Springtime in Ireland – and a Prayer for Revival

“For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;” (Song of Solomon 2v11&12)

Today I was reminded of these words as I made a fascinating little journey through parts of rural Louth, Monaghan and Fermanagh. The warm rays of the sun were so welcome after the floods, snow and winter gales which have battered us until very recently. However, unlike the climate in Solomon’s part of the world, rain is usually somewhere on the horizon in Ireland, which is why rainbows are a common sight here!

After receiving a request from the proprietors of bookshops in Co. Fermanagh for more books, I took the opportunity to call en route at An Eaglais, once an old Presbyterian Church, but now home to a tourist amenity and heritage centre. It lies halfway between Castleblayney and Carrickmacross on the N2 Dublin to Derry/Londonderry Road, has a little café and sells arts, crafts and books – including my first book: “A Biblical Journey through the Irish Year.” After lunch here, we were off on the road again, driving towards the Fermanagh/Cavan area where the I.E.B. bookshops in Enniskillen and Cavan (see website below) and Val Irvine’s Christian Bookshop in Lisnaskea kindly facilitate my books.

Today as we travelled home, we noted many derelict houses, swans sailing on sparkling lakes – and quaint remains of historical interest. It was one of the latter which led us off the ‘beaten track’ on this lovely day to take photographs. Someone stopped to ask us ‘what were we doing?’ To cut a long story (very) short, I had the opportunity to speak to this person on spiritual matters, although I felt that I could have said much more. Yet our detour, I believe, was no accident and as we drove today through tiny hamlets, past lonely farms and thatched cottages, I longed to see (spiritually speaking) the winter past and a new awakening in my native land: both north and south of the Irish border and in every green field and city street. Oh, that in the words of Solomon, many could say: “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me.” (Song of Solomon 7v10)

Ireland today is spiritually parched. April showers may gently fall upon an emerald green landscape, creating in their aftermath purity and freshness in the air and the beauty of the rainbow. Yet, spiritually speaking the atmosphere is dry and rancid. Lord, “wilt thou not revive us again; that thy people may rejoice in thee?” (Psalm 85v6)  How I love the old revival hymns, such as Fanny Crosby’s “Showers of Blessing” and “For a Worldwide Revival” by Leila N. Morris. When I recall the old revivals that flooded these islands and other nations in the past, today I pray for revival – and I pray that it will start within my own heart.

Below are links to the two hymns mentioned:

http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/s/b/l/sblessin.htm

http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/f/o/r/forworld.htm

http://www.irishevangelisticband.org/bookshops.php

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