Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Widespread Effects of Revival

Leslie Basham: Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Sometimes it's a little discouraging to pray because you pray about something for a long time, you pray about it over and over again, and you don’t see the fruit of your prayers. I'll confess that at times I have felt that way when it comes to this matter of praying for God to send revival.

Yesterday, we explored the power of prayer. We heard from Pastor Bill McLeod as he explained how his congregation in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada began praying for revival in their community. They kept praying faithfully for years before  they saw any visible evidence that God was answering those prayers.

I'm so glad they didn’t stop praying before God was pleased to answer those prayers. In case you missed it, here is just a bit of what we heard yesterday.

Pastor Bill McLeod: I became pastor of a Baptist church of 175 members, which in Canada is about an average size. They loved God . . . to a point. They served God with some reserve, and they praised God with a lot of restraint. I started praying for revival.

Dr. Blackaby: He had begun to pray, so I prayed with him and a few others every week for two years.

Pastor McLeod: The prayer meeting went from twenty-five, to  thirty-five, to fifty-five, to sixty-five, to up to 100, 125, and up as high as 170 in the prayer meeting. Now remember, we only had 175 members in the church. Any time of the day or night was people from our church on their knees calling on God.

Dr. Blackaby: Then all of a sudden Bill called me and said, “Henry, that for which we've been crying to God has happened.”

Pastor McLeod: We were packed out Monday night.

Dr. Blackaby: The movement of God went from his church to St. Timothy's Anglican, then to the University Drive Alliance, and then to Third Avenue United.

Pastor McLeod: We moved to the largest church building in the city, which would 1600 or 1800.

Dr. Blackaby: There was such a touch of God in the meetings.

Pastor McLeod: I remember one of the first services we had, we were packed to the doors.

Dr. Blackaby: The churches came together.

Pastor McLeod: Sunday evenings we had to move to the Centennial Auditorium, which would seat about 2200.

Dr. Blackaby: If you went three hours before the meeting began, you couldn't get in.

Pastor McLeod: We had to have double services.

Dr. Blackaby: There were so many lives being profoundly touched. They had to have two or three places to meet. So we kept hearing towns and villages crying out for a church. They would come to us. A major part of revival is when God comes to His people, and they repent, and are cleansed, and they become a highway of holiness over which God can do anything He wants and anywhere He wants.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, October 14.

Nancy: Today, Bill McLeod will talk about some of the effects of the Canadian Revival that began forty years ago this week. As people walk through the process of revival, I like to say that it is something like the roof coming off and the walls coming down.

What do I mean by that? Well, when the roof comes off, people get right with God. That's the vertical dimension. Then, the walls come down—the horizontal dimension—as people make things right with others.

  • So on the vertical level, some of the results of revival are repentance and honesty—getting honest with God about the true condition of our hearts. 
  • Then on the horizontal level, some of the fruit of revival can be seen in forgiveness, clearing of consciences, reconciliation, and restitution.

Bill McLeod gives us some examples of from the Canadian Revival.

Pastor McLeod: What did it do? What did the revival do? In Saskatoon, Canada there is a group called the Western Tract Mission. They have about 3000 people who are signed up as tract distributors. Tract sales and distribution increased almost 300% in the first twelve months after the revival. That's one thing.

The Alliance denomination in Canada reported a 100% increase in soul saving in their churches in the twelve months after the revival. Now remember, teams were going out of the country. Ralph went from Saskatoon to Rejina and further west, Alberta, and British Columbia. I went east. God was doing the same thing wherever we went it seemed.

There were very few Evangelical churches that were not touched in some way or other. One of the Baptist groups in Canada reported that for the first time in their history they went right over the top in their budget. They'd never done this before. They've always had a healthy budget. They'd aim at it but never hit it. They went right over the top and past the budget in that first twelve months after the revival in Saskatoon.

Let me tell you about Gordon Bailey. Gordon was a deacon in my church. He was the head of the ushers, and he was always there.  He told me after the revival came, he said, “You know, Pastor, I used to sit in church Sunday after Sunday in a cold sweat. I was so afraid you might call on me to lead in prayer. If you ever had done that, I think I might have dropped dead.”

Well, during the revival on Sunday morning in our church, he came to the front, stood by the communion table and laid his heart on the table. He said, “You know, people, for three years I've been sitting in the back pew. The reason I sit in the back pew is because I don't like some of you people. I used to sit there and shoot arrows of hatred at the backs of your heads. God has dealt with me and I want your forgiveness. I want to be right with God.”

When he was through, I asked some of my men to take him in my office and pray with him, which they did. Gordon went home. Later, he told me what he did. He got his family together. He set out the chairs. I think he had four kids and his wife. He was sitting and he asked each one of them to forgive him for being such a poor Christian, such a poor daddy, and such a poor husband. He said it was the hardest thing he did in all his life.

