Elmer Long, “How To Keep Filled”

, posted by Jon Gossman

Our Scripture lesson is found in Ephesians 5. I am reading only one sentence, but it goes through four verses. Beginning with 5:18, “And be ye not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”

If I understand the statement here where he is telling us our command is to be filled, it is similar to the command we have in 1 Peter where he says, “Be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” And the reason was because, “I am holy.” Here he is talking about a state that we are to continue in – to be filled. And then he tells us the result of that and some of the things that will flow out from that. And so it is one thing to maintain it. Someone has said, “It will be just as great a miracle that we retain what we get, as it is that we ever got it.” And probably that is true. The Holy Spirit is faithful in His dealings and merciful, but He has dealings in every point of our Christian experience. Something I saw way back in 1947, in matters of the Holy Spirit. I became disillusioned by some of the things that I had heard and I was studying the Bible and I saw in this matter where John the Baptist came preaching and he said, “I indeed baptize you with water but one comes after me, mightier than I, who shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.” Let’s bear in mind it is Jesus the baptizer, not the Holy Ghost. Right here we make our first mistake. We get off the track right there to start with. It was not the water that baptized the people, it was John with water. And it is Jesus who baptizes us with His Spirit. The way into the visible Church was that when a person became a believer, he let that be known by having water baptism, which [every] believer should, by some mode. But the way into the invisible Body of Christ is to be baptized by His Spirit into that body. And He baptizes all His believers with the Holy Spirit.

He said in another place, “Ye shall receive power when the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” Now I don’t think any of our brethren here, and I don’t think anyone out there who would be honest, who may disagree with us, but would own up that he is talking about the same thing. He is talking about Pentecost. Here are two terms: “Baptized with the Holy Spirit,” and “the Holy Ghost coming upon you.” But then he used another term. He said, “Ye shall be endued with power from on high.” “Tarry in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high.” Well the word “endue” comes from a word “endow,” and it means “so much now and so much to follow.” An endowment is where people make a certain donation and they say, “I’ll make so much now and in another year I’ll give so much, and I’ll give so much for so many years.” There’s so much now and so much later on. Now when you have that in mind, the Holy Spirit comes to abide forever. He not only comes to convict us and save us and then if we walk with Him, it’s by His indwelling that His love is perfected in us, but He comes to give us more all along as we shall need it and supply our needs and to perpetuate what He began in our hearts when He saved us. And we need to recognize it.

But He used another term and I’m sure everyone would have to agree that He’s talking about Pentecost. He said, “Out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water. This he spake of the Holy Ghost that they that believed on Him should receive, for the Holy Ghost was not yet given for Jesus was not yet glorified.” Now in the book of Hebrews it makes it very clear that the salvation we understand or what we call this Gospel Dispensation or Gospel Kingdom, was not in effect while Jesus lived. It could not be and it’s like a will. A person makes a will saying what will happen to his wealth of whatever he has, but that will does not go into effect until he dies. And after he dies then the will is settled among the children or whatever it is. So it was with him. He said this will was not in effect while the testator lived. The word “testament” and “covenant” is the same word, so Jesus told the disciples that. He said, “It is expedient [or necessary] that I go away, for it I don’t go away, the Holy Spirit will not come. But if I go away, I will send Him.” Here he said he would not be given until Jesus was glorified. Now we understand He is still talking about Pentecost. You can’t deny that because all those terms, the word “baptized,” “coming upon you,” “being filled,” “receiving,” is referring to Pentecost. But when the day of Pentecost fully came, neither one of these terms was used by the writer. He just said they were all filled. Now there are five different terms we know of meaning the same thing. The folks there at Pentecost said, “These folks must be drunk the way they are acting.” Peter said, “They are not drunk. This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel. In the last days I will pour out of my Spirit.” Now there’s another term, “poured.” You see, early Methodism knew the word was very broad, it meant so many things; they took it in its broad sense. So they believe that all believers receive an infusion or baptism of the Spirit when they were saved. They also believed that they might receive another infusion when they were sanctified wholly. But here’s a question we like to think of. Is that the only time we ever have an infusion of the Spirit? And if it is, then how do you account for the fact that this was not true in the book of Acts and in the history of Methodism? We find that many times they had a mighty baptism of the Holy Spirit after they were perfected in love. In fact, I think Richard Watson made this statement, “The life of God cannot exist in the soul without frequent renewings of the Holy Ghost.” I don’t think we believe that, but that is our defect. And I believe that’s the reason for much of our deadness and so little conviction today in the churches across the land, because we do not have that anointing.

