Andrew Murray on Prayer and Revival

Andrew Murray on Prayer and Revival


A century ago Andrew Murray wrote a powerful little book called “The State of the Church” where he called believers back to a life of prayer and reliance on the Spirit.  In this portion (chapter 5 of “The State of the Church”) he points out the dire need in our churches for prayer and evangelism – a need that others such as D. L. Moody and F. B. Meyer also called for.  You can buy the full book here.



“THE disciples felt ashamed at their not being able to cast out the evil spirit. When Christ had sent them out to do the work, they had come back rejoicing that the evil spirits were subject to them. And here, in presence of the Pharisees, they had been brought to confusion by their impotence. They felt it deeply, and asked the Master to tell them what the cause of failure was. He answered with one word, Unbelief; they had not been living in communion with God and separation from the world; they had neglected prayer and fasting.


It is when the Church begins to feel the shame of the decline in membership as the loss of a power that she had in time past, and confesses that it is beyond her reach to find the cause and the cure, that she will learn to bow in penitent prayer for the Master to reveal to her the depth of the trouble, and the only way out of it.


In this chapter I want to call up three witnesses among the servants of Christ, to give evidence as to what they think of the state of affairs. Let the first be D. L. Moody. In the Christian of 24th December 1897, there appeared a letter to the New York Independent on the subject. He refers to a statement in a previous issue of that paper, “that there were over three thousand churches in the Congregational and Presbyterian bodies in the United States that did not report a single member added by profession of faith during the year.” Mr. Moody then adds, “Can this be true? The thought has taken such hold of me that I cannot get it out of my mind. It is enough almost to send a thrill of horror through the soul of every true Christian. Are we all going to sit still and let this thing continue? Shall we not lift up our voice like a trumpet about this matter? What must the Son of God think of such a result of our labour as this?”


In answer to Mr. Moody, the Independent explains that some allowance must be made for the new churches founded within the year, for small churches without a pastor, and for others that have failed to send up any report. The editor expresses his disagreement with what Mr. Moody had said in his letter about modern criticism and other causes of the evil. And then he proceeds: “But with all this true, Mr. Moody does well to be astonished and pained at the thousands of churches which reported not a single member added by profession of the faith last year. It is enough to send a thrill of pain through the soul of every true Christian.”


Let us pause ere we read on and say, What ought all this to mean to the Church?


Let Dr. Forsyth be the second witness. In his book, The Cruciality of the Cross, he writes thus: “It is reported from most quarters in England that there is a serious decline in Church membership. For this several explanations are given. But it is well to face the situation, and to avoid extenuation, and if we do we may discover that the real cause is the decay, not in religious interests or sympathies, but in personal religion of a positive and experienced kind, and often in the pulpit. Religious sympathies or energies are not Christian faith. We have become familiar with the statement that there is as good Christianity outside the Churches as in. This is not quite false, but it is much more false than true. It would be true enough if Christianity meant decent living, nice ways, precious kindness, business honour, ardent philanthropy and public righteousness. But all these fine and worthy things are quite compatible with the absence of personal communion with God, personal faith as Christ claims it; in the sense of personal experience of God in Jesus Christ, personal repentance, and personal peace in Christ as our eternal life. Yet that is God’s first charge on us, if Christianity be true. And it is this kind of Christianity which alone makes for a Church and its membership. Decay in membership of the Church is due to a decay of membership in Christ. Even among those who remain in active membership of our Churches, the type of religion has changed, the sense of sin can hardly be appealed to by preachers now, and to preach grace is in many (even orthodox quarters) regarded as theological obsession, and the wrong language for the hour, while justification by faith is practically obsolete.


“The grace of God cannot return to our preaching, or to our faith, till we recover from what has almost clean gone from our general, familiar, and current religion, what liberalism has quite lost I mean a due sense of the holiness of God. This holiness of God is the real foundation it is certainly the ruling interest of the Christian religion. Have our Churches lost that seal? Are we producing reform, social or theological, faster than we are producing faith? We are not seeking first the kingdom of God and His holiness, but only carrying on with very expensive and noisy machinery a kingdom-of-God’s industry. We are merely running the kingdom, and running it without the Cross. We have the old trade-mark, but what does that matter in a dry and thirsty land where no water is, if the artesian well on our premises is growing dry?”


Let us take to heart the lesson: It is the lack of positive personal religion, sometimes even in the pulpit, that explains the decline of membership.


Our third witness is the Rev. F. B. Meyer.  In an address on Acts 19 and the anointing power of the Holy Ghost, he says:


“There are four different planes of power the lowest is the physical, above that is the mental, above that is the moral, and above all is the spiritual. It is only when the man moves on the spiritual level that he has power with God, and has power over unclean spirits.


