the same language or life style. And this honestly forces us to say that seldom do we go out and invite them in or at least share the Good News.
A CALL TO BE OBEYED The church today, yes our church, needs a new visitation of the Holy Spirit.
It appears that we are no longer living our spiritual lives knowing that all those who do not know Christ as Savior are hell bound. We love to sing about Heav- en, but we seldom share the promise of hope and home with the unsaved, the hell bound. Robert Murray McCheyne, the grand Scottish missionary and preacher,
greatly influenced the preachers of the early 19th century. And down through the years he still does, through his sermons and writings. So goes a story: McCheyne’s mother took the rural lad for a visit to one of Scotland’s great cities, perhaps Glasgow. In the crowd and the clamor of the day, he became lost from his mother. She started a frantic search and finally found him on a side street deeply weeping. When his mother inquired, all he could say was, “O mither, the sound of these Christless feet going into eternity; Oh, mither, the sound of these Christless feet going into eternity.” As difficult as it is for me to say, I have at times found myself devoid of the
deep burden for the lost heading into the Christ-less eternity – a burden that at one time drove me to the lost, a burden that filled my prayer time and greeted me in the morning. In past days when the church grew cold and her lot fell in power and num-
bers, II Chronicles 7:14 was a call to be acted on: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray
and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.” It appears to me that humility comes when we as individuals and institu-
tions fall full face before our Sovereign God, laying personal and institutional pride before Him. All excuses fade. The endeavors of past days no longer meet the needs of the present day. “And pray.” PRAYER has always been the key to every revival or awakening.
During the Great Awakenings, entire cities would gather to pray. When prayer is not the center of believers’ and the church’s life, the power
for service and ministry and, yes, evangelism will soon leave the room. And we are left to wander around in fruitless service that occupies space, but produces no impact on the lost and dying world. During my full-time evangelism days, the churches we would go to were
asked to commit to a number of weeks of prayer in the homes of their members. In some places from five to 10 homes would have prayer meetings, calling on God for revival. And God honored that prayer time.
A Specific Suggestion Do we in the ARP Church want revival? If we do, let us ask our leadership to
call for a specific time of prayer. All our churches could meet two days a month for six months to pray for revival –prayer and prayer alone (no food). We will not see revival without determined prayer. ARP churches in specific areas could meet for a worship service with the total emphasis on prayer for revival – monthly. At the end of six months call for churches to have a week of special services
with the purpose of reaching people for Christ and reviving and strengthening the local church.
January/February 2020 arpbookstore.co
“To turn from our wicked ways” is
a call to truly repent. And so much so that the watching world will see the difference. My experience is that in many
places debts and loans have been paid. When the Holy Spirit breaks out, broken relationships are healed. Those who have destroyed lives by gossip and slander seek forgiveness. This list is quite long. In one place where revival broke
out, the leadership of the local church was convicted of how they had dealt with two former pastors. The leaders contacted the men and met with each personally, seeking forgiveness. And the outcome was a great blessing that enlarged the outreach already started by the Holy Spirit. In a denomination our size, imag-
ine what could happen if true repen- tance comes to us – at all levels. In every church, including ours, many have been hurt and often cast aside. If we are serious about having Re-
vival, let us not play around with re- pentance and forgiveness. We must turn from “wickedness” if we expect God to open the floodgates of Heaven and let loose what He has promised.?
Reverend Mickey Rice is a retired min- ister of Second Presbytery.
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