Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: At a wedding, everyone loves it when the bride appears. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says the Church, the bride of Christ, could catch people’s attention in the same way.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: That’s what happens in times of revival. The world sees an in-love bride, freshly in love with Jesus, and the world says, “We want to know Him. We want to know Him. Where is He?”

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for Wednesday, June 1, 2016.

Nancy’s in a series called "The Cry of the Captives." Over the last week-and-a-half, we’ve gotten a fresh appreciation for the value of tears, of weeping before God for revival to come. Today, we’ll look at the results of that kind of weeping: great joy. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy: As we concluded our last session, we were talking about sowing in tears and reaping in joy. We talked about tears that we need to be willing to shed—tears of labor, perseverance, and travail to see God’s work birthed in the lives of those that we love. We talked about tears of confession and contrition over our own sins, grieving, mourning, and weeping over our sin and how God views it.

Then we talked about a third kind of tears. They are tears that, honestly, I don’t know a whole lot about in my own experience, but I want God to give me this gift: tears of compassion and concern over the spiritual condition of others. As we closed that last session by praying for revival, and I looked up at the end of that session, there were women all across the room who had tears in their eyes. God was putting something in your heart to believe Him to move in revival in our day.

God doesn’t intend for us to get revived just so we can enjoy it. God wants us to be instruments that He can use to bring revival to the lives of others. I think of how God has used women in the mission and ministry of revival.

God doesn’t intend for us to get revived just so we can enjoy it. God wants us to be instruments that He can use to bring revival to the lives of others.

We’ve referenced in this series the Lewis Revival of 1949. Do you know how that revival began? Now, in God’s counsel, only God knows. But as far as what’s been recorded for us, there were two elderly women who were sisters in whose hearts God placed a burden for revival.

They were in their eighties, as I recall. Peggy was blind. Her sister, Christine, was crippled with arthritis. They couldn’t even leave their little home in the village to go attend the village church. They were homebound, but they knew that the spiritual condition of God’s people was pathetic. People knew a lot about God, but there was no power, no life, no reality of the Spirit, no presence of God. The young people had no interest in spiritual things and were leaving the church.

It was so similar, in a way, to what we see in so many of our communities today, but these women knew God. They got ahold of God, and they never expected that now, some fifty years later, we’d be on Revive Our Hearts talking about them.

They never would have dreamed that their names would be written in the history books. They were just two very ordinary, homebound, limited, handicapped women who knew God and knew how to get a hold of God. They knew how to pray, and they didn’t know what else to do other than pray.

So they began to pray, to cry out to God, to plead with God to come and move in their village and on their island by the power of His Spirit. As they prayed, God gave an assurance to their hearts that He was going to move in revival. They didn’t know how; they didn’t know what it would look like, but God put this confidence—this faith—in their hearts that He was going to move.

One of the things they felt impressed to do was to go to the spiritual leaders of the church in their village and to ask those men—they shared what God had put on their hearts, and they encouraged those men—to begin praying for revival.

God put it on the men’s hearts. Those men—the elders, the leaders of the church in Barvas, on the island of Lewis—they were not full-time ministers. They were bi-vocational. They had jobs—secular jobs—during the day, and then they would come together at night after they were done with work.

They would gather. They met in a barn among piles of hay. These men would come after work, and they would pray through the night until the early hours of the morning—every Monday night, every Wednesday night, and every Friday night, not just for one week, but for eighteen months!

And for eighteen months, they saw no evidence of God doing anything. I read that story, and I think—even as I’m telling it, I’m thinking—I don’t know anything of that kind of prayer life. I don’t know anything of that kind of labor, sowing in tears. I don’t know anything of that kind of perseverance. I mean, if God doesn’t do it now, I give up and go on to the next thing so often.

Not those women. Not those men. They waited—cried out to God. Long story short—God did move. God brought a man named Duncan Campbell—I’ve referenced him in this series—and God poured out.

God lit the fire. God caused those dry river beds, the streams in the south, to overflow. God caused the desert to blossom. God sent an extraordinary outpouring of His Spirit to the youth, to the older people, to that entire area, and moved throughout the highlands of Scotland . . . still spoken of in parts of Scotland today as a great revival.

Where did it begin, humanly speaking? In the hearts of two women who were willing to sow in tears. Wouldn’t it be great if God would raise up other Peggy and Christine Smiths to believe Him—to pray?