You know what happened that night? He had a herd of Black Angus cattle—about 50 beasts—and he was working in the barn that night. Here is what he said. I have heard him say it. He's been with me in crusades at different times and on his own much in crusades.

He said, “I was working in the barn when suddenly God the Holy Spirit filled me from top to toe.” He started soul-winning. He won thirty-five people to Christ in the next nine months. He got a meeting going on a Sioux Indian village reserve not far from where he lived on the farm, and about thirty-five Indians found Christ.

Then he began getting  invitations. One year he preached about 105 times in churches around the country. He started getting invitations from stateside. The hand of God was on him in a very wonderful way. He only had grade eight education. He'd never seen the inside of a Bible college. But I tell you, he could preach. I gave him the New Testament on tapes. Since he traveled a lot as a cattle inspector for the Saskatchewan government, he was listening to tapes all of the time.

I asked him once, “Brother, do you have any trouble getting messy?”

He said, “No, I tell you what I have trouble with.”

I said, “What?”

He said, “I have trouble keeping my heart right. If I have a tiff with my wife and I don't make it right and I go have a crusade, nothing ever happens. I gotta get on the telephone and phone home and make things right with my wife. When I do that, the blessing of God returns.”

I'm so glad he shared that with me because it was a challenge to my heart, and I share it wherever I go. God called him home recently. A sudden heart attack and he was gone. He had a meeting planned that night. His wife Edna—pray for her if you think of her—she is a stalwart, a wonderful Christian, a wonderful help for the Lord and a great soul-winner just like Gordon.

What happened? Did he learn how to do it by reading a book on how to do it? No, it wasn't that at all, dear people. He had a meeting with God, an honest meeting with God. Then he got honest with the people of God. God came to him and filled his life. He had what many preachers don't have—the blessing of God in his ministry.

When he was in Vancouver, he told me, “God was working so powerfully in those meetings, I was frightened when I saw what God was doing.” He was in a meeting one time and he gave an invitation and the entire church came to the front.

He told me one time he was in a meeting in Saskatchewan and a bunch of people responded, and he was standing with a lady. When he was through, she said, “Would you come and speak to my husband?”

He said, “What's with your husband?”

She said, “He's not a Christian. He's a rancher and all that. He hates the gospel.”

Gordon said, “If you go home and tell him that Gordon Bailey is going to come and talk to him about Jesus Christ, I'll come.”

She said, “I'll tell him.”

So he went. The guy was a rancher and Gordon was a cattle inspector, so they were on common ground. An hour later Gordon said he climbed into his car and looked back and the two were standing in the stoop in front of the house, arms around each other, crying and waiving goodbye. He got saved.

Gordon loved to witness for Christ. But God did something dynamic in his life. You can call it revival, you can call it what you want to call it. But his life was radically altered, and he became a New Testament believer.

What else happened? Well, Chief Kettles was the chief of police in Saskatoon. He issued a statement to the local daily newspaper. He said, “I'm not a religious person, but I do know the difference between ordinary church work and revival. Revival has come to Saskatoon. We know that because we've had a lot of people coming and confessing to crimes they've committed.”

Well, that's interesting. Sometimes people would fly into Saskatoon and ask, “What's going on here? There seems to be something electric in the air.” There was. It was God. We prayed, and God answered. It's still going on.

What about today? At Ebenezer Baptist Church we had a building that seated 800 or 900. The pastor, Wes Long, was touched by God in revival after the revival in Saskatoon. God is wonderfully using him there. Thank God for that. They started using him there at several other churches—two churches I think—since the revival back in 1971. God is still at work.

After the revival in Saskatoon, before those meetings were over, I felt strongly that God wanted me in full-time revival work, but I made up my mind that I wasn't going to beat down some door to make it happen. So I prayed, “God, if you want me in this kind of work, please make it clear and plain.”

Within twenty-four hours I got a phone call from a brother in Winnipeg. He was an evangelist. He said, “We have a couple of people praying together. We heard what is happening there, and we wondered if you couldn't come to Winnipeg for some revival meetings?”

So I said, “See if you can rent Elim Chapel.”

Elim Chapel was seating about 1200. So with about four days notice and no churches cooperating . . . You don't do that. But, we did that.

We went to Winnipeg and started meetings, and it spilled over for five weeks. The same thing was happening in Winnipeg as it was in Saskatoon. There were about 30 people going into full-time Christian service. We found out months and years later about different people who were touched by God in those meetings and are in full-time service today. Thank God for that.

It was the same sort of thing. Deep, powerful, conviction of sin and people honestly and  humbly responding to God, and then making things right with their family, first of all, and then with their neighbors or perhaps people they worked with or worked for. Whatever as God might lead. It was a wonderful time. Whenever I think of it, I just have to praise God.

