by Pastor Jack Hyles
(Chapter 33 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Meet The Holy Spirit)
A mighty sermon by Dr. Jack Hyles...
Luke 9: 14-23, "And when He came to His disciples, He saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. And straightway all the people, when they beheld Him, were greatly amazed, and running to Him saluted Him. And He asked the scribes, What question ye with them? And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto Thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit (now dumb spirit means that he could not speak, not that he was stupid); And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to Thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. He answered him, an saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto Me. And they brought him unto Him: and when he saw Him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, an wallowed foaming. And He asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if Thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth."
I like the Scriptures that have the limitless power of God. "All things are possible!" I like the Scriptures that say, "...we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us." (Romans 8:37) "I can do all things through Christ Which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13) "...and there is nothing to hard for thee," (Jeremiah 32:17) "For with God nothing shall be impossible." (Luke 1:37)
Mark 9:24-29, "And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him:: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up; and he arose. And when He was come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And He said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting."
There is so much superficiality in our Christianity, so little that is real. I told the Lord years ago I was not going to be a preacher if I could not be real. I am not going to be a sham. I am not going to waste my life on something superficial.
I go a step further. I am not going to waste my life on something that is not miraculous. Our people have a right to expect the miraculous when they come to our churches.
The Bible says, "This kind (this miraculous kind that everybody knows God does) cam come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting."
It doesn't come by education, though I am for education. It doesn't come by talent, though I am for talent. It doesn't come by human wisdom, though I am for human wisdom. This kind, where everybody knows that God does it-this miraculous kind- cometh forth by no other way except by prayer and fasting.
Our Lord had been up on the Mount of Transfiguration. (I think it was Mount Tabor. Some think it was Mount Hermon.) Peter, James and John had accompanied Him. There they had spoken with Moses and Elijah. Our Lord had had His body transfigured, likened to His glorified body and given them the foretaste of the coming kingdom.
Our Lord comes back from the transfiguration. As He returns, a man comes to Him and says, "My son has a dumb spirit. He wallows on the ground. He foams at the mouth. He pineth away. While You were gone, I went to the disciples and asked them if they could do something, but they could not."
After our Lord had cast out the devil, the disciples came to the Lord privately and asked Him, "Why couldn't we do it?" Jesus answered, "The reason you could not is that this kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting." In Psalm 35:13 the Psalmist said, "I humbled my soul with fasting: and my prayer returned into mine own bosom." In I Corinthians 7:55 the Apostle Paul admonishes us to give ourselves to "fasting and prayer." In Joel 1:14 the people were admonished to sanctify themselves. Daniel 9:3, "And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes." In II Corinthians 11:27 the Apostle Paul was giving his little biography of his life and he said, "in fastings often." Something you don't hear much about any more is "prayer and fasting."
It has been a way of life at our house. It was nothing unusual for our children when they were teenagers not to eat for a few days.
To this day, when Cindy has a heavy load or heavy burden or some big decision to make or when she needs something big from God, it is not unusual for her not to eat anything for a day or two or three or more while she fasts and prays.
What I am trying to say is this: If we want the supernatural, we have to get back to God's methods and God's ways. You don't get this by having just a Sunday school contest, nor by simply having a degree from a college or seminary. You get this supernatural kind, this kind that happens where everybody in town knows God did it, by prayer and fasting. There is no way man could do it. This is a work of God.
Now, "this kind...." You can have pretty good meetings with a good evangelist and a singer. You can have a special meeting. You can have a few children saved and a few other folks saved along, but if you want a revival that will shake the whole town, it must come by prayer and fasting. If you want the drunkards, the harlots, the prostitutes saved, that comes by prayer and fasting. To get the town atheist saved, the town drunk saved-that comes by prayer and fasting.
I don't care how suave you are, how much personality you have, how big your reputation is, if you want God to work where everybody knows He did it, then you have to pray and fast.
I am talking about seasons of prayer, all night in prayer, begging and pleading with God.
1. This Kind of Miracle
I was a very quiet introvert, the most timid boy in my class. No one ever suspected I would ever amount to anything. I failed public speaking, didn't go with girls, and couldn't make any kink of a mark when I was a kid.
I went off to college. In the first chapel service a Presbyterian spoke. I do not know the scripture he used, nor the topic of his message. The one thing I do remember was this statement: "Young people, be a miracle! Be a miracle! I challenge you to be a miracle."
