Horatius Bonar, writing the preface to John Gillies’ Accounts of Revival regarding the leaders of the First Great Awakening, proposed that men useful to the Holy Spirit for revival stand out in these nine ways:

1.  They are in earnest: “They lived and labored and preached like men on whose lips the immortality of thousands hung.”

2.  They are bent on success: “As warriors, they set their hearts on victory and fought with the believing anticipation of triumph, under the guidance of such a Captain as their head.”

3.  They are men of faith: “They knew that in due season they should reap, if they fainted not.”

4.  They are men of labor: “Their lives are the annals of incessant, unwearied toil of body and soul; time, strength, substance, health, all they were and possessed they freely offered to the Lord, keeping back nothing, grudging nothing.”

5.  They are men of patience: “Day after day they pursued what, to the eye of the world, appeared a thankless and fruitless round of toil.”

6.  They are men of boldness: “Timidity shuts many a door of usefulness and loses many a precious opportunity; it wins no friends, while it strengthens every enemy.  Nothing is lost by boldness, nor gained by fear.”

7.  They are men of prayer: “They were much alone with God, replenishing their own souls out of the living fountain, that out of them might flow to their people rivers of living water.”

8.  They are men of strong doctrine: “Their preaching seems to have been of the most masculine and fearless kind, falling on the audience with tremendous power.  It was not vehement, it was not fierce, it was not noisy; it was far too solemn to be such; it was massive, weighty, cutting, piercing, sharper than a two-edged sword.”

9.  They are men of deep spirituality: “No frivolity, no flippancy . . . . The world could not point to them as being but slightly dissimilar from itself.”

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17 thoughts on “What kind of men does God use?”

  1. Ben says:

    Good word! May the Lord raise up men today that are of that same fiber.

  2. Kyle says:

    Thats a great list! I’m no Horatius Bonar, but I would assert one more trait.

    10. They are men of love.

  3. Bo says:

    Thanks for the refreshing encouragement!

  4. Hannah says:

    Great article. Would also love to see in the title (or elsewhere) something about both men and women being used of God to bring revival. Arent men and women equally called to seek the advancement of God’s Kingdom in the world even they may have a variety of different roles to play? If only “preachers” are used to revive the church, then the title of the article might be about “pastors” instead of “men” since not all men serve as preaching pastors.

  5. Dustin says:

    I thought that God used men of no account… fishermen, persecutors of the church, laymen, and the like. I thought no one was useful to the Holy Spirit, and it’s for this very reason that we need the Holy Spirit.

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Ray Ortlund

Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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