The privilege of knowing Leonard Ravenhill as a teenager was nothing less than a sovereign surprise. Ravenhill was a British evangelist and writer whose quotes on prayer and revival still pop up in sermons and on social media. God crossed our paths during the most impressionable years of my life.
Here are six lessons I learned from this wonderful man of God.
Invest in Young People
I was merely 16 years old in 1981 when I met Leonard, who was then 74. The occasion was a prayer meeting he led on Friday nights in the house of the Brown family, just outside of my hometown of Tyler, Texas. Ravenhill knew as much about me as I did about him—nada. Yet because of this gritty English evangelist, a bunch of shaggy teenagers were praying while our peers were partying.
My main ambition in life is to be on the devil’s most wanted list. ~LR
Pray With Conviction
I had only recently accepted God’s call into the ministry when I started attending this prayer meeting with a few friends. Private and public prayer were still awkward for me at that time. God used Leonard’s prayers to loosen, then light me up.
He prayed with so much intensity that I expected the carpet under his knees to catch on fire. Ravenhill’s fire for public prayer was stoked by the many hours of private prayer he had invested between those meetings.
The Cinderella of the church today is the prayer meeting. ~LR
Pray in Unity
I was a Southern Baptist kid who at first was intimidated by these often raucous prayer meetings, but I eventually got used to people praying out loud and at the same time. One night the prayer time devolved into noisy chaos and Ravenhill put a hard stop to it. It took several attempts for Ravenhill to get everyone’s attention before he said firmly, “God does not cause the spirit of confusion. We have come to pray together in unity!”
I remember wanting to give him a high-five, but had just enough restraint to stand down.
To be much for God, we must be much with God. ~LR