose him. Dear Mannly last night moved me to tears as I was taken to the platform. I whispered in his ear after, "You and I have one thing in common with the apostle Paul, we're in deaths oft." Dear Lord, my wife has been to my funeral a half a dozen times or at my bedside. Lots of people would like to see me die but I'm not going to die, I'm going to live.
They actually threw a white sheet over me and the doctor said, he won't last four minutes. And I was going to die piously. And I had my hands folded and he said, me? Whoa!
I said, "You're talking about me."
Doctor said, "Another 11 years from now, you'll be crippled and paralyzed. Your back's broken. Your feet are broken. Your legs are broken. You're useless."
I may be useless but I'm still hanging on.
But the thing is this. I have been privileged to share in prayer, and I don't remember great pulpits. I have been privileged to preach in some of the great pulpits of the world and I don't remember them. I've talked with great preachers but when men have let me pray with them I remember all of them. I can tell you how he prayed. I remember... Mannley, what was the national conference we had in...?
Audience: Carlyle [sp]
RH: Bertha Smith was there.
Philadelphia. That night of prayer we had. We said [we'll] have a night of prayer. We got in the bedroom and, boy, after ten minutes the door kept going out. And I thought, "My [goodness], I'm going to be left by myself." And folk weren't going out, they were coming in. I looked around and [there] were about six pairs of legs. The guys were laying under the bed. Like guys under the bed at that side and this side. And we prayed until, I don't know, two or three in the morning. And someone has said, "God came down that night."
Well, that's where revival is born. You can't schedule it.
The stupid thing, we're going to start a revival next Monday night and finish [over] there.
Who gives orders to the Holy Ghost?
Sensitivity to the Spirit of God isn't there.
In the middle of the Welsh Revival, there's a guy 26 years of age and he has already prayed 13 years for revival. He won't allow people to photograph him. The greatest preachers in England at that time were there. William Booth was there. He left his office desk to listen to this 26 year old guy. The greatest Bible teacher in the world was there. G. Campbell Morgan. He left his office at West Minster and came to hear this young man speak. F. B. Meyer came from the Baptist church. They were all flocking to Wales to hear a man who is anointed in the Spirit of God.
He comes into a meeting... The biggest hall in town had 800 seats. It was packed an hour before time [to start]. And in comes the young man everyone is waiting for him to come. There is one seat on the [front row?]. He went to the front seat, bowed his head and prayed for three hours. What do you mean? Do you think our congregation would do that? They'd say, "Hey, he's fallen asleep." For three hours. Until he felt the rich anointing. And then he stood up and preached for 15 minutes. The glory of God came down and do you know what happened? Nobody dare leave the place. He went out at ten o'clock and prayed the whole night for the anointing for the next day. The people stayed until two and three in the morning. They did that week after week.
You see, we take our little revivals to South America. What do you call him again? Swaggart went. He took the formula we have here. Turn it on at six, turn it off at seven. It didn't do a thing. It failed. Because it's American? No, because it wasn't biblical. Another big shot did the same thing.
The fellow that's having revival in South America now... I read in one report, it said they go to a meeting. It starts Wednesday, they have Wednesday night. They have Thursday night. They have Friday night. Friday night, the people, particularly teenagers, pray the whole night through. Pray all day Saturday. Pray all Saturday night into Sunday. And the glory of God fills the place.
You see, you got to get an appetite. You know the nitty gritty of the whole thing is this, we don't know God. We don't know God. We know theology. We know about Him.
Why did Jesus come into the world? To save sinners? That's not what Jesus said. What did Jesus say? "I have come that they may know Thee."
Every man that comes in my office, and I get them worldwide. I don't know why but they come. And I say, "First, tell me. Do you know God?" "Well, I have a degree." "I didn't ask you about that. Do you know God?" When was your last encounter with God? When were you last prostrate in His presence? When did you last sit spellbound at His majesty? You don't know God.
Because we don't know God, we don't know how to worship. We don't know how to enter into His presence. We're content to know a few theological shibboleths that people have taught us. Dear God, one of the leading men in the Southern Baptist church, a dear from of yours [points into the audience], I won't give you a clue after that, it might be a brother. He said to me recently, he said, "Listen, forget our seminaries. There's no anointing in them. Those professors are teaching the lessons on Romans they taught ten years ago. You can shake the dust off of them. And every year they go back and say the same thing. Romans chapter one, then eight to eleven, then chapters so and so. A parrot can say it.
