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“We often have a tinted view of revival as a time of glory and joy and swelling numbers queuing to enter the churches. That is only part of the story. Before the glory and joy, there is conviction; and that begins with the people of God. There are tears of godly sorrow. There are wrongs to put right, secret things…to be thrown out, and bad relationships, hidden for years, to be repaired openly. If we are not prepared for this, we had better not pray for revival.”

~ Brian Edwards

Ray Ortlund

September 20, 2015

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1.  Get thoroughly dissatisfied with yourself.  Complacency is the deadly enemy of spiritual progress. . . . When speaking of earthly goods Paul could say, “I have learned to be content,” but when referring to his spiritual life he testified, “I press toward the mark.”  So stir up the gift of God that is in you.

2.  Set your face like a flint toward a sweeping transformation of your life.  Timid experimenters are tagged for failure before they start.  We must throw our whole soul into our desire for God. . . .

3.  Put yourself in the way of the blessing.  It is a mistake to look for grace to visit us as a kind of benign magic, or to expect God’s help to come as a windfall apart from conditions known and met.  There are plainly marked paths which lead straight to the green pastures; let us walk in them.  To desire revival, for instance, and at the same time to neglect prayer and devotion is to wish one way and walk another.

4.  Do a thorough job of repenting.  Do not hurry to get it over with.  Hasty repentance means shallow spiritual experience and lack of certainty in the whole life.  Let godly sorrow do her healing work. . . . It is our wretched habit of tolerating sin that keeps us in our half-dead condition.

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 by Alvin Reid

Should We Pray for Revival?

When do you think the following observations were made?

  • Ministers today seem more concerned with political power in society than spiritual fervency in the church, while pop culture contributes to the moral decay among the youth.
  • While marked by an increasing ethnic diversity and various religious beliefs, the nation’s established religious groups –– particularly Protestants –– demonstrate a sterile spirituality. One pastor bemoans the obsession with gambling and rudeness, while churches are attended at convenience.
  • College campuses teem with students chasing after the latest philosophies, the more unbiblical the better. The more educated a person you find, the less likely you are to discover a Christian. Meanwhile, churches are filled with people who listen to pastors preach then contradict the sermon by the way they live.

You may think these descriptions came from the blog of some concerned Christian commenting on our time. But the first one comes from Great Britain just before the preaching of John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, and others who were used by God to lead a great revival there. The second comes from the American colonies prior to the First Great Awakening. The final came around 1800, with college campuses in the newly formed United States influenced by Voltaire, Rousseau, and others, at the dawn of the Second Great Awakening.

Ours is not the first generation to recognize the spiritual declension among us, or to see the need for God to awaken his church and touch our land. From the saints of the Old Testament to leaders in our time, prayer for revival has marked believers who understand the need for the Spirit surpasses our ability and intelligence.

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…Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite” (Isaiah 57:15)

May God Send Revival!

We are in desperate need of your power and your fresh touch in our lives and in our churches. We have not nearly prayed enough. Not have we loved you as we should.

Please forgive us and cleanse us.

May revival come to us!

In Jesus Precious and Holy Name!

Amen 

“Revivals begin with God’s own people; the Holy Spirit touches their heart anew, and gives them new fervor and compassion, and zeal, new light and life, and when He has thus come to you, He next goes forth to the valley of dry bones… Oh, what responsibility this lays on the Church of God! If you grieve Him away from yourselves, or hinder His visit, then the poor perishing world suffers sorely!”

~Andrew Bonar

Revival Momentum Is Growing!

Author: OneCry Team Date: June 24, 2014

Last week, we read how the newly elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Ronnie Floyd, is calling all those associated with his large denomination to seek, through prayer and action, another Great Awakening in America.

Today, we want to highlight two other calls for extraordinary prayer for revival and spiritual awakening from ministries we partner with.

Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., has their annual Call2Fall event. As they describe it on their website, “The Call2Fall is nothing fancy. No slick program. No big production. Just setting aside a definite time during worship on June 29, 2014, when you call your people to get on their knees and faces before the Lord in repentant prayer for God to reshape our lives and renew our land.”

The other call to prayer comes from Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz. She has heard the Spirit speak to her about the state of our world today.

In her words, “He has impressed on me that we are living at the end of human history as we know it…. In obedience, I am blowing the trumpet … sounding the alarm … issuing a national prayer initiative entitled7 7 7: An Urgent Call to Prayer. The Call is for God’s people to pray for each of the first seven days in the seventh month: July 1–7. Then on the 7th day, July 7, we are to pray and fast for 7 hours.”

The purpose:

  • For God the Father to restrain, protect, and deliver His people from the evil that has come into our world
  • For God the Son to be exalted, magnified, and glorified in His church, in our nation, and in our lives
  • For God the Holy Spirit to fall on us in a fresh way, compelling the church to repent of sin and our nation to return to faith in the living God, resulting in a great national spiritual awakening

Click here for more information about Anne’s call to prayer.

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By Dave Butts

For many years now, the Lord has put the issue of revival praying upon my heart. Initially, I must admit, my prayers were fairly generic: “O Lord, please revive us.” As I have grown in my approach to prayer, I’ve learned more specific requests, especially in using the Word of God to help format and provide content for my prayers. Psalm 80 and Isaiah 63 and 64 have helped me to petition the Lord for revival with both variety and the power of Scripture behind my requests.
Recently I have been praying through the Psalms again. I began to lift before the Lord the words of Psalm 74. To my delight, I found another “revival” prayer. My desire is that this Psalm will provide fuel for the fire of intercession and petition in your life as you beseech God to once again bless us with His Presence in revival.

