As you look at your own heart, are you in need of a revival? Your local congregation? The larger church universal? Is there a great need for revival in our midst?
Here’s what I mean by revival. Stephen Olford says, “Revival is an invasion from heaven that brings a conscious awareness of God.” Vance Havner once said that, “Revival is the church falling in love with Jesus all over again.” I say that revival is hearts being set aflame with love for Christ.
So again, is there a great need for revival in our midst? I would say that that’s indeed the case. We need a fresh zeal for God, which only comes through a fresh anointing of God, so that we’ll delight exceedingly in God.
There’s no doubt whatsoever that revival is the work of God, but there’s also no doubt whatsoever that God sends revival to a people who are hungry for it. As you get desperate for revival, you cry out to God as a beggar, and then He mightily supplies.
If you are hungry for revival, I want to help you cry out to God in your desperation. I want to help you pray for revival, and I want to help you pray for revival biblically.
One of the key passages exemplifying for us how to pray for revival is Isaiah 63:15-64:12. The nation of Israel was in dire need of revival as it had come under the strong discipline of God for spiritual apathy, apostasy, and adultery. The prophet’s prayer is very instructive for us.
1. Ask God to take notice of your situation
Isaiah prayed, Look down from heaven and see from Your holy and glorious habitation (Isaiah 63:15). God is an all-knowing, all-seeing God, but you should invite Him to focus in on you, to fix His gaze on you. Surely the glories of His heavenly abode are more pleasing, but if you’ll only invite Him to take notice of what’s happening with you, perhaps He’ll be moved to compassion.
2. Beg God to not restrain Himself from you, His covenant people
Isaiah continued, Where are Your zeal and Your mighty deeds? The stirrings of Your heart and Your compassion are restrained toward me. For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us and Israel does not recognize us. You, O LORD, are our Father, Our Redeemer from of old is Your name, (Isaiah 63:15-16). Clearly, the nation of Israel is God’s covenant people, but did you know that if you are in Jesus Christ, you are part of God’s covenant people as well? Indeed, you are. He has set His covenantal affection on you. Remind the Lord of that truth, and ask Him to withhold nothing good, especially Himself. Trust me: if the Lord freely gives of Himself, you will lack in nothing good!
3. Admit that you have strayed from God’s desire for your life
The prophet admitted to God, For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us and Israel does not recognize us, (Isaiah 63:16). Israel had strayed so far God that their forefather Abraham wouldn’t recognize them. Is that true of you? You have been called to be conformed to the spiritual image of Jesus Christ, but do you look anything like Him spiritually? You should, but if you don’t, admit that to God. Don’t try to hide stuff from God. Rather, be transparent before the One before whom you are actually already spiritually naked.
4. Plead that God would grant repentance instead of giving you over to a reprobate mind
Isaiah utters some hard words here. He says:
- Why, O LORD, do You cause us to stray from Your ways And harden our heart from fearing You? Return for the sake of Your servants, the tribes of Your heritage.Your holy people possessed Your sanctuary for a little while, our adversaries have trodden it down.We have become like those over whom You have never ruled, like those who were not called by Your name, (Isaiah 63:17-19).
God hardened the hearts of Israel in their sin. It’s a scary thought, but you’d better believe that God can do that. You see, repentance (the ability to turn from sin) is itself is a gift of God. Therefore, He doesn’t have to give it. Paul clearly explains as much in 2 Timothy 2:24-26:
- The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
Instead of granting repentance, God could very well give you over to a reprobate mind. We see Paul explaining how this works in Romans 1:24-32:
- Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
Friend, the thought of being turned over to a reprobate mind should scare you and me to death. Sin is serious, and we should dare not touch it, lest we never turn from it. Therefore, in light of your sin, plead that God would grant to you repentance and not turn you over to a reprobate mind.
5. Call on God to manifest His presence so you’ll be affected
I love the imagery here in Isaiah 64:1-2, Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, That the mountains might quake at Your presence— as fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil— to make Your name known to Your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your presence! Isaiah is calling on God to make a difference in the life of his people, to affect them in some glorious way. Set us ablaze and cause us to boil, God. If God would manifest His presence, you’d better believe that you would never be the same thereafter. Glory to God for making Himself known in our lives!
6. Invite God to blow your mind
Isaiah comments, When You did awesome things which we did not expect, You came down, the mountains quaked at Your presence, (Isaiah 64:3). Friend, God is totally able to go above and way beyond your expectations. He’s able to totally blow your mind in all. Would ask Him to? Would you ask Him to something that seems impossible? Heal that disease? Save that hard lost person? Give you just a glimpse of Himself? Invite God to blow your mind, and then ready yourself to be amazed!
Tomorrow, I’ll post the final six prayer points for revival. Get on your knees in prayer to God!