(Taken from the book “When God Stepped Down from Heaven” by Rev. Owen Murphy)
The HEBRIDES revival was a MANIFESTATION OF GOD! Something greater than organization, something more wonderful than a new approach in dynamic evangelism – this was GOD AT WORK! GOD IN ACTION, independent of special PERSONALITIES! And behind the mighty “turning loose” of the irresistible power of God, there was a “secret” – one minister and seven members of his church, in a little wooden barn by the side of the road, who were prepared to “stand in the gap”, and PAY THE FULL PRICE THAT GOD HAD DEMANDED that revival might come!
What was the “Secret” of these men?
(1) THEIR FAITH IN A “COVENANT-KEEPING” GOD!
Here were men who believed the tremendous fact that REVIVAL lay within their power, through the “Covenant” promises of God. Had God not declared:
“If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways: then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
A covenant is an “agreement” BINDING ON BOTH PARTIES. If then, God is a COVENANT KEEPING GOD,this promise is binding upon Him as well as upon us if WE fulfill OUR part of the covenant, then HE must fulfill HIS! If God is God, then He is TRUE, then HIS WORD MUST COME to pass, and we can absolutely DEPEND upon it! God has promised revival, therefore He is waiting to send it. If this was true, revival did not depend on God, but on His PEOPLE KEEPING THE CONDITIONS OF THE COVENANT! Staking everything upon this fact, three times each week they met in the little barn by the roadside to keep the “conditions” of the covenant promise, confident that their Covenant-keeping God would stand by His promise and hear from heaven.
Each night as they knelt in the straw, they would renew their faith by remembering the promise of God and then, in absolute confidence, declare before the Presence of God the CERTAINTY of the coming revival. Nothing, including the long weary months of waiting without the sign of an “answer” could weaken their confidence in the fact that their God, a COVENANT-KEEPING GOD, would fulfill His promise!
(2) THEIR HUMBLING BEFORE GOD!
“If My people … will HUMBLE themselves!” God is HOLY, and humanity must humble itself before Deity. Before man can stand upon Holy Ground he must be clean. Watch the drama of the barn by the roadside unfold itself as one of the men, slowly rising from the straw, takes up the Word and begins to read from Psalm 24.
“Who can ascend into the hill of the Lord? Who shall stand in His holy place? He that has clean hands, and a pure heart: who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully; he shall receive the blessing of the Lord.”
Like words of flame falling from the lips of a Holy God, every word seemed to burn into the very depths of the hearts of the men who gathered to do business with God.
Then, before the tremendous challenge of this declaration, unhesitatingly they fell to their knees in unreserved dedication and surrendered to God. Here were men who were prepared to meet every demand of God, whatever the personal cost might be, that revival might come. That price, which has never varied through the ages, is brokenness before God, an emptying of “self’ in all its manifestations, a forsaking of all sin and “habit,” and total surrender to God and His purposes.
(3) THEIR TRAVAILING AND PREVAILING IN PRAYER
Every revival that has broken upon the face of the earth has been preceded by the people of God upon their knees travailing before God.
For long, weary months, undeterred by the cold and discomforts of the barn: undeterred by the seeming “silence” of God; undeterred by the fact that no one else seemed concerned about revival and the world seemed to be as godless as ever; they travailed before God. Kneeling in the straw, or upon their faces before the Lord in agony of soul, they cried unto the Throne.
And how they prayed; not the half-hearted, sentimental, churchly, half-doubting prayers to which we are accustomed today and which accomplish so little. As one listened to these men literally wrestling with God, drawing into the spiritual conflict every power and energy they possessed, one was reminded of the prayer of the Master in Gethsemane:
“Who, in the days of His flesh … offered up prayers and supplications with strong cry and tears …”
The men who had covenanted to stand in the gap for revival, PRAYED! In desperation, they stormed the throne of God. Burning passion, concern for the lost, and absolute confidence in God, gripped every word that fell from their praying lips. They prayed until they lay helpless exhausted. What depths of reaching out to God! They prayed until they travailed, and they travailed until they PREVAILED! They prayed UNTIL GOD ANSWERED! TRAVAIL must always precede PREVAIL! “When Zion travailed she brought forth.”