Phil Moore, leader of Everyday Church in Wimbledon, has written a series of blogs describing lessons from the life of James Fraser.
Fraser was a pioneer missionary to the Lisu people in China in the early 1900s . I remember reading a little of his story when I was a child, and in particular the account of his prayer life which proved more effective by far than his personal witness and evangelism!
Phil has spent a couple of months immersing himself in the life and writings of Fraser, seeking to discern the vital elements that made his ministry so effective. It is no exaggeration to say that the man’s legacy continues to ripple on through China to this day. To us who long for revival of true Christianity here in Europe, we would do well to pay careful attention to these gleanings from Fraser’s life.
I recommend sitting and reading these posts in one go, but if you don’t have the time, make sure you bookmark them: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.
In his (mostly) excellent and provocative book, Church Zero, Peyton Jones tells this stirring account of his pursuit of God in revival:
“Years ago, as a college student, I read countless books on revival and was so moved in my own soul that I kept looking to the church to see it happen. After receiving countless puzzled looks after trying to share my burden, I realised it wasn’t going to happen in my church. I was in advanced microbiology at the time, and so I decided to start an experiment. Just like a cultured agar dish, I sought to see what would happen if I really went for it with God, no strings attached. My agar dish caught fire.
“Now that would be bad in a science class but gets top marks in your spiritual life. I sought the Lord every morning for a couple of hours and then prayed in the afternoons for revival as I drove from Huntington Beach to Hermosa Beach and back. As I drove in my old VW up the 405 freeway, I begged God to send a consuming fire that would ignite our love and passion for Jesus. I started fasting on Sundays and setting the whole day aside to read through Lloyd-Jones’s eight-volume commentary on Ephesians. I was 18 years old. In front of the fireplace of my living room, with a cup of vanilla almond tea in one hand and the Word of God in the other, I started to learn how to go on a date with God. Just me, the Doctor, the Republic of Tea, and God.
“A fire was lit in the hearth of my soul that burned hotter than the fireplace. My experiment worked. I sought the Spirit of God with all my heart, found Him, and was filled. It was personal revival. Revival might not have been raging outside me, or around me, but my soul wouldn’t be satisfied with that excuse. In the spirit of Moses who pitched his tent away from the camp, crying desperately to God, “Show me Your glory!” I wanted to see His glory so badly that I didn’t care who came with me. I had gone it alone, but I didn’t stay alone for long.
“Because fire spreads.”
(Peyton Jones, Church Zero, p.208 loc.2489)