Awakening to Pray

Posted on February 24, 2015 by


by Dr. James Willingham

Our one great need today is for an awakening to prayer.  Yes, there are many calls to pray, and there are many who pray.  However, we have yet to see a movement of the Spirit of God commensurate with what we seek.  That is why I would like to recommend Jonathan Edwards’ Humble Attempt, a tract which inspired William Carey and others to begin praying for the spread of the Gospel to other lands.  The Baptists in England began their prayer meetings in 1785.  Seven years later, 1792, Carey went to Egypt, and the rest, as they say, is history.  The interesting factor in the whole effort, however, is the work by Edwards.  His tract lists nearly a 100 prophecies and/or promises which can be pleaded in prayer as reasons for God to hear and answer.  I have been praying and pleading these promises, since the Fall of 1973 after I addressed the Pastors’ Prayer Meeting of the Sandy Creek Baptist Association on the subject of  A Great Awakening.  I would speak to that group on the fifth and tenth anniversaries.  My subject on those occasions was, A Third Great Awakening.  I cannot say I prayed every day, but I made it a policy that became entrenched to ask for such a visitation as often as possible.  Today, I seldom say grace even without asking for another awakening.

What we need is an organized effort, a day appointed where ministers and members can gather to pray for this blessing, pleading as promises the prophecies concerning the prosperity of the Messiah’s kingdom.  Consider just one, the prophecy of Daniel 2:34-35, 44-45.  The stone,  smiting the old image in its feet of iron and clary, destroys the whole of it.  It breaks in pieces and consumers all the kingdoms of this world and continues for ever.  Such promise represents the others that were pleaded in prayer by Carey and others for the spread of the Gospel.  The answer to such pleadings stand before us today with the Gospel present in many nations of the earth.

Just today a friend sent me report of how the number of churches in Boston, Mass. have doubled since the late sixties.  Since I am not the only one who prays or has prayed or will pray for such visitations, it is better not to claim credit.  However, it does give one hope and encouragement that better things are coming.  I might mention that I have read where D. Martyn Lloyd Jones and G. Campbell Morgan prayed all of their lives for a revival or awakening.  Mr. Spurgeon has recorded in his devotional work, Evening by Evening, two times in which he prayed for every last soul on earth.  God grant that we might see that we have joined a long line of intercessors who have sought this blessing for the whole earth and, perhaps, even more.  Deo volente, I hope to address other aspects of this subject of a Third Great Awakening which begins, as far as we can tell, with an awakening to pray.