The Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Charles Finney

Perhaps no other revivalist intrigues me more than Charles Finney, God’s Charles-Finney-2instrument 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 Booklet How Great Soul Winners Were Filled with the Holy Spiritteenager 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.revival tent 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:

And the disciples were continually filled [throughout their hearts and souls] with joy and with the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:52).


Daniel Nash INtercessor for Finney

Daniel Nash, Intercessor for Finney

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.


Leonard Ravenhill tells this story about Daniel Nash and Abel Clary:

 “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.

open-doorAsk and keep on asking. Knock and keep on knocking. Seek and you WILL find. When your heart is ready, you WILL find.

About Lift the Cross of Jesus!

My day job is writing--I'm an author and publisher of a number of books. More on that later. But there is nothing of greater importance to me than the early morning hours I spend with the Creator of the Universe. Although He knows everything there is to know, His greatest delight isn't to give us knowledge, but to give us love. My highest joy is to watch the sun rise with notebook in hand and write the words he speaks to my heart. I want to share some of those words with you here . . . words on the cross.
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13 Responses to The Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Charles Finney

  1. Larry Who says:

    I also have always been intrigued with Charles Finney.


  2. I wonder if God will ever give us another Finney, Nash, and Clary?


    • Larry Who says:

      I believe God is raising up people that will walk even closer to Him and do greater exploits than Finney, Nash, and Clary did in their day. “As sin abounds, grace will much more abound” – which, to me, means Daniels, Davids, Elijahs, and Hope (yeah, you!). This is the season day to do the greater works than Jesus did.


  3. Have you ever read “The Found the Secret” by V. Raymond Edman? It’s the story of many great Christian leaders who experienced a filling of the Spirit that transformed their lives and ministries. I don’t know if it’s still in print, but it created a great hunger in me as a young person.


  4. auntrev says:

    Hope: Have you ever encountered Phoebe Palmer? She was of the holiness movement in the late 1800’s. She preached, led revivals, conducted Bible studies and was a theologian deeply in relationship to her God, filled with the Spirit. Charles G. Finney and other revivalists after her came to adopt her ‘altar theology.’ Simply put, you go to the altar to give your life to God as a sacrifice as she had read in the Bible (which she adored). She prayed and anguished for years for her baptism in the Holy Spirit. Her description of the event for her is quite awesome. Mrs. Palmer is credited with addressing a large gap in the church’s and revivalists’ understanding, then, of the salvation process re: Wesley. Revivalists, like Finney, had been preaching revival based solely on justification..the saving grace. But that was the end of it, and large numbers who were converted dropped away even though connected to the church. Mrs. Palmer recognized what was missing….the follow up with sanctification….that grace which propels one, for love of God, to live one’s faith out while growing in grace. Simply put: woo hoo, I am saved! I am so in love with God that I MUST go share it and learn more. Finney also recognized this truth and changed his manner of preaching in revival. One of her most noted accomplishments was a weekly prayer meeting in New York City which grew to attract famous folks of great political and economic influence throughout the world.
    If anyone is interested in this remarkable, spirit-filled soul, here’s a link to for her autobiography:
    Blessings, Carol Svecz


    • Carol, I’m so glad you contributed this important aspect on preaching the gospel. I’ve heard of Phoebe Palmer, but never looked closely. Now, Finney preached repentance. He was all about people turning away from sin. When you say “sanctification”, to me that means you are set apart from sin and from choosing your own way, and set apart to God for His service and use. And like you said, it’s that “Woo Hoo! That’s what I WANT to do!” because you have fallen in love with the God who made you. I guess I’m wondering how Finney changed the preaching? Of course, I could just buy the book! Here I am tapping you for more info.


  5. David says:

    I’ve been praying for another Great Awakening for so long I don’t know when I first started; at least in the ’80s sometime.

    If I remember correctly, Edman was known as Prexie by his students and was a student of revivals and wrote several books on the subject. See if there are any others than the one you mentioned.


    • David, I am THRILLED to hear you’ve been praying so long. May God increase your number! I’m glad for your input on “Prexie” (Edman). Any additional thoughts or links to books/recordings are welcome. Everyone is teaching me a LOT!


  6. Julie Walker says:

    Oh Hope, our Abba first highlighted Psalm 85:9 for me when we were desperately seeking God’s guidance about whether to go back to serving overseas or stay here. Our wise pastor exhorted us to seek God more than seeking an answer or gift from God. I began a word study on “glory” after repeating Moses’ words for our Lord to show me His glory. The above verse was the seed of desire our Father planted in my heart for His glory to dwell in our land. The verses before it ask for a revival. Then Abba further expanded a hunger in my heart for His greater glory – I Corinthians 3:18 – and to do His greater works – John 14:12-14. He also showed me that His greater works come in prayer – John 14:13-14. You gave us examples of that from Moody and Finney’s lives. Praise God for the faithful prayer warriors who battled the enemy so God’s power would be unleashed through faithful, persistent, prevailing prayer. “Raise us up, oh Abba, to pray in the Spirit and accomplish much eternal fruit for Your kingdom and for Your glory to dwell in this land.”


  7. Julie, I love your HEART. Blesses me so much. I want to post your verse here, Psalm 85:9: Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
    That glory may dwell in our land.
    I believe that we were created for glory. Adam and Eve’s covering was glory. When glory was lost due to sin, they FELT it. Now we are here and we YEARN FOR THE GLORY!
    I am presently writing a novel on the creation of God. The glory in Eden is what I am prayerfully trying to convey.
    In talking about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I think we are talking about the GLORY. Oh, ABBA FATHER, I come into agreement with Julie’s persistent, prevailing prayer here:
    “Raise us up, oh Abba, to pray in the Spirit and accomplish much eternal fruit for Your kingdom and for Your glory to dwell in this land.”


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