“My dear brother in the faith: Many thanks for your kind letter. I am impressed of your sincerity and honesty of purpose. Congregate the people together who are willing to make a total surrender. Pray and wait. Believe God’s promises. Hold daily meetings. May God bless you, is my earnest prayer. Yours in Christ, Evan Roberts.” Azusa Street – Frank Bartleman
This was a corresponding letter from Evan Roberts, of the Welsh Revival, replying to Frank Bartleman, before the Azusa Street Revival broke out. I am going to briefly touch on these 5 points given from Evan Roberts, but I also want to recommend reading this book below. It is a powerful testimony of Frank Bartleman’s life and gives great insight to how Holy Spirit was moving during this mighty outpouring.
I know that there is not a a specific formula to revival, however, I think as humans we tend to complicate things! I have heard it said that prayer precedes outpouring and I have found that to be true time and time again after reading several accounts of historic revivals. Evan Roberts was used mightily in the Welsh Revival and I believe these simple points shared with Frank Bartleman helped spark the Azusa Street Revival. I know William Seymour played a HUGE role, but it was the small beginnings of prayer that lead to this massive breakthrough. Even today, prayer is being restored in the church and many are gathering and seeking the Lord for another great outpouring of His Spirit.
- Congregate The People Together: We find this simple truth in passages like 2 Chronicles 7:14, Joel 2:16, Matthew 18:20, and the Epistles to the Churches. Obviously the coming together of God’s people is nothing new and we see it being established in Church History. Most believers do this once or twice a week and that is great start! We expect to give 2 hours on Sunday and possibly 2 hours on Wednesday night. Is that our all though? Do we expect the miraculous? Do we feel united in our own congregations while contending together for breakthrough? Small and large gatherings are very important as Jesus reminds us that ‘where two or more are gathered, He is in our midst.’ But are we willing to be stretched past the normal Christian gathering?
I surrender all,
I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all. (source)
- Make Total Surrender: The second point that Evan Roberts makes in relationship to congregating the people, is finding those that are willing to make a total surrender. I realize this does not sound fun. Sometimes I am barely able to give up 2 hours on a Sunday morning! And it is the ‘getting together’ that is actually somewhat doable – but making a TOTAL SURRENDER HURTS! Many ‘christian’ gatherings outside of Sunday Mornings are filled with shallow conversations, personal opinions with commentaries that have a lot of talk ‘about’ God. But what does it look like to surrender our agenda’s and personal gain? How do we go about making a total surrender to God? This is not an easy process and will not happen overnight but I believe the simplified answer to this is found in the next point.
- Pray and Wait: Can we give our words and time to Jesus? This causes us to start giving our attention to Him! I think that this is a big piece of total surrender, maybe not all, but let’s start here. As humans we are prone to rush to the bigger, better and more exciting things of the ministry! However, it was Jesus that gave this direction to His disciples. When the disciples asked about His return, His answer was, ‘watch and pray’. In the garden, the night before His crucifixion, Jesus instructed them to ‘watch and pray’ so as to not enter into temptation but to be engaged with the spirit. When Jesus instructed the disciples to ‘wait in Jerusalem before being endowed by power from on high’, they knew that they had to add the ingredient of prayer! PRAYING AND WAITING ON THE LORD can seem like the most difficult thing in the world, only because we are weak and fickle human beings. Yet, history proves that the great men and women of faith that gave themselves to prayer and waiting on the Lord received the breakthrough.
- Believe God’s Promises: In the midst of prayer and waiting we must hold on to the promises from God. Abraham had to contend for this and even fell short in the WAITING, but we see that Abraham is called faithful as he witnessed part of God’s promise come to pass! Believe God’s promises with other believers in the midst of praying and waiting. There is power in agreement. Contend for the fullness and confess your weakness and shortcomings when it comes to unbelief. Ultimately He is faithful and we get to partner with Him! This step helps us see the BIG PICTURE – no matter how we are feeling during a particular gathering, be reminded of His personal and corporate promises.
- Hold Daily Meetings: If we are faithful with the little – we will be given more. With points 1-4 in place and a steadfast heart to run the race, we won’t have to force multiplication. There is a supernatural trigger that gets set off when hungry people start pressing into Jesus – THEY WANT M O R E! Once we taste and see, our spirits will long to ‘go on getting filled’. He is our source and it will always start with Him and as He supplies the grace it will go on with Him. Let’s start with one meeting a week outside of the typical Christian gathering and see what happens.