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Here is a list help you pray for revival in the church and the further advancement of God’s kingdom.

Paul exhorted the Christians in Ephesus to: “…pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayer and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18).”

For us this includes being in regular intercession for our world.

Are you praying for revival in your country? If you want some thematic reminders for revival prayer, here you go

Praying for Personal Repentance

“…Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…” Hebrews 12:1
John wrote, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives (I John 1:8-10).”

Effective intercession must include personal confession.

Refusing to acknowledge and turn from our own disobedience always results in a form of spiritual self-deception.

As Jesus explained, “First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:5).”

As you pray, put into practice John’s exhortation. Hold your life up to such passages as I Peter 3:8-12.

Are you praying for revival in your country? If you want some thematic reminders for revival prayer, here you go

Praying for the Infilling of the Holy Spirit for Life and Ministry

Jesus commands us, if we are to be his witnesses, to be clothed with his power. Jesus urged his first disciples and us to be clothed with the power of the Holy Spirit for missions.

Paul exhorted the church, “Do not be drunk on wine … Instead, be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).”

The seedbed of theological, spiritual, and moral decline in the church is often lifeless, dry orthodoxy. Also, the church’s evangelism and overseas mission often falter because of reliance upon human strength, rather than empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

Having a biblical framework of theology is critical. But our head must be connected to a heart ablaze with the life of God.

As Paul instructed the church in Ephesus to be filled with the Spirit, pray for the church to be filled with the presence of God’s Spirit. Pray for yourself to be filled with the Holy Spirit so you may be empowered to do this work of prayer for the church, and to be equipped to do the work of Jesus Christ.

Praying for the World

1. Pray for workers: When Jesus saw the crowds, he instructed his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the Harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field (Matthew 9:38).”

In context, Jesus was looking at the sheep of Israel.

In part, he was instructing his disciples to pray for true workers to be raised up to shepherd his people. This should be our continuous prayer as we intercede for the church.

But, it also applies to the vast fields of people stretching around the world. Besides praying for godly shepherds to lead the church, pray for workers to be raised up to minister around the world.

2. Pray for Open doors: Paul wrote the Colossians, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ (Colossians 4:2-3).”

As you devote yourself to prayer, ask the Lord to open doors for the world mission endeavor to proclaim the mystery of Christ among even more people.

3. Pray for the Gospel to Spread and to be Honored: Paul asked the church to intercede for his mission team, “brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored … (2 Thessalonians 3:1).”

How does the gospel spread?

It takes people who are willing to go and share God’s truth.

It also requires Christians who are willing to stand with them in persistent intercession.

How does God’s message come to be honored? In answer to the church’s intercession God will bring the spiritual climate in which the Scripture is honored for what it is: God’s truth.

Our prayer should not only be for workers and open doors, but for the message to spread and find a place of honor in the hearts of people.

Setting the Captives free

1. Pray with Expectation: (Read Luke 18:25-27.) No matter how impossible the situation may look or how entrenched in spiritual darkness may be, God is able to cause his light to penetrate to the heart.

2. Pray for the Father to Draw People: (Read John 6:44) In our sinful state, none of us are capable of coming out of spiritual darkness and drawing near to God on our own. Only through the drawing of God the Father were we able to find freedom in Christ.

As we pray for people, in line with the clear will of God, our prayer should be for God to draw them to the grace, love and truth found only in Jesus Christ.

3. Pray for an understanding of Jesus Christ: (Read Matthew 16:17) Personally grasping the reality and the relevance of Jesus Christ comes only through the Holy Spirit’s work. We come to believe that Jesus is the Christ as the Holy Spirit imparts faith. Pray for the Holy Spirit to bring a true understanding of Jesus Christ to those blinded by sin and Satan.

4. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s Conviction of Sin, Righteousness and Judgment: (Read John 16:9-11.) The Holy Spirit brings conviction to people of sin, righteousness and judgment.

Concerning sin, the Holy Spirit brings an awareness to people of the sin and the spiritual darkness into which their sin has plunged their lives.

Concerning righteousness, the Holy Spirit brings a personal conviction that only through the accomplished work of Jesus Christ can a person be right with God. It is through the Spirit’s activity that people begin to understand their need to be put right with God.

Concerning judgment, the Holy Spirit brings an understanding that to continue in rebellion against God is to embrace the same kind of judgment which the prince of the world has already received.