I meet women now who are empty-nesters, or they’re in an elderly season of life and they’re more limited as to what they can do physically. We need those women praying, teaching us how to pray, weeping before the Lord, and crying out to God.

Most of those women’s names will never be in the history books here on earth. But when we get to heaven, I think that’s where a lot of the credit is going to go. I think God’s going to say, “Yes, all you people were out there doing your radio programs and preaching and writing all your books, but I was listening to that little old lady’s prayers.” (I didn’t mean to point at you, Dorothy, when I said that!)

But it’s the unsung heroes, the unnamed prayer warriors, the intercessors . . . O Lord, raise them up through this ministry, through other ministries. I know we have women who are listening to this program, and God’s putting it in your heart to be one of those intercessors. God will show you how to pray. God will give you the tears.

Let me wrap up this series by giving you God’s promise, based on the passage we’ve been studying, Psalm 126.

Psalm 126:5: “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.” There’s a harvest coming. We’ve talked about the cost of sowing, but now we see the certainty of reaping: They will reap in joy.

Then, as if we weren’t clear as to what He had said, He repeats it in verse 6 with just a few more words: “He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” The certainty of reaping: They shall reap—those who sow in tears.

By the way, it doesn’t just say those who have tears will reap in joy. That occurred to me as I was meditating on this passage earlier. It says, “Those who sow in tears.” He who continually goes forth weeping—it doesn’t say that he’ll come again with rejoicing. It says, “He who continually goes forth weeping bearing seed for sowing.”

Those who are going out, sowing the Word of God in people’s hearts and lives and doing it with tears—tears of compassion, tears of concern, tears of contrition, tears of labor and travail—those who sow in tears, they are the ones who will reap in joy.

It’s not our tears that bring back the harvest. It’s the Word of God. It’s the truth of God’s Word. It’s Christ, the living Word. He’s the one who brings revival, so we can’t ever say, “Oh, I was the intercessor. I was the one who cried, and God . . .” It’s not our tears. It’s the Word of God. It’s our tears that just water that seed that has been sown, and then it takes root and produces fruit.

Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. They will come again with rejoicing—there’s that word again. It means to shout songs of joy. So we see in this passage that our sorrow, our tears, will give way to joy.

Psalm 30:5: “Weeping may endure for a night.” It may be a long night, weeks or years of a night, decades . . . Weeping may endure for a night, but morning comes, and with morning comes what? Joy. “Joy comes in the morning.” 

That great joy—you read about it in the history books of revival and the Second Great Awakening. It was said about one particular area that there was great joy in that city and the region beyond. Parents were often seen rejoicing over a son or a daughter who had been made a subject of grace.

That reminds me, by the way . . . Parents: Some of you are so burdened for your children. Some of you have little ones; you’re homeschooling them; you’re trying to teach them in the ways of God. You send them off to school each day, and you’re so burdened about what happens in their hearts, about God’s seed of God’s Word taking root in their lives. Don’t give up!

Some of you have teenagers; some of you have children grown and out of the home, and they’re not walking with the Lord, and you’re still burdened. Don’t give up! Keep sowing the Word in tears. God will show you when to speak. God will also show you when to be quiet, but keep sowing the seed of the Word.

Keep sowing those prayers; keep sowing those tears. Don’t give up! Be faithful moms with little ones in sowing the Word of God into the hearts of your little children. Don’t let those kids grow up and have missed the most important thing.

Listen: You can keep them clothed and fed and to school on time and to sports events and piano lessons, but if you haven’t been planting the Word of God into their lives, what are you going to have to show for all your investment? Be faithful; don’t give up! Here’s a promise for your future: “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy” (Ps. 126:5). It doesn’t say when; it doesn’t say how long; it doesn’t say exactly what the harvest will look like. But you will reap. You will reap with joy.

And that’s the certainty of reaping: the harvest . . . “bringing his sheaves with him” (Ps. 126:6). I just wonder: If we had more sowing, weeping, praying, earnest-hearted parents—more sowing, weeping, praying, earnest-hearted wives—if there might not be more children and more husbands getting right with God.

It’s a lot harder to do it this way, isn’t it? We’d rather send them a book, send them to a counselor. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with books and biblical counselors, but I want to tell you, there’s a price to be paid. There’s a cost if you want to reap, and there are no shortcuts to it. It’s the cost of sowing in tears.

