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I will return!

Let us continue to pray for revival!

Bryan

Christian singer, Keith Green passed away on July 28, 1982.  One of my favorite songs is

Make My Life A Prayer to You

Make my life a prayer to You
I wanna do what You want me to
No empty words and no white lies
No token prayers no compromise

I wanna shine the light You gave
Thru Your Son You sent to save us
From ourselves and our despair
It comforts me to know You’re really there

Chorus
Well I wanna thank You now
For being patient with me
Oh it’s so hard to see
When my eyes are on me
I guess I’ll have to trust
And just believe what You say
Oh you’re coming again
Coming to take me away

I wanna die and let You give
Your life to me so I might live
And share the hope You gave me
The love that set me free

I wanna tell the world out there
You’re not some fable or fairy tale
That I’ve made up inside my head
You’re God the Son and You’ve risen from the dead

Chorus

I wanna die and let You give
Your life to me so I might live
And share the hope You gave me
The love that set me free

Our prayer for a spiritual awakening will without question, be most effective if we take up the work of interceding for certain individuals in particular (O. Hallesby, Prayer, 80).

We long for revivals;

We speak of revivals;

We work for revivals;

And we even pray a little for them.

But we do not enter upon that labor in prayer which is the essential preparation for every revival!

(O. Hallesby, Prayer, 77)

From “Awake and Go Global Prayer Network

1.  Genuine Revival is a supernatural celebration of the Supremacy of Jesus Christ.

Genuine Revival is NOT a church growth strategy, evangelistic crusade or a series of miracle meetings, but rather the manifest glory of God that radically redefines and transforms the Church from a man centered institution to a corporate celebration of the supremacy of Jesus Christ. In our praying for Revival we are not merely seeking after spiritual experiences. Biblical Revival always reestablishes the Supremacy and Glory of Christ as the primary focus of the Church,  “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?”(Ps 85:6).  We understand and appreciate that many of the outward expressions of the Church will be radically affected by revival, however, these things are the byproduct and not the goal and focus of genuine revival. The preeminence and pleasure of Jesus Christ is to be the beginning and the end of all our revival pursuits! Anything less will only leave our churches disillusioned and distracted by temporary and superficial religious experiences.

2.  Genuine Revival mobilizes the Church to World evangelism for the glory and pleasure of God.

Genuine Christ focused Revivals always produce a renewed passion for World Evangelism. Yet, it’s not uncommon to find many of our revival prayer groups focusing almost exclusively on the Church, while neglecting to pray for the forgotten and unreached nations of the World. Likewise, it’s also common to find other groups of sincere believers praying for World missions, but ignoring the pressing need for spiritual revival at home. God desires for His people to unite and earnestly pray about both of these Kingdom priorities. In spite of our personal emphasis and giftings, a mature and healthy Kingdom perspective demands that we warmly embrace God’s call to pray for both Revival and World Missions!

By affirming the eternal relationship between these two themes, we are NOT suggesting that our churches should postpone their missionary activity while we passively wait for another sovereign, God-sent revival. However, the Scriptures and Church history clearly confirm that the remaining task of World evangelism will never be fulfilled in our generation apart from a fresh and mighty move of God.  J. Herbert Kane, the missionary historian and strategist stated this case quite clearly with the following words: “Water cannot rise any higher than its source, nor can the mission overseas be any stronger than the supporting church at home. A sick church can never save a dying world…Throughout history, revival at home and missions abroad have always gone together.”

3.  Genuine Revival is always preceded by faith, humility and united prayer.

God desires to wonderfully revive and equip His church today. Therefore it is our goal to challenge God’s people about the spiritual value of child-like faith, deep humility and united prayer as the essential elements in preparing our hearts to experience God’s reviving presence. God delights to use the faith-filled prayers of frail and needy people to birth great things into the earth.  Remember, the strategy of prayer is God’s sovereign design and not the human efforts of overly ambitious men. The inspired Word of God repeatedly exhorts us to pray in cooperation with God’s kingdom purposes.

“Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession.” (Ps 2:8)

“Ask the LORD for rain in the time of the latter rain.” (Zech 10:1)

“Ask , and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matt 7:7-9)

We are living in a new day when God is calling a new generation to partner with Him in persistent and enduring prayer.  We trust that the resources and tools posted on this page will help and inspire you to pray more strategically for God’s glory to revive the Church and awaken every tongue, tribe and nation!

Our churches need revival.  May the Lord Jesus come to us on this Lord’s Day with Power! Amen!

“It is extraordinary power from God, not talent, that wins the day. It is extraordinary spiritual unction not extraordinary mental power, that we need. Mental power may fill a chapel but spiritual power fills the church with soul anguish. Mental power may gather a large congregation. but only spiritual power will save souls. What we need is spiritual power.”

Charles. H. Spurgeon

“No erudition, no purity of diction, no width of mental outlook, no flowers of eloquence, no grace of person can atone for lack of fire. Prayer ascends by fire. Flame gives prayer access as well as wings, acceptance as well as energy. There is no incense without fire; no prayer without flame.”

E. M. Bounds (1835-1913), The Necessity of Prayer

That question was asked to Greg Gordon, founder of SermonIndex.net.  His answer?

“I think it’s to realize the absolute desperate need for God to bring revival”

“Also for churches to rely again on prayer.  That need is beyond desperate.  So few churches dedicate meetings to prayer and intercession these days.  Anyone can talk about what’s wrong with the Church, but someone’s got to bring a solution” (Revival News, Canadian Revival Fellowship, Vol. XXXIX NO. 3, Summer 2010)

“The greatest blow sent Satan-ward is made by weeping warriors of prayer.”

Dick Eastman

Revival is a seemingly old-fashioned word that conjures up numerous definitions, some of which have little to do with authentic revival, or “times of refreshing” sent from the Lord as described in Scripture. To aid in defining what I mean when I reference true, biblical revival I want to draw from one of the most important modern documents written on the topic, An Urgent Appeal—To Christian Leaders in America for Consensus and Collaboration on the Biblical Nature and Hope of Corporate Revival.

The Appeal was drafted in 2003 with input from nearly 100 national Christian leaders who joined together for one purpose: “To urge all churches and all Christians of America to unite in seeking the face of God through prayer and fasting, persistently asking our Father to send revival to the church and spiritual awakening to our nation, so that Christ’s Great Commission might be fulfilled worldwide in our generation” (National Revival Network, [NavPress: Colorado Springs, CO, 2003]).

Included in the Appeal is the following definition by J. Edwin Orr that, I think, captures the biblical meaning of revival quite well:

An Evangelical Awakening is a movement of the Holy Spirit bringing about a revival of New Testament Christianity in the Church of Christ and in its related community. Such an awakening may change in a significant way an individual; or it may affect a larger group of believers; or it may move a congregation or the churches in the city or district, or the body of believers throughout a country or continent; or indeed the larger body of believers throughout the world. The outpouring of the Spirit affects the reviving of the church, the awakening of the masses, and the movement of uninstructed peoples toward the Christian faith; the revived Church, by many or by few, is moved to engage in evangelism, in teaching, and in social action.

As stated in the Appeal, “all true revival is about God bringing glory back to His Son by the power of the Holy Spirit through His Church. …In fact, corporate revival necessitates Trinitarian activity: Father-initiated, Spirit-driven, Son-centered. …biblical revival is supremely Son-centered—it is utterly Christ-dominated. …Any spiritual experience, whether called revival or something else, that diminishes Christ, bypasses Him, or actually leads away from Him, is not of God and holds no hope for any generation.”

The Appeal continues, “Fundamentally, revival is an awakening to all that Christ already is for us. …in revival God does not make new things. Rather, He makes things new. He does this by reintroducing us to Christ who stands at the epicenter of His renewing purpose among the nations. …in revival God accelerates, intensifies, deepens, and extends the newness that Christ secured for us.”

There have been three Great Awakenings in this nation’s history that profoundly affected the Church and surrounding culture, so much so that history could not ignore these spontaneous movements of God and their dramatic effects. The first occurred in New England during the 1730s and 1740s, when God used men like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield. The nation, which was in a grave state morally and spiritually, was utterly transformed in the wake of the Great Awakening. As Dr. John Armstrong, a respected scholar on the subject of revival, points out in his book, True Revival:

Before this season of awakening, the American colonies stood at a very low ebb morally and spiritually. Family life was breaking down at alarming rates. Drunkenness and drug abuse were at an all-time high and sex outside of marriage was considered acceptable by alarming numbers of people. …After the season of revival things changed dramatically (Armstrong, True Revival, [Harvest House: Irvine, CA, 2001]).

