Leonard Ravenhill – a biography

Leonard Ravenhill (1907–1994) was an English Christian evangelist and author who focused on the subjects of prayer and revival. He is best known for challenging the modern church (through his books and sermons) to compare itself to the early Christian Church as chronicled in the Book of Acts. His most notable book is Why Revival Tarries which has sold over a million copies worldwide.

Born in Leeds, in Yorkshire, England, Ravenhill was educated at Cliff College in England and sat under the ministry of Samuel Chadwick. He was a student of church history, with a particular interest in Christian revival. His evangelistic meetings during the Second World War drew large crowds. Many converts devoted themselves to Christian ministry and foreign missions.

In 1939, he married an Irish nurse, Martha. The Ravenhills had three sons: Paul, David, and Philip. Paul and David are Christian ministers, and Philip is a teacher.

In 1950, Ravenhill and his family moved from Great Britain to the United States. In the 1960s they traveled within the United States, holding tent revivals and evangelistic meetings.

In the 1980s, Ravenhill moved to a home near Lindale, Texas, a short distance from Last Days Ministries Ranch. He regularly taught classes at LDM and was a mentor to the late Keith Green. He also spent some time teaching at Bethany College of Missions in Minnesota, and some time in Seguin, Texas.

Among others influenced by Ravenhill were Ray Comfort, Ravi Zacharias, Tommy Tenney, Steve Hill, Charles Stanley, Bill Gothard, Paul Washer, and David Wilkerson.

He was a close friend of pastor and writer A. W. Tozer.

Through his teaching and books, Ravenhill addressed the disparities he perceived between the New Testament Church and the Church in his time and called for adherence to the principles of biblical revival.

Tozer said of Ravenhill:

„To such men as this, the church owes a debt too heavy to pay. The curious thing is that she seldom tries to pay him while he lives. Rather, the next generation builds his sepulchre and writes his biography – as if instinctively and awkwardly to discharge an obligation the previous generation to a large extent ignored.”

Ravenhill died in November 1994 and is interred at Garden Valley Cemetery in Garden Valley, Texas, close to the grave of Keith Green.

In 2011 Free Grace Press published a full biography of Leonard Ravenhill written by Mack Tomlinson titled, „In Light of Eternity.”


„Today’s church wants to be raptured from responsibility.”

„If weak in prayer, we are weak everywhere.”

„Men give advice; God gives guidance.”

„Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?”

„A sinning man stops praying, a praying man stops sinning”

„The only reason we don’t have revival is because we are willing to live without it!”

„God pity us that after years of writing, using mountains of paper and rivers of ink, exhausting flashy terminology about the biggest revival meetings in history, we are still faced with gross corruption in every nation, as well as with the most prayerless church age since Pentecost.”

„The Church used to be a lifeboat rescuing the perishing. Now she is a cruise ship recruiting the promising.”

„The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity.”

„My main ambition in life is to be on the devil’s most wanted list.”

„If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified.”

„Entertainment is the devil’s substitute for joy”


  • Sodom Had No Bible, Bethany House Publishers (June 1981),
  • Tried & Transfigured, Bethany House Publishers (June 1982),
  • Meat For Men, Bethany House Publishers (June 1979),
  • Revival Praying, Bethany House Publishers (June 1981),
  • America is Too Young To Die, Bethany House Publishers (September 1979),
  • Why Revival Tarries, Bethany House Publishers, Expanded Edition, (August 1979),
  • Revival God’s Way, Bethany House Publishers (June 1986)

Sketches of Revival Preachers written by Leonard Ravenhill:

George Ousely

George Fox

George Willet

George Whitefield

John Wesley

Jonathan Edwards

Billy Nicholson

Richard Baxter of Kidderminster


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