I hear women so burdened . . . They write us at Revive Our Hearts all the time—and I’m so thankful they write us—but my heart goes out to them as they share their burden for their husband who is not walking with God, their burden for their church that is so dry and barren, or their burden for their workplace.

What this passage says is, “What can we do about it?” Sow in tears. Sow the seeds of God’s Word into that situation as you have opportunity. Sow the seeds of prayer into that situation—with tears, with broken-heartedness—and you will reap.

The history of revival is the history of people—Peggy and Christine Smiths and others who have sown in tears, and then they have reaped in joy. We read these history books, we read the stories, and we see about the great harvest.

I can guarantee you—I can assure you—wherever there’s been a great harvest, there has been someone, or there have been some ones, who have sown in tears. There have been intercessors, people behind the scenes, people whose names you might not read about. They have sown in tears, and that’s why you’re seeing a harvest.

When we sow in tears, there is a harvest: “[They] shall reap in joy.” Again, let me refer to the Second Great Awakening in the 1800s. One writer said it was astonishing to see the change that took place in this particular community in two weeks. “Saints were filled with transports of joy, and sinners pricked in their heart, and began anxiously to inquire what they must do to be saved.”

People wanting to know Christ . . . We’re not having to go out and beg people to come to Jesus; people are seeing the reality, and God is supernaturally drawing their hearts. It’s a harvest. Could I share with you that the greatest missionary thrusts and evangelistic movements in history have been birthed out of seasons of revival in the church? It’s true.

Also, the greatest reform movements—many of the child labor laws, Prohibition, the abolition of slavery—many of these were birthed out of movements of revival in the church. “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.” 

It’s a matter of people coming to faith in Christ. The great New York City prayer revival of 1857 to 1858, people prayed. They sowed in tears. Not only in New York City, but as that prayer meeting grew across the continent, what happened? Those who sowed in tears reaped in joy.

In New York City, during the peak of that revival, there were as many as 50,000 conversions a week. More than one million people converted to faith in Christ during that great revival. And there was no great evangelistic thrust, but as God’s people sowed in tears—as they cried out to God—God came, and God moved.

We’ve talked on this program before about the Welsh revival in 1904 and 1905. If you want to hear a stirring story—a stirring account of revival—order the CD series that we did on the Welsh revival. It’s available through Revive Our Hearts. We spent a week telling about the story of the Welsh revival in 1904 and 1905. During that revival, there were over 100,000 conversions in a five-month period of time.

Five years later, somebody was trying to debunk the revival. The worst thing he could say was that, five years later, only eighty percent of those conversions were still standing. Oh, that we could have those kind of records in our evangelistic movements today!

God saves people. “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.” 

In the Hebrides, on the island of Lewis during the Hebrides Revival, they said that everyone was thinking about eternity and the condition of his soul. “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.” 

In times of revival, more people are saved “accidentally”—and I put that in quotes—than are saved by all our combined efforts apart from the moving of God’s Spirit in revival, because when God’s people get filled with God, the lost people notice.

Let me just draw upon an Old Testament reference here that illustrates this. In the Song of Solomon, you have this great love story, a picture of a bride and her relationship with her bridegroom. And there’s one point in that story where she loses the sense of her bridegroom, and she goes out to seek him. She goes out to find him, and she can’t find him. She doesn’t know where he is.

So she asks some other people where he is: “Have you seen my beloved?” And they say to her, “What’s so special about your beloved? Why do you miss him so much?” And she begins to think about why he’s so special, and she remembers what it is that attracted her and endeared her to him, and she begins to describe in great, specific, glowing detail what she loves and appreciates about him.

 By the time she is done with her words of praise for her beloved, you know what her friends say? “Where is your beloved that we may find him with you? We want to know him” (see Song of Solomon 5:5–6:1).

That’s what happens in times of revival. The world sees an in-love bride, freshly in love with Jesus, and the world says, “We want to know Him. We want to know Him. Where is He?” And they come to faith in Jesus Christ. “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing” (Ps. 126:5–6).

You say, “How long is continually?” I don’t know. I’ll tell you, it’s at least until the harvest comes. And that may be a matter of weeks, months, or—more likely—years. Will you be faithful? Would I be willing to be faithful if I had to sow in tears, year after year, without ever receiving a harvest—just believing God’s Word is true; that in God’s way, in God’s time, I will reap in joy?

