Perhaps no other revivalist intrigues me more than Charles Finney, God’s instrument of revival from 1824 to 1837 in what some call the Third Great Awakening in the United States. Thousands upon thousands of people were born again. There were times when Finney had only to step up to the pulpit and people wept in repentance before he uttered a word. Such was the power of God on this man’s life.
I find it interesting that two years before these meetings, Charles G. Finney was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. You may read Finney’s autobiography, pages 19-23, to read about his experience. I encourage you to find that and read it.
I want to refer again to the little booklet that my father gave me when I was a teenager titled, How Great Soul Winners Were Filled with the Holy Spirit. Inside this book, Dr. John R. Rice wrote how each man had a great encounter with the power of God–some time after their born again experience. It is from this booklet that I pulled this segment on what Charles Finney wrote about his experience of being endued with power from on high:
I was powerfully converted on the morning of the month of October, 1822. In the evening of the same day I received overwhelming baptisms of the Holy Ghost, that went through me, as it seemed to me, body and soul. I immediately found myself endued with such power from on high that a few words dropped here and there to individuals were the means of their immediate conversion.
My words seemed to fasten like barbed arrows in the souls of men. They cut like a sword. They broke the heart like a hammer. Multitudes can attest to this. Oftentimes a word dropped without my remembering it would fasten conviction, and often result in almost immediate conversion. Sometimes I would find myself, in a great measure, empty of this power. I would go and visit, and find that I made no saving impression. I would exhort and pray, with the same result. I would then set apart a day for private fasting and prayer, fearing that this power had departed from me, and would inquire anxiously after the reason of this apparent emptiness. After humbling myself, and crying out for help, the power would return upon me with all its freshness. This has been the experience of my life.
Again, I want to emphasize that the early Christians found that they needed a continually filling after the initial experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit:
I’m so tempted to go off to blog about revivals and prayer, but I’ll hold off. I do want to mention, however, that Finney had an intercessor named Daniel Nash who would find out where God was directing the next meeting to be held and go to that location before Finney’s arrival. Sometimes he took his intercessor friend with him, a man by the name of Abel Clary. Together they prayed with great fervor for God to move in the community. When Finney arrived a week or so later, people oftentimes fell upon the sidewalks in repentance before ever attending one of the meetings. The presence and power of God was so great upon that town, and I believe it had as much to do with the intercession as with the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
“I met an old lady who told me a story about Charles Finney that has challenged me over the years. Finney went to Bolton to minister, but before he began, two men knocked on the door of her humble cottage, wanting lodging. The poor woman looked amazed, for she had no extra accommodations. Finally, for about twenty-five cents a week, the two men, none other than Fathers Nash and Clary, rented a dark and damp cellar for the period of the Finney meetings (at least two weeks), and there in that self-chosen cell, those prayer partners battled the forces of darkness.”
What did Jesus say about the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8 NKJV).
You see, we need the power of God to be bold, loving witnesses to the lost. Moody knew it. Finney knew it. Now we know it.
Are you hungry? Do you want the Holy Spirit of God to baptize you with Himself, His power? Do you long to see a revival hit our nation before 2020? In all the world, Jesus could only find a few who would follow Him. Numbers don’t matter. Our Master had only 12 and one was a betrayer. He had only 120 to start a church–and start it He did! With fire, power, and bold gospel preaching.
Ask and keep on asking. Knock and keep on knocking. Seek and you WILL find. When your heart is ready, you WILL find.