Posted on : Monday April 1, 2013
Bob Simpson, BCM/D Associate Executive Director and Editor of BaptistLIFE

Bob Simpson, BCM/D Associate Executive Director and Editor of BaptistLIFE

By Bob Simpson, Associate Executive Director/COO/Editor of BaptistLIFE

Have you ever longed for God to do something more powerful than you have experienced? In your church worship experiences, do you ever pray for God to do something that’s not printed in the order of worship or set list? I confess that I have often longed (and prayed) for both.

I came across a fascinating story from church history recently. It seems that in 1860 there was a worldwide prayer revival sweeping the globe. On the Caribbean island of Jamaica, the Christians there wanted to be a part of it. So they began to pray in daily prayer meetings at dawn. On Sept. 28, 1860, in the regular morning worship service of the Moravian Church in Clifton, Jamaica, something unique and unexpected happened. As was typical, a hymn was sung followed by an opening prayer. Then others began to pray. Children began to pray. One young man poured out his heart in prayer. Tears began to fill the eyes of the congregation. The service lasted for more than three hours. Even at the conclusion of the service, the minister continued to deal with those who were greatly distressed.

Some people left the service and went to continue praying at a nearby schoolhouse. More prayer meetings began to happen in other Jamaican towns including Montego Bay, Bethel Town, and Mount Carey. The prayer revival spilled over to other denominations, the Baptists, the Congregationalists, the Anglicans, the Methodists, and the Presbyterians.

Among the Methodists of Montego Bay, the congregation of 800 saw 547 people come to Christ. The 80 Baptist churches of Jamaica reported 12,000 conversions as a result of the prayer revival. The Presbyterian churches of Jamaica saw more than 3,000 conversions in 1860 and another 1,700 the next year.

A Congregationalist minister summed the prayer revival up as follows: “It closed the rum shop and the gambling houses, reconciled long-separated husbands and wives, restored prodigal children, crowded every place of worship, quickened the zeal of ministers, purified the churches, and brought many sinners to repentance.”

Well, AMEN! And it all began with a little prayer.  Then it proliferated to more and more prayer.  I can’t help but think about the current era in which we live. This country is so messed up. No single solution has emerged. The politicians don’t have the answer. Many of our churches here in our two-state convention are struggling to survive. The world at large seems to have gone mad! The main religions of the world pit themselves one against the other. It seems overwhelming. What do we do? Is there any hope?

Call me silly, but I happen to believe that revival is the answer.  And revival always begins with prayer. Typically it begins with the earnest prayers of one person or a small group of believers in some obscure location.  Always! There’s no shortcut or alternative strategy.

Perhaps a good starting point would be Habakkuk 3:2, where it says, “I have heard all about You, Lord, and am filled with awe by the amazing things You have done. In this time of our deep need, begin again to help us, as You did in years gone by. Show us Your power to save us. And in Your anger, remember Your mercy.”

Lord, please, do it again!