The Charles Finney Revival
The connection between crises and revivals continues to be observed when the two revivals, the Frontier and the Second Great Awakening, were followed by another crisis in America, the War of 1812. The War of 1812 was followed by the Charles Finney Revival between 1830 and 1860. This revival was also called the New Measures Revival because of the new methods employed, such as, the anxious bench, the mourner’s bench, public invitations, the singing of sacred songs and cottage prayer meetings.
The Fulton Street Prayer Revival
After the Finney Revival came the crisis of 1857 which produced a financial panic in America similar to the Great Depression. The result of this crisis was a weekly prayer meeting which started in New York City in a church on Fulton Street at 12:00 noon. This prayer meeting spread up and down the Eastern Seaboard and it is said one half million souls were prayed into the kingdom of God
The D. L. Moody Revival
The Civil War in America was the next crisis. In the Civil War, a great nation was deeply wounded, in many cases a brother fought against his own brother and homes were shattered. After this deeply emotional and traumatic crisis came the preaching on the love of God by D. L. Moody in the 1870’s and 80’s. Moody’s preaching on this grand theme was like a healing anointment for our suffering nation.
The Billy Sunday Revival
The Spanish American War followed the Moody Revival. After this crisis came the dynamic Billy Sunday. Sunday did not preach or orate but exploded when he got behind the pulpit. Sunday’s message was separation from sin, worldliness and Booze. The result of Sunday’s preaching was the closing down of many liquor stores and the 18th Prohibition Amendment. Sunday would go into a city and find out what its problems and sins were and then he would preach accordingly. He would pick up the language and sayings of the people and use them in his sermons so as to better identify with the people.
Once in a community of lumbermen he noticed how the lumbermen would go deep into the forest to cut wood and would sprinkle sawdust along the way in order to find their way back. At the end of the work day, the lumbermen would holler, “Let’s hit the sawdust trail and go back home.” In the next service under the large Billy Sunday Tabernacle which had sawdust as a covering for the floor, Sunday in his invitation, exhorted wicked lumbermen to “Hit the sawdust trail” and make their way back to God. From then on Sunday employed the phrase in his meetings and had saw many come to Christ.
Are we willing to experience and even pray for a personal, church wide or even national crisis to see God’s hand mightly move among us to the renewal of God’s people and the salvation of the lost to the glory of His name?