Wow. I’ve been reading a book that I have not read since Bible college days called Why Revival Tarries by Leonard Ravenhill. This guy was crazy insane right on. The book was first published in 1959, but you couldn’t tell by what he writes and addresses. I, personally, am getting my booty kicked by this thing. As some of you may know I’m involved in a blog called Simple Minded Preacher. Well, this guy Ravenhill is the original SMP!
Every chapter, without fail, is right where I am. Or at least where I want to be. It’s so direct and right on it’s as though I’ve never known Jesus at all. It’s as though I’ve never understood what faith is. But it isn’t guilt ridden. It’s more encouraging, if that makes sense. He says “This is how it’s supposed to be and if you aren’t there then you need to get there because this is what God has for you!” The primary audience is preachers but this is a must read for anyone who feels like there is a gaping hole in their spiritual life in the Lord. This is it. Before each chapter begins there are quotes from classic teachers and preachers of old. Those are worth the price of the book alone. And when the forward of the book is writen by A.W. Tozer you know it’s good stuff.
I have found myself wanting to retype in this blog what he writes from, but then I’d be reproducing the whole book. Here. I will write the first few sentences from each chapter I have read so far.
The Cinderella of the church of today is the prayer meeting. This handmaid of the Lord is unloved and unwooed because she is not dripping with the pearls of intellectualism, nor glamorouse with the silks of philosophy; neither is she enchanting with the tiara of psychology. She wears the homespuns of sincerity and humility and so is not afraid to kneel! No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying. The pulpit can be a shopwindow to display one’s talents; the prayer closet allows no showing off. When a man who has crept along for years in conventional Christianity suddenly zooms into spiritual alertness, becomes aggressive int he battle of the Lord, and has a quenchless zeal for the lost, there is a reason for it. (But we are so subnormal these days that the normal New Testament experience seems abnormal.) The secret of his “jet-propelled fellow” we have just mentioned is that somewhere he has had Jacob-like wrestling with God and has come out stripped, but also “strengthened by the Holy Ghost!”
To the question, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” we answer, “Where He has always been – on the throne!” But where are the Elijah’s of God? We know Elijah was “a man of like passions as we are,” but alas! we are not men of like prayer as he was! One praying man stands as a majority with God! Today God is bypassing men – not because ther are too ignorant, but because they are too self-sufficient. Bretheren, our abilities are our handicaps, and our talents are stumbling blocks!
After describing the boneyard in Ezekiel 37, God’s command to call it to life, and the faith that requires, he writes Now obviously no faith is required to to the possible; actually only a morsel of this atom-powered stuff (faith) is needed to do the impossible, for a piece as large as a mustard seed will do more than we have ever dreamed of. Again and again God asks men to do not what they can, but what they can’t.
Harnack defines Christianity as “a very simple but very sublime thing: To live in time and for eternity under the eye of God and by His help.” Oh that believers would become eternity conscious!
Centuries have passed since the Swiss Reformer Oecolampadius forged the phrase, “How much more would a few good and fervent men affect the ministry than a multitude of lukewarm ones!” The passing of time has not taken the sting from this statement.
One of these days some simple soul will pick up the Book of God, read it, and believe it. Then the rest of us will be embarrassed. We have adopted the convenient theory that the Bible is a Book to be explained, whereas first and foremost it is a book to be believed (and after that to be obeyed).
That’s as far as I have gotten, 8 chapters. Amazing stuff! After going through this book again I can accurately say that my prayer life really, really sucks big-time. I’ve been far too passive which is easy for me because that’s who I am naturally. A pastor friend of mine named Gary described it like being a otter, just floating around and eating. That’s my dream life! However it is just incompatible with what we are called to be.
Let’s see if I can even make it to the end of the book.
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