The secret of success

A fire often begins with a little match, and works its way through the combustible material about it until it has swept over a wide region. The great fire in Portland, Oregon, USA, originated with a fire-cracker. A work of grace often commences with a single Christian, never with the whole church. As soon as that one Christian is filled with the Holy Spirit, he goes after others, to lead them to the Saviour, or to induce believers to join him in efforts for a revival.

Jesus fulfils His promise, "Lo, I am with you always" and others are soon moved and melted, and the work begins to widen. So that whoever would promote a revival of spirit should begin with his own heart, and pray, and confess, and believe, until he feels his heart subdued and melted by the Holy Spirit, until his love to Christ is glowing, fervid, burning and until he finds himself groaning over the lost condition of men. Then, like Jesus, being in an agony, prays more earnestly.

When his heart is in this state, let him get a few, if he cannot many, to join him in special prayer for the outpouring of the Spirit. Let that little company hold on in united, persistent prayer, "nothing wavering," until the windows of heaven are opened.

The disciples at Jerusalem continued in prayer about 10 days, before they received the promised power from on high. It does not appear that the meeting, with so many ministers in attendance, attracted much attention, until the disciples were fully anointed, and filled with the Spirit.

The disciples of Christ could have accomplished little had they preached and laboured without the preparation, but as soon as the anointing was received, the multitude were drawn to the place in great numbers, and were confounded when they saw the power that rested on those Galileans. This new power attended their preaching. This work commenced with those believers, and spread with great rapidity all over the country.

So it must be with all who would labour successfully in leading souls to Christ. They must wait at Jesus' feet until they have power with God, then they will have power with men. The gift they received will be with them wherever they go, diffusing its sweet and holy influence, and God's work will be revived, and sinners converted.

I have observed, for nearly 40 years, that the secret of success in promoting revivals of spirit is in having our own hearts filled with the Holy Spirit. It is not enough for those of us who preach, that our sermons be able, sound, and well delivered, or that we preach what are sometimes called revival sermons, and that we also visit and converse with men about their souls' interest. It is not enough that the church be aroused and go to work actively for a revival. All this can be done, and but few souls be saved. Nothing can be a substitute for real "power from on high." No amount of study or talent, no effort, however untiring, can take the place of the fullness of Christ's love. – A.B. Earle,1869

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