How can men sit and hear the word of the living God and not catch fire? I want God as a consuming fire tonight. When will I preach? [to interviewer on left] Tomorrow too? Or the day after? I have two more times so maybe I will get to preach on the Incandescent Man. And then on the Indestructible Man.
You see, the blessed word, it torpedoes us. It says, "Elias was a man of like passion." Have you noticed so often that God says, "I've looked for a man." Have you noticed in the middle of his great poem written on love? 1 Corinthians 13, it has thirteen verses. He stops talking about love and he says, "When I became a man..." What does that mean? Tell me, Mannly. Think it over. When I became a man? What does he mean? When did he step out of spiritual infancy? When did he move out of spiritual immaturity? When did that vision come?
I want to preach on him one day before I hope.
When you were talking last night about Hebrews 11, you know I read that chapter, as I tell you, when I read Hebrews 11, I fall on my face because not one person in Hebrews 11 ever had a Bible. Whenever I've read all about the achievements, I'd like you to preach on this some time Mannly, there's a verse in there that staggers me. And it says what? It says, "They did by faith they subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions..." And then one verse says, "Not accepting deliverance." What does it mean? I'd rather die than fail Christ.
You can't imagine it, can you? There's a woman standing over there feeding her baby, then the judge says to [her husband], "Look. Listen preacher. You take three grains of incense to that at the feet of Caesar and all you do is say Caesar is lord and you can go back to your darling wife and precious baby. If not, those lions, we're going to release them. And the next thing you'll find is a lion chewing your baby up. Another one tearing the breasts off your wife. Do you love your wife? And you tell me you love a god you can't see to the wife?" And he stands there and refuses it.
We've forgotten all about that.
There's a book called "Fair Sunshine." It's about the young men who were put to death in Scotland until 1665. And as you read them waving their hands and saying, "I have three more days until I see the King in His beauty."
You see, what our generation of preachers has managed to do: we've failed to make sin diabolical, we've failed to make sin offensive, and we've failed to make [Christ] attractive.
You know the only time you can sing the old hymn of Wesley, "Thou, oh Christ, Art all I want," The only time you can say Christ is all I need is when Christ is all you have. We're propped up with everything now; our refrigerators are full... I don't have many clothes, I have two suits at least and I have at least two pair of shoes. I went to one preacher's place and he had thirty-five sports coats and twenty-five pairs of shoes. And nearly as many books.
Does the Devil care what we have? All he's worried about is that you catch fire and then your church catches fire...
The other thing I need to say, I've gone around a bit I know, so I'll say what I want to say... See, the great revivals of Methodism were not in buildings they were in the streets. The Salvation Army set England on fire. How? Not by buildings...
The Bishop of Glascer [sp?] said never let John Wesley or Charles Wesley in any of our churches. They were both certified ministers of impeccable morality, scholars -- read Hebrew and Greek, "Don't let them in churches." "And don't let that man, George Whitefield in the church at all."
Tell me who was the bishop at that time? Nobody knows. Don't care a hill of beans. But we know the men who got kicked out. You know some of you guys, if your faithful will be kicked out, at least that's my prayer. I pray you'll all get fired for being fire. But God's going to do it. Don't loose sight of that with all I've rambled on.
You see, God used the same material before. They were flesh and blood. Many of them were fallible, as Paul was saying this morning. Some of them made mistakes. But God looks on the heart. And they were able to see great movings of the Spirit of God.
America is harder today than she's ever been. We have not vocabulary any more. Nobody commits adultery now, they just have an affair. There's no fornication, it's just premarital sex. Nobody's messing with spiritism, it's just channeling. We've taken the sting out of all the words. We don't talk about Hell.
We've got to get back to biblical theology. And we've got to do the essential thing. Listen, Jesus says, "If I be lifted up." We're not preaching Christ; we're preaching drugs, we're preaching abortion, we're preaching crime. We're not preaching Christ.
Our fathers, I've been reading very much lately again partly the apostolic fathers and the Puritans and the other people in that area, how they exalted Christ. It was Christ first Christ last. You see we've lost sight of the majesty and holiness of God.
We don't tip toe out of the sanctuary subdued by God's almightiness, power and mercy. It's just a ritual. It's just a formality. People know, now we're going to stand, now we're going to stop.
Let's go back to the main issue. The main issue is that the church has to [vibrate.] You know if I lived within hundred miles, I would be here every week, at least once to pray with these guys to pray with these guys. I wouldn't pray in the day when it's comfortable. [I'd come] at nine o'clock till three in the morning. And see how men would come. They'll come.