As we intercede for people bound in spiritual darkness, our prayers should include the request for the Spirit of God to bring his conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment.

Bringing Down Strongholds

1. Focus on Jesus: First we are to focus on Jesus Christ in worship, obedience, and prayer. To let the twisting of truth, idolatry, or any sin to consume our attention is to lose our focus. No matter how great the darkness, our eyes are to be steadfastly on Jesus Christ as Lord.

2. Confession: Next we need to be honest before the Lord in confessing and turning from any idolatry, immorality or rebellion we are harboring within ourselves. This includes sins of omission. James taught, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins (James 4:17).” Have we been in regular prayer for the church and the world? Have we been living our life according to God’s will as revealed through scripture?

3. Pray to be Filled with God’s Spirit, Wisdom, Discernment & Love: Neither our wisdom nor arguments will bring deliverance from the stronghold of darkness revealed. Only by the power of God’s Spirit will the obstruction be removed. God’s wisdom, discernment and love are required if our labor for renewal is to result in lasting change. As you pray, ask the Lord to fill his people with his Spirit and the love, wisdom and discernment needed for effective ministry.

4. In the Light of Scripture: All spiritual activity needs to be evaluated in the light of clear Biblical teaching concerning the true nature of God and his activity in the world.

5. Persistent Intercession: We are to respond with persistent intercession for those perpetuating and those influenced by the stronghold.

God has chosen to work through the intercession of his people to bring convicting, and awareness of spiritual bondage and an urgency for finding true freedom in Christ.

When a block is discerned, we are to pray until the stronghold is removed and those in darkness are finding true spiritual liberty.

6. Resist the Demonic: Peter instructed the church: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith ... (1 Peter 5:6-9).” With the praise of God, the Word of God, persistent prayer, the cleansing blood of Jesus, humbling ourselves in obedience and in the strong name of Jesus, we are to resist these spiritual forces of the evil one until they are fleeing.

For the rest of the post…

“Revival is an infusion of new spiritual life imparted by the Holy Spirit to existing parts of Christ’s body.”

~ Richard Lovelace

“Any man that is saved and sanctified
can feel the fire burning in his heart,
when he calls on the name of Jesus”
William J. Seymour

“The key to joy in God is God’s omnipotent, transforming grace, bought by his Son, applied by His Spirit, wakened by the Word, and laid hold of by faith through prayer”

~ John PiperWhen I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy138

John Piper Photo

He Died Early in the Smile of God

Robert Murray McCheyne (1813–1843)

Article by John Piper

Robert Murray McCheyne was a local pastor in Dundee, Scotland, who died in 1843 at the age of 29. No extraordinary events in his life made him likely to be remembered. But he had a very precious friend, Andrew Bonar, a nearby pastor. And within two years Andrew had published Memoir and Remains of Robert Murray McCheyne. It is still in print, and here we are 176 years after McCheyne’s death, encouraged and inspired by his life.

What was it about McCheyne’s short, and in many ways ordinary, life that gave it the force that created the book (and now books) that preserves his legacy to our day?

The Rose and the Thorn

I suggest that there was a double key to the force of McCheyne’s life: the preciousness of Jesus and the pain of a thorn.

In McCheyne’s description of his teenage years, he said, “I kissed the Rose nor thought about the thorn” — meaning, “I indulged in all the amusing and beautiful pleasures of the world, and didn’t give a thought to sickness and suffering and death.” But after his conversion, he spoke often of Jesus as his Rose of Sharon, and he lived in almost constant awareness of the thorn of his sickness and that his time might be short. He said in one of his sermons,

Set not your heart on the flowers of this world; for they have all a canker in them. Prize the Rose of Sharon . . . more than all; for he changeth not. Live nearer to Christ than to the saints, so that when they are taken from you, you may have him to lean on still. (Sermons of Robert Murray McCheyne)

McCheyne lived only the morning of his life: he died before he was 30. His effectiveness, however, was not frustrated by this fact but empowered by it. Because of his tuberculosis, he lived with the strong sense that he would die early. So the double key to his life is the preciousness of Jesus, the Rose, intensified by the pain of the thorn, the sickness and the shortness of his life.

Pierced Awake

McCheyne was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on May 21, 1813. He grew up in an atmosphere with high moral standards, but was, by his own testimony, “devoid of God.” When he went to the University of Edinburgh at the age of 14, he studied classics. He was kissing the rose of classical learning, and ignoring the thorn of suffering and death.

