"THERE'S A BETTER DAY COMING!"
Pastor Elvis Marcum faced an impossible task at Graceland Baptist Church in New Albany, Indiana. The church desperately needed a fresh breath of life from heaven. Miss Clara Myers, an elderly prayer warrior in the church, never gave up hope for a revival. She always insisted,"There's a better day coming!" She died before the better day came but the faithful in the flock continued until their prayers became desperate.
Finally, in May of 1980 God's people at Graceland got thoroughly right with God and one another and that better day came!
When revival swept through Western Canada beginning in the fall of 1971 it was like the dawning of a wonderful new day. "This town is all upside down. The most extraordinary things are happening," a Canadian taxi driver explained to a visitor.
"Criminals are giving themselves up to the police. People don't want to do anything but sit in the church. We are called out at night to take people to church in the early hours of the morning."
Church leaders were transformed. Pastor Nick Willems was struggling with resentment as he sat on the platform during the meetings led by Ralph and Lou Sutera. "Lord, I'll settle it at home," he argued, fearing he would lose his reputation if he knelt at the altar.
Finally, he yielded, humbled himself and prayed. Then streams of blessing poured out of his ministry.
News of the revival in Canada filtered down to Sherwood Wirt, editor of "Decision" magazine in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He heard that "We're walking knee-deep in love up here." That was fine but he thought he already had plenty of love. His wife, Winola, didn't agree. In fact, she told him one day, "We're so mean to each other." His idea of loving her was to try to correct her so she could be a better Christian.
On January 9, 1972 revival fire touched him when he heard two Canadians, Harry and Evelyn Theissen, tell how God had caused them, after twenty years of an increasingly bleak marriage, to fall in love with each other all over again. They said it happened during the revival. The remedy was simple. Deal honestly with sin, accept your death to self and receive the filling of the Holy Spirit.
Before the evening was over Sherwood Wirt was on his knees during a small afterglow meeting accepting that remedy. He told the story in a book titled AFTERGLOW. "I don't know how love came," he wrote, "but I know that all the bitterness I held against others -- including those near me -- disappeared. Resentment, hostility, hurt feelings -- you name it. They all dissolved. Evaporated. Went."
The revival fires spread to Vancouver. "Can't someone pray with me, so that I can get right with God?" a young man overwhelmed with conviction of sin cried out in the middle of a church service.
On Sunday, March 5th, 1972, 2,000 people overflowed Ebenezer Baptist Church in Vancouver, British Columbia. In a few weeks revival had spilled over into five churches. Lives were being changed and new life was breathed into every aspect of church ministry. Weekly prayer meeting attendance soared. God was at work in powerful grace.
"I will never forget the tears of joy when people found peace," one pastor exclaimed. "Nor can I forget the realization of victory, and the filling with God-given love, in the lives of those who previously had had no contact with the Lord."
There have been a number of awakenings on college campuses in the USA. In 1936, Don Hillis, a senior at Wheaton College west of Chicago, arose in chapel. His plea for revival ignited fires of prayer and confession of sin. An all-day prayer meeting followed on Saturday. Both faculty and students made confessions of sin and righted wrongs. Twenty-five seniors became missionaries.
Revival came to Wheaton again in 1943. Following a message on confession of sin during special services, the captain of the cross-country team arose to confess that he had violated college policy by leading his team in a Sunday race. Pride, criticism and cheating were confessed by other students. Lunch and din ner slipped by while the meeting continued into the evening service.
A Wheaton student asked if he could tell how his sins had been forgiven and how he had experienced victory in his life. His testimony during special services on Wednesday, February 8, 1950 started a thirty-six hour long meeting. The impact of that meeting reached as far away as Florida.
"Stop the bus!" a member of the Wheaton College Glee Club shouted. The Glee Club was touring in Florida in 1950. The revival that had broken out on their campus west of Chicago had touched this student on that bus. He confessed a breach of trust that stirred other students on that tour to get right with God, too.
Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky was deeply moved by prayer when revival broke out in February of 1950. "I have never seen such happy people," said one reporter who came to see what was happening. Classes had to be suspended for nearly a week while the whole school experienced a time of refreshing from heaven.
A report from Korea told how the "land of morning calm" has become the land of morning prayer. A million or more South Koreans make their way every morning through the darkness to attend pre-dawn prayer meetings at churches across the country.
In rural Ji Jong village, for example, a bell summons the community's Baptist church members to prayer at 4:00 a.m. The believers sit on thin pillows scattered across the church floor and engage in fervent prayer.
Such prayer meetings can be found among Christians of various denominations in thousands of Korean villages. The same is true in the cities where mega-churches are located.
Koreans also hold all-night prayer meetings and prayer retreats. "For South Korean Christians, the prayer meeting is central to worship and all else the church does," according to Southern Baptist Missionary Paul Rhoads.
The praying church in South Korea has enjoyed phenomenal growth since 1950 with the result that Christians now number ten million which is nearly one fourth of the population.Write to Bible Prayer Fellowship and ask for free information on how to lead a prayer meeting for revival. You only need two or three to get started.
Copyright by Oliver W. Price 1995 Revival Insights Vol. VIII, No. 1
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