There's nothing more attractive on this Earth than fire. Whether it's physical or spiritual, fire is the most attractive. Our God is a consuming fire. And the only answer to Hell fire is Holy Ghost fire.
I2: Brother Leonard, let me ask you another question. You make interviews very easy, this is my third question.
What do you believe is the greatest hinderance to genuine revival in the Church here in the West?
RH: The number one hinderance to revival in America is evangelism. We've made it too easy for people to come forward and say a little prayer and go out. Stop them and ask them...ask teenagers in your church, number one, "Are you saved?" "Yes." "From what?" "Oh, from Hell." Are you saved from lust? Are you saved from pride? They don't know. Talk about the witness of the Spirit that John Wesley preached on more than anything else, they don't know what you're talking about. They'll sing Blessed Assurance and they have no assurance.
The hinderance, number one, is that we have made it so easy for people to come forward... They go out at the door, I some recently, once they go out of the door they are lighting cigarettes. They weren't going home under anguish. You know what Spurgeon said when he was fifteen? He was under conviction of sin for weeks and weeks and weeks. He couldn't sleep, he couldn't eat. How do you get conviction like that? Dear God, our people they're a bit upset in the meeting, they go out. They go back to sin. They go back and sit before TV until midnight. There's no [condition]. There has to become an awakening in the church of the peril.
Those loved ones of yours at the end of the table, they don't go to church. No, they're going to Hell. Why don't you say it?
My boy's a good boy. He's quarter back [on the football team]. Who cares a hill of beans who's quarter back, full back or any other back?
Where are your children? What's your ambition for your boy?
I have three boys. Two are the best preachers in America today. The other one's the head of the new section of that multimillion dollar, what do you call it now? Smithsonian Museum. And these boys, they've got prayer lives. Two of them have got tremendous prayer lives, my joy. I would be totally unhappy if they were any thing else. They'll never be millionaires. They'll never be rich but they know God. They're laying up treasure in Heaven.
And our young people, you see, it's not a [...] of getting the Bible back in the schools, it's of getting the Bible back in your home. We were talking, I was talking with dear brother Bill here about, what's his name? Duncan Campbell. I spent many hours in prayer with Duncan Campbell. He used to pray and weep and groan. The amazing thing, Billy, I don't know if you know, is that he never had revival except when he preached in Gaelic. I remember the first day of World War 1. It was the fourth of August. My cousin went to the army. He came back crippled. I remember the first day of World War 2. I was to preach at the head church of the Nazarenes Saturday night and in the afternoon I went to a mission hall in the center of Glasgow. And I didn't know this, "This is Duncan Campbell. And he was always known as Duncan Campbell of the Argyle Revival. And I'll tell you about that till now. He lost his anointing and he became a nobody. But I said to him, "Well, what was the condition?" He had revival in what? 1949? Well, he said, "Brother Ravenhill, at that time after breakfast in the morning, they lifted all the dishes off the table in put them in the kitchen sink and daddy got the Bible. And he read a 'sram' or a psalm, usually, commented on it. The children had to memorize the Shorter Catechism."
You see, maybe the greatest hymn writer we had was Isaac Watts, he wrote "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross." He wrote "Joy to the World, The Lord is Come." He wrote "Marching to Zion." You know the wonderful thing is he had a catechism for children under seven years of age? And you couldn't move up in a class in Sunday school until you had memorized it. Then he had another catechism for children from seven to fourteen years of age. Then he had another for people fourteen and up. What does the Good Book say, "Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee."
And I said, "Brother, you've given me the secret of revival." The seed had been the hearts of those children for ten and fifteen years. Then the Holy Ghost comes and sends somebody along and that seed begins to germinate.
The Word of God is "quick and powerful." Where is it? It's first in my heart, but then the Holy Ghost breaths on it. Its [as] though I have a little spark in heart and then the Holy Ghost breaths on it and it comes into a flame.
Your number one concern should be your family. I went to preach at a certain college. I had a good time. The second time I went a guy came and said, "Im want to thank you for coming. God put [...] on my heart last time you were here. I believe in you." I said, "What?" He said, "Because you've raised three boys that are a credit to you. Two wonderful preachers." My wife did most of it, I was away and in prayer. But I spent hours in prayer for them. And my number one [priority], even if I was in a big church in another country, my number one [thing] [I prayed was] today Lord, I cover my family with the precious blood. I believe the Holy Spirit will talk to them. Dear God, when Paul was sixteen years of age, he prayed more hours than I prayed. He would pray until 1 and 2 in the morning in an old part of a mansion we had in Ireland.
