From time to time the Holy Spirit overtakes and subdues the thoughts of one of His servants and consequently they utter a gem; a pithy statement of such potency it seems to distil into very few words their life’s work and philosophy. Some preachers’ utterances manifestly deserve to be forgotten; others like the following deserve to be remembered. I began gathering “one-liners” as a young journalist. Many a first-class news story has hinged upon a memorable quote.


As a preacher with a particular passion for Church History, I’ve continued this habit by snuffling like a truffle pig through the musty undergrowth of old books, eager to find the valuable delicacy of a pungent and unforgettable quotation which seems to have come from Heaven itself.



This section of Revival Streams is a modest library of such quotations … my “quotationary”! I hope you enjoy reading and memorizing them as much as I’ve enjoyed discovering and storing them away like so many silver bullets for really big shoot-outs from controversial pulpits. Feel free to load and fire them yourself.


For Quotationary updates and additional one-liners, go to:



(Desert Father 4th C)
“Choose the meekness of Moses and you will find your heart which is a rock changed into a spring of water.”

“If you fast regularly, do not be inflated with pride. But if you think highly of yourself because of it, then you had better eat meat. It is better for a man to eat meat than to be inflated with pride and to glorify himself.”

(Augustine of Hippo 5th C)
“Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.”

“God provides the wind, but man must raise the sails.”

“Two cities are formed by two loves. The earthly by love of self, even to the contempt of God. The heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self.”

“The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home.”

“Christ is not valued at all, unless He is valued above all.”

(John Chrysostom 5th C)
“If our confidence in God has to depend upon our confidence in any human person, we would be on shifting sand.”

(Dorotheus of Gaza 6th C)
“If anyone really and truly desires to do the Will of God with all their heart, God will never leave them to themselves, but will constantly guide them according to His own divine Will."

(Bernard of Clairvaux 11th C)
“Every food of the mind is dry if it is not dipped in the oil of Jesus’ name. Jesus to me is honey in the mouth, music in the ear, a song in the heart.”

“If your neighbour does something of which you disapprove, do not judge him. Find an excuse for him. At least excuse his motives.”

“Even if mercy were a sin, I could never help showing mercy.”

(Francis of Assisi 12th C)
“It is no use walking anywhere to preach, unless we preach as we walk.”

“Preach the Gospel all the time. If necessary use words.”

“Nor did demons crucify Him. It is you who have crucified Him and crucify Him still, when you delight in your vices and sins.”

(Meister Eckhart 13th C)
“For when he has no will of his own, then God will command for him what God would command for Himself. When I do not choose for myself, God chooses for me.”

“If the only prayer you ever say in your life is, ‘Thank You’, that would suffice.”

(Richard Rolle 14th C)
“People become like what they love.”

(John Wycliffe 14th C)
“The higher the hill, the stronger the wind. So the loftier the life, the stronger the enemy’s temptations.”

(Girolamo Savanarola 15th C)
“My Lord was pleased to die for my sins. Why should I not be glad to give up my poor life out of love for Him.”

(Erasmus 16th C)
“If elephants can be trained to dance and lions to play…surely preachers can be taught to preach.”

(John Calvin 16th C)
“Wherever we see the Word of God purely preached, there a Church of God exists, even if it swarms with many faults.”

“It is better to limp along the right path, than run along the wrong.”

“There is no drop of vigour in us, save what the Holy Spirit instills.”

“Since Christ appeared there is nothing left for the Faithful except to look forward to His Second Coming, with minds alert. satan directly attacks the throat of the Church when he destroys faith in the return of Christ.”

“God is opposed to idols, that all may know He is the only fit witness to Himself.”

(John Knox 16th C)
“The Word of God is plain in itself, and if there appear any obscurity in one place, the Holy Ghost, which is never contrarious to Himself, explains the same more clearly in other places.”

“Out of the pulpit I thought few had occasion to be offended with me. But there I was not master of myself, but bound to obey Him who commanded me to speak plainly, and to flatter no flesh on the face of the earth.”

(John of the Cross 16th C)

“The virtuous soul that is alone and without a master is like a lone, burning coal. It will grow colder rather than hotter.”

(Martin Luther 16th C)
“You, Lord Jesus, are my righteousness, while I am Your sin. What is mine You have taken upon Yourself, and what is Yours, You have given to me.”

“I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope…self.”

“Pray and let God worry.”

“I preach as though Christ was crucified yesterday. Rose again from the dead today. And is coming back to earth tomorrow.”

(Teresa of Avila 16th C)
“Our goodness derives not from our capacity to think, but to love.”

(John Bunyan 17th C)
“Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge to satan.”

“I preached what I felt; what I smartingly did feel.”

(John Robinson 17th C)

“The Lutherans refuse to advance beyond what Luther saw, while the Calvinists stick fast where they were left by that great man of God, who saw not all things.”

(Richard Baxter 17th C)

“I preached as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.”

(George Fox 17th C)
“A Justice was the first to call us Quakers, because I bid them tremble as the Word of the Lord.”

“Christ has been too long locked up in the Mass and in the Book. Let Him be your Prophet, Priest and King. Obey Him,”

(Samuel Rutherford 17th C)
“Whenever I find myself in the cellar of affliction, I always look about for the wine.”

(John Wesley 18th C)
“While he (Luther) was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

“Give me 100 preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen, such alone will shake the gates of hell, and will set up the Kingdom of God upon earth.”

“Once in seven years I burn all my sermons, for it is a shame if I cannot write better sermons now than I did seven years ago.”

“O Lord send the old revival without the defects. But if this cannot be, send it with all its defects. We must have the revival.”

“Give me a place to stand, and I will move the earth.”

“Any Christian who takes for himself anything more than the plain necessaries of life, lives in open, habitual denial of the Lord. He has gained riches and hellfire.”

(George Whitefield 18th C)
“Fear not your weak body. We are immortal until our work is done. Christ’s labourers must live by miracle; if not I must not live at all. God only knows what I daily endure. My continual vomitings almost kill me, and yet the pulpit is my cure.”

“The best preparation for preaching on Sundays, is to preach every day of the week.”

(Jonathan Edwards 18th C)

“Though we do not know the time in which this conversion of Israel will come to pass, yet this much we may determine by Scripture, that it will be before the glory of the Gentile part of the Church shall be fully accomplished, because it is said that their coming in shall be life from the dead to the Gentiles.”

(John Newton 18th C)
“Preaching should break the hard heart, and mend a broken heart.”

“I did not deal in unfelt truths.”

(William Booth 19th C)
“Go for souls and go for the worst.”

“The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender.”

(John Darby 19th C)

“What gave rise to the existence of the so-called Plymouth Brethren is the grand truth, the great fact, of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost to form the Body of Christ into one, then the coming of the Saviour as the continual expectation of the Christian.”

(John Alexander Dowie 19th C)
“In becoming an apostle, it is not a question of rising high. It is a question of becoming low enough. I do not think that I have reached a deep enough depth of humility, of true abasement and self-effacement for the high office of an apostle.”

(Charles Finney 19th C)

“I immediately found myself endued with such power from on high, my words seemed to fasten like barbed arrows, cut like a sword, broke hearts like a hammer.”

“A revival may be expected whenever Christians are found willing to make the sacrifices necessary to carry it on. They must be willing to sacrifice their feelings, their business, their time, to help forward the work.”

(Dwight Moody 19th C)
“The Bible without the Holy Spirit is a sundial by moonlight.”

“When we preach on hell, we might at least do it with tears in our eyes.”

“The only way to keep a vessel full is to keep it always under the tap.”

(John Henry Newman 19th C)
“We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe.”

“Heart speaks to heart.”

“Lead kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom. Lead Thou me on.”

“It is as absurd to argue men, as to torture them, into believing.”

(Lord Shaftesbury 19th C)
“The Second Advent has always been a moving principle in my life, for I see everything going on in the world subordinate to this great event. Why do we not pray for it every time we hear a clock strike.”