“It is because too many ministers and too many Christian workers to-day are content to live upon the intellectual level, or upon the moral plane, that their work is impotent to touch the mighty stronghold of Satan.


“The first question, therefore, to put to every Christian worker is: On what level are you working, on what level are you living? For if you are speaking on anything less than the Spirit level, know that your life will be largely a failure.”


He then tells the story of how the sons of Sceva had tried to cast out evil spirits in the name of Jesus whom Paul preached, of the answer that the evil spirit gave, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye?” and of the evil spirit leaping upon them, and mastering them so that they fled naked and wounded, and then proceeds: “Oh, where are we? We have been praying that God would send converts to the Churches, and stop this awful ebb; still the people are leaving our Churches, and the pews are empty. We have no additions, or few, to our Churches, and, pray as we may, we cannot avert it. Why? why? because the devil does not fear us. We have no power. The devil masters the Church and masters the world, and here are all we powerless, and he says, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; who are ye?


“You remember the words of our Lord: How can you enter into a strong man’s house until you have bound the strong man? We cannot spoil the house, because we have not bound the strong man. We have not bound the strong man in our own house. We do not know what it is to master the power of evil in our own hearts. How then can we rescue the men who are led captive at his will? It seems to me we have got to get back to prayer. O God, forgive us for our prayerlessness! God knows what a prayerless people we are. I do not wonder at things being as they are.”


Let us learn the lesson. The decline in membership is nothing but what may be most naturally expected where the work is not done in the power of the Spirit and in prayer. The spirit of darkness that rules in the world, and with its mighty attraction draws men from Christ and His Church, is too strong for us. Nothing and none can give the victory but the Spirit of God working in us. Would not one imagine that God’s servants would be delighted to think that they have such a Divine power working in them, and with their whole heart yield to its influence? Oh, let us turn to the Master to give us, into the very depth of our hearts, the answer to the question, Why could we not cast this evil spirit out? Because of your Unbelief. You did not believe in Me and in the power of My Spirit, and with prayer and fasting seek for it.




Andrew Murray Books:


AUTHOR: Andrew Murray
Formats Available:

 Kindle eBook

 Kobo/Sony eBook


Unlike other collections, this includes the full text of 50 works of Andrew Murray. This is a very LARGE collection, carefully edited and put together and includes an active Table of Contents, as well as a Quick Table of Contents at the beginning for easy navigation.



Andrew Murray’s classic “WITH CHRIST IN THE SCHOOL OF PRAYER” is included in:


AUTHOR: Bounds, Moody, Muller, Guyon, Goforth, Torrey, Murray
Formats Available:

 Kindle eBook

 Kobo/Sony eBook

This fantastic compilation brings you 7 Christian classics on PRAYER. Ever struggled with how to pray, what to pray for, or just needed encouragement to keep praying? These powerful writings will stir your heart and strengthen your faith, helping you grow in communion with God.
These 7 have been chosen because they are practical, Biblical and have helped thousands throughout the centuries to grow in intimacy with God and in power in their prayer lives. Note: these aren’t just excerpts, these are the ENTIRE book of each classic.

• How To Pray – by R. A. Torrey [12 chapters]
• With Christ in the School of Prayer – by Andrew Murray [32 chapters]
• Prevailing Prayer – by D. L. Moody [11 chapters]
• How I Know God Answers Prayer – by Rosalind Goforth [10 chapters]
• Answers to Prayer – from George Muller’s Narratives [6 chapters]
• Power Through Prayer – by E. M. Bounds [20 chapters]
• A Short and Easy Method of Prayer – by Madame Jeanne Guyon [24 chapters]



Andrew Murray’s book “THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST” also included in:


AUTHOR: Edwards, Murray, Torrey, Brengle, Bonar, Simpson
Formats Available:

 Kindle eBook

 Kobo/Sony eBook

This fantastic compilation brings you 5 of the greatest Christian classics on the Holy Spirit. Do you want to understand what the Scripture teaches about the Holy Spirit and get to know Him better in your own life? Are you interested in how the Holy Spirit has worked in revivals?
If so, then this collection is for you! Each book in this volume contains the full text of powerful and life-changing writings by men of God who saw the Holy Spirit work powerfully in their ministries. Their writings are practical, Biblical and have helped thousands throughout the centuries to know the Holy Spirit more.

• Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God – by Jonathan Edwards (1741).
• The Spirit of Christ – by Andrew Murray (1888) [31 chapters]
• Walking in the Spirit – by A. B. Simpson (1890′s) [14 chapters]
• When the Holy Ghost is Come – by Samuel Logan Brengle (1909) [23 chapters]
• The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit – by R. A. Torrey (1910) [22 chapters]





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