And all the men I have known have been men of prayer. And it costs something.
But you see, your ambition should be to see your spiritual offspring in your home, your spiritual offspring in the church... If I were in a church I would have nucleus of about ten [young] men every week and talk to them about the things of God particularly in the life of prayer. I'd read some of the great characters that God has made because they're made of the same stuff as us. I wouldn't bother about a big church.
Why didn't Jesus take the 5,000? He fed them? They didn't follow Him. He didn't feed the 5,000 in the church. He didn't feed the 4,000 in a church. He manifest His power. He had twelve and they weren't all good. Thomas doubted [Him.] Look at the mess that Judas made.
But prayer is the secret, you know that. You make up your mind that you're going to give time to prayer and the Devil will fight it more than anything else. Your phone will ring off the hook. Visitors will come. Somebody will say come preach at our church. Why do you go conduct a revival in somebody else's church when your own is dead? That's nonsense.
I2: Brother Ravenhill, if you knew that God was going to remove you from the scene and you only had one message left that you could communicate to the church in North America what would that message be? What's the burden of your heart right now?
RH: There would be two things. Number one, the sad thing that we don't know God. Jesus [said], "I may come that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." And if we know God we don't have to know anybody else. If we don't know God, we need to know everybody else.
The other thing that's obscure and I'm going to say when I preach on the Indestructible Man. We've totally lost sight of the Judgement Seat of Christ. Totally. Suppose the Lord is coming today? As you as a pastor, would you welcome Him and say, "My church is the cleanest church in town. We're without spot or wrinkle. We've dealt with divorce. We've dealt with drunkenness. I have the most godly bunch of deacons in Texas or in America. I have the finest group of young people. Lord, I have spent my life preparing the Bride.
Why doesn't He come? Because the Bride hasn't made herself ready. She's filthy. She's unclean.
It isn't rape and all the damnable things in the world that keeps Jesus away, the Church is filthy. He's not coming for a [filthy] bride. Therefore we have to revival a true revival of holiness, Bill, I believe it with all my heart. You believe it too, don't you Mannly? Holiness has to come.
There are three things missing in modern preaching: immensity, intensity and eternity. There are two things missing in the pew: one is integrity and the other is honesty. But you read about those old Puritans, they had immensity and they had intensity. There was no dodging the Word of God. You felt like you were almost being crucified with it. It's the Word of God that's living, as my dear brother said last night. It's not an illustration that you build a doctrine on, you can't do that.
These guys that have all these visions, they trouble me in one sense. You have a vision, it doesn't help me. It's my personal relationship with God. [As you taught last night, I have often taught on that chapter, Mannly, and it's a wonderful chapter on faith.
And the key in that chapter is Hebrews 11:6, "He that cometh to" who? "God." He that "cometh to God must believe that He is." That "He is" what? That He is able to save to the utter most. That He is able to keep you from falling. That He is able to make you pure in an impure world. As I said the other night, the greatest miracle in the world is God's going to take an unholy man out of an unholy world, make him holy, put him back in that unholy world and he can walk in truth and righteousness from here to eternity, even if he walks through Hell. Jesus didn't die to save us from sins, [we ... Titus 2], "to get a peculiar people unto Himself."
You know, many people in your church want to be good. Not many want to be holy. Who wants a drunken husband? Who wants a rotten unfaithful wife? Who wants kids that are the smartest dressed in town? Who cares? As your children, do you want to be holy?
Do you think they might turn around and say, "Dad, are you holy?
Do you live like Christ in our home?"
You see that's where it comes down to. Role models, as we say. We have got to have men who are models. I think you [centalized] it last night when you were talking about Christ has to be in us.
You see a man isn't saved because he gave up his lousy sins and confesses sins and believes Jesus rose from the dead. The Devil believes that. The Devil believes in the virgin birth, he witnessed it. The Devil believes in the resurrection, he witnessed it but there's no Christ in the devil. It's Christ in you. Paul says He revealed Himself to me then He revealed Himself in me. You'll never forget that if you have that crises, I'll tell you that.
You can argue what you like about the Second Blessing. You come into a crises where Christ becomes different, the Word of God lives and vibrates, the lostness of men, you see men robbing God every day. Some of your deacons do it. They rob God of time, they rob God of His testimony, they rob God of His authority in them.
There has to come a revival of purity in the Church.