As you pray through Psalm 74, please notice that before major sections I share some comments to help you see the aspects of revival in each passage. I encourage you to move beyond Bible study however, to passionately praying the heart of the Psalmist.

The Awareness of the Need for Revival

At the beginning of Psalm 74 we find the agonizing realization that God’s presence is not near. In fact, because of sin, there has been a sense of rejection. As is typical in revival praying, there is a cry for God to remember His people and return to them:

“Why have You rejected us forever, O God? Why does Your anger smolder against the sheep of Your pasture? Remember the people You purchased of old, the tribe of Your inheritance, whom You redeemed – Mount Zion, where You dwelt. Turn Your steps toward these everlasting ruins, all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary” (Psa. 74:1-3).

The Result of God’s Apparent Absence

When sin is accepted in the life of the people of God, the consequences begin to be felt. The enemies of God and His people begin to afflict the nation. Notice that the Psalmist uses the phrase, “Your foes roared.” This reminds us that our ultimate enemy is Satan, the one whom Peter tells us roams about as a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour (1 Pet. 5:8).

“Your foes roared in the place where You met with us; they set up their standards as signs. They behaved like men wielding axes to cut through a thicket of trees. They smashed all the carved paneling with their axes and hatchets. They burned Your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of Your Name. They said in their hearts, ‘We will crush them completely!’ They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land. We are given no miraculous signs; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be” (Psa. 74:4-9).

Turning to an Awareness of the God to Whom We Are Praying

An important lesson to learn in prayer is that ultimately we need to be concerned about God and His reputation and the extension of His kingdom and purposes. Revival really isn’t about us having better meetings or being happy. It is about God’s Name being exalted and more praise and honor given to Him on this planet. Notice that the Psalmist asked God to go to work, because He is the one being reviled and mocked through the attacks on His people. Note also that this portion of the Psalm then moves into a wonderful expression of recognizing God’s power and ability to handle any attack. It is as we understand the awesome power of the One we are addressing in prayer, that our faith will grow and we will begin to pray in a way that moves the hand of God.

“How long will the enemy mock You, O God? Will the foe revile Your name forever? Why do You hold back Your hand, Your right hand? Take it from the folds of Your garment and destroy them.

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The National Prayer Accord  

From the Prayer First Team…

The National Prayer Accord is a movement of prayer embraced by the Prayer First team – as a rhythm of prayer that can be implemented in any church. With its roots in the First Great Awakening, this call to prayer is simple:

  • Weekly: one-half- to one-hour private or small group prayer
  • Monthly: one- to two-hour individual church prayer gatherings
  • Quarterly: one- to two-hour local, multiple church prayer gatherings
  • Annually: The National Day of Prayer (the first Thursday of May), Global Day of Prayer (Pentecost Sunday), Cry Out America prayer gatherings (September 11), etc.

Last month’s Prayer First newsletter described the history of the National Prayer Accord, which you can read here. But what are we praying toward? If we are praying for the revival of the Church, what might that look like?

How to Recognize Revival

Here are some commonly held indicators of revival in the Church:

  1. Increasing testimony of the manifest presence of God.
  2. Increased conversions and baptisms.
  3. Amplified participation in corporate as well as individual prayer, fasting, and other spiritual disciplines leading to more effective discipleship.
  4. A decrease in divorces and renewed commitment to marriage between a man and a woman in covenant relationship as God intends.
  5. Imparting faith to children and youth as parents are equipped by the church to become primary disciplers of their children.
  6. Among churches, a passionate pursuit for the well-being of their cities through the planting of new congregations, benevolent ministries, practical service, and focused evangelism.
  7. Commitment to radical generosity as evidenced by compassion ministries and global missions.
  8. Improved health among ministers as evidenced by their joy, decreased resignations, and healthy loving relationships within their families. Also an increased response among young people called to the ministry.
  9. Christians involved in bold witness accompanied by miracles, dramatic conversions, and Holy Spirit-empowered victories over evil.
  10. Heightened expressions of love and unity among all believers, as demonstrated by the unity of pastors and leaders.

How to Recognize Spiritual Awakening

In addition, here are indicators of a spiritual awakening in the culture:

  1. Breakdowns of racial, social, and status barriers as Christ’s Church celebrates together – Jesus!
  2. A restoration of morality, ethical foundations, and accountability among leaders of church and government, business and politics.
  3. A transformation of society through restoration of Christ’s influence in the arts, media, and communications.
  4.  Increased care for the hungry, homeless, the most vulnerable and needy.
  5. Young adults, students, and children embracing the claims and lifestyle of Christ through the witness of peers who live and love as Jesus.
  6. Community and national leaders seeking out the church as an answer to society’s problems.
  7. Increased care for children as “gifts from the Lord” as the gospel addresses abortion, adoption, foster care, and child well-being.
  8. Righteous relations between men and women: decrease in divorce rates, cohabitation, same-sex relations, sexual abuse, sex trafficking, out of wedlock children, and STDs.
  9. An awakening to the “fear of the Lord” rather than the approval of people, thus restoring integrity and credibility.
  10. Neighborhood transformation and an accompanying decrease of social ills through increased expressions of “loving your neighbor” in service, compassion, and unity.

God has responded to the prayers of His people with Great Awakenings in the past. We believe it is worth the investment of heart and prayer to invite the Lord to do it again! It may be our greatest need for today.

The offering of ourselves can only be the offering of our lived experience, because this alone is who we are. And who we are–not who we want to be–is the only offering we have to give. We give God therefore not just our strengths but also our weaknesses, not just our giftedness but also our brokenness.

Our duplicity, our lust, our narcissism, our sloth–all are laid on the altar of sacrifice.

Richard J. Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True

June 2017
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