The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]. James 5:16b
The greatest evangelist in American history gave confident advice on how believers and churches either will or will not achieve spiritual “breakthrough”. Since his successes in the 1800’s have gone unmatched, I advocate letting his experience speak to the heart of what is needed in the Christianity of today. Here is what Charles Finney said about getting God back in the midst of what we’re doing:
“When the fallow ground is thoroughly broken up in the hearts of Christians, when they have confessed and made restitution, as I have taught in my former articles–if the work be thorough and honest–they will naturally and inevitably fulfill the conditions, and will prevail in prayer. But it cannot be too distinctly understood that none others will. What we commonly hear in prayer and conference meetings is not prevailing prayer. It is often astonishing and lamentable to witness the delusions that prevail upon the subject. Who that has witnessed real revivals of religion has not been struck with the change that comes over the whole spirit and manner of the prayers of really revived Christians? I do not think I ever could have been converted if I had not discovered the solution of the question: “Why is it that so much that is called prayer is not answered?”
Finney went on to say that revival was guaranteed among any group of believers that would take their honest condition before God to heart. “Breaking up our fallow ground” is what is missing in churches everywhere across the western world today. We who once knew how to create godly atmospheres in our gatherings where sinners stepping in would most likely get saved now have a hard time living for Jesus ourselves! The result is that we not only get very few sinners born again in America but we struggle to maintain a strong awareness of the presence of God inside our churches!
Can it be said any better? We must put our heart back in the things of God which simply requires a thorough accounting of its condition. This can only be done in prayer and ultimately it is displayed in the kind of corporate prayer meetings Finney describes. Remember, its the “spirit of prayer” which wields the power to break up our hardened, calloused indifference toward Him – that passionate place of fervency described above in James 5.
We are not waiting on God, He is waiting on us – to get serious about Him once again. When we do, He will do what He always does! The greatest evangelist in the history of the U.S.A. promised!
See also: http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=article&aid=579