I went alone and prayed, "Dear God, if I ever amount to anything, it will be a miracle! But if You will help me, I am going to be a miracle!"
A long time after you have forgotten the name of this speaker and the title of this sermon, I would like for you to hear those works ringing in your ears: BE A MIRACLE! BE A MIRACLE! BE A MIRACLE!
I call your attention to Judges 6:12, 13. The angel of God came to a young man, Gideon, who likewise was a timid fellow, and introvert. We read: "And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all His miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites."
I want to call your attention to that little question Gideon asked the Lord, "Where be all His miracles?" Elijah prayed it would not rain, and it didn't! And he was a man of like passions as I.
Years ago at a Bill Rice Ranch, Dr. John Rice was preaching. Suddenly it began to rain. Dr. Rice stopped and prayed, "Lord, stop the rain." I saw it stop raining right around the tabernacle while it rained all over the county. And as soon ass John Rice finished preaching, it started raining again.
On May 16 this year we had over 170,000 people attend our services in places all around Chicago area- in outdoor services, in football stadiums, in parks, etc. Our people worked as I have never seen folks work. We just couldn't have rain!
All day Saturday-an Avalanche of rain! All night Saturday night-torrential rain! And the forecaster said it was to rain throughout the weekend. Well, I prayed, "Dear God, You stopped the rain for Elijah. You stopped the rain for John Rice. Now, do it for Jack Hyles tomorrow. I claim a dry, beautiful day tomorrow-Sunday." We had the most beautiful Sunday we had had all year long! On the news report that night, the weather man said that something unusual had happened. He reported that there had been all day Sunday a solid mass of rain, clouds and torrential rain storms all over the Midwest from Iowa to Ohio except for a little spot over Hammond. He then, "Folks, it is like a miracle." AMEN!
Now, you listen! We DO have a mighty omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God Who still stops the rain an starts it for His people. Where be all the miracles?
Am I talking to somebody whose body is eaten up with cancer, or has a baby with a tumor, or who has a building had built and you cannot finance it, or has a son in a distant city of dope, or has a daughter who has run off with the hippie crowd and is on narcotics? Am I talking to a man whose wife is unsaved, or a woman whose husband is seemingly hopelessly lost? Oh, go back home with a new faith in the omnipotent God of Heaven and say, "I am going to be a miracle for Jesus Christ."
One Sunday morning, we were having services in the Civic Center, downtown Hammond, while we were enlarging our auditorium. I preached and gave the invitation. A man who had been blind many, many years, with the nerves in his eyes gone, came running down the aisle saying, "Pastor, Pastor! I can see! I can see!"
I was preaching on a Sunday night in Hammond. I stopped in the middle of my sermon an said, "God is going to do a miracle right now." ( I have never said that in my life before nor since.) I said, "Tonight something miraculous is going on in this room. I don't know what it is."
I got a letter the next week from a Moody Bible Institute student who was in our services. She said, "I have an eye that I have never seen with. When you said that last Sunday night, I saw through that eye!"
Now, how does one get that? You feet that when you come to know God, when you walk with God, spend time with God, and beg and pray, and sometimes fast.
People often say, "I want to go see what this fellow looks like who pastors the largest church in the world." They come. They say, "Well, is THAT Jack Hyles? There is nothing unusual about him!" No, but he spends a lot of time with Somebody Who is pretty special! This kind, I mean this kind of miracle where folks in town know that God does something down there, comes by nothing but by prayer and fasting.
Years ago in Texas, one of our fine ladies called me on the phone. She was weeping. "Pastor, my little girl is four years old. She has cancer of a kidney and we have to have a kidney removed."
They went to the hospital. The doctors removed the kidney eaten up with cancer.
It was only a few weeks until this same lady called again. She was beside herself. "Pastor, she has cancer in the other kidney and the doctors say there is no hope. Pastor, doesn't the Bible say something about anointing with oil and praying and fasting?"
Singer Bill Harvey went with me to the home on the east side of Garland, Texas. I took a little olive oil. We got down on our faces and prayed and confessed our sins. I said, "Dear Lord, I pray You would heal this little baby." Bill did the same thing. We anointed her on the head with oil. I was in Texas just a few months ago and a beautiful young lady walked up. "Dr. Hyles, do you know me?" "No, I don't." "I'm 22 years of age. Do you know me now?" "I just have one kidney. Do you know me now?" I said, "You are not the little girl we anointed who had the kidney cancer?" "Yes, I am." She said, "I am going to get married in a few weeks. Brother Hyles, I have been well now all these years."