Now I came up in an area where we didn’t know any theology (as such) and I wonder sometimes if we weren’t just as well off. We just believed if you prayed and cried out to God, He would hear you and they believe that you had to have the power of the Holy Spirit to have revival and the Methodists and Baptists would gather and the men would get down in the woods and pray and set the children on a stump and dare them to get off. Of course that was back before (most of you can’t remember that), but that was actually when the children obeyed their parents. I know some of you can’t remember that, but that’s when it was. And they prayed for the power of the Spirit and many times they were greatly anointed. Now they didn’t have in mind some work of grace necessarily. They knew they would have to have anointing and for every battle they had, they had to have anointing. Well, suppose we actually practiced that. Now Finney was partially a Calvinist, but he wrote a tract, and I gave them out years ago, on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He wasn’t applying it to any work of grace at all. He just told what a mighty baptism he had the day he was converted on that evening. But he said, “I would find times when I would not have this power. It would be gone from me. And I would set aside time where I could go alone and pray.” And he would do it again just like he did it the first time. “Thus have I lived and thus have I preached.” Well, I’m ready to mark off a place at the mourner’s bench now. But isn’t that really the need today? Can we deny the fact [that] there is very little of that persuasion?

“When He is come He will reprove the world [or convince] the world of sin.” Where is that convincing power? You can hardly convince anybody. We have our minds made up, what we are going to be, what we are going to do. We just accept it or reject it, and so there we stand. So there must be something wrong that we do not keep filled as we ought. And I’m talking to myself now. I’ve been thinking about this and trying to apply it to my heart. And I’ve been working on myself, because I feel like I need it. In fact, I have been praying all this Spring that God would anoint me, give me a fresh anointing of the Spirit. I don’t care what you name it or call it. As Vance Havner said, “You can call it full surrender, you can call it the baptism of the Spirit, you can call it anything you want to. We have named it aplenty, but with all the naming, most of us just don’t have it. We need a brand new experience and I don’t care what you name it.”

Sometimes if we didn’t have a bit of theology we would say, “We need God,” whatever it is. And do like the colored woman who said, “I don’t know what it is, but I need reinforcements in my soul,” and prayed until she got reinforcements. And it wouldn’t bother us a whole lot about theology if that is what we had. But now, the question arises, how may we do this?

Well, I’m going to offer some suggestions here. First of all, and I see this in my own heart, is the state of mind that we stay in in order to keep it. Notice what he says next, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody in your hearts to the Lord.” A person is just about as spiritual as the kind of songs he sings. All you have to know to see the shallowness of the day, is to go into a holiness camp meeting and see what we sing. Now I may have told you this before, but I made a survey one year. I was in five camps. I [left] home in June and didn’t come back until September. And I wrote down everything that was preached and every song that was sung. Out of that whole summer there were eleven congregational songs sung. They didn’t need a big song book. All they needed was a few pages. They are like a fellow up home who got saved and he had just learned to read and they elected him for Sunday School Superintendent, so he had the same devotional three Sunday’s straight going. Somebody came and said, “Lawrence, why don’t you just tear that out so you don’t have to carry the whole thing around?” It’s a wonder he didn’t get offended, but he didn’t. But we can do that about the hymn book. They sang some choruses and very, very, very few songs ever were about Christ and His atonement. Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.” It was not lifting up Christ. We sang the thing that would turn us on, work us up. Somebody said what we are interested in today is noise, noses, and nickels.

But this is to be done to ourselves—psalms, hymns—and sad to say, a person who knows a lot about music and sings a lot of songs said, “When you were quoting from Wesley’s hymns, I didn’t know any of them.” How sad it is to be in the Wesleyan Methodist Church and not know a Wesley hymn. Where have we been?

Most of the singers that sing today are not singing to promote revival. We are singing to amuse the people. When the Lord came into my heart, I memorized every song there was in the books that we used. I probably could sing them yet by memory. And it did me a lot of good, because you can have service all by yourself. I couldn’t afford to buy a song book, so I just memorized them all. My first Bible cost a dollar and it didn’t have a center column reference and it didn’t have a concordance. I didn’t know what they were. But I’ve made up my mind, friends, that anybody can get to God if they want to get to God, whether they know a whole lot or not. God is looking for an honest heart and an open heart. And if they don’t know the way, He’ll show them the way.

