Pastor’s Note: This is an excerpt from one of my favorite “classical” preachers and authors, R. A. Torrey. I’ve been reading several of his short books on different subjects and I just finished one on prayer. At the very end, he speaks of the importance of praying for general, worldwide revival.
Now you have to understand something, Torrey died in October of 1928, almost a century ago and when he speaks of the condition of the world in regards to the need for revival, we HAVE to consider the state of the world and how much worse it is today.
After reading his thoughts and teachings on prayer, I can’t help but admit being convicted. I thought I prayed often, but I have been misleading myself as I’m sure many of my current peers have as well. I love prayer. I love the communion with our Heavenly Father and I’m not talking about just petitions either. Yet in the light of Torrey’s teaching, I feel I have fallen way, way too short.
But I digress. This is about the state of the world and the need for TRUE revival all over the world and the only way to get it will be through fervent, earnest prayer to the Lord Almighty in Whom nothing, absolutely nothing is impossible.
Excerpt From How To Pray, by R. A. Torrey
Now look at the state of the world.
There is lack of conviction of sin. Seldom are men overwhelmed with a sense of their awful guilt in trampling under foot the Son of God. Sin is regarded as a “misfortune” or as “infirmity,” or even as “good in the making”; seldom as enormous wrong against a holy God.
Unbelief is rampant. Many regard it as a mark of intellectual superiority to reject the Bible, and even faith in God and immortality. It is about the only mark of intellectual superiority many possess, and perhaps that is the reason they cling to it so tenaciously.
Hand in hand with this widespread infidelity goes gross immorality, as has always been the case. Infidelity and immorality are Siamese twins. They always exist and always grow and always fatten together. This prevailing immorality is found everywhere.
Greed for money has become a mania with rich and poor. The multimillionaire will often sell his soul and trample the rights of his fellow men under foot in the mad hope of becoming a billionaire and the laboring man will often commit murder to increase the power of the union and keep up wages. Wars are waged and men shot down like dogs to improve commerce and to gain political prestige for unprincipled politicians who parade as statesmen.
The licentiousness of the day lifts its serpent head everywhere. You see it in the newspapers, you see it on the billboards. You see it on the streets at night. You see it just outside the church door. You find it not only in the awful cesspools set apart for it in the great cities, but it is crowding further and further up our business streets and into the residence portions of our cities. The moral condition of the world in our day is disgusting, sickening, appalling.
We need a revival, deep, widespread, general, in the power of the Holy Ghost. It is either a general revival or the dissolution of the church, of the home, of the state. A revival, new life from God, is the cure, and the only cure. That will stem the awful tide of immorality and unbelief. Mere argument will not do it; but a wind from Heaven, a new outpouring of the Holy Ghost, a true God-sent revival will.
The need is clear. What then shall we do? Pray. Take up the Psalmist’s prayer, “Revive us again, that thy people may rejoice in thee.” Take up Ezekiel’s prayer, “Come from the four winds, O breath [breath of God], and breathe upon these slain that they may live.” (Ezekiel 37:9). Hark, I hear a noise! Behold a shaking! I can almost feel the breeze upon my cheek. I can almost see the great living army rising to their feet. Shall we not pray and pray and pray and pray, till the Spirit moves and God revives His people?