A dad lay in the hospital dead. His death certificate had been made out. The funeral service was announced in the church service. He had been dead for hours. A deaf young man walked inside that room an he had something he wanted to say to his daddy before his daddy died. He pulled the sheet back off his daddy's dead body and said, "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" Those dead eyes opened, that dead mouth spoke, an that dead body lived for another day so that boy could tell his dad some things he wanted to tell him. The man died. The boy had some more he wanted to tell his daddy. The fellow had been dead for a while. The son walked back in and talked to his daddy who had been declared dead twice and whose service had been announced in church again to be the next day. The night before the service was conducted, that man who had been lying dead for hours an hours with a sheet pulled over his head-that son, who is a deaf lad about 22 or 23 years old, said, "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!"
And the Lord in Heaven seemed to say, "Make up your mind when you are through talking to your dad." The Lord said to the dad, "Go back down there for awhile; John wants to talk to you." And his eyes opened and his voice spoke and his lips moved, and God proved again He can do anything but fail. "This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting."
We had a lady in our church with a tumor on her brain. The doctor had shown me the X- ray several days before. I went to the hospital the morning she was to have surgery. (The doctor said it would be a five to seven-hour surgery.)
I took a bottle of olive oil. I put a little on her forehead and prayed, "O God, heal this lady and show that doctor there is a God in Heaven Who still perform miracles." They rolled her up to surgery. I was waiting out in the hall. In less than an hour they rolled her back. The doctor was beside her. I said, "Doctor, is surgery over?" "She didn't have surgery." "Why?" "The tumor is gone!" You don't get this because you have a D.D. You don't get this because you have been to college and seminary. You don't get this because you have taken Strong's theology. You get this because you realize there is nothing in the world you can do, and you throw yourself at the mercy of God Almighty and say, "O my God, You have to do something!"
Two weeks ago I was in a certain city. Folks brought a little three-year-old child to me. They said, "Dr. Hyles, the doctor said both of us were sterile and could not have a baby, and a few years ago out East you took a little bottle of olive oil and anointed my wife's head and mine. You prayed for God to open her womb and give life to my seed. Brother Hyles, within a year's time we had a baby and we want to show you the baby."
What we need in our Baptist churches are some preachers who know God, walk with God and can say, "I spend time in prayer, I fast, I beg and plead. Night after night I walk with God and day after day I walk with God."
"This kind can come forth by nothing, but by t prayer and fasting." This kind of miracle!
I prayed for twelve months for God to give us the beautiful Hyles-Anderson College campus we have right now. I said to the Catholic priest, "We would like to buy your campus." He said, "It's not for sale." For a year I fasted and prayed for a day and a night each month. I got a call from the Catholic priest twelve months later. "We have only nine students now. Do you want to buy it?" "Yes, I sure do."
You get that by all-night prayer meetings. You get that by fasting and praying. You get that by walking with God. This old country needs some men of God to stand up before the pulpits and let the people know they have been with God.
I decided years ago that my people might not have the best preacher in town, and they might not have the smartest preacher in town, but members of the First Baptist Church of Hammond were going to have a man on Sunday preaching to them who has walked with God for six days during the week.
I was in New York. The pastor there had had his third heart attack. The doctor said he could not live very long. I asked the pastor to come up on the platform. I put my hand on his head. We had a sincere prayer meeting. I fasted and prayed during the whole conference and begged God to give back that pastor. I prayed for God to give him the victory and to heal him. He has been healthy for many years.
I could stand here and bless God over and over again and tell you the mighty hand of God Almighty in prayer and fasting. This kind! This kind of miracle!"
What is it you need? Is there some son who has gone away on dope and narcotics an you can't sleep at night and your heart is broken? Is there some daughter who is breaking your heart? You carried her in your own body and gave birth to her and fed her when she couldn't feed herself; you loved her before she even knew who she was and gave her the name she bears-has she broken your heart? Is there some problem in the home? Is there some problem in the church? Is there a church that is languishing inn mediocrity? Is there some disease? Does a little child of yours have leukemia? What is it? "This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting."
2. This Kind of Conversion
Where be all the miracles concerning conversions? Where are the old-fashioned conversions we used to know? Where are the drunkards who used to get saved because we prayed all night for them? Where are the harlots, the prostitutes? Where are they? I will tell you where they are. They are still going to Hell because of preachers and Christian laymen who know nothing about the power of the Holy Spirit.
