How To Experience Perpetual, Personal Revival
On a recent visit to New York City, I paused at the 9/11 Memorial, which is at the end of Fulton Street. Then I began walking down Fulton Street itself, which runs crosswise across lower Manhattan. I was looking for a monument, memorial, or historical plaque to indicate how that street changed American history long before the events of September 11, 2001. I didn’t find a monument there, and the thousands of people going back and forth on the sidewalks don’t have a clue. But I do know the story.
In the middle of the 1800s, a tailor named Jeremiah Lanphier moved to Manhattan and established a clothing business. He was a Christian and a sidewalk evangelist in the Wall Street district. On Wednesday, September 23, 1857, he invited people to drop by for prayer at a room on Fulton Street during their lunch hour. Six people showed up. The next week, twenty came. The next week, forty.
Soon churches all across New York overflowed with daily prayer meetings. Fire departments and police stations opened their facilities for prayer, and local businesses set aside rooms for employees to pray. The movement swept over the eastern seaboard and pushed westward into the nation. Citywide awakenings struck Cincinnati, Louisville, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, and innumerable smaller cities and towns.
From the United States, the revival spread to Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England. For two years, approximately 50,000 people a week came to Christ. Within a year of the start of the Fulton Street Prayer Meetings, over a million converts joined America’s churches, and thousands of existing church members were born again or revived in their faith.
The world needs another such awakening, and I pray every day for revival to sweep our country. Our problems are not primarily political, but spiritual; and the answers we need are not primarily political. We need another national and global revival.
Whether God unleashes a great geographical revival or not, I’m convinced you and I can enjoy perpetual, personal revival. Psalm 23:3 says,
He refreshes my soul.
Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from with them. — John 7:38
When we experience personal, perpetual revival, our faith is revived, our love is stronger, our faces are more joyful, our enthusiasm is more contagious, and our individual ministries are empowered.
How, then, can we experience revival when everyone else is simply struggling for survival?
1. Pull all the ingredients of your life into the circle of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This takes a determined decision, which is renewable daily. You can do this instantly, or you may want a bit of time to ponder its implications. God isn’t likely to bless what isn’t yielded to Him. Every morning I pray something like this, “Lord, I want You to be in control of every aspect of my life. My time. My habits. My money. My relationships. May they be under Your authority today.” Christians used to call this “full surrender.” The word “surrender” isn’t currently in vogue, but the spiritual concept has never been more needed. If some area of your life has slipped out of the circle of Christ’s Lordship, confess it as sin and, with His help, rein it back in.
2. Never miss a day without a personal closed-door appointment with God, allowing Him to speak to you through His Word and responding to Him in prayer. In a marriage, it’s hard to keep the romance alive if a couple never communicates. In our relationship with God, it’s hard to keep the revival burning if there’s no regular communication. I’m not sure why Christians have so much trouble maintaining their habits of personal devotional time, but Jesus told us to go into a private room, close the door, and meet with the Father (Matthew 6:6). Though everyone’s schedule is different, for the last 48 years I’ve been doing this every morning after breakfast. I open my Bible to where I left off the day before, underline and mark verses that speak to me, and talk to the Lord as if He were actually in the room — which He is!
3. Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit, for Ephesians 5:18-19 says,
be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
4. As you leave the secret room and go into your day, consciously remember the reality of God’s presence. He goes with you. A great missionary of yesteryear, George Brown of India, was known for his constant awareness of God’s nearness. When a friend asked him about it, he said, “Yes, God is nearer to me, consciously, than anyone in this room.” Train yourself to remember God is with you, near you, around you, within you—and that you have constant access to Him through Jesus Christ.
5. Let this show up on your face. Ecclesiastes 8:1 says,
A person’s wisdom brightens their faces and changes its hard appearance.
I realize we can’t always smile. Troubles and grief intrude, and we face moments requiring serious thought. But biblical joy isn’t an undependable electric circuit in a developing nation. The Bible says,
Rejoice in the Lord always. — Philippians 4:4
Even when we can’t control our emotions, we can chose our attitudes, trust God with our burdens, turn problems into prayers, and, as Charles Wesley said, “laugh at life’s impossibilities.”
None of this is easy, perfect, or quick for most of us. It’s a series of life patterns. But how vital for times like these! If our world is ever going to experience a series of global revivals, it’s got to begin in you and me.
We’ve got to find our way to Fulton Street.
Written for Devotionals Daily by Robert J. Morgan, author of 100 Bible Verses That Made America.
[Scripture Quotes: NIV]
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Fulton Street is waiting for us the moment we wake up every day. Revival is ours for the taking with time spent with the Lord! Come share your thoughts on making a daily appointment with God and being filled to the brim with the Holy Spirit on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily