It was September 1957, four young men began to pray regularly in a little school near Kells, Ireland. They persevered and prevailed in prayer, so someone was converted in January the next year. Following that, there was about one conversion every week. Twelve months later they had a weekly gathering of around fifty people at their meeting, and around a hundred other small prayer groups had sprung up in the area! They held a service the next year, which attracted a huge crowd, so they poured out onto the street. People were convicted by the Holy Spirit, so much that some of them could not stand. Revival broke out, and every night there were gatherings. They prayed, praised, read the bible, and encouraged each other. They held meetings in everyday situations: kitchens, little barns, schools, fields, and even on sidewalks. They would pray and weep all night, and neglected their farm work so they could work for souls. How did it all start? God used four young Irish lads who prevailed in prayer.
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” – James 5:16
To promote a revival, we can use two things. One moves people, we can use the other to move God. We use truth to move men, and prayer to move God.
We obviously can’t tell God to do something, but we are changed in prayer, so God can move in us. It’s a lot like how God always wants to forgive a sinner, but He can’t forgive until the sinner’s heart meets God’s conditions. So when we pray, the change in us allows for God to answer.
This is why we can’t have a revival without prayer. The most exciting messages and truths alone will do nothing. Remember, words will never have any effect without the Holy Spirit. We must spend time in prayer, asking for Him to speak through the words and work in people’s hearts. Without it, hearts harden, because they have “heard it all before”.
“Prevail” means to triumph, win through, succeed or overcome. So prevailing prayer is prayer that persists and wins! This is one of the most important keys to a revival. We can’t have a revival without prevailing prayer. Prevailing prayer isn’t just a desire for something. It’s prayer that gets what is seeks, it moves God and has impact.
Looking at the story above is just a glimpse of the impact that prevailing prayer has. Whether we are commuting, working, or at home relaxing, we all have opportunities to pray. This is one of the best ways to use your life for God’s glory: asking Him to move. Will you commit to learning to prevail in prayer?