I was preaching in Pennsylvania on "This Kind Cometh Forth by Nothing, But by Prayer and Fasting." I gave the invitation. I said, "If there is something tonight you are going to claim, something supernatural, God is going to have to do it.
The preacher cannot do it, you cannot do it, your husband cannot do it, your wife cannot do it, your mother cannot do it, your father cannot do it, the church cannot do it; whatever is done, God is going to have to do it supernaturally." I said, "Come down this aisle tonight and you tell the pastor or me what it is and we will have a prayer, and you dedicate yourself to go home and fast and pray until the victory comes and the miracle takes place."
The aisles were filled. One young man came and said, "I have a tumor on the brain. I believe God can heal it. I am going to pray He will." He knelt to pray.
One lady came and said, "My son is in Canada, a draft dodger with the hippie crowd, on dope. I am going to pray and claim and fast and pray until he comes back."
One little young lady came and said, "Pastor, my husband loves me but he is a wicked man. He hates the church. He hates preachers. Everybody has given up on him. Preacher, I am going to fast and pray until my husband gets born again."
I turned to the next person. "Sir, what are you going to claim for God?" He said, "I want to get saved." I said, "I did not say anything about getting saved tonight. Who are you? He said, "Her husband." I said, "She did not even know you were in church tonight!" He said, "I was not in church tonight. I drive my wife to church and come back and get her. Tonight I waited and waited. But," he said, "all of a sudden they began to sing the invitation. Then my car door opened on its own. The handle went down and nobody was there but me, and I was not touching it; and, Reverend, a hand grabbed my arm. It pulled me out of the car, pulled me inside and all the folks were coming forward and I thought, I have never been in a church before, and I may never come again, so I had better get saved while I am in here!"
What are you going to do about it? There are thousands of broken hearts in this room tonight. There are people in this room who know there lurks in their own bodies a disease that is incurable by human science. There are wives in this room who have husbands who have been visited and visited and visited by everything but an old-fashioned visitation Holy Ghost revival. There are young people who cannot see their way to go to college. There are mothers and fathers who are brokenhearted because of sons or daughters they have loved, reared, fed and clothed and who have taken their hearts and broken them.
Say, I believe God could help along there, somewhere! I believe God could do something about that daughter. I believe God knows where that son is. I believe God is powerful enough to save that old drunkard husband of yours. God could raise your church budget for you. I expect God might could build that building you need.
I was out soul winning one day in Hammond. I knocked on a door. A big tall fellow came to the door. "I am Brother Hyles, Pastor of the First Baptist Church." The fellow, about six feet, four, said, "Yeah, I know who you are. You are the biggest fake in town!" I said, "Sir, I am not much of a preacher, but I am not a fake. I am sincere from the crown of my head to the sole of my feet. God knows it and I know it, and I'll bet you know it, too, if you will just admit it." He said, "You are the biggest fake in town." He turned around and said, "Hey folds, old Hyles is here." (He had 13 people in his living room.) "Old Hyles is here from First Baptist Church, the biggest fake in town." "Sir, I don't think you ought to say that any more." "Are you trying to scare me?" "No, I am not trying to scare you, but if you say it one more time, we are going to find out whether I am a fake or not." "He said, "What do you mean?" I said, "There are 13 people in there who need to know I am a man of God. Now you said I am a fake. If you say it one more time, I am going to put my hand on your head and pray for God to kill you. And if God doesn't kill you, I will admit I am a fake." He said, "You are not going to scare me." I said, "I don't aim to scare you. I aim to pray for God to kill you." I had never done this before and, to be quite frank with you, I was scared. I thought, "What in the world have I said?" I never had said it before and never have said it since! He said, "Hey, folks, old Hyles is going to pray for God to kill me! Hyles, you are a fake!"
That did it! I put my hand on his head and I said, "Dear God, You know I'm not a fake and I know I'm not a fake, but there are 13 people in here who need to know. I pray, God, show this man I am not a fake. Show these people I am not a fake. I pray right now, in the name of the God of Isaac and Jacob and the God Who sent fire on Mount Carmel, the God Who caused the sun to stand still, the God Who parted the Red Sea, the God Who caused the axe head to swim-I pray in the name of Jesus right now that You would cause this man..." He said, "Hold it Reverend. Hold it! Hold it!" I said, "Dear God..." He said, "Hold it Reverend! You ain't no fake! You ain't no fake! You ain't no fake!"" We had a revival break out in that room that day!