(Alexander Somerville 19th C)
“Let the churches of the Gentiles beware at this late hour of the world’s history, not perhaps of resisting the re-entrance of the Jews into their own privilege, but of yielding to unbelief in the promises of God, and betraying apathy on the subject of Israel’s conversion. By such neglect we shall commit a perilous mistake and incur the displeasure of the Lord.”

(Charles Spurgeon 19th C)
“There are more flies caught with honey than vinegar.”

“Some ministers would make good martyrs. They are so dry they would burn well.”

“The higher a man is in Grace, the lower he will be in his own esteem.”

“Defend the Bible? I would just as soon defend a lion. Just turn the Bible loose. It will defend itself.”

“Groanings which cannot be uttered, are often prayers which cannot be refused.”

(James Hudson Taylor 19th C)
“There are three stages in the work of God: Impossible, difficult, done. Depend on it! God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God's supply.”

(Terese of Lisieux 19th C)
“For me prayer is an upward leap of the heart.”

(Aimee Semple McPherson 20th C)

“The love of winning souls for Jesus Christ sets a fire burning in one’s bones. Soul winning is the most important thing in all the world.”

(Evan Roberts 20th C)
“For 10-11 years I had prayed for revival. I said to myself, ‘I will have the Spirit.’ “

“The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the essence of revival. Revival comes from a knowledge of the Holy Spirit, and the way of co-working with Him, which enables Him to work in revival power. The primary condition of revival therefore is that Believers should individually know the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. “

“The room was full of the Holy Spirit. The outpouring was so powerful that I had to shout and plead with God to stay His hand.”

“The mistake at the time of the revival in Wales in 1904 was to become occupied with the effects and not to watch and pray in protecting and guarding the Cause.”

“Conditions for revival. 1.If there is any past sin or sins hitherto unconfessed, we cannot receive the Holy Spirit. 2.If there is anything doubtful in our life, it must be removed. 3.An entire giving up of ourselves to the Holy Spirit. We must speak and do all He requires of us. 4.Public confession of Christ.”

“Get into the habit of counting upon the Holy Ghost’s indwelling as a greater fact than our own existence.”

(A.W. Pink 20th C)
“From every pulpit in the land it needs to be thundered forth that God still lives, that God still observes…still reigns.”

(Joseph Kemp 20th C)
“Lord, take my heart and give me Your Holy Spirit.”

(Schofield Bible 20th C)
“In the grand sweep of prophecy, prophetic time is invariable so near as to give full warning; so indeterminate as to give no satisfaction to mere curiosity.”

(T. Austin-Sparks 20th C)
“The prophetic ministry is a ministry of spiritual interpretation. It is an interpretation of everything from a spiritual standpoint. The bringing of the spiritual implication of things past, present and future before the people of God.”

(C.S. Lewis 20th C)
“It is always a great mistake to confuse religion with politics, especially when the devil seems so often to choose the latter as his citadel.”

(J.R.R. Tolkien 20th C)
“Evil labours with vast power and perpetual success – in vain.”

(Dietrich Bonhoeffer 20th C)
“If the synagogues burn today, the churches will be on fire tomorrow.”

(Thomas Merton 20th C)
“The only essential is not an idea or an ideal: It is God Himself.”

“Let my trust be in Your mercy, not in myself.”

“Be good, keep your feet dry, your eyes open, your heart at peace and your soul in the joy of Christ.”

(Yehuda Amichai 20th C)
“In Jerusalem people live inside prophecies that have come true, as inside a thick cloud after an explosion. The air over Jerusalem is saturated with prayers and dreams like the air over industrial cities.”

(Anon 20th C)
“You don’t have to know key men, when you know the keeper of the keys.”

(Frank Bartleman 20th C)
“The depth of any revival will be determined exactly by the spirit of repentance that is obtained.”

“The fact is when a man gets to the place where he really loves obscurity, where he does not care to preach and where he would rather sit on the back seat than the platform, then God can lift him up and use him, and not before.”

