How Effectual, Fervent Prayer Can Bring Revival on the Mission Field
James 5:16 says, “Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
“Availeth much” means that our prayer causes God to act. However, God’s acting upon our prayer can only happen when we comply with the three requirements given:
- We must pray effectually.
- We must pray fervently.
- We must be righteous.
The word “effectual” means to put out much effort. In other words, effectual means we are to work hard and to be persistent in our prayers.
The word “fervent” means to show warmth of feeling and earnestness. We must pray with a burdened heart. We must pray with all our heart and soul.
Jonathan and Rosalind Goforth, in the book, By My Spirit, share this remarkable account of the power and importance of prayer in order for the Holy Spirit to do His mighty work.
The work at Kwangchow had been started in the nineties by Mr. Argento, an Italian. Upon becoming a Christian, Mr. Argento had been turned out of his home. He joined the China Inland Mission, and was sent to Kwangchow, where, in a few years, he had gathered a little band of Christians around him. Their practice was to get up before daylight to study the Scriptures together. In 1900, the Boxers bound Mr. Argento, poured kerosene over him, and set him on fire. Some of his friends, however, came to the rescue and managed to save his life, but his sight was lost and other parts of his body were badly burnt. The Mission urged him to go back to Europe, but he would not think of it. “If I can’t see,” he said, “I can at least stay here and pray for the salvation of my people.”
But, after a few years, his health became so wretched that he was obliged to leave China for good. He made his home with his wife’s people in Norway. A neighbor of Mr. Argentos in Norway told me how the spirit of prayer was constantly upon him. Often he would be up til long after midnight interceding for the people of Kwangchow. Sometimes his wife would say: “You can’t stand this; you’re too weak. You must go to bed.” To this he would reply: “How can I sleep, when so many thousands off there in Kwangchow are dying without Jesus?”
When I arrived at Kwangchow in December 1915, I saw the last tile being put in its place on the roof of a fine church. The church was pointed out to me as an example of the fruit of Mr. Argento’s sacrificial ministry. It possessed seating capacity for 1,400 people and had been built entirely out of funds contributed by Chinese Christians. At that time there were two thousand Christians in the city of Kwangchow and throughout the surrounding country. There were, besides, twenty-one outstations, and of all the workers only two were being paid out of foreign funds.
The other qualification of having prayers that cause God to act is to be “righteous.” We will never see a revival until we are grieved by our sins. Psalms 66:18 states, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”
Only after David Brainerd had prayed earnestly did the Holy Spirit begin to move, and then revival broke out among the Indians.
When Jonathan Goforth was ready to go into a very difficult section of the province of Honan, China, Hudson Taylor wrote to him. In her book, How I Know God Answers Prayer, Mrs. Goforth gives us a portion of that letter:
We understand North Honan is to be your field. We, as a mission, have tried for ten years to enter that province from the south, and have only just succeeded. It is one of the most anti-foreign provinces in China…Brother, if you would enter that province, you must go forward on your knees.
Effectual, fervent prayer can bring revival on any mission field!
Jonathan Goforth, By My Spirit, (Manila; Lifeline Press, no date), 76-77.
Rosalind Goforth, How I Know God Answers Prayer (Manila: Lifeline Press, 2001), 19.