Listen, every city and village and town and neighborhood in America ought to have one person who walks with God so much that everybody in town can know he is God's man, everybody in town can know the power of God is on him, and they can know that God works when that man works.
3. This Kind of Revival
I learned years ago what you have to do to have real revival. I don't mean "sign a banana to be the one of the bunch." I am not against that. We have signed everything there is to sign. I don't mean, "Sign up, be a white sheep instead of a black sheep." I don't mean that. I don't mean campaigns or promotion, through I am certainly not against that. Brother, when you get them there because they signed a sheet, it is not going to do one bit of good unless the pore of God falls on the place.
I decided to have a revival in Texas in the church I was pastoring. I called it "The Home Folks Revival." Bill Harvey was my song leader. I said, "We are going to have a revival, Bill. I am going to preach it. You are going to lead the singing. We are not going to have any guests in, nor any kind of promotion. I am not against that, but we are just going to have revival. I am going to go to the motel down the road toward Dallas and rent a room. I am not going to eat all week. I am going to spend my time preaching and then staying on my face in that motel room.
The meeting lasted eight days. It started Sunday morning and lasted until the following Sunday night. Not one bite of food went in this mouth during that revival. I would go outside the motel room only to preach; then I would go back to the room to pray and beg God. I prayed for God to show my people there is a God in Heaven Who can send miracles.
I won't tell you all about the revival, but it was the best I have ever seen. There are eleven pastors in America who were saved in that one revival campaign of eight days.
Preachers, I am not preaching to you; I am trying to help you. What you need is to get to know God. What you need is to pray while others are playing. I don't play very much. I like to play. I like to have fun. I like to tell funny stories. I love sports. I love to go to ball games. I never go to a ball game. I love to play golf. I have an expensive set of golf clubs in my basement I have never used; my staff gave them to me. I have bowled about one time in the last ten years.
You say, "Don't you like to bowl?" I love to bowl. "Don't you like to play golf?" I love to play golf. Don't you like to go to ball games?" "We have a high school basketball team. I seldom see a game. We have a high school football team. I seldom go see a game. I love it. I follow it. I pull for the Dallas Cowboys. I am saying, if you are going to have "this kind," you have to pray while others play. You have to be alone while others are having fun. You can't do a lot of things if you are going to have this kind of revival!
I was in a town conducting a revival meeting. They had more bootleggers in that county than in any county in Texas. I preached at the First Baptist Church in that little town when I was a young preacher. On Sunday night nothing happened. The pastor said this was the meanest bunch of people. I preached against liquor. The bootleggers heard about it, and they would come by and shoot guns up in the air while I was preaching. Sunday night nothing happened! Monday night nothing happened! Tuesday night nothing happened! Wednesday night nothing happened! Thursday night nothing happened!
I decided to pray all night Thursday night. I got in the room while people were outside shooting guns up in the air, driving by and calling me dirty names, threatening to kill me. I said, "Dear Lord, I'm not going to sleep or eat until You give revival!" I prayed all night. I got the idea that if I could get the head bootlegger saved, maybe we would have some revival in that town.
I went to the pastor, woke him up, and said, "Pastor, who is the meanest man in town?" He gave me the man's name. He said, "He is as mean as the Devil. He will kill you on sight. He is in charge of all the bootleggers in this whole county." I said, "Let's go see him." We got in the car and drove down a winding country trail to a little one-room shack. This man was out in the yard with a fire. He had eggs and bacon and coffee cooking in the yard on a summer morning.
I got out of the car and walked up. This big tall fellow looked down at me. I said, "I understand you are the meanest man in town." "Who told you that?" I said, "Never mind. God Almighty is going to judge you and your Hell is going to be hotter than anybody else's in this town. You are breaking homes, robbing wives of their husbands, wrecking little children's lives and sending wives to premature graves. You are the cause of the trouble in this town. I am going to pray God's judgment on you. God is going to judge you!" To make a long story short, before we left, he had gotten saved! Word spread all over town that he had "gotten religion" and was going to "join the church" that night. He went with me that afternoon and bought the first suit of clothes he had ever owned, the first tie he had ever owned, the first white shirt he had ever owned. That night he was at church.
Bootleggers came. They were outside looking in; some were sitting in their cars listening. We had hundreds of people in church that night, in a building which seated 200 people, in a town of two hundred population. The county came! Bootleggers came out of the woods like groundhogs out of their holes.