There was a melody in my heart and that melody was ringing there. One of the ways you keep the consciousness of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit, is to do this: to sing and make melody in our hearts to the Lord. I caught myself singing and whistling on the plane. I did it on the bus and the driver heard me. He said, “Somebody on this bus is happy.” I said, “Yes, I’m happy.” I love melody, but I realize we can lose out a lot here. I’m not saying every song you sing has to be a sacred song. There are songs that are wholesome and are not sacred songs, but when we come to worship we want a song that says something and does something for our heart. I’m saying that this is one of the ways we keep filled. That somehow we recognize these things and give thought to these things in our hearts because that is part of it; singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord.

But then something else is in the text. That is, he says, “Giving thanks always for all things.” I live around people who get every kind of handout that Big Brother in Washington will give them and fuss at them all the time and criticize them. They are the most critical people of the President that I know of anywhere and yet they are living the best they’ve ever done in their lives. And we grumble about this and we complain about that. We are an unthankful generation. Nobody can keep filled with God that has that kind of spirit. It’s the best way to backslide I know of. One way is to have a thankful mind and to thank God for whatever we are. We are what we are by the grace of God and we did not make ourself that way. And we ought to give God the glory and have a thankful heart. But do we do that? What about it? Are we short on giving thanks? He said, “In everything give thanks.” Well, you say, “You can’t thank God for everything.” Well, we can if we believe it all works out for good. We may not understand everything. It didn’t say everything would be good, but it would work for good. We sometimes think, “I don’t understand this, Lord, but there must have been something in the plan and maybe I need this.” And that is one of the ways we have to keep the mind of God and keep our mind and our affection there, or we will soon lose out and we will not stay filled.

But then he goes a little farther and says, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” Where is that giving over and giving in and where is that entreaty to one another? Where is that esteeming others better than ourselves? We talk about if we are going to keep filled with God or keep filled with the Spirit, that’s one of the things we need to do. I need your fellowship. I need your help. I need your advice and your instruction. You may need mine. We need one another. We don’t live to ourselves and we aren’t going to die to ourselves. The gospel of Jesus Christ is to be communicated. “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven.” I mean it’s a social gospel. I don’t mean it in the sense that we take it today, but I mean it communicates with others. And if it doesn’t communicate, you are going to die. If [all] of our belly does not flow rivers of living water, then it must have ceased to flow in.

But this would mean that we are teachable and we learn from one another. There is something that disturbs me. We’ve seen some of the errors in the holiness movement, especially in doctrine, and we cannot help but see that, but if we are not careful we will go to the opposite extreme. There are some good things they teach and they have some good standards and we just say, “If they were wrong about that, they were wrong about everything else,” and we just drop the whole thing and there is a tendency toward worldliness. And I’ve seen that and it’s not right. And that’s one of the ways to lose out with God. Friends, we must keep filled with God. And we must submit ourselves one to another.

I have seen people so prejudiced in the holiness movement that if they found out that a Baptist person wrote any of the songs, they don’t want to hear. Somebody sang one at Clinton Camp one night and somebody said, “Why are they singing that? That’s a Baptist song.” I said, “Is something wrong with that? Does that poison it? Does that contaminate it?”

Holiness ought to be such that we submit one to another and we love one another regardless of what source it comes from. What do we care about the label if it is of God? What bothers me today is that we are more interested in labels than we are in content. You see when I lived over in Grandfather Mountain these folks put signs up everywhere saying, “Pure Sourwood Honey.” Well, it wasn’t sourwood honey. It came out of Florida. There is not sourwood in Florida. The pure food officers went out there and got some of them. They told them they would have to quit selling it that way. But the bureaucrats always have loopholes if you want to be a crook. They make it kind of hard on an honest fellow, but somehow we always make some kind of rule for the fellow who wants to skip around and get out of it. So they found out that by changing the label, they could still get away with it. They put the sign up in big letters, “Pure Sourwood Honey (Flavored or Imitation).” They put that in small letters and they couldn’t do anything with them.

