I’ve been talking about revival on Sunday mornings at church from the Old Testament books of Haggai and Zechariah. During my study I came across a story from the life of traveling evangelist Rodney Smith. He was a Brit who’s ministry spanned the late 19th and early 20th century. He made over 40 trips abroad to places like American, Australia, and South Africa sharing the gospel. Most of us wouldn’t recognize him by his given name because he went by the name Gipsy Smith, which I happen to think is an awesome name for a traveling evangelist. Anyway, during one of his meetings, Smith was approached by a young man. The young man asked Gipsy how to have revival. Smith responded by asking the young man, “Do you have a place where you can pray?” The young man replied affirmatively. So Gipsy said, “Tell you what to do, you go to that place, and take a piece of chalk along. Kneel down there, and with the chalk draw a complete circle all around you – and pray for God to send revival on everything inside of the circle. Stay there until He answers – and you will have revival.”
There may be a lot of words we could use to describe Smith’s response from sarcastic to frivolous to trite, but the truth is it is a deeply profound and compelling statement. In my observation, our tendency when talking about revival is to talk about how everyone else needs a good dose of it; our neighbor, our community, our nation, the church down the street. But seldom do I hear individuals proclaim with deep sincerity their need for revival. Imagine the outcome if every one us would find a place to pray, kneel there, draw a circle around ourselves, and pray that God would send revival to everything in the circle, then not leave until it comes.
If I genuinely want revival then I must realize it starts with me. If you genuinely want revival then you must realize it starts with you. And as God stokes the individual flame of our hearts and they come together the divine flickers will turn into a raging inferno blazing across the landscape and all people will see and hear that our God truly is a consuming fire. With that said, pardon me while I go draw my circle.