So the two most urgent things to me are preach that you may know God. Say for the next month, "I'm going to do nothing but study about Jesus Christ, who He is and what He is and then I'm going to study about the Judgement Seat of Christ." I [have] preached on the Judgement Seat of Christ for more than twenty years. I have worked on a book for more than 10 years. But you know what? It terrifies me. [Its hard to go to bed at night,] one night I went to bed at ten, I woke up at two o'clock and went to the other end of the house in my little office and I opened Revelation. I began to read Revelation 20 and it's as though the book suddenly leapt alive. What did I read? I read there the second death.... And suddenly I realized that I've heard a hundred sermons on the Second Coming, I've heard a hundred on the Second Blessing, I've heard a hundred on the Second Coming, the Second Blessing, the Second Birth, I've never heard one on the Second Death. And just a voice like that, I'm sure, just said to me, "Hell has no exits." And I turned around.
What do you think I did? Go back to sleep? A million roads into Hell and no exit? Well, teacher tell me, when did you last preach on Hell? Huh?
Lots of Dallas guys don't believe in Hell. [Well then] cut it out of your Bibles. You've cut it out of your preaching, what's the difference? In God's sight you cut it out of your Bible. Boy, you're going to get in trouble man. You won't be in the Southern Baptists. Didn't you say we should do what Jesus did? You see kids come to me and say, "Well, I'm going to the Philippines for three weeks." Can you speak the language? "No, I'll give out tracks." Why? "To fulfill the Great Commission." Why what was the Great Commission? "The last words of Jesus." Tell me, what were they? As Mannly says, what we they? "Well, the last word of Jesus was 'Go ye into all the world..." Not in my Bible. That's the last words [to] the Disciples. The last word of Jesus was three times over in Revelation is repent, "Repent. Repent. Repent."
And He didn't say go into all the world and preach. He said make disciples. You can't make disciples in five minutes at the altar. You can't make disciples by giving tracks on Main Street every Friday night. Bring them in. Even if [you have to] bribe them with coffee or a doughnut or something. And say we're going to have instruction now. We're not going to go through the catechism, we're going to teach you the fundamentals of the faith. Our kids don't know it, I guarantee.
There's a big church in the South where the pastor says we're accountable to the 11,000 college students in our town. And then he says, I'll give you the name, I have it in the back of my Bible, and he says in this town in their sophomore year, and they're Baptists, and sophomore students in the college here as soon as they move away from home in their sophomore year they quit church. They go out on Sunday's. Why? Because they've been baptized haven't they? But they never met Christ. They've gone through a ritual, a formula. Few of our young people are genuinely born again of the Spirit of God. Boy, I'm glad that when I got saved, I got saved. I no sooner got saved than I got an appetite for prayer.
I owe a lot to America, it owes a lot to me but... Somebody gave me a limited edition of the life of David Brainard. When I read it, I cried. I said people told me that all finished with the New Testament. Listen, if miracles finished with the New Testament, prayer finished! You show me where God the Holy Ghost abrogated giving gifts unto men? You can't show me. A professor told you. Who told him? Not God, the Devil told him. It's an amazing thing, you can be in a church and commit adultery, you shouldn't do but if you do or that some other thing, they'll let you stay as a pastor. You get filled with the Holy Ghost and speak in tongues, they'll kick you out.
I had dinner the other day with Dr. Jack Reed [sp? Reed/Reid]. Do you know Jack Reed? Beautiful man of God. Knows Hebrew through and through. Knows Greek through and through. He was teaching in Dallas... No it was Jack Dear, thank you dear. Jack Dear, and I sat with him. He was teaching Greek and Hebrew, I won't mention the seminaries. There's a whole lot of these cemeteries, I mean seminaries, in Dallas. And he didn't get the gift of tongues, he went to see what was happening in these other churches and when he saw it he became alarmed.
You know, guys say to me, "I've read your books and one thing sticks in my [mouth.]" What was it? "You said one day somebody's going to read the Bible and believe it. And when they do, we will all be embarrassed." That's what they do in some of these foreign countries. They get the Bible and they read it, stare and say, "Who's this Jesus?" Is he there? "Oh, no. He live up there." They don't care a hill of beans if he lives up there if He's not living in you.
Life Action became new to me today, I can tell. You can believe dear brother, I know you and your team that people don't just get interest when your van goes down the street in Life Action. How much life do you leave in churches? How much life do you [leave...]? Somebody say, Dell and his team don't preach like ordinary men. They preach as though they have something of a power that we've never measured. I'm going to keep saying, I'm going to stop right now.
