Building and maintaining a good fire is an art, and Emory is a master at it. When he lays a fire in the fireplace or wood burning stove, every step must be done in proper order or the fire won’t start. First he makes sure there is just the right amount of air from the draft, and then he lays crumpled paper over a foundation of ashes. On top of that he lays the thin sticks of dry kindling. Over that he places soft wood such as poplar, then hard wood (we use locust). When he puts the lighted match to the paper it flairs up, then the dry kindling blazes, which in turn lights the soft wood, and finally, the burning soft wood ignites the hardwood.
Why does he need two kinds of wood? Soft wood ignites easier and makes a hot fire quicker, very much like a sprinter in a 100 yard dash. When the room is cold we don’t want to stand and shiver any longer than necessary. Seasoned, dry locust starts slowly but is like a marathon runner. He’s in for the long burn.
We can build a fire in our churches by using a similar formula. Build your fire on the foundation of the ashes of the prayers of our intercessors. On top of those prayers lay a little kindling of some brand new converts along with the paper of the written Word of God. Now add some soft wood sprinters, those exuberant leaders with a vision for a quick chill breaker. Add some marathon runners, those seasoned, tough, “in for the long burn” folks who’ve been faithful to the gospel. Strike a match with the convicting power of the Word, touch it to the kindling, and then see if you don’t start a fire in your church. Nothing fires revival like new souls being born into the kingdom. The fire will spread to the sprinters and the marathon runners and you won’t be able to stop it. But don’t forget the draft of the Holy Spirit, that rushing mighty wind, for without it your fire just won’t burn. Acts 2:1-4
“Revive us again, fill each heart with Thy love. May each soul be rekindled with fire from above.”
— Rebecca Somoskey