The Closet

"It is easier to speak or write about revival than to set about it. There is so much rubbish to be swept out, so many self-raised hindrances to be dealt with, so many old habits to be overcome, so much sloth and easy-mindedness to be contended with, so much of ministerial routine to be broken through, and so much crucifixion of both self and of the world, to be undergone. As Christ said of the unclean spirit which the disciples could not cast out, so we may say of these: 'This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."

So wrote Horatius Bonar in his powerful, magnum opus to ministers published in 1877. He entitled it, "Words to Winners of Souls." Bonar was a Scottish pastor, preacher, hymn writer and prolific author. His life and ministry spanned the 19th Century from 1808-1889. It is hard to believe the kind of impact that the voice of he and his brothers had on several generations of Scottish believers. Parents often named their sons after these lions of the pulpit. Long before contemporary milk-toast media ministers marketed their brand of Chrisianity, Horatius Bonar and his peers held sway in the land. God, I miss these kind of men.

Recently I was asked if I was reformed. I have been asked that alot lately. I have started responding to the question with this statement, "No I am more radical than reformed. I am redeemed." If you are interested, let me explain. If you mean reformed as in soul-winning George Whitefield, revival praying Horatius Bonar, and Bible preaching Charles H. Spurgeon, count me reformed. I am not impressed by much of what I see that calls itself reformed today. It tries to bully people into a Johnny come lately five point position that does not leave the Holy Spirit any elbow room to usher in the kind of Spiritual Awakening that followed in the wake of undeniably reformed men of God.

My studies have led me to believe that genuine Spiritual Awakening is a whole lot messier than raising hot house plants. It requires a resurrection, and periodic checkups that enable the Church to receive blood transfusions for courageous living.
This is nothing new. Horatius Bonar's quote mentioned at the top of the page is actually the thoughts of a minister in the 17th Century. Bonar went on to say,

"Such was the way in which he set about personal and ministerial revival. Let us take an example from him. If he needed it much, we need it more."

August 6th I will particpate in The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis. This day was officially called for by Governor Perry of Texas, based on a Joel 2 model for prayer and fasting. Although there is ample historical evidence of founders fathers, and subsequent government leaders calling for a day of prayer and fasting, Perry has been ridiculed by critics from the Left and the Right. Both extremes have taken their best shots, and done a great deal to intimidate the muddled middle into befuddled silence. Afraid of their own shadow or any sudden sign of life in anyone else, many main-stream ministers have chosen to prey on the event rather than pray for it. Every great movement of God has had to experience detractors and distractions prior to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

So the big day has finally arrived. The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis. When this day was set aside, no one could have known what kind of crisis our nation would be experiencing on August 6th. Unprecedented heat has parched the land. Unreasonable greed has paralyzed Washington. Unstable markets have stolen away life savings. Unconfessed sin leaves the Church in no shape to lead the way out of the darkness. It is indeed time for a day of prayer and fasting. I don't care who called it, I plan to be in Houston, and take part in it. Hope you can make it, but if you can't, pray for us. We need it, and you need the practice. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!

I have to go pack, so read what Horatius Bonar would say to you if he were here. He wrote these words to his peers in the 19th Century. They reach out to us with a bold blast from the past.

"We have not been men of prayer. The spirit of prayer has slumbered among us. The closet has been too little frequented and delighted in. We have allowed business, study or active labor to interfere with our closet-hours. And the feverish atmosphere in which both the church and nation are enveloped has found in our closet, disturbing the sweet calm of its blessed solitude. Sleep, company, idle visiting, foolish talking, and jesting, idle reading, unprofitable occupations, engross time that might have bee redeemed for prayer."