Well, we’ve got it in the holiness movement. “Saved and Sanctified (Flavored or Imitation).” Isn’t that right? Because we go interested in labels rather than in content. God is going to judge us not by our doctrine, but by what we are. And God is more concerned about us getting where we ought to be. The gospel was designed that He might present every man perfect in Christ Jesus and as Fletcher said, “If one baptism of the Spirit cleanses you from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit and perfects you in holiness, so much the better.” Some folks got up and walked out of class because Brother H. E. Schmul taught that one time, reading from Fletcher. Of course, those fellows knew more than Wesley and Fletcher did. They had been saved a couple of years. They got so smart they said they didn’t need the book of Revelation and the book of James because they weren’t inspired anyway. They got wise above what was written. They said, “If two or more are necessary, God is able to appease. His hand is not shortened and His grace is not stinted.” The thing is, we need to get enough. Levi Whisner said, “I’ve seen some people I thought needed more than two.” He said, “My theory is this, get as many as it takes to make you what you ought to be.” I didn’t fuss with him. I know I said we are interested in labels.

There is a fellow down in Alabama who got saved, He had been an infidel. It was quite an experience he had. He got saved out there in the woods. He worked in lumber and we went out to see him and he said he was saved. The Lord was just answering his prayers. He was just getting along with the Lord and he said that preacher preached on sanctification and he didn’t understand it now. But he was just having answers to prayer and getting along so good with the Lord, he said he was going to lay aside the matter of sanctification until he knew more about it. We didn’t jump on him at all. We just encouraged him. Thank God, that’s the way to go. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God and you can’t get ahead of them. You can run ahead and somebody can say, “Now if you don’t get that you’ll be back in sin before tomorrow night.” These fellows don’t know what they’re talking about, but that’s what they preach, some of them do. ‘And you’ve got to get it right now.’ No, you won’t get it until you know you need it, until you’re convicted. No more than a sinner will get what he needs and we might as well know that. The thing I am talking about, friends, is if we would submit ourselves one to another, we can do this. We may not agree with all the things some of them say, but there are some things, whether they are Baptists or whatever they are. They may say the right thing. I must receive the truth for the truth’s sake. The Bible says, “Prove all things and hold fast to that which is good.” If it is good, I am going to hold fast to it and I’m not going to ask what label he wears. If it is good, I am going to take it, if he’s a Baptist or whatever he is. It doesn’t make any difference. I’m taking it on the fact of what it is because I love the truth. Amen. And you ought to do the same thing. So that’s one way to keep clear.

Now I come down to the most important thing, and it is this. In reading in the book of Acts, every time that they were sent forth by the Holy Spirit or some miracle took place, you will find preceding that, they prayed. Do you understand? After they prayed, the Holy Ghost said, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work.” And when they had prayed the place was shaken where they were all assembled and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. It was when they all prayed. I think, friends, right here is the secret of our lives and what our need is. We are not going to stay filled if we don’t have a constant prayer life. If you don’t pray, you won’t make it. Now, I remember this when they took children in the Methodist Church when I was a boy. I got saved when I was 14 years old and I lost out with God and never got back to the Lord until later. Well, I lived that way two or three years, really happy in the Lord, but I remember what they said. They took us up on the front bench on the last night of the meeting and lined up all the converts and the preacher came down out of the pulpit and just talked to those converts. He said, “How the way to heaven is a glorious way and a happy way, but it is a narrow way. It is fraught with many dangers and many pitfalls. You’ll be tempted, but you can overcome every one of them.” I’m glad he didn’t say, “You’re going to be defeated until you get sanctified, you’re liable to do anything; knock somebody’s head off or you’ll do something drastic.” I’m glad he didn’t say that. I’m glad I never heard that. I heard it later on and I shouldn’t say I cast lots with them, it fell my lot with them and I fell among them. I don’t know where some of them stood, of course, some of them stood at sea, but they told us that and they said, “Now the most important thing you’ll ever do is to have secret prayers. Commune with God every day. Then, read your Bible and tell others about it. If you’ll do those things: if you’ll read your Bible and pray every day and tell others, you’ll make it. You’ll overcome every temptation.” I believe that. You say, “That’s a very simple thing.” Was it too simple for us? We have a know-how. We’ve read the books. We know what the theory is. We’ve got it all down and we’ve been trained in homiletics and all those things, but friends, the crying need of this hour is to recognize our need of the power of the Holy Ghost and to have such a filling and such a fresh one that God once again pours out His Spirit. Sinners will not feel until we feel. Sinners will not weep until we weep. And I want God to apply that to my heart.

