[b]Revival Is Coming If....[/b]
[i]by Wesley L. Duewel[/i]
God at His own initiative voluntarily gave us, His people, the covenant of revival. No human being begged God until He promised to revive. Because He is the God of revival, He voluntarily gave us His covenant as His invitation to us to seek revival. God is more hungry to give us revival than we are hungry to be revived.
God stated His covenant of revival in various forms throughout the Bible, especially in these Old Testament passages: Isaiah 41:18; 44:3; 62:1,6-7; and 64:1-2,4-5. But probably the most well-known and often-quoted promise is 2 Chronicles 7:14:
"If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
God wants us to remember and reflect on how He has worked in the past. He wants this remembrance to make us hungry to see Him work again in all His historic power. If God's people hunger deeply enough, God will hear and send revival.
Let us fulfill our part of His revival covenant. Let us accept His holy challenge in 2 Chronicles 7:14.
1. "If My people will humble themselves." How many of God's people do you know who take God's covenant seriously? How many are truly humbling themselves? Humble yourself in private prayer. Humble yourself in prayer meetings and solemn assemblies before God. Humble yourself with fasting like David did (Psalm 35:13).
2. "And pray and seek My face." Every time in the history of the church revival has come, it has followed extensive prayer and seeking of God's face by some of His children. When we study the history of God's work on earth, we will always find faithful praying saints, often hidden, holding on before Him in prayer, pleading for God to revive His people. Always there were people--often many--who in the privacy of their hearts cried out to God over and over.
God requires more than casual prayers for revival. He wants His people to hunger and thirst for His mighty working. To seek God's face is far more than occasionally mentioning revival in our prayer. It involves repeated and prolonged prayer. It requires holy determination in prayer, examining ourselves to see if anything in our lives is hindering God. A revival seeker is prepared to take any step that can help to bring answers. A revival seeker is eager to obey God in everything. Seeking God's face often requires asking forgiveness from others (Matt. 5:23-24; 6:14-15; Mark 11:25; Luke 6:37; Col. 3:13). It often requires resolving friction that has hindered prayer from being answered (1 Peter 3:7). Are you seeking God's face?
3. "And turn from their wicked ways." Anything that grieves God--whether things we did or things we failed to do--will hinder our efforts to respond to God's revival covenant. We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and to His efforts to point out areas in our lives that hinder His working and rob us of God's full blessing. The Holy Spirit may at times with His strong voice correct us with deep conviction of our failure. At other times, His is a gentle touch to direct us more fully into God's will.
Instant obedience to anything the Holy Spirit shows us, instant repentance for anything that has grieved God--this is what prepares the way for revival. No one is as quick to sense the Spirit's reproof, no one is more sensitive and responsive to God than a Spirit-filled person. So it follows that no one should be as quick to repent over any failure as a Spirit-filled person! That is why God needs Spirit-filled people to play key roles in His revival strategy.
The above are the three essential steps in preparing the way of the Lord for revival. These are God's covenantal conditions if we would see His mighty working. But as sure as God is in heaven, when we fulfill His clear conditions, God will do two things: forgive us for any way we have grieved Him and give gracious healing to our land.
The whole world is wounded by Satan and sin. Every nation today is desperately in need of healing. Many churches, groups, and families need healing. Revival always brings healing to homes, churches, communities, and nations. "Oh God, heal our land" should be the heart-cry of every Christian.
Will Another Great Revival Come?
It is never too late for God. If we will fulfill God's covenantal conditions, we will see God's covenantal promises fulfilled. So the question is not so much, "Will revival come?" but rather, "Will we meet God's covenantal conditions for revival?"
Is it God's time? Just as it is always God's time to save, it is always God's time to give revival. Just as surely as "now is the day of salvation," so surely now is the day of revival, for now is the day of grace. It may take time for us to meet God's conditions, to prepare the way of the Lord, and to pray until we win the battles in prayer warfare. But God does not delay revival because He is arbitrary. He does not need to be begged.
Over the past several centuries God has given many revivals, large and small. The Finney revivals were perhaps more extensive than the Wesley-Whitefield revivals. The 1858-59 revivals were far more extensive than the Finney revivals and may even be considered God's follow-up to the Finney revivals. Certainly the 1858-59 revival was the first truly international one.
The 1905-1909 revival was probably preceded by prayer and hunger on a more international scale than any previous revival. God's blessing was poured out in more nations than in any previous revival movement.
But never in Christian history has there been such a longing for revival in so many parts of the world and by people from so many denominational backgrounds as there is today!
Surely this hunger is the result of the Holy Spirit calling God's people to prayer. There have been more books written on prayer than ever before. More organizations and more denominations have called for a year of prayer or a year for revival than ever previously known. Undoubtedly the Holy Spirit is calling God's people to their knees. Undoubtedly He is guiding His people to join Christ our great High Priest in His great longing and holy determination to see another great revival. Undoubtedly the Holy Spirit Himself is groaning in prayer today for revival in the church (Rom. 8:26).
The Holy Spirit does not play games with us or with our prayer lives. When He gives us hunger and prayer burden for revival, He Himself and our beloved interceding High Priest are one with us in that holy desire. Ours is but a faint echo of the deep yearnings and desires and intercessions on their parts. Will their intercession be in vain? God's prayer call in our hearts proves the Triune God is longing to send revival. It is God's time.
Why should we not expect God to give one more great outpouring of the Holy Spirit before our Lord's second advent? Why should this not be the most widespread revival the church has ever known? Of course the millennium will be the greatest revival of all. God has used the media in the past to help spread hunger and expectancy and news of revival. Why should God not do this in even greater dimensions in this age of radio, television, and international communication?
More Prevailing Intercession Needed
But we are still too careless and ineffective in our prayer lives. We need to recruit many more of God's children for serious prevailing intercession for revival. It will probably be the regret of millions of Christians throughout eternity that they failed so tragically in their prayer lives.
How ashamed they will be when they stand before Christ's judgment throne. But, oh, the joy of those who wake up now and invest quality time and an adequate quantity of time in earnest intercession, particularly for revival.
Praise God for His revivals over the centuries. Praise God that He is still the same today. Praise God that He has promised to send revival if we meet His stated conditions. We cannot earn revival; it is given through grace. But we can share in preparing the way of the Lord, if we choose to do it.
Make a new prayer commitment to God. Join God the Son and God the Spirit in revival intercession. Set apart time regularly for prayer. Fall on your knees now and pray.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon