The Power of Prayer and the Prayer of Power

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Book by Torrey written in Introduction

According to Mr. Torrey, the great need of the Church, during his day, and of human society as a whole, is a genuine, God sent revival. It is either revival or revolution, and a revolution that will plunge human society and civilization into chaos and utter confusion. It is a time of widespread apostasy. He says that this may be the last apostasy from which we shall be saved by the return of our Lord Jesus to this earth to take the reins of government into His own thoroughly competent hands. That would, of course, be the greatest and most glorious of all revivals, and a revival that would never end.

John Wesley

He believes this is the final apostacy. There have been more thoroughgoing and appalling apostasies in the past than this one is at the present hour. The apostasy in England in the time of the Wesley’s, particularly John Wesley, and in America at the time of Jonathan Edwards, was far more complete than the present apostasy is the apostasy in this country at the opening of the nineteenth century was far more appalling, at least as regards university life, than the apostasy of today. It was the revival under the Wesley’s and their associates that saved the Church and saved civilization in their day.

Jonathan Edwards

Even so thoroughgoing by a rationalist such as Lecky, the historian, admits that it was the revival under the Wesley’s that saved civilization in England. And it was the Great Awakening under the leadership of Jonathan Edwards and others that saved the Church in America.

According to Torrey, our sorest need today is a deep, thoroughgoing, — Spirit-wrought, God-sent revival. Such revivals as far as man’s agency is concerned always comes in one way— by prayer. It was Jonathan Edwards’ Call to Prayer that brought the Great Awakening, and the city missionary Landfear’s stirring of the Christians of New York City to prayer that brought the wondrous revival of 1857. Likewise, it was the prayer of the four humble Christians of Kells, and the prayers of others, that brought the marvelous Ulster revival of 1859-60.

Mr. Torrey completed his first widely acclaimed work entitled “How to Pray” at the request of D. L. Moody; and God used that book to stir many thousands to pray; and the great work in Australia and New Zealand in 1902, extending over to England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales (the great Welsh revival in 1904) and to India and many lands, resulting in the conversion of hundreds of thousands of souls, was the direct outcome of the publication of that book.

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This book is much fuller and more complete than his previous book “How to Pray”, and covers the whole subject of prayer, not only in its relation to revivals, but in its relation to the various departments of Christian life and activity. The various chapters are composed largely of the addresses on prayer that Mr. Torrey gave as he traveled around the world, preaching the Gospel. His views expanded through the many years that he was engaged in this work. In their present completed form they were delivered to his own people in the Church of the Open Door, Los Angeles, and they were all heard over the radio by perhaps a hundred thousand people (some say far more) each week in places from one mile to three thousand miles away, who were “listening in “Sunday after Sunday, in the autumn and winter and spring of 1923 and 1924.

Reuben Archer Torrey

  1. A. Torrey was born on January 28, 1856 in Hoboken, New Jersey and died in his Ashville, North Carolina home on October 26, 1928, at 72. He graduated from Yale University in 1875 and from Yale Divinity School in 1878. After he graduating from Yale Divinity School, he became a Congregational minister in Garrettsville, Ohio. He wed Clara Smith in 1879, and had 5 children through this union.

In 1882-83, Torrey returned to his studies in theology at Leipzig University and Erlangen University. In 1889, he moved to Chicago and joined Dwight L. Moody in his evangelistic work, and afterward was named director of the Bible Institute of the Chicago Evangelization Society (now Moody Bible Institute). He became pastor of the Chicago Avenue Church (now the Moody Church) in 1894.

 

In 1902–03, he ministered in all sectors of the English-speaking world. He, along with song leader Charles McCallon Alexander, conducted revival services in Great Britain from 1903 to 1905. He also visited Australia, China, India and Japan, during this time. In 1906-07, he conducted a similar campaign in American and Canadian cities. In his lifetime, Torrey preached throughout the world and wrote over 40 books. He held his last evangelistic meeting in Florida in 1927, additional meetings being canceled because of his failing health.

 

Praying for Revival?

God is not a God of forceful pushing to the human heart, which is why He created man with a free will. We pray that the Holy Spirit will work in our hearts and open our eyes to see the splendor of God, and strengthen our desire to learn more.

Ezekiel 36:26

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

When we pray for revival, we are not just praying for people to call themselves a Christians in name, but rather, for their eyes to be opened and their hearts softened so they can enter a relationship with the Creator of the Universe.

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