And those are some of the ways we will keep filled. We need to pray and recognize this. I think along with that, we should recognize this. I know there is a battle along this line. I’ve talked to young folks all along and in spite of all the opposition I get, I still do a lot of counseling. I go to places where I’m not much thought of, but if there are any needs there, they’ll hunt me out. I appreciate that. I don’t know what is was, but when I first got saved, people would tell me their secrets. I’ve had moonshiners confess to me and tell me things I never have told a living soul. I don’t know why they did. But they did from the time I was appointed class leader people would come and tell me all their problems. I never could figure out why. You learn a lot this way. But here is one thing I have learned and it could help us even in the matter of prayer. We read in the book of Jude, “Keep yourself in the love of God, praying in the Holy Ghost and looking for the mercy of God unto eternal life.” Adam Clarke and John Wesley both said this and I believe it, “When we have prayed in the Holy Ghost and when we have kept ourself in the love of God, it still remains that it will be only by God’s mercy and grace that any of us ever make it.” And I don’t think we believe that strongly enough. So we have to come to a matter of our own personal fitness and many times we go to looking at ourselves to see if we are so much of this and that and friends, if we go to measuring ourselves that way it won’t be long until we’ll be in trouble. Wesley said, “Most people lost the experience of perfect love several times before they learned the secret of keeping it.” I read that not long ago.

And most of it comes from the fact of reason or trying to maybe look at our own fitness. We are still unprofitable servants. I want you to look at this, “I come in the merits of Jesus. I pray in the merits of Jesus.” That’s the way we should come. Looking to Him wholly and solely. He is the source of all of it. He is the author of our faith. He is the giver of the Holy Spirit. He is the one that sends Him forth. He is the one that can refresh us with it and the only one. Andrew Murray said, “When Jesus said, ‘If ye being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him,’ I believe he meant that for any occasion or any emergency that might arise.”

Adam Clarke commenting on the fourth chapter of Acts (I stand with Fletcher. I believe this is where they were perfected in love) said, “Probably with the opposition and the pressure that was put on the church, had they not had this fresh anointing, they could not have stood.” Well, if that was true in his day, how much more true it is today with all the crime and the sin we see around us and the deadness of the church. In fact, friends, I don’t want to sound bad, I appreciate those and everything that is done for me, I am deeply indebted to them, I am deeply indebted to the Methodists and Baptists of my boyhood and I can never forget that and that’s why I went in one place in Ohio and the principal’s wife prayed through in that meeting. She said I was the first evangelist they had had in their church that hadn’t throwed off on the Baptists and all the other denominations. They did so much for me I can’t forget that. I don’t like the fellow that bites the hand that feeds him. Whatever Methodism is today, I remember what they were and I like to think of what they were.

I’m afraid sometimes we look at these things rather than to look to God and the source. God can bless us by whom He will. I believe Andrew Murray, for every emergency that might arise, God has the answer if we’ll look to Him for it. I don’t believe there is any way out but what there’s a way for God to bring us through. If I miss it it is because grace was available and I did not avail myself of it, but it was there. God can fill us and God can keep us filled if we’ll keep in the right attitude, in the right mind and guard against all pride or anything that would lead toward that or any kind of enthusiasm that is out of the Spirit. We can quench the Spirit just as good by doing that overboard as we could setting there when He wants us to do something. That’s the only kind we know about in the holiness movement. We think about quenching the Spirit and the only thing we think about when God leads us to do something and we don’t do it. But friends, it can be more than that. We should be careful to listen to the promptings and the checks of the Spirit if we would walk with Him and keep filled. You are about to speak a word and He checks you. “It would be best if you didn’t say that.” You’d better listen. He’ll check you about that attitude. You’d better change. Somebody says, “That’s just my way of doing it.” Wesley said, “Learn another way. That’s the way to hell.” We excuse ourselves on so many things. And by yielding to it and listening to every prompting and stirring of the Spirit we can keep His presence and His power with us.

He also said something else that maybe would help us and that is in the matter of prayer. Paul said, “Pray without ceasing.” Andrew Murray says, “No man can pray without ceasing who does not have seasons of prayer at other times.” You see, it’s the attitude. It’s like incense. If I asked you how many times you breathed since you came onto this church, nobody could tell, but you’ve breathed. You say, “How do you know you breathed” Well, I know I did. I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t. Prayer is like that. It’s something that is going on even when you’re in conversation sometimes. In our hearts there is a desire going up to God.