We had two fellows in the congregation. I never knew they used to sing duets together. They were both Bible school graduates. They were both in their forties. They hadn't even spoken together for two years. I didn't know this. I knew there was some tension there. The older of the two came forward, and God touched him that night.

So I said to him, “Sam you ought to get ahold of your brother, Arnie, and make right whatever is wrong between the two of you.”

He said, “God's been telling me the same thing”

So I got ahold of Arnie, and the three of us with one of my deacons, Ken Merritt, went downstairs. Arnie sat down and Sam stood. He reached his hand out and said, “My brother, Arnie, can you forgive me?”

Arnie sits there like this. “It's about time you came,” he said.

Sam said, “I knew he wouldn't forgive me.” He started for the door.

I prayed, “God don't let him leave the room.” He didn't. He got to the door and just stood there with his back to us. I dumped a truckload of Bible verses on him. It didn't do a thing. He just sat there smirking. So I said to Ken, “Let's pray and ask God to touch this man.”

So we got on our knees and started to pray, and he gave a scream. He ran to the wall and began kicking the wall with his feet and beating the wall with his fists and began to pour out a fountain of wickedness that had been bottled up inside.  He had been disciplined by the Alliance church, years before I was a pastor at Ebenezer church, and our church took him in as a member, no questions asked, because he had two brothers in the congregation.

He began pouring this stuff out. He was running around the room at times. I thought he was going to jump on us at one point. We just kept praying. Then there was quietness. I looked, and he was sitting there with the light of heaven on his face. I caught his eye. He ran up and grabbed his brother and almost cracked his ribs. It was grand.

Then we went upstairs. The congregation knew what was happening, and they were praying upstairs for us. As the brethren came upstairs, they walked shoulder to shoulder down the aisle. Their wives and kids came running, because the families had been fighting, too. They all got on their knees at the front of the church, and I'm standing in the back of the church just watching what God is doing and trying to stay out of the way.  They got right with God.

Right after that we were in the Alliance church. Arnie and Sam sang a duet. But before they sang, he had to make things right with the  Alliance church, and he did that.  He asked their forgiveness for what had happened in the past.

You know what happened? Well, in the congregation there were Alliance people, and Baptists, Pentecostals, Mennonites, and all the rest of it. One of the Alliance guys jumped to his feet and said, “I make a motion that we accept Arnie back as a member of our church.”

Someone else said, “I second the motion.”

And the Alliance people took a vote. The rest of us couldn't vote. And he was voted in, so he was a member of two churches at one time.

The last time I talked to Arnie, which was probably six or seven years ago, he said, “O brother Bill, it's so great to be able to love people from your heart. I could never do that before.” A matter of fact, one of my daughters said she would never want to be alone with Arnie in a room.

He was always criticizing the program. He told me one day, “My kids are all going to hell. You don’t have a decent youth program going on in the church.”

I said “What about all of the people whose kids in the church are not going to hell?” He just walked away mad. All of that changed by the grace of God. Only God could do it.

I was in Thunder Bay, Ontario, one time and was asked to deal with a certain pastor. He'd always be making eyes at the ladies. He had been taking money out of one fund and putting it in other funds. He'd been handling things very poorly. The church was very upset, and they asked me to deal with him. I couldn't do anything with him, so I said, “Let's pray.” When you can't do anything, you pray.

So there was a pillar here, and he knelt in front of the pillar and I knelt beside him. I began to pray for him. Dear people, he gave a shout and a shriek. I looked up at him and he had both arms around the pillar,  and was holding on for dear life. He said, “Dear God, don't kill me. I'll make it right. Don't kill me.”

Afterward, he told me what happened. This is unusual. This doesn't normally happen. He said the hand of God came around his body and started to squeeze him, and he thought he was going to die. It's amazing how we can pray and get honest when we're on a deathbed sort of thing.

In the Maritimes, the meetings there back in 1972, there were 50 churches in the area that went together and it spilled over. We had to go for five weeks there. We had some wonderful things happen.

There were two men in the congregation—one had a grocery store and one had a drug store. God spoke to the fellow in the drug store about selling tobacco products. We hadn't mentioned tobacco at all, but God had. So he got rid of his tobacco and ran an ad in the local newspaper explaining what he was doing, telling them why he was doing it, and inviting them to come and talk to him about it.

His store became a witnessing center. He saw all kinds of people come in and ask him about this deal. “What do you mean, you don't sell tobacco anymore?” When the guy running the grocery store heard about this, it spoke to his heart. He decided to get rid of the tobacco in his store, too.

Then the tobacco salesmen came down, afraid that there may be a run of this kind in the area and that it would hurt their business. So they explained to the guy at the grocery store that, “If the people have to buy their groceries in one place and their tobacco in another, they aren't going to come to your store. You're going to lose a lot of customers in the next twelve months. We guarantee that.”

