If you are desirous of stoking your faith about the prospects of revival in your church and community, I encourage you to do what continues to inspire me: reflect on how the Canadian Revival broke out forty-three years ago.
It all started with the bold leadership of humble Pastor Bill McLeod in a small church of about 175 members in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Bill, eager to have his people sharing their faith, trained them in evangelism and then told them to show up on a specific day to reach out to their neighbors. But when the day came, only two people showed up, and they were scared to death!
Bill came to the conclusion that the underlying problem was not a lack of knowledge, but that his people—good as they were—needed to have their hearts revived.
So Bill challenged his church to begin to pray for revival. He started a weekly prayer meeting with mandatory attendance. In asking his people to come to the meeting, he said (presumably with a twinkle in his eye), “Don’t ever miss the prayer meeting unless you’re dead!” His invitation worked—virtually the entire church showed up to pray for revival together.
Bill also got individuals from his church to select a 15-minute slot to pray so that prayer for revival was happening 24/7. And he encouraged his flock to add a sentence for revival onto their mealtime prayers.
The result of all this was that a “spirit of supplication” came over their small church. As the months passed, Henry Blackaby joined the prayer effort, and other speakers came and spoke about the need for and hope of revival.
After five long years of humble, desperate, fervent prayer, revival finally broke out in amazing power. Pastor Bill put it this way: “That for which we have been crying to God has happened!”
The result was that thousands, hungering for the presence of God, flocked to that small church. When their church building couldn’t contain the crowds, they eventually needed to secure the largest building in town that seated 2,200 … but still it took two services to fit them all in!
Many came to Christ, and complacent Christians returned to their First Love. People were prompted to clear their consciences by confessing prior acts of shoplifting or cheating on income tax. Many were called to full-time vocational ministry, and scores of new churches were started!
What would happen if today we chose to do what Bill McLeod led his congregation to do forty-three years ago? What if each of us united with other believers in our community to cry out daily for revival, and what if Christians all across our nation did the same thing?
As we persevere in our prayers, will not our gracious God hear, forgive, and heal our land?
(Note: While Bill McLeod is in Glory now, he told his story on a Revive Our Hearts broadcast that will encourage you greatly!)