But all that changed in 1831 when he was 18 years old. David, Robert’s oldest brother, was neither spiritually nor physically well. In the summer of that year, he sank into a deep depression and died on July 8. Suddenly, the thorn of the rose stabbed McCheyne through the heart. All the beauty of the rose he was living for wilted. And by God’s grace, he saw another Rose in what happened to David.

In the days leading up to his death, David found a profound peace through the blood of Jesus. Bonar said that “joy from the face of a fully reconciled Father above lighted up [David’s dying] face” (Memoir). McCheyne saw it, and everything began to change. He had seen a rose other than classical learning. And he saw it as beautiful, not in spite of the thorn, but because of it. The thorn pierced him awake.

A Passion for Holiness and Evangelism

Four months after the death of his brother, McCheyne enrolled in the Divinity Hall of Edinburgh University, November 1831. There he met the man who would have the greatest influence on his life and ministry, Thomas Chalmers.

Chalmers pressed all of his great learning into the service of holiness and evangelism. He warned McCheyne and the other students of “the white devil” and “the black devil” — the black devil leading to “fleshly sins” of the world, and the white devil to “spiritual sins” of self-righteousness. And he made the gospel of Christ crucified for sinners the central power for this holiness.

Chalmers was also deeply burdened about the poverty in the slums of Edinburgh and how little gospel witness there was. He established the Visiting Society and recruited McCheyne and his friends to join. This threw McCheyne into a world he had never seen as an upper-middle-class university student. It awakened in him a sense of urgency for those cut off from the gospel. On March 3, 1834, two and a half years into his divinity studies, he wrote,

Such scenes I never before dreamed of. . . . “No man careth for our souls” is written over every forehead. Awake, my soul! Why should I give the hours and days any longer to the vain world, when there is such a world of misery at the very door? Lord, put thine own strength in me; confirm every good resolution; forgive my past long life of uselessness and folly. (Memoir)

So McCheyne would take away from his time in divinity school a passion for holiness and a passion for evangelism. These would never leave him and would become defining impulses of his life — all of it motivated by the beauty of the Rose, and all of it intensified by the thorn of suffering.

Uneventful, Useful Life

The last day of McCheyne’s divinity lectures was March 29, 1835. He was just shy of being 22 years old. And that fall he was called to be the assistant minister in the double parish of Larbert and Dunipace. He served there as an assistant until the call came from St. Peter’s Church in Dundee in August 1836. There McCheyne served as the pastor until his death six and a half years later.

That’s the simple sum of his professional life: a student till he was 22, an assistant pastor for a year, and a senior pastor for six years. As I have tried to think through what makes such an uneventful life so useful even 176 years after his death, it isn’t any extraordinary event in his life. Rather, it is his extraordinary passion for Christ — for the Rose — and for holiness and for lost people, all intensified by the shortness of life — the thorn. And all this passion preserved in powerful, picturesque language. He is still influencing us because of the words that came out of his mouth, not the events of his life.

So let’s listen to him concerning the pursuit of holiness and concerning his communion with God through the word and prayer.

Take Ten Looks at Christ

God had given McCheyne the gospel key to pursuing personal holiness. He received it through the teaching of Chalmers. Chalmers was very concerned about excessive introspection in the pursuit of holiness. He knew that a believer cannot make progress in holiness without basing it on the assurance of salvation, and yet the effort to look into our sinful hearts for some evidences of grace usually backfires.

Chalmers said that glimpses into the dark room of the heart alone give no good prospect. Instead, he said we should

take help from the windows. Open the shutters and admit the sun. So if you wish to look well inwardly, look well out. . . . This is the very way to quicken it. Throw widely open the portals of faith and in this, every light will be admitted into the chambers of experience. The true way to facilitate self-examination is to look believingly outwardly. (Introduction to The Christian’s Great Interest, 6)

McCheyne had written that down in a class and underlined the last sentence. So it is not surprising to hear him give his own counsel in similar terms: “Learn much of the Lord Jesus. For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ. He is altogether lovely. . . . Live much in the smiles of God. Bask in his beams. Feel his all-seeing eye settled on you in love. And repose in his almighty arms” (Memoir).

This was the basic strategy in the pursuit of holiness. So when McCheyne spoke what are probably his most famous words, “The greatest need of my people is my own holiness,” he meant not only that they need a pastor who is morally upright, but that they need a pastor who is walking in constant communion with Christ, and being changed into Christ’s likeness by that constant fellowship. Which brings us now finally to the way he cultivated that constant communion with Christ.