You know all of us are thermometers. We have a big thermometers [on our back window.] And I say to Martha, "Darling, what is it?" You know the last few mornings when we came here it was almost 80 degrees [F] at seven in the morning? And what's it going to be today ? A 100? Do you know that poor thermometer were 80 the other day and, boy, they went down like the stock market down to 40 or something like that last night. But there inside the door you have a, what do you call it? A thermostat. Well, it's only a thermometer. The difference is this, a thermometer goes up and down with the changing of the world. The thermostat taps into some power and it doesn't say, I'm going to go up and down. [No], it says I'm going to control the atmosphere. The atmosphere doesn't control me. I control the atmosphere. Well, either the world, the flesh and the devil control you or God the Holy Ghost controls you. You don't go up and down, we're God controlled. We're God inspired. We're God energized. We're not serving a denomination. We're serving the Living God. And brethren, listen, everyone of us here this morning, we're on probation. We're cramming for our finals.
I'll tell you, a thought of the Judgement Seat which I'll preach on [Paul] that absolutely floored me when he wrote it to me recently. But you start preaching, every time you preach a sermon, put your notes down and say, "Lord, I'm just going to preach this in light of the Judgement and I will answer for every word before a [...] of 50 billion people I have to answer for this message." Keep a record of your prayer life and at the end of the week say, "Lord, this is it." If you can't control your TV, every time you go to the TV put a chair at the side and ask the Lord to sit there. Make a note of how many minutes you spend, how many hours, and at the end of the week [write it down] and have a list of your prayer life. I know the football season is coming and all the other crazy thing.
You know what? In my mind, entertainment is the devil's substitute for joy. The more joy you have in the Lord, the less entertainment you need. When you can say, "Thou Christ art all I want." But listen, be careful, He may strip you of every thing else you have. You may lose some of your best friends who will you're fanatical. They don't mind you being kind and good [but] you become holy and zealous and immediately... Have you got friends who think you're crazy? Good. Well, I've got some too, maybe they're the same friends.
I1: If you were to recommend to these young revivalists and pastors two books that they were to read within the next year that would make the greatest contribution to their ministry, what would they be?
RH: Well, I guess some of you would guess, number one would be "The Christian in Complete Armor" by Gurnall. It's 1130 pages. Wilkerson told me it turned his life around.
There's another book called, what's it dear? "Looking Unto Jesus" and that's the secret of the whole Christian life in three words in Hebrews 12:2, "Looking unto Jesus." It's written by Isaac Ambrose. It's the same bracket 1600 to ... have you got that too? Good.
And the other, a paperback which is published by Banner of Truth called "Fair Sunshine." It's all about these young martyr preachers.
I had a fellow in my office the other day, he has just upgraded the ten volumes of Finney. You can find them [as] Finney Parkers. Bethany gotten them. He's taken every book that Finney had and he hasn't done any drastic surgery on them, he has [adjusted] some vocabulary and made it easier. There are ten volumes and there are two more still to come. And they're very, very precious.
And the other I would [recommend], a paperback, it's the soul of prayer. It's by P. T. Forsyth. There's one phrase in that book which is worth the book and he says you say, "You have to pray to maintain your Christian life." He says you have to maintain your Christian life to pray. And that makes all the difference.
Revival is based on Psalm 24, "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? He that has clean hands," our relationship with the world, "and a pure heart," our relationship with God. And it's as simple as that. Then it's humiliation and brokenness and fasting and being willing to be considered [crazy], even by spiritual people. Don't you think that Hannah felt it when the High Priest said this woman is drunk? She never said a word.
I2: Brother Ravenhill, I know you have got to go and prepare for tonight and on behalf of all our participants here, I want to thank you for giving so much of your self and what God has taught you, this afternoon.
RH: Well, it's been lovely to meet you brothers. And there's nothing on God's earth secondary to preaching. The job in the White House is peanuts compared to being a man of God in God's house. God's house is going to change America not the White House. It's full of corruption it's like Washington [D.C.], it's like Wall Street. It's down the drain. And the Church is in the same condition. There's going to be revival and I'm hoping for tonight for some men... And maybe there's one man in that meeting tonight, I kept saying to Martha, I said and I've got a word from God. And I know that.
Maybe there is one man who is going to be transformed tonight. And only ten years from now, will be know what God did. I've seen that happen more than once. And that's my desire.
I love you all. I love you dear brother. I pray for you every day.