Revival Is Not Far From the Heart of TeensMay 30, 2007
I have been involved in two revivals first-hand. My initial experience was when I became a Christian during the so-called “Canadian Revival” of 1971 in Western Canada. It was a startling revival, filled with signs such as healing, prophecy and miracles, along with a deep sense of conviction of sin. The second revival I experienced as a pastor when my small congregation tripled in size due to the outpouring of the Spirit of God. In that revival, we saw miracles, marriages restored, hearts renewed and a general sense of worship and awe.
In both cases, it was the teenagers that reacted most fervently to it all. I learned later they were the ones praying hardest for God to pour out his Spirit.
I have many books on revival in my study. As I searched them the last week or so (mainly because my heart yearns for true revival in Sacramento) I read about so many revivals that were born by the midwifery of prayer through teenagers. One of those accounts is from Duncan Campbell, a man known for being at the center of two great Scottish revivals: Midargyl and the Hebrides Islands. But at one point between the two revivals, he personally fell away from the power of God and was not used by God very much at all. It is during that time, he recounts what changed his heart and readied him for the second revival. It was his teenage daughter:
Then one day…oh, how I thank God for that day…my young daughter came to me…thank God for her…a girlie of sixteen years of age—she came to me and said, “Daddy, I would like to see you in your study. I’ve been praying for you, Daddy. I want to speak to you.” And she took me to my study, and she threw herself on my knees, as daughters sometimes do. She put her arms around my neck, and I can still see the tears streaming from her eyes, as she said, “Daddy, when you were a pilgrim in the Faith Mission, after the 1st World War, you saw revival in Scotland. You saw revival! Daddy, how is it that God is not using you in revival today? Tell me, Daddy, when did you last lead a soul to Christ?”
Thank God for faithful daughters! And I tell you, dear people, that shook me. Oh, it shook me! I knew! I knew! Campbell, a convention speaker…Campbell, the evangelistic minister…in his study smashed and broken by a question from his daughter.
Listen, I was booked to address the Keswick Convention that year. I went to the convention. Oh, the deceit of the human heart. I went to the convention and I had my address. And I was so thankful when it was over. The words kept ringing in my ears, “When did you last lead a soul to Christ? When did you last lead a soul to Christ?”
Determined to Leave the Ministry
Then God in His own wonderful way moved Dr. Tom Fitch to depart from the address that he had prepared and give his own personal testimony. Dr. Fitch gave his personal testimony and I went home resolved that unless God would do something for me and give me back what I lost, that I certainly would resign from the ministry. I was absolutely decided on that!
So, in going home, I said to my wife and daughter, “I’m going to my study and I want you to leave me alone. I’m going to seek a meeting with God.”
And I went to my study. I shut the door. I put the rug down on the floor in front of the fire and I lay on the rug. I cannot take time to tell you all that God said to me in that hour. I’m thankful to say that He spoke to me the word of pardon, and the word of forgiveness, and the word of re-commission.
I cried, “God, won’t you give me again what you gave me on the battlefield?” And listen, friends, God did it!
My daughter came in at 2:00 in the morning. She lay down beside me and she said, “Daddy, whatever it costs, go through with God.” And I said, “Sheena, I’m going through whatever it may cost.”
Cost to Pride
And God knows what it cost me—to stand in my pulpit the following Sunday and make a public apology for pretending what I was not in the midst of my congregation. Five of my office bearers left me within a week. They wouldn’t have a fool in the pulpit.
Oh, that may happen. It sometimes happens, you see, in revival, that there’s a subtraction before addition.
Baptized with Love and Power
But listen, friends, as I lay there, God the Holy Ghost came upon me. Wave after wave came rolling over me until the love of God swept through me like a mighty river! So much so, that there were moments…now listen, my daughter beside me put her hand on my shoulders and she prayed, “Oh, God, keep his reason to Daddy.” I was never more sane in my life! But I was so wrought upon by the Holy Ghost that I cried and I laughed and I prayed.
If you know teenagers who love Jesus, will you have them read this with an open heart. God seems to choose young people to do his bidding because often us oldsters get used to religion that we have forgotten the radical nature of revival.