When the Prince Albert community is discussed, the phrase “comes with its challenges” is commonly heard.
A group of local Christians stand alongside countless other group and individual efforts mandated with overcoming these challenges. They offer a unique spiritual solution, with a Christian revival.
“It will affect the community in a positive way socially, morally, economically, politically,” local pastor David Webster explained.
“People stop doing bad things — immoral things. They will turn back to a morality based on the principles in the Bible … The alcohol and drug problem would be annihilated. The courts would empty (and) the jails would empty.”
Retired pastor and educator Howard Rensberry explained the current situation using a seasonal metaphor, wherein we’re stuck in the cold of winter.
“Then, spring comes — the snow and the ice goes and the birds come, and the leaves on the trees come,” he said. “That’s revival! If we were to be consistent, we need revival in the spiritual realm, too.”
On a spiritual level, a Christian revival would eliminate the city’s challenges, he said, citing crime in the city as a symptom of these challenges.
“You know how the drug situation is in Prince Albert — it’s really sick,” he said. “When people get right with God, sin, it its many forms, is taken care of.”
A small group of Christians met on Saturday night to pray for a Christian revival, joining countless other groups from across the city, nation and world praying for the same thing.
In Melfort, pastor Jeff Goudy heads a similar group, with sights set on a localized or national revival.
Revival, he explains, “means to bring back to life, and sometimes Christians and churches can start to lack life and reality, so that we are just ‘going through the motions’ in our walk with God.”
“It seems like all of life has a tendency to go downhill, unless you’re diligent and disciplined,” Rensberry said. “That’s not just in church life — spiritual life — but it’s in other walks of life too.”
It’s this slow easing into a more relaxed and less engaged lifestyle that makes a Christian revival necessary, Rensberry said, adding, “We need to be revived — rejuvenated.”
People stop doing bad things — immoral things. They will turn back to a morality based on the principles in the Bible … The alcohol and drug problem would be annihilated. The courts would empty (and) the jails would empty. - Beulah Land Baptist Church pastor David Webster
History is dotted with Christian revival, Webster noted, with revival resulting in Prince Albert we know it today. Rev. James Nisbet, who has been credited with founding Prince Albert as a missionary, arrived along the bank of the North Saskatchewan River on July 26, 1866.
“What’s really interesting, is that Rev. Nisbet came to Prince Albert when there was a revival in Ontario — one of the biggest revivals of American history, and there were missionaries going everywhere with this fervor in their heart,” Webster said. “I really believe that James Nisbet was one of them.”
To bring about another such wide-spread revival, prayer must come first, Rensberry said, with prayer groups popping up all over the world in hopes of initiating revival.
“We won’t see revival without prayer,” he said. “True praying, with deep feelings about where we are in our condition. True, honest, heartfelt praying is what I’m talking about here.”
“Revivals often start in individual hearts and can spread to influence whole nations,” Goudy said.
“Revival is always preceded by prayer … When we see the moral decline and confusion in Canada today, we believe that revival is the key to turning around for good.”
Just how realistic it is that a Christian revival will take place, in either a large or smaller form, depends on who you talk to, but it’s a commonly-held belief that it will take lots of work to get there.
“Christianity is not a very popular subject in our present day — it really isn’t,” Webster said.
“We live in a bit of a quagmire of religious confusion today. The only way we could ever have it is a miracle.”
More people are always invited to join the group’s prayer meetings, which take place every Wednesday morning at the Community Bible Church at 7 a.m., and at the Beulah Land Church on Saturdays at 9 p.m.