So what should we do if we think that revival is coming? We can simply say, “Bring it on, God.” But Scripture and history indicate that we have a bigger role to play, and that God does not and will not bring revival apart from us. Two things: we talk to God about people, and we talk to people about God. Daniel Nash was not the best at talking to people about God, but he had a passion for talking to God. He showed up two weeks early to plow the ground for Charles Finney. We know Finney as a flaming evangelist with a passion for talking to people about God. He depended so much on Daniel that when he died in 1831, Finney went back to parish ministry.
The Hebrides Islands west of Scotland in 1949 were in the doldrums of post World War !! apathy. Peggy, 84 and blind and Christine, 82 and crippled, seldom if ever talked to people about God. They hardly ever left their cabin. But for hours they talked to God. He told them that revival was imminent, so they urged the pastor to call Duncan Campbell. He turned down the invitation twice and said yes the third time. He came for two weeks–and stayed two years. Duncan Campbell was highly gifted in talking to people about God, and his name is connected with the revival that lasted for three years or more. Yet heaven records the names of two invalids who cried out to God for their island.
The 60’s were deeply troublesome years in America, especially for young people. The Kennedy assassination, the Vietnam War, the university lockouts and lock-ins. Dr. Timothy Leary from Harvard University encouraged students “tune in, turn on, and drop out.” They responded by the truckloads. Multiplied thousands of parents were crying out to God for their psychedelic children high on drugs, who showed up the summer of ‘67 a 100,000 strong at Haight Ashbury in San Francisco committed to “make love, not war.” God answered passionate prayers with a might Jesus’ People Movement in early ‘70s. Chuck Smith, pastor of the “little country church on the edge of town,” had a Foursquare church of 65, when his wife Kay convinced him to open the doors to the pot-smoking, guitar-toting, barefoot hippies. His strength was talking to people about God, and Calvary Chapel had meetings about every night of the week for close to a decade. The church grew to 25,000, the epicenter of the Jesus’ People Movement.
Meanwhile, God was working at Asbury College in Kentucky, where a group of students had been praying consistently for a move of God. Seventeen gathered on February 2, 1970 for prayer. They were holding hands in a circle at 2 AM when the student leader said, “We can quit praying. He is coming tomorrow.” The next morning in chapel the administrator gave his testimony rather than the planned teaching–then sat down. The Spirit of God moved on the students, and one by one they came to the microphone to confess sins and ask for forgiveness. Chapel continued past midnight. Classes were shut down for three weeks as God brought conviction and new life. Students talked to God and a college administrator talked to people. Which are you better at–prayer or proclamation? We need both.
The book of Jonah shows us how powerful God’s part is. The reluctant prophet boldly talked to people about God, telling them He was bringing judgment in forty days. God brought unparalleled conviction upon a whole city, and they all repented, from the king down. This is perhaps the greatest single revival to ever occur, when an entire city of perhaps 500,000 people turned to God. We will meet them in heaven. God could do that again–in Moscow, Paris, Tokyo, San Francisco. Let’s do our part and trust God to do His! He can–and He will!