By 1770 the effects of the first Great Awakening had dissipated. Contrary to popular belief, Americans were by then no longer a religious people. In fact, it is estimated that less than 5 percent of the population attended church during the period just prior to the American Revolution. “Colleges, once Christian in their orientation, were now staffed with prominent faculty members who were ‘freethinkers.’ …professors regularly attacked biblical faith. …By 1795 Yale, a previously Christian institution, had only 12 students who openly professed their faith in Christ. This sad situation was the same all across the colonies” (Armstrong, p.106).

However, God’s mercy was one again near at hand as the second Great Awakening, beginning around 1800, would transform American universities and American culture. Armstrong points out, “By 1802…one-third of the student body [at Yale] professed faith in Christ. This, in effect, was the beginning of a new wave of spiritual awakenings that touched Andover, Princeton, Amhurst and other colleges.” Armstrong adds, “During the first half of the 19th century the nation’s population increased four-fold. During these same years the church increased tenfold!”

By 1830 Americans were a profoundly religious people. This was the America that Alexis de Tocqueville encountered, prompting him to write, “In America, one of the freest and most enlightened nations in the world, the people fulfill with fervor all of the outward duties of religion.”

Unfortunately, by the 1850s the people had once again begun to abandon their “first love.” The culture wars over issues such as slavery, prison reform, and temperance had divided the nation more deeply than anything before or since (that is, until recently). Once again, God in his mercy poured out his Spirit upon the land. “It has been estimated, conservatively, that over one million people were converted during this two-year period from late 1857 to late 1859” (Armstrong, p. 108). Dr. Armstrong offers needed perspective when he writes, “To get an idea of how this would compare to our day, imagine about 8-10 million people experiencing true conversions in a matter of a few weeks—without the programs and plans and the massive human engineering of our age.”

These “awakenings” have been supernatural in both origin and effect. They were not wrought by the hands of men trying to bring about revival, for such a thing is not possible. These providential outpourings of God’s Spirit upon his people were initiated and sustained by God for his glory and purposes.

However, a common factor preceding each of these historic movements of God was a unified call to prayer within the church. I mean authentic, Christ-centered prayer. The people praying during these periods of “sleep” were not praying for the Lord to “bless the nation” or bless them and their families. They were praying that the Lord, in his mercy, would pour out his Spirit upon his people and utterly transform them so that through them individually and his church corporately, he would be glorified! They longed to be like Christ and were willing to let him have his way in their lives, knowing that nothing was off-limits to his lordship.

This is not a safe prayer; this kind of prayer has the supernatural potential to change everything about us, including those things that, in our flesh, we really don’t want to change.

The times in which we live bear striking resemblance to those periods preceding previous outpourings of God’s Spirit or revivals. God still desires and providentially determines to bring glory to the Son through his church. Our part is to earnestly seek the manifestation of Lord’s glory in our own lives and corporately in his church, regardless of what this may cost us. We beseech the Lord with hope that he will once again be merciful to us sinners.
If you remember no other commentary I ever write, I pray you will diligently think on this one and pass it along to as many within the church as possible. I pray that each of us would unite in this kind of prayer: seeking the Lord’s glory, manifested in and through his people; that he would have his way in our lives—individually and corporately; and that we would be utterly transformed, becoming more like Christ so that the world would see Christ and his kingdom! This should be the lifelong and ongoing prayer of the church!

© 2010 by S. Michael Craven Permission granted for non-commercial use.

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S. Michael Craven is the President of the Center for Christ & Culture and the author of Uncompromised Faith: Overcoming Our Culturalized Christianity (Navpress, 2009). Michael’s ministry is dedicated to equipping the church to engage the culture with the redemptive mission of Christ. For more information on the Center for Christ & Culture and the teaching ministry of S. Michael Craven, visit: www.battlefortruth.org

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