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April 2006: "I believe we can see revival today..."

From Collection 330, The Moody Church News, March 1951 Rev. Billy Graham preaching at the Moody Memorial Church

Just fifteen months after the sucessful Christ for Greater Los Angeles Crusade evangelist Billy Graham spoke at the Moody Bible Institutes Annual Founders Week Conference. The article below which reviews Graham's message is from the March 1951 issue of The Moody Church News.


I believe that we can see revival today if we who know God are willing to pay the price,” declared Dr. Billy Graham, the internationally known evangelist, in his first message to more than 5,000 people in Moody Memorial Church on Monday evening, February 5, the opening night of the annual founder’s week conference.

Nearly an hour before the commencement of the service, Moody church was packed to capacity with hundreds of people standing in the aisles and along the walls. Over 1,000 waited two hours outside for the second service at 9:30p.m., when another 5,000 heard Dr. Graham preach.

“THERE IS A DESPERATE need of revival,” affirmed Dr. Graham. “The world is on the brink of chaos and our nation is done for unless it has a revival.” Illustrating this he quoted a leading congressman who recently said, “I have been in congress for 24 years, but I have given up all hope of preserving our way of life--unless God intervenes.”

Graham declared that the sins of America were unparalleled since the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. Using statistics he showed the prevalence of sin and stated that U.S.A. was the most immoral nation in the world.

RELIGIOUSLY the country has failed. The speaker said, “I believe that God did not expect the church to have revival. It should be on such a high spritual plane that it would not need revival.”

“The whole council of God must be proclaimed today,” continued Dr. Graham. “People don’t want to be told they are sinners, but we must tell them.” He said it was the duty of the church to awaken out of sleep and to turn the sinner from his wicked way.

ALTHOUGH THE PICTURE looks dark, Graham asserted that they were definite indications throughout the country of greater concern for spiritual things. Three weeks ago he twice addressed 60 congressmen in Washington who met together for prayer and Bible study. In Hollywood on Monday night, February 5, more that 250 movie stars met together to hear the Word of God. Students in universities and colleges all over the states are taking a greater interest in spiritual things.

“In all, there is an indication of this religious resurgence all over America. Last year more people attended the churches of the nation than any year in the history of America.”

SPEAKING OF THE methods of evangelism, Dr. Graham suggested three factors included. First, that churches should be spiritual workshops. “Our churches should be so operated and charged with the Holy Spirit that sinners coming in will be convicted and converted.”

Next for effective evangelism there must be consistent Christian living, 24 hours a day. Living in the Book with a quiet time every day.

IN ADDITION, said Graham, it was the individual duty of every Christian to preach Christ. This could be through “reason” -effectively seen in use of open forums, through “talk” -“gossiping Jesus,” the ideal form of evangelism, “and through proclaiming the Word, known as mass evangelism.”

Continuing, the speaker talked of the motives of evangelism. He conceded that love to Christ must be the primary motive. “Knowing the terror of the Lord we should persuade men,” -“we have forgotten hell and the fact that those who don’t know God are going there.”

“GOD IS LOOKING for a man,” said Dr. Graham. He spoke of men God used to be His messengers. “These were men characterized by four things. First, they were preachers of the Word - “There is tremendous power in the Word, particularly the quoted Word.”

In addition he must be a man of prayer - not saying prayers, but agonizing, sweating, effectual prayers. Men who will lay hold of God and say with Jacob, “I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me.” He must also be a man of humility, and a man filled with the Spirit of God, resulting in a crucified life and continuous victory.

FINALLY DR. GRAHAM spoke of the message of evangelism. “We must preach sin, righteousness, and judgment. We must tell man that he is a sinner, that all his righteousness is as filthy rags, and that if he does not believe there awaits only judgment for him.”

In conclusion the speaker stated that there must be repentance. Conversion means far more that accepting Christ as Savior; it means forsaking all sin, denying self, crowning Jesus as Lord of life and going out to win souls for Him.

“The reason we have not seen the blessing Moody saw is because we have not paid the price,” said Billy Graham to 5,000 people who packed out Moody Church for the second time in one evening.

“What we need is not new organization or methods, but men and women filled with the Spirit of God. We have everything but lack the power of the Holy Spirit.”

“THE SPIRIT OF BURNING is essential to the child of God,” declared Dr. Graham. Using this as his theme, he gave three ways the Spirit of Burning must operate before a revival can be known.

Burning out the dross, the speaker stated is the first essential. Sin in the life must be dealt with and removed.

“Then we must burn out the spirit of sinful motives,” said the speaker. Illustrating this, he showed how Elijah on Mount Carmel called on God for the fire to fall and received his answer on his second call when he left himself out.

THE THIRD FACTOR was to burn out the sinful habits and qualities. Discontent, criticism, laziness, evil thoughts, Pharisaical attitudes, and spiritual pride all must be burned out of our lives.

“God burn my lips; my eyes until I look only at things He would have me look at; my ears until I only listen to things He wants me to hear; my feet that they may wlak in His way; my tongue until I speak only the things of the fruit of the Spirit,” said the speaker.

DR. GRAHAM ASKED the question. “How will we know revival when it comes?” His first answer suggested that there would be a tremendous consciousness of the holiness of God among Christians. Something of this would be known if believers read the law in the Old Testament, the Sermon on the Mount, and Romans 12 very prayerfully and with practical individual application.

A deep sense of sin and need would be the second indication of revival, Graham affirmed. “The closer we get to Christ the more unworthy we feel.”

Then there must be burning in the pattern. Paul counted himself a bondslave of Christ; and a bondslave was one who received the mark of ownership in his forehead for all to see.

“THE ONLY WAY you can have the pattern burned in is to go into the furnace of affliction, trail and testing,” said Graham. “The pattern being the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace and all the rest.”

Finally there must be a burning forth of the light. We should be lights that gladden, lights that guide, and lights to warn this generation of certain judgment.

-The Moody Student.

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