Dr. John R. Rice, a great evangelist now with the Lord, was asked to conduct a revival meeting at a Baptist church in Woodbine, Texas. Divisions and strife had broken the heart of the pastor until he had resigned and left. The county missionary, hoping to see the church revived and God’s work made prosperous, asked Dr. Rice to come and preach the revival services. He found the whole community divided. One or more deacons had had fist fights in the quarrel that had reached nearly every home. Many had taken a vow never to return to the little church.
Dr. Rice never did find out most of the details of the division. But with a burden in his soul, he preached against sin, urged God’s people to clean up their lives, and pleaded with them to make peace with their neighbors. Night after night he preached. Those who had been angry at others were now angry with him.
One morning, a woman in the community started to make a telephone call to tell Dr. Rice just what she thought of all his meddling in their affairs. But her nineteen year old son stopped her and said, “Mother, you are wrong! I have just been out in the woods to pray. I know Brother Rice is right. If we Christians do not get right with each other, we can never have a revival. I for one am going to try to get right.” His mother did not make the phone call.
In the next service, Dr. Rice called for a time of testimony. With tears streaming down her face, one woman rose to beg forgiveness of another woman with whom she had quarreled. The other woman swiftly rose and came to meet her. They put their arms around one another and wept in the aisle. Confessions came from all parts of the building. The deep moving of God was upon the people as they began to make restitution, ask forgiveness, and seek Christian fellowship again.
That afternoon the news went like wildfire. That night the little church building was crowded. People came to church who had not been there in months—some who had vowed they would never enter the building again. From the very beginning of the service the Holy Spirit was there. Dr. Rice preached the Gospel, and at the invitation men and women accepted Jesus as their Saviour with tears streaming down their faces. Dozens of people were saved, hundreds of Christians were revived, and people came from miles to fill that little church for the rest of the meeting that lasted four weeks!