But he said this will not stay there unceasingly unless we have seasons of prayer where we meet God. And he said then the seasons of prayer, if you think that you’ll just do without that meditation through the day and you can just go out and pray and have seasons, you can’t do that. He said each one depends on the other. He said, “You will have to continue in the spirit of prayer all the time if you have seasons of prayer and you will have to have seasons of prayer if you continue in the Spirit.” It works both ways and you cannot do without it. I believe this is right. This is according to my own experience of how God has dealt with my own heart. So I feel tonight deeply in my own self as I speak to you that I need a mighty fresh anointing of the Spirit and to keep filled and see when the Holy Spirit will move on others. I’ve seen Him do this. Even in the early stages of Christian experience I remember a service one night and a man who was hardened and he would curse anybody that said anything about his soul. I had not been saved long, but I had a tremendous burden and the burden became so I hardly knew what I was doing. I went to him and I could hardly see him through my tears and I went to him and he broke all to pieces. I learned a secret then. It couldn’t have been me. It was some inner urge that God had done that overruled and back of it had been a lot of prayers and tears. I went almost with fear and trembling and yet I went with some kind of assurance that God was going before me. I can’t explain it, but if you’ve ever had it, you know what I’m talking about. I didn’t know anything about holiness. If you’ve never heard a sermon on holiness in your life, and you know very little about theology, if you will obey, He gives the Holy Ghost to them that obey Him, the Bible says. And if you will obey God, God will make you what you ought to be whether you know any theology or whether you don’t. And if you get that way, I’ll give you the right hand of fellowship and claim you as my own and say, “You’re one of us.”

I’d rather see someone who has that power than anything I know of today. Some years ago we had a very godly man in the Methodist Church and he had heard of a young man who was greatly used of God who was 18 years of age. He sent for him to come for revival. So he came and sat down and said, no he wouldn’t go in the pulpit. He said, “I’ll just sit down here.” So he sat down on the pew there and they sang a song and he got up and said, “Now I’m ready to preach. Don’t sin any more. I’m ready right now.” Well, they were not used to having an evangelist come in and tell them that, especially on the first night. So he got up and opened his Bible and began to read and expound and the power of God fell on the people. There wasn’t a thing spectacular. It was done in such a way that you would know that God would have to have done it. That’s the way he operated. He had learned the secret. I want to learn that secret. I’ve seen this happen, but it’s something we have to learn over and over again. I don’t know why. John Wesley said, “How hardly does God give the Holy Ghost to them that are established in grace unless they ask for Him and that many times.” I’ve found that so, too. You just, “Lord, I want a fresh anointing. I want to be filled. Amen! Praise the Lord!” That’s the way we are doing around the altar and that’s why we’ve got a lot of people that have been warmed over and over and over until they’ve lost their faith and they don’t come around and they are staying away from altars. A lot of people tell me they won’t go to the altar because of the way people deal with them. I know some have told me they just get up and confess something to get them off our back. So I tell everybody where I go in revival the first night, “If anybody comes to this altar I’ll pray with you as long as you’ll pray, but when you stop praying I’ll dismiss and go home. Because for you to lay over the altar and for people to stand around and look at you, that’ll kill the faith in everybody else, so we’ll go home and take up the next night where we left off.” That’s the way I operate. If you are under conviction you won’t have to bother about worrying whether people will pray for you or not.

I asked a man that was in the Hebrides revival. I had a good chance to stay with Duncan Campbell in a home where he was staying. I spent a day and a night and one day everybody went off and for three hours I asked him every kind of theological question I could think of. I asked about the second coming of Christ and everything. I tell you he wouldn’t have a thing to do with this dispensationalism or the secret rapture. The whole Hebrides would have nothing to do with it. There hasn’t been a revival among anybody that does believe it. Tell me of a Holy Ghost revival they’ve had! All we’ve done is kill the faith of people. God can pour His Spirit out today just the same as He could to any generation and we ought to believe that. “The earth is the Lord’s” and always will be the Lord’s. This is my Father’s world and always will be His world. Until He gets ready to give us a new heaven and a new earth and the devil is not going to take it over now or any other time. I’m not looking for a hole in the ground, I’m looking for a hole in the sky. I’m not on this survival business. I’m looking for the power of the Holy Ghost. I may not live to see it, but it’s coming. I believe it will all my heart.

And when the Church gets stirred again and once again we’ll pray until the power of God comes upon us afresh and anew. That’s the way we keep filled and when the world sees that again they’ll want what we’ve got.


From: Long, Elmer. “How To Keep Filled.” The Arminian: A Publication of the Fundamental Wesleyan Society, vol. 7, no. 1, 1986. http://wesley.nnu.edu/arminianism/the-arminian-magazine/the-arminian-magazine-spring-1986/. Web.