Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
For those with ears to hear and eyes to perceive, these are clearly prophetic days. Many biblical indicators show us that the clouds of time are gathering into formation. . . the ‘times of revival’.
But ominous signs and seasons should not distract us from doing the basics. Now more than ever, it is time to enter together into passionate prayer and worship that invites Christ’s eternal glory to invade our troublesome world. It’s time to go without temporary nourishment in order to hear Jesus’ voice more clearly than our growling appetites.
We don’t seek the Lord merely to unlatch reward from the blessing box of heaven. We simply want our lives to be in line with what we were created for. We know this is where we’re supposed to be, so we stay. And stay at it. And watch for what God will always be faithful to accomplish as He awakens us through…
Work of God
Spiritual awakening is a work of God. Spiritually dormant Christians cannot resuscitate themselves! Those in a coma cannot push the button beside their hospital bed to alert the nurse’s station of their dire condition. They cannot give themselves medicine or go for a walk to get some fresh air. God is the Creator and sustainer of life. Only He can dispense it. Even when people begin to sense their need for revival and they start meeting with others to pray for it, they are simply responding to a divine initiative, convicting them of their sin and prompting them to return to God.
Place of Repenctance
In times of revival, God takes His people to the place of repentance. There will be no revival where there is no repentance. Scripture clearly teaches that sin brings spiritual death (Rom. 6:23). The only remedy for sin is repentance (1 John 1:9-10). Just as the first word of John the Baptist and Jesus in their earthly ministries was “repent,” so the first place the Holy Spirit will always take people experiencing the spiritually deadening effects of sin is to the place of repentance (Matt. 4:17; Mark 1:4-5).
Returning to God
Spiritual awakening involves returning to God. God urged His people through the prophet Malachi: “. . . Return to Me, and I will return to you” (Mal. 3:7). Just as in the days of Malachi when God’s people asked, “In what way shall we return?” (Mal. 3:7), so God’s people are often unaware of how far they have departed from God until He leads them to return. In times of revival, God’s people suddenly become aware of how far they have strayed from God, and return.
True revival always leads to holiness. You cannot continue to practice sin and simultaneously experience spiritual renewal.In Isaiah chapter 1, God rejected His peoples’ worship when they entered the place of worship with sin-filled lives (Isa. 1:1-20). When the prophet Isaiah experienced a fresh encounter with God, his immediate concern was his lack of holiness (Isa. 6:5). More than our worship or our service for Him, God desires holiness (Lev. 11:44; 1 Peter 1:15-16). It is only after God restores us to holiness that we are free to pray, worship, and serve Him in the manner He deserves.
Filled with the Holy Spirit
In times of revival, people are filled with the Holy Spirit. Preaching becomes powerful when anointed by the Spirit. The congregation can sing the same songs, yet now they are invigorated by the Spirit and the times of corporate worship are characterized by the joy and presence of God’s Spirit.
Revival stimulates an attitude of willing obedience to whatever God requires. Much of carnal Christianity comes not from ignorance of what God expects, but from hearts unwilling to do what God has clearly commanded. Revival, because it draws people back to the Lord, inevitably produces an eagerness to do His bidding.
Most importantly, revival brings God’s people back into a love relationship with Him. When revival comes, people recognize their sin for what it is: a renunciation of God and a violation of the love relationship. That is why, in times of revival, people often declare that God’s salvation is too good for them considering the way they coldly rejected the love of Jesus their Savior.
Prayers to Offer:
- We are grateful for the gift of prayer and Your willingness to honor our requests: “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:14).
- Our churches resist a fresh work of God. Forgive us, Lord, that we do not long for spiritual awakening.
- Lord, as we practice spiritual disciplines, may we be as one “who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles” at Your Word (Isa. 66:2).
- Dear God, starting with me, send revival to our land. Awaken my heart to encounter you afresh, and let it spread to my family, friends, neighbors, and nation.
Excerpts taken from: Praying for a Christ Awakening &
Fresh Encounter: God’s Pattern for Spiritual Awakening by Henry and Richard Blackaby with Claude King