The story below, as told by Leonard Ravenhill, is recorded in his biography In Light of Eternity by Mack Tomlinson. I think Ravenhill remembered it so clearly because it touched him deeply and became part of his very approach to life.
In my twenties, during a period of pastoring, I loved to go past the Salvation Army building, which was the largest one outside of London. There’s a huge block of stone at the front. Chiseled in one stone it says, “William Booth of the Salvation Army opened this corps,” and then it gives the date of 1910. In a second stone it says, “Kate and Mary Jackson, officers in this corp.”
It was in this poor city, where they spin and weave cotton into cloth and the whole town was on the poverty level, that Kate and Mary Jackson labored for a couple of years and nothing happened. Those girls worked diligently and went to bed exhausted at night.
So they wrote William Booth: “Would you kindly move us to another station? We’re so tired and disheartened. We’ve tried everything that we’ve been taught to do. Please move us to another location.”
Booth sent a telegram back with two words: “Try tears.”
The did and they saw real revival come. Those girls went to travailing prayer, not just prayer, but travailing prayer, prayer with anguish in it.
The road to revival is often paved with tears and brokenness.