I recently picked up a reprint of a series of lectures published in Scotland by ministers reflecting on the revival that had just swept through the churches there in 1839.
The book was published in 1840, so their reflections were fresh in their minds.
One of the subjects they cover is the condition of the church right before the revival came… conditions which point to the urgency for a fresh visitation from God.
1. The church was weighed down by sin.
2. Men and women who once heard the Gospel, enjoyed its privileges, had become careless, contemptuous of it, even scoffers of God’s holy truth.
3. Things present and temporal employed every power of the minds of the people.
4. Divine truth had lost its hold over men’s minds.
5. Divine ordinances/practices ceased to have the power they once had.
6. The people were careless of purity of doctrine.
7. They were relaxed in purity of discipline.
8. The church had accommodated her teaching to the ever-shifting spirit of the age and her practices to the taste of the world.
“If these and such like dismal features mark the state of religion in any place or time, then, beyond all question, at that time and in that place there is a peculiar necessity for all who love the Lord and the souls of men to seek a time of revival.”
Over the last fourteen years there has been and is a growing holy dissatisfaction among many over the conditions in the Church of North America that are alarmingly like that of the churches in Scotland in the late 1830’s.
All over the country God is raising up a remnant of His people who carry this burden in their hearts and have a vision of what could be if God would visit His people again.
It is this vision that has launched a growing and protracted ministry of prayer in churches, homes, and ministries specifically for revival.
You hear it in sermons.
You hear the cry in many new worship songs.
There is a hunger… a thirst.
And I believe it will be soon that we, like those ministers in Scotland, will be able to report…
“The time prayer for has begun to appear. The day longed for has broken. The windows of heaven have rained at least on some fleeces long spread in dryness.”