Tuesday, August 30, 2016

SHOULD WE PRAY FOR.....REVIVAL?

Revival has become a buzzword in the prayers and lexicon of many Christians in certain churches, on Christian TV programs or various forms of media.  You can’t go to a conference or church seminar without someone talking about revival. This is great, but what does Revival really look? What is Revival anyway? Websters, in its many definitions of Revival, describe it as "the growth of something or an increase in the activity of something after a long period of no growth or activity".

I have seen a real Revival up close in 2002 and went back night after night for a while to study how it came about, as a student of revival. What it did, was end up changing me and setting me on a course of a repentant lifestyle, where humility and prayer became more important than just doing church work, for its own sake. There is nothing wrong with service in the Kingdom of God. However it is more meaningful if we are truly repentant, seeking the grace and forgiveness of God. This will lead to personal revival which leads to corporate when we seek to get right as the Body of Christ. This kind of "revival" is actually more beneficial to the individual soul than sitting there praying and hoping for a huge spiritual awakening in the West - which may or may never happen!

However, I have not only been permanent touched and affected during the 20 day Life Action ministries revival in Illinois in 2002, but have preached "revival" services and conducted two separate week long open air, summer tent meetings in the state. Each speaker I invited to share, including myself, had to talk about repentance, forgiveness and commitment before Grace, so folks can understand their need for a Savior. There is precedent in the Bible a process which the Lord uses to actually bring revival to a city.

God sent the Prophet Jonah to preach to the violent extremist heathens ofNineveh as an example to us that even the most vile sinner can be forgiven,through the washing of the Word and repentance. When Jonah preached to the Kingof Nineveh and his people, every one of them repented and was saved. These over 120,000 souls represent  the biggest revival every in history before we got to the First and Second Great Awakening in the United States in both the 17th and 18th century.  But if you study how it came about, it was obedience. It was not wishful thinking. It was not “the next big thing”. It was an entire people hearing the Word from the prophet sent by God….and “OBEYING”! Jonah proclaimed the Word from God that the city will be destroyed in 40 days. The people of this awful violent and pagan city, who knew there was a God in Israel. But they saw and heard a man telling the Truth of their coming doom and how to avoid it. They obeyed, repented, fasted and God let them live again.

There is another example in Scripture with King Asa, where the Book of the Law (first five books of our Bible) was found hidden. When Asa commanded the reading of it, hearts and souls were cut to the quick and Judah turned around for that season. Revival in Judah was so country wide, deep and personal that it affected entire families. The king himself - Asa - had his own unsaved grandmother Maacah completely removed because she made detestable obscene pagan rites idols and committed obscenities and evil against the Lord. Today, walking with the Lord as a Christian COULD lead to divisions within families, but while this is not a nice thing, it is more important to follow Christ than even your own parents. God takes precedence at this point in time.

We can continue with various and sundry examples of revival and the moves of God in the lives of mankind, throughout the ages. However the bottom line is this, it is better to get right with God on a deeply personal level. Then inspire others in small groups to do the same and move on to groups and finally your own church and community. This is how God moves - one person at a time.  But if God's people are only into playing church once a week, mouthing words, and then going back into the world to play their worthless games, you and I are wasting our breaths and trivializing the true meaning of revival, if we just become like just about everyone in modern weak evangelicalism. We pray: 

Heavenly Father, You have said (1 Samuel 15:22) that to obey You is better than sacrifice and to pay attention and listen to You is better than the fat of many things used for sacrifice. Lord, help us in our unbelief. Help us to follow Your instructions for life, as laid out in Your Holy Word that we pray first, then receive a revival in our own souls our own lives before we even consider praying for revival in our churches, communities and nations. Forgive us our sins. We repent, as if in sackcloth and ashes and rebuke all our transgressions and the iniquities where we have fallen short of Your expectations in our lives.  

We pray that our own church and ministry leaders will sense this and lead in corporate repentance which leads to obedience to You. We pray for Revival to begin with us, so that it will come to our own churches before it spreads into the community. Help us as a people to realize in our own soul-searching, how far we have strayed from You and restore us in standing before You, holy and righteous as a people, that we may serve You as You have commanded, in Jesus’ Holy and Mighty Name amen.
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