He said, “I couldn't care less. You know why? Because I gave the business to God. It's His business, not mine.” You know what really happened? His business almost doubled over the next twelve months. You think that doesn't happen? It does happen.

Some people from the church I fellowship with in the Winnipeg area run a restaurant. They finally decided to hang a sign up in the door, “No Smoking allowed on these premises.” You know what happened? Their business just about doubled in a matter of months. Interesting!

God said, “Those that honor Me, I will honor.”

I remember getting a phone call from a lady in Florida. She was very teary. She said, “Is it true? Is there revival in Saskatoon? When my child goes to school everyday, I look out the window and wonder if she will come home alive. I can't be sure. Is it true that revival came?” We explained that God had come.

Let me say this. You don't need to worry about your kids, you need to worry about yourself. Make sure your heart is right. Live the Christian life. Commit your kids to God. Trust God.

My youngest daughter, Naomi, strayed from God fourteen or fifteen years ago. We talked to her. She said, “There is one thing I will never forget you said. One thing I will never forget that I saw God do in the time of revival. I will never forget that as long as I live. But I really don't want to go this way. I love God, and all of that, but I have a lot of reservation.”

She never went to church for fifteen years. How do you handle that? Psalm 37:5 says, “Commit your way onto the Lord. Trust also to Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” One translation says, “He will do it.” I like that.

So that is all we did. We loved her. We encouraged her. We prayed for her. Then about two years ago we got a phone call. She spent a half an hour or longer asking us to forgive her for all of the grief she'd caused. She found a good gospel church in the area where she was living in Vancouver. God had touched her heart and brought her back.

If it takes fourteen years, keep trusting and believing God. Don't let the devil have any of your kids. We can believe Him. Dear people, there are 7,487 promises in the Bible. Did you know that? Not all of them are for you and for me, but I'd say at least 2,000 of them are. You have 2,000 promises from a living God.

You can't get along with your wife? You can't get along with your neighbors? You can't believe God for anything? A lot of Christians, all we do is admire the promises. We frame them and have them hanging on the wall. We don't really believe them. We don't stand on them, but we admire them. We like to think that it gives us a little comfort to think that there is a little promise. Somehow, we don't get our feet on them and we don't believe God.

Nancy: Pastor Bill McLeod is telling us about the results of the Canadian Revival that began forty years ago this week. Remember, all of these effects of the Canadian Revival were birthed in the labor room of prayer. Bill McLeod and other believers in Saskatoon spent years praying for revival before it actually came to their community. As it turns out, they weren't the only ones praying.

Pastor McLeod: A team of Gideons from Canada were in India. They mentioned that there had been a revival in Saskatoon, and they saw a corner of the crowd light up. Men began to get excited. Afterward men came and said, “Did you say there was a revival in Saskatoon, Canada?”

They said, “Yes, why?”

They said, “We're a prayer group. About three or four years ago, God laid a burden on our heart to pray for Saskatoon, Canada. We don't even know where we got the name Saskatoon from. We can't even remember.”

They'd been praying for three or four years for Saskatoon, Canada. The same team was in another part of India. The same thing happened. Some people came and said, “Did you say there was a revival somewhere in Canada?”

They said, “Yes.”

Then they said, “We've been praying for revival in western Canada.”

Western Canada is where it happened, and they'd been praying for several years. Who knows what the sum total is, as far as preparation is concerned. The way that God works, God has control. God reigns, not God will reign someday. The Lord reigns now, and He is in total control and total charge of all of the nations of the world. The Most High rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whosoever He will. That is true also in the church, only sometimes we get in God's way.

Nancy: Pastor Bill McLeod, now in his nineties, has been telling us about the Canadian Revival that began forty years ago this week. Perhaps you've been intrigued by the stories of God's power to change lives in revival. I hope you'll explore the topic of revival further by getting a copy of a book we're offering this week called Ablaze With His Glory.

The founder of our parent ministry, Life Action Ministries, Del Fehsenfeld, Jr., wrote this book to describe revival, to explore its purpose, and to explain why we desperately need to believe God for a fresh outpouring of His Spirit in revival in our day.

As you read this book, I think God will instill faith in your heart that revival isn't just an old-fashioned concept that happened forty years ago or 140 years ago, but that it is something that God wants to do and can do again in our day. I believe that your passion and burden to seek for revival in your own heart, in your church, and in our nation will grow as you read this book, Ablaze With His Glory.

When you support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size, we'll show our thanks by sending you Ablaze With His Glory.

Leslie: Thanks Nancy. Ask for the book when you make a donation of any amount. Just call 1-800-569-5959, or donate online at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Breast cancer—what do you think about when you hear that phrase? Maybe a feeling of sadness or dread? Maybe you just don't want to think about it. Next week you'll learn to associate that phrase with another important concept, God's purpose and His glory. Please join us for Revive Our Hearts.

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

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