Pray for the Anointing of the Spirit

volume 19, number 8, February 20, 2020

“But you have an anointing of the Holy One. . . the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things. . .” -1 John 2:20, 27

The Welsh Revival of 1859, which lasted from around January, 1859 until about mid March, 1860, resulted in some 110,000 people becoming Christians and joining local churches. The Calvinistic Methodist and Congregational denominations each added 36,000 people. The Baptists added 14,000 members, the Wesleyans 5000, and the Anglican Church added 20,000. This amazing number of new converts and increase in church membership all occurred in one year.[1] Studies showed that only one in fifty backslid and stopped following Christ. One woman, whose husband had been a drunkard and abuser said that his conversion meant every day in the family was Sunday. How was this possible and what can we learn from the 1859 Welsh Revival?

John the Apostle writes his first epistle to address the heresy of Docetism,[2] a form of Gnosticism which was a religious movement that put one’s personal, esoteric, and mystical experience above Scripture. In 1 John 2:18-27 the apostle is warning us of apostasy, saying that many antichrists had appeared, that they were not really part of us (verses 18-21). And because God’s people had the anointing of the Holy Spirit they were able to spot the heresy and not be led away from the true faith. Others were denying the person and work of Jesus Christ and such people are antichrists (verses 22,23). John reminds them that Jesus Christ Himself promised them eternal life. They were never to depart from their faith in Him, and the anointing of the Spirit was a guarantee that true believers would not give up the faith. After all, they had the anointing of the Spirit which gives to the believer the illumination of the truth of the Scriptures and guards them against heresy and apostasy.

So, on the one hand every true, born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has the anointing of the Holy Spirit. He is indwelt by the Spirit at the time of his regeneration (Ephesians 1:13,14). This is wonderful and we must keep this glorious and powerful truth before us at all times. “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world,” (1 John 4:4). We can go further and say that God anointed Jesus at His baptism with the Holy Spirit. Why? That He might be the consummate Prophet, Priest, and King (Acts 10:38, Hebrews 1:1-9). All the prophets, priests, and kings in the Old Testament were anointed with oil as they began their work. Believers also have prophetic, priestly, and kingly responsibilities and are anointed with the Holy Spirit (2 Cor.1:21,22) for these duties (1 Cor.12). Having stated this, however, there still is a sense in which we should ask for the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon our ministries, upon the preaching ministry of our pastors. We should seek the anointing with all our hearts. In Luke 11:1-13 His disciples were asking Jesus to teach them how to pray. He ends His most instructive teaching on the subject by saying, “How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” In affirming his apostleship to believers in Corinth who were doubting it, Paul says that the One who established him with the Corinthians in Christ is God who had anointed him and his brethren. In other words, Paul’s authority came through the setting apart of Christ to the work of the gospel and the proof of this was the anointing of the Spirit on his ministry. And how did that anointing manifest itself? He preached with power and conviction (1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5, Romans 1:14-16, 1 Thessalonians 1:5). 

My friends, we most desperately need the anointing of the Holy Spirit on our churches, pastors, and evangelists. We, generally speaking, are bereft of powerful, convicting, soul stirring, God honoring, man debasing, Christ exalting, sin hating, hell warning, heaven longing, fervent, urgent, Spirit anointed preaching which brings men, women, and children face to face with their own sin and the only remedy for that sin, the Lord Jesus Christ.
In reading of the amazing 1859 revival in Wales[3] among the many wonderful observations which can inspire us is the unmistakable and persistent mention of the anointing of the Spirit on prayer meetings. Consider a few comments from those who experienced the revival. “I saw there the most awesome spectacle of my experience; some on their knees, and some on their faces completely overpowered. The succeeding week was a strange one, and the following Sabbath was unparalleled to me and awesome to the congregation. There were loud outcries from souls in agony, and thirty-five sought a place in God’s house.”[4] 

“The youth of our congregations are nearly all the subjects of deep religious impressions. Many of them as if filled with the Spirit of prayer. Very young people, yea children from ten to fourteen years of age, gather together to hold prayer meetings, and pray very fervently . . . When it happens that children or servants profess spiritual piety in a family they instantly crave permission to have family prayer, and thus divine worship is established in nearly every family in our country.”[5]

Revival prayer was the driving force behind the 1859 Welsh Revival. David Charles said that three major characteristics of the revival existed. “Firstly, an extraordinary spirit of prayer among the masses; secondly, a remarkable spirit of union among all denominations of Christians; and thirdly, a powerful missionary effort (he means personal evangelism) for the conversion of others. . . It is the Spirit of prayer which is poured out upon us in these days.”[6]   

What does this mean for you, your family, your church, your community, and your nation? Here’s what set these people apart from most of us. They were desperate. They were staring eternity in the face. A major cholera epidemic was ravaging South Wales at the time. Our problem is that we are not desperate. We suffer the “affliction of affluence.” Almost all of you reading this have untold wealth compared to most of the world. We have options. The first thing most of us do when we have a sick child is to take him to the doctor. We may finally pray when we find that his situation is quite serious. Most of us have nice homes, several nice cars, money in the bank, and nice schools for our children. We can afford nice family vacations. We can choose a myriad of activities to keep our children busy after school. I am not saying these are necessarily bad, but they can be distractions. We rarely see people die. Eternity is something generally far from our thoughts unless we are doctors, nurses, first responders, or morticians. Our churches generally offer us a smorgasbord of programs from which we can pick and choose. Our worship services are generally geared to give us a very positive experience of self-actualization. We have been seduced by the harlot of Revelation and we know it not.

My friends, I honestly believe God wants to bring revival to your family, church, community, and nation, but we must be willing to pay the price. And what is that price? It is an earnest, humble, sustained, fervent, no-holds-barred pursuit of the Holy One where we cry out to Him saying, “Lord, show me my sin, every bit of it. Holy Spirit, descend upon me with convicting, sanctifying power.” 

Seek Him until you find Him. Wrestle with Him in prayer and refuse to let Him go until He blesses you. There is no other remedy. There is no other power. He will let us find Him if we seek for Him with all our hearts. Will you do so? What are you going to do?

Revival Comes to Wales: The Story of the 1859 Revival in Wales, Eifion Evans, page 97. 
2  From the Greek word dokeo “to seem”. Docetism taught that Jesus only appeared to be human, that there was no genuine incarnation. If this was true, then there would have been no real Savior who could have died for our sins. 
3  Revival Comes to Wales: The Story of the 1859 Revival in Wales by Eifion Evans, published by Evangelical Press of Wales.
4  Ibid. page 105.
5  Ibid. page 104.
6  Ibid. page 108, 109.

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