I preached that night! I announced I was going to preach on, "Will There Be Any Drunkards in Heaven?" Invitation time came. The old bootlegger stood up, stepped out in the aisle, and walked down the aisle, the cars outside began to honk and folks began to holler and shout. Eleven bootleggers who were not even inside that building got out of their cars and came inside the church and came down the aisle and got converted! A revival broke out. We had more people saved in the next three days than lived in that town. Why? A little scared preacher prayed and fasted and said, "We are going to have revival!"
You live your life in a dead kind of ministry if you want to: you go ahead if you want to and let nothing ever happen; you go ahead and say that miracles are not for this age; go ahead and die and face God someday with the blood of sinners on your hands who could have been saved and a nation could have been spared if you had spent some time with God. "This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting." I am going to tell you now the sweetest story I know. When I was in my early twenties I was asked to go to a Southeast Texas town for a revival. The pastor didn't want me. The young people chose the evangelist once a year and they chose me to come preach a revival sponsored by the young people. It was on the north side of town.
I drove down on a Sunday afternoon. The pastor took me off to the side and said, "Now, Brother Hyles, I am 72 years of age- 50 years older than you. I want to tell you before the revival starts that I did not want you and do not want you to preach this revival. You are not my kind of preacher, but we told the young people they could vote. They voted for you. This is why we have you here. We have some rules! In the first place, nobody ever hollers in this pulpit or hits the pulpit while he preaches. Nobody ever shouts and screams. Nobody ever cries. Nobody ever says, "Amen." We are a dignified group. We have a wealthy membership. We don't have any display of emotion. Now, you can preach, but you can't holler and scream and you can't cry and you can't tell a bunch of funny stories. You have to be dignified." I stayed in a little parlor room out on the side of his home. I never spent a more lonesome week in my life. I preached Sunday night. Not one person walked the aisle. I preached Monday night. Not one person walked down the aisle. I preached Tuesday night. Not one person walked down the aisle. I preached Wednesday night. Not one person walked down the aisle.
I went to my room that night and prayed, "Lord, I am not going to be a powerless preacher. I am not! I am not!" I said, "Lord, I promise You something. I am going to pray all night long every night. I am not going to eat a bite of food. I am going to fast and pray until revival comes to this church."
I have never seen a prettier church building. It seated about 1,000 people. It had beautifully padded pews with upholstered arms. It had carpet-you would have a hart time seeing your shoe when you walked down the aisle, the carpet was so thick and plush!
The choir was up in a balcony like an opera balcony. Then you had to go outside to the hallway to get down to the audience from the choir. I never have seen a church like it.
I prayed all night. I can't explain this, but the Lord put His hand on my shoulder and said, "I am going to gibe you revival tonight." I knew revival was coming. Have you ever prayed until you knew the answer came? I knew revival was coming.
I got up off my knees. I preached that night. Well, since revival was going to come, I thought I would preach my best sermon. I preached on "The Prodigal Son." When I preach on the prodigal son, I act it out. I always call the prodigal son Bill and call his brother who stayed home John. I always act it out.
I began talking about the early events of the parable and got to the point of naming the prodigal son, but to save me I could not think of the name Bill. I backed off and started over again. When I got to the name of the prodigal son, again the name Bill escaped me. The third time I tried. Again and again I tried. Finally I called the prodigal son by his brother's name, John, thinking by the time I got to the brother I could give him the name of the prodigal son, but still I couldn't think of Bill. I had already given Bill John's name and I was trying to think of Bill so I could give that name to John. I backed up and tried again but still could not think of the name Bill. Again and again I tried and failed. Finally in desperation I said, "The brother didn't have a name. They called him little Bud for short." So there I was calling Bill John and John Little Bud. Did I ever get confused! The sermon seemed to be in every way a failure; in fact, some folks, realizing my predicament, were snickering.
When I finished the sermon I could hardly wait to get out of the auditorium and away from my embarrassment. During the invitation, however, a young man in the back on my left started toward the aisle. To be quite frank, I was surprised that anyone would come to the aisle after my message. When he arrived at the aisle however, he turned and went toward the back door. Again, to be frank, I could hardly blame this fellow for walking out. However, when he got to the back row he stopped and put his arm around a lady, and she began to praise the Lord. Then the two of them ran down the aisle and three themselves at the altar. Seeing this, the chairman of the deacon board who was sitting in the front row jumped in the altar an began praising God with them. Soon the pastor who had told me that no emotion was allowed was on his knees at the altar joining in the praise. The choir began to weep and could not sing. The music director could not see to lead the singing. Numbers of other people joined the happy altar scene, and real revival broke out. I had no idea what had happened, but I knew I liked it!
