Today I stood at a lectern in a church I wrote about in my book, When the Boats Come Home. I must have done the research about the real-life evangelist Jock Troup and his time in Dundee several years ago, written that piece (the beginning of Chapter 48) at least two years ago. And never dreamed I would ever be invited to speak there.
And today, there I was. In the Steeple Church, Dundee.
The church interior has changed a lot since Jock Troup’s day. Comfy chairs now face towards the side where there is a long platform, lectern with microphone, and all the benefits of 21st century technology. But I was standing within the self-same walls that heard him preach and how I longed to speak with the same fire – and the same results!
He was part of the 1921 Fishermen’s Revival that spread up the east coast of Britain, changing lives and towns and villages. Revival is something churches and individuals talk about and long for today. In my research I discovered that the forerunner of revival is prayer – praying communities that refuse to give up even where there seems to be no sign of harvest.
We say we long for revival. I wonder are we willing to put in the hours and months and years of prayer that underpinned earlier revivals? Or are we infected by the instant gratification of modern consumer society and give up way too soon?
‘Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18