For the rest of the post…

“Time alone with the Lord Jesus each day is the indispensable condition of growth and power.”

~ Andrew Murray

The Willing and Eager Heart of Christianity

Article by David Mathis

Executive Editor, desiringGod.org

One of the most liberating discoveries of my life has been coming to find that God does not pursue his people through coercion but by winning us from the heart. True Christianity cannot be coerced. God works — through his word and his Spirit — from the inside out. The faith “once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) is indeed at its heart a faith, not an action, as it advances not by the sword of coercion and military campaign, but by the sword of the Spirit and the movement of souls.

What God says to, and expects from, pastors tells us how he wins people. It’s powerfully revealing. Church leaders are first and foremost sheep, and not above the flock. “Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you,” says the good shepherd, “but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). And what Peter has to say about how pastors should serve is an insightful description of the heart of the everyday Christian life: “not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly” (1 Peter 5:2).

Linger with me over what it means for our faith not to be “under compulsion” or “for shameful gain,” but willing and eager.

Not Under Compulsion

Where do we find compulsion in the New Testament? On the darkest day in the history of the world, Roman soldiers compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, to carry Jesus’s cross (Matthew 27:32; Mark 15:21). And three times in Galatians, Paul mentions false teachers trying to force Gentile Christians to do what they do not want to do, namely, be circumcised (Galatians 2:3, 14; 6:12). Roman soldiers and false teachers don’t major on making appeals to the heart. They aim at external conformity, not the joy of faith (Philippians 1:25; 2 Corinthians 1:24). They seek to force or compel others to do what they don’t want to do. But such is not the case with Christianity.

Rather, when Paul, as an apostle, could have commanded Philemon, he chooses instead, for love’s sake, to appeal to him (Philemon 8–10). “I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord” (Philemon 14). And when he invites the Corinthians to contribute to the relief of the impoverished saints in Jerusalem, he wants each person to “give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

God wants us to be willing, not feel obligated. His people rejoice to give willingly, with their whole hearts, “offering freely and joyously” to him (1 Chronicles 29:9, 17). He wants our generosity to be “as a willing gift, not as an exaction” (2 Corinthians 9:5). It is “a willing spirit” that tastes the joy of his salvation (Psalm 51:12), and it is a glory to our King when his people “offer themselves freely” to his worship and service (Psalm 110:3). Christian faith cannot be forced. God wants to win us from within, and empower Christians by his Spirit to live willing, freely, from the heart.

Not for Shameful Gain

But “inside out” alone is not enough. Some desires of the heart are holy, righteous, and good; others are not. Whereas “compulsion” or “force” comes from the outside, the desire for “shameful gain” comes from within. So 1 Peter 5:2 is not just saying don’t be forced from without, but also don’t be driven from within by sinful (selfish) desires, but rather by righteous desire.

So, what does it mean to be motivated by shameless desire, instead of shameful? C.S. Lewis helps us with the nature of rewards and righteous desire in the Christian life:

There are rewards that do not sully motives. A man’s love for a woman is not mercenary because he wants to marry her, nor his love for poetry mercenary because he wants to read it, nor his love of exercise less disinterested because he wants to run and leap and walk. Love, by its very nature, seeks to enjoy its object. (The Problem of Pain)

It is not enough that we would live simply from desire and willingness, and not compulsion and obligation. We want to live from righteous desire, not for shameful or sinful gain — desire that is fitting to its object. But don’t think that means we do not live for gain!

For the rest of the post…

“Personally, I find it helpful to begin each day by silently committing it to God (even before I get up), thanking Him that I belong to Him and that He knows what the day holds for me. Then I ask Him to use me that day for His glory, and to cleanse me from ever sin that might hinder this. Then I step our by faith, believing His Spirit will fill me as I obey His Word and trust in Him. I won’t always be aware of His presence, but at the end of the day, I know I’ll  be able to look back and thank Him for being with me and guiding me. He had promised to be with me that day–and He was.”

 The Journey152.  

“The greatest wisdom on this earth is holiness.”

~ W.S. Plumer

PLUMER, William S_detail

“Revival, no matter how great or small in its ultimate scope, always begins with individual believers whose hearts are desperate for God, and who are willing to pay the price to meet Him.”

~ Del Fehsenfeld Jr.

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