I remember back many years ago when my kids were little and we used to travel a lot by car we would listen to Ray Stevens tapes to help the miles pass more quickly for our boys. You remember Ray Stevens, don't you? He was one who sang "Ahab, the Arab," "Guitarzan," "The Blue Cyclone," and of course, who could forget "The Streak," just to name a few. Before long Jonathan and Chris had every single one of his songs memorized. I think they still remember most of them to this day, even after so many years.
But one of my favorite Ray Stevens songs was called "The Mississippi Squirrel Revival." I happened to find a video version of it recently on YouTube and thought I'd share it with you in case you've never heard it. Ray Stevens sings the song and acts out the part. I hope you enjoy it. I'll have a few more things to say after you've watched it.
I wish it were that easy to get a revival started. If I thought it would help I'd be out trying to trap squirrels. Unfortunately, revivals are not so easy to kick start.
I meet every Wednesday from noon to 1:30 with a small group of pastors to pray. We've been doing this for about 12 years now. We pray for our country, our city, our leaders, our churches, and for one another. However, from the beginning one of our major prayer requests has been that God would once again send revival to Portland, Oregon where we continue to serve Him. If revival were something that we could just schedule or work up and make happen, we would certainly have had one before now. But it just ain't that easy. You see, revival is a God thing.
Not long ago I saw a church sign in Vancouver, WA announcing, "Revival Meeting Here Tonight!" Oh, I wish it were that easy. Unfortunately, revival is a Heaven-sent event and cannot be scheduled by pastors or evangelists, no matter how pious and dedicated they might be. But that doesn't mean I'm giving up hope. I believe that prayer moves the heart and hand of God. I believe that while II Chronicles 7:14 was written to God's people, Israel, the principle holds true for His Church today as well. In that verse the LORD says, "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
I've been a Christian for a very long time and have been in pastoral ministry for 36 years, but I have never experienced a genuine revival where God rends the heavens and pours our His Spirit upon the hearts of men. I've read of such things. I have even talked with people who have experienced it on a small scale but I have never seen it with my own eyes. Yet I continue to pray in faith and ask God to do it here in our midst, in our city, in our church.
The city of Portland experienced a revival back in 1905. It was dubbed, "The Portland Outpouring." Revival historian, J. Edwin Orr, tells the story that in Portland for most of that year starting in March, 240 major downtown businesses closed their doors from 11 AM to 2 PM each day to enable their customers and employees to attend prayer meetings. In fact, the store owners voluntarily signed an agreement so that no one would cheat and stay open. Thousands of people came to know Christ that year. Churches grew as God filled them with spiritually hungry new believers. Dead churches received new life. Sleeping Christians were awakened, surprised by God doing a new thing in this city.
If God did it once, He can do it again. I'm praying that He will, because we need it now more than ever.
Crazy to see it with my own eyes,