Where is God asking you to sow in tears? For your marriage? You say, “I’ve been doing it for years.” Don’t stop. "Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy."

Is God asking you to sow in tears on behalf of a son or daughter or grandchild who’s not walking with God? You say, “I’ve been doing it for years! Nothing’s happening.” Don’t quit. "Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy."

Maybe it’s your workplace. You say, “It’s such a pagan environment. They have no fear of the Lord in that place.” It concerns you. You pray, but nothing’s happened. Don’t give up. "Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy."

Maybe you’re burdened for your church. We hear this all the time—and it’s true, as Isaiah prayed in Isaiah 64, that Jerusalem is a wilderness; it’s a desolation (v. 10). Our churches are a wilderness today, and I don’t say that critically. I say that with a broken heart. You say, “I’ve prayed, and nothing’s happening.” That’s what you think. That’s all you can see. But don’t give up. "Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy."

Be faithful. Don’t get weary in well-doing. You will reap if you don’t give up. Joy will come; the harvest will come. And so we pray with the psalmist in Psalm 67, “God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us” (v. 1). Why? “That your way may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations” (v. 2).

That’s the harvest: the glory of God; the fame of the name of Christ spread through the nations; the day when every knee will bow, and kings and rulers and nations will turn and confess Jesus as Lord. Ladies, when you pray—when you sow in tears—it’s not just for you, it’s not just for your marriage, and it’s not just for your family or your church. You can become a part of God’s great redemptive plan in this whole wide world.

There are parts of this world where God wants to display His glory where you will never be able to set foot, but you can pray. You can pray for the church in those countries. You can sow in tears. There, just you alone, in your home . . . you may not know anybody else who’s praying this way, but you can pray. You can get a hold of God. You can go before His throne and say, “O Lord, I won’t leave. I won’t stop sowing in tears until we’ve been blessed to see You give a harvest. We want to reap in joy.”

And so we’ve walked through this song, Psalm 126—the song of the pilgrims, the song of the children of Israel that they would sing as they walked to the temple of God. Make this your song. Make it your prayer.

Go back and review. If you’ve had to miss some of the sessions, you can order the series from us at Revive Our Hearts, or go back on ReviveOurHearts.com and read the entire series. Walk through this psalm; make it your song.

Let’s sing a song of praise for God’s past works, as this psalm does in verses 1–3. Let’s make a fervent prayer for release from spiritual bondage for ourselves and others, as we saw in the middle of this psalm. And then let us, by faith, claim His promise that one day, we shall reap in joy. One day, we will doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing our sheaves with us.

And what will we do with that harvest? We’ll lay it at the feet of Jesus and say, “Lord, it’s all for You. It’s all for Your glory. Thank You, Lord.”

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemth just gave you a challenge. Make Psalm 126 your own. When you look at the days in which we are living, would you agree that it's time to cry out?

We are going to be doing that in a special way on September 23. Every other year since 2008, Revive Our Hearts has hosted a True Woman conference. This year’s conference is called Cry Out! True Woman '16. It will be unique because on the Friday night of the conference, Nancy and other leaders will lead us in prayer for our communities, our nation, and our world. We’ll be sending out a simulcast to groups meeting in churches and other venues so we can link our hearts and cry out together!

We’re asking the Lord to call at least 100,000 women together to cry out for the serious needs of our day. Would you consider hosting an event in your area? To get all the details and to sign up as a prayer leader, visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Tomorrow, we’ll hear from a man who knows the power of revival firsthand.

Bryon Paulus: We were at a campus one time of about 1,000 students, a Christian college campus, and God was just at work in the hearts of believers. Soon God brought a spirit of repentance, the gift of repentance the Scripture tells us. Conviction was intense. It was just one of those moments that God was pleased to open up the windows of heaven as Isaiah says, and to pour out His Spirit.

Even while our team and the preachers and the leaders and facilitators were off campus, God was on campus. There were professors who couldn't even teach their classes because they were falling under the conviction of God and students were weeping. In a period of two or three days, most of it in a context outside of any gathering, there were 400-some students who came into the Kingdom and who came to Christ. 

Leslie: Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

Join the Discussion