(Billy Sunday 20th C)
“Let’s quit fiddling with religion and do something to bring the whole world to Christ.”

(Gipsy Smith 20th C)
“The way to Jesus is not by Cambridge or Oxford…Harvard or Yale (universities). It is over an old-fashioned hill called Calvary.”

(Smith Wigglesworth in New Zealand 1922)
“This revival we have had is nothing, to what God is yet going to do.”

“No Pentecostal person ought to get out of bed without being lost in the Spirit and speaking in Tongues.”

“I can get more out of God by believing Him for one minute, than by shouting at Him all night.”

“Great faith is the product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests. Great triumphs can only come out of great trials.”

“Some people read their Bibles in the Hebrew. Some in Greek. I like to read mine in the Holy Ghost.”

(Martyn Lloyd-Jones 20th C)
“A revival means the Holy Ghost descending upon a church or a community or a countryside in power and in might, in an unmistakable manner, breaking men down, and perhaps even casting them physically to the ground. It leads to agonies of repentance and longings for Christ and for peace and salvation.”

“If a church is lacking in discipline herself, what right has she to talk about the indiscipline of society?”

“The glory of the Gospel is that when the Church is absolutely different from the world, she invariably attracts it.”

(Duncan Campbell 20th C)
“Only God can make a community God-conscious; it takes the supernatural to burst the bands of the natural. Men moving from the realm of the common and the natural into the sphere of the supernatural. That is revival.”

(Stuart Piggin 20th C)
“Revival is a work of God which consists of a powerful intensification of the ordinary work of the Holy Spirit (convicting, converting, regenerating) poured out upon large numbers of people at the same time.”

(Kathryn Kuhlman 20th C)
“I ask but one thing: Take not Your Holy Spirit from me, for without Him I will surely die.”

“Faith is that quality or power by which the things desired become the things possessed.”

(Francis Schaeffer 20th C)
“It is God’s life-changing power that is able to touch every individual, who then has the responsibility to touch the world around him with the absolutes found in the Bible. In the end we must realize that the spirit of the age – with all the loss of truth and beauty, and the loss of compassion and humanness that it has brought – is not merely a cultural ill. It is a spiritual ill that the truth given us in the Bible and Christ alone can cure.”

(James K. Baxter 20th C)
“Lord, Holy Spirit, You blow like the wind in a thousand paddocks, inside and outside the fences, You blow where You wish to blow.”

(Art Katz 21st C)
“Paul never lifted a finger on his own behalf or in the promotion of his own ministry, the way we would. Yet God had him in the right place at the right time.”

“Nothing more reveals God as God as seen in His dealings and judgements with Israel. To separate ourselves therefore from Israel and the prophets of Israel, is to totally put us away from the hearing of God’s prophets.”

(Prof. Victor Shepherd 21st C)
“Wesley (before he was born again) thought the mission of the Church was to be that of improving the moral tone of society. Like all moralists he was also a legalist. He thought that people were admitted to God’s favour on the basis of rule keeping. Like moralists and legalists in general, he was superior, disdainful, autocratic, unbending…obnoxious.”

(Paul Cain 21st C)
“Spill your guts.”

“Competition and rivalry is instant death to the prophetic.”

“There’s no public reaping, without some public weeping. The greatest reapers in the world, are the greatest weepers.”

(President Jimmy Carter 21st C)
“Do you want those who will be sycophants…who will defer to you under any circumstances to gain your favour. Or do you want people who will tell you the brutal truth even though they know it might not be the popular thing to say. One of the things that any top leader needs is to have people whom you trust, that will actually tell you the brutal truth even if it’s contrary to what they know your beliefs and desires might be.”

(Geoffrey Cowley 21st C)
“Status doesn’t survive by power alone. The most durable leaders are those who kiss babies, flatter allies and share their bounty. In short the ones who govern by consent. If you have to abuse your power, you’re probably in the process of losing it.”

(Anon 21st C)
“Men try to fix problems with duct tape. God did it with nails.”