“God, pour out your Spirit to revive the church so the gospel goes to the ends of the earth.”
This is the prayer that Rev Matthew Bolte from Australian Prayer Network shared with us at the recent ‘Awakening the Nation’ Gathering in Alexandra Headlands.
Matthew said it was prayed from 1784 by John Newton and William Wilberforce in England. Wilberforce ensured there was a preacher man of prayer on the first fleet to Australia. This man, Rev Richard Johnson said, “from the beginning God’s sovereign purpose has been to clear that there is a destiny for this nation.” In Parramatta NSW in 1840 three young men agreed to pray this prayer morning, noon and night – silently pleading with God until the Spirit fell in the school room where they prayed and the gospel was carried – with revival impacting Goulburn in 1850s and the Bundaburg island slaves by 1886. This eventually led to the formation of the South Seas Evangelical Mission – which carried the gospel to the Solomon Islands and beyond.
The same prayer became Edward’s 1874 interdenominational call to prayer for revival and mission in USA’s Concert of prayer. ‘Edwards interpreted Zechariah’s prophecies to mean “there shall be given much of a spirit of prayer to God’s people in many places, disposing them to come into an express agreement unitedly to pray to God in an extraordinary manner, that he would appear for the help of his church and in mercy to mankind, and pour out his spirit, revive his work and advance his spiritual kingdom in the world as he has promised.”’1
I recognise this as the prayer adapted by Roy Godwin in the Caleb Prayer for Wales, “O High King of Heaven, have mercy on our land Revive your Church. Send the Holy Spirit for the sake of the lost, the least, and the broken. May your kingdom come to our nation, In Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.”
So be it here, Lord.
1 p44 Blood Ground: Colonialism, Missions, and the Contest for Christianity in the Cape Colony and Britain 1799-1853 by Elizabeth Elbourne. Source:https://books.google.com.au/books?id=tx6bhuS_AqUC&pg=PA44&dq=pour+spirit+revive+church+1784&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwivoajouP7LAhUl4qYKHXNgAGAQ6AEIGzAA#v=onepage&q=pour%20spirit%20revive%20church%201784&f=false