Finally the pastor gained enough composure to ask me to lead the closing prayer, after which I walked toward the side door. Just as I arrived at the door the church secretary took me by the shoulder and turned me around. With tears and emotion she asked, "Who told you?" I replied, "Who told me what?" She said, "Who told you to preach on the prodigal son? You see, the young man who came forward tonight was the son of the deacon chairman. He was a prodigal son who ran away from home one year ago. He is now twenty. No one knew he was within a thousand miles of this place tonight. Then when you announced that you were preaching on the prodigal son, we knew you must have been told of his presence. He came home tonight, got saved, and is going back to his parents. That is what happened at the altar tonight."
I felt praise swelling in my own heart and turned to walk out the door. The church secretary then asked, "But who told you his name was John?" I could hardly believe my ears. `Twas the Holy Spirit Who kept me from remembering the prodigal son's name. It was the Holy Spirit Who led me to call the prodigal son John instead of Bill.
The church secretary had still another question. "Who told you he has a brother whose nickname is Little Bud?"
By that time, I was about to shout! `Twas the Holy Spirit Who would not let me think of the name Bill and who led me to call the prodigal son John an his brother Little Bud.
This young preacher went to his room that night an stayed on his knees most of the night in praise, prayer and thanksgiving that there is a living God Who leads His preachers who pay the price of waiting on Him.
There is a God in Heaven. Oh, we Baptist preachers need to find out about it. This kind- this kind of revival, this kind of old-fashioned, Holy Spirit power, this kind of miracle, "This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting."
4. This Kind of Church
The first full-time church I ever pastored was a great church. I was called by a vote of 27 to 26. One adult and 26 young people voted for me. One lady named Mrs. Lambert; her daughter, Jean the pianist; and she rounded up all the kids-they voted for me. I prayed all night, night after night, in the pine thickets of East Texas. I was afraid to walk in the pulpit Sunday after Sunday. God gave us a great church! Over 40 pastors in America right now came from that little church.
I went to Garland, Texas, to pastor. The church grew faster than I could handle it. I won't go into it, but the church became a great church one New Year's Eve night when I prayed all night long.
I went to Hammond. The same thing is true in Hammond. There is a little apartment at the Bill Rice Ranch now that has my name on it and it has some concrete out in front with my hand print, my footprint, and my signature because that was where this happened. I was going to resign the First Baptist Church.
I went down to the Bill Rice Ranch and one Friday night there, after I had preached all week, I said, "Lord, I am going to leave First Baptist Church of Hammond! I am not going to stay!"
I went to bed and couldn't sleep. I tried and couldn't. I finally figured I should pray. I prayed all night there in Room 11 of Widner Inn at the Bill Rice Ranch.
About sunup the dear Lord Jesus said to me, "I need somebody to take a great big American Baptist church and turn it upside down and fight the battle and prove that churches can be transformed."
After all night in prayer, First Baptist Church of Hammond was born.
"This kind" of revival, "this kind" of miracle, "this kind" of church, and "this kind" of conversion can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. I am hungry for the old- fashioned kind.
A fellow came and got saved the other day. He said, "I spent all night last night in a house of prostitution. I want to get saved."
The next week a lady came to see me. She said, "I am a prostitute inn Calumet City; I have been for several years. I want to get saved. One of my customers came back to me this week to tell me what happened to him last Sunday, and I want to get the same thing."
She now goes to our church and is a regular and faithful, never missing a Sunday morning or Sunday night or Wednesday night. This kind!
What you really need is a new breath, a new unction, a new heavenly breath upon your ministry! This kind!
Don't you think you ought to learn how to pray and fast? What is it that you need? Do you have a wayward son? Is there some disease lurking in your body and you don't know what it is? Is there a little child not well? Is it a husband who is an alcoholic and a drunk? Are you tired of getting beaten for going to church? Is it a dead church, languishing in failure? This kind! This kind! This kind! This kind where God does it, and God has to do it, can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting!
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"I am an old-fashioned preacher of the old-time religion, that has warmed this cold world's heart for two thousand years." —Billy SUNDAY