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Revivals work, but must join with preparation and prayer

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I received a letter from Doug Craver, pastor of Milstead Baptist Church in Conyers, which thrilled my heart. I am compelled to share it with you, because I am praying that you will be inspired by Doug’s letter as well.

People ask, “Do revivals still work today?” That’s an interesting question. Of course, revivals still work today. God is not limited in the way He chooses to reach people.

The problem lies in the reality that revivals don’t just happen. Like most things, revivals that work require believers who pray and prepare for God to send revival. They are willing to witness to the lost, visit the unchurched, and invite them to church and to Christ. They know that fervent prayer and sound Biblical preaching is used by God to stir our hearts for revival.

In the example of Milstead Baptist we see the value of inviting a vocational evangelist to lead in revival. God calls some to be evangelists. Then God uses the evangelists, filled with the Spirit of God, to preach the Word and draw people to Christ.

I am suggesting to you that your church, any church, can be blessed through the experience of a series of revival services, but it takes a commitment on the part of the congregation to pray and witness. Perhaps the most persuasive argument in favor of having a revival in your church comes from pastor Doug Craver in his own words:

Dear Dr. White:

This letter is being written to let you and others know how our great God answered the prayers of a small congregation in Conyers, Georgia, whose members have diligently prayed and sought revival.

In a good month, our Sunday School attendance averages 110-120. Knowing our church is to be a beacon for this community, we work diligently to reach and minister to those surrounding our church building. Oftentimes, we find ourselves so busy doing these things that we forget for Whom we are working and why.

For the last year or two, many in our church have been asking God to send a revival to the hearts of our people. For over a year, I have felt an urgency to reach those in our church who faithfully attend Sunday after Sunday and who do many wonderful things in support of our church ministries, but who, I have feared, are just as lost as the one who has never heard of God’s redemptive grace and mercy.

In God’s time and under His leadership we scheduled the revival meeting for March 1-4. There would be five services beginning Sunday morning and going through Wednesday night. In the months before the scheduled revival, more and more people were solicited to pray for revival, and for our invited evangelist, Rev. Jon Reed, from Duluth, and for the guest worship leaders, Joe and Kim Stanley.

I have to tell you that as those prayers were lifted, you could see God begin to prepare the hearts and minds of our people for what He and only He would and could do during that week of revival meetings.

Our church was packed out at each session with the crowd growing larger each night. The Stanleys lifted up worship songs that paved the way for Rev. Reed’s evangelical messages that carried with them the power and truth of God’s Word.

Night after night our altar was filled to overflowing with those professing Christ for the first time and with those realizing that somehow their journey with Christ had stalled out a long way back.

In all, there were at least twenty-five professions of faith. Of those professions, eight have been added to the membership of our church. People who doubted their salvation are now made sure. People who now truly know Christ are broken-hearted for those family members and friends who are lost.

I thank God for evangelists like Rev. Jon Reed, and for worship leaders like Joe and Kim Stanley, who allow themselves to be tools in God’s hands to draw others to Him. I thank God He still answers the prayers of His people. I thank God He still saves. I thank God we are changed to go to a new level of service and commitment to a God worthy of this and so much more.

Revived and renewed, I am.

Sincerely,

Rev. Doug Craver

evangelism, prayer, preparation, revival

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