Summary: What kind of prayer changes us, touches God and leads to his revival power being unleashed?


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The following is a full set of notes, including background information and quotes I used whilst preparing my sermon entitled "Reviving Prayer" which was preached at Jubilee Church on 26th Feb 2006. Much of this material was never designed to form part of the sermon - instead it is if you like part of the "iceberg" that lies beneath the surface supporting what I actually said.


Last Sunday you will remember Tope spoke again about how we believe that God is calling us to be a people of faith - a people who trust in God to do the miraculous. Well, one way in which we express our faith - and in which our faith can grow is by prayer. I know for me as I look back on my life, there are many times that I have wrestled with God in prayer and seen him answer me. Times when things have been hard and I have prayed & suddenly a corner is turned. When attempts at moving house haven’t happened the way I wanted them, but I prayed and God worked it out so we had a far better house than we originally planned. Times when I have been sick and prayer led to one of those miracles the Doctors call "spontaneous remissions" . Times when I have felt at the end of my tether, and God intervened and refreshed me sometimes without even solving the problem.

Sometimes it is not so much our situations that need changing it is us. Sometimes we might be struggling in a job or a relationship and God wants us to suddenly realize the reason he has put us there. Perhaps you face lots of problems at work and its getting you down. You might be praying to get out of the job. Suddenly God might show you in prayer that if it wasn’t for all those problems they wouldn’t be paying your salary. It is often WE that need to be revived from our depressed state.

The kind of prayer I want to look at today is that kind of prayer - prayer that changes us. Prayer that revives. There are many great promises attached to prayer in the bible. One of these is found in -

2 Chronicles 7:14 H ••• if my people, who are called by my name, will 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. "

This is a key verse - that if you have been a Christian for a while you will have probably heard. It is often quoted when we are talking about prayer. In this verse God makes a glorious promise. It is essentially a promise that God will heal and revive us if we will turn and pray.

Last time I spoke we looked at revival and the example in Acts 2 - several points about that passage reflect the "typical" revival as seen in church history. One of these is prayer. This is a pattern that is repeated in Acts and throughout church history. Every revival I have ever read about in Church history started with a prayer meeting.

This quote from a journal which writes exclusively on revival supports the observation that no revival comes without prayer:- " ... let us draw some general lessons from our consideration of the Second Great Awakening. 1) Prayer It is quite evident that prayer was an essential element in this revival movement, as it is in all revivals. There is no revival without prayer. It would profit us to carefully go over the title of Edwards’s thesis on revival praying: "A Humble Attempt"-Every relationship to God must begin with humility, for God gives grace only to the humble (James 4:6; 2 Chron. 7:14). "For Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of God’s People"-An essential condition for revival, as well as an evidence, is unity (Ps. 133; Acts 1: 14; 2: 1; 4:24ff; 5: 12). "For Extraordinary Prayer"-It was Leonard Ravenhill who said, "A church will never have a revival on one prayer meeting a week." May God pour out a "spirit of grace and supplication" upon us! We need first a revival of prayer. (Reformation and Revival Volume 6, 1997)

Let me give a couple of examples of this in church history. During revivals, prayer becomes more intense, and all-night prayer meetings are not uncommon. It is often said of revival times: "Vou did not have to whip them up to prayer meetings; you could not keep them away." MLJ

In revival Even non-Christians come to the prayer meetings and get saved!

Some examples of this

1. This was my experience at school.

2. Perhaps one of the most striking examples of the place of prayer in revival happened in Coleraine in 1859: "A schoolboy in class became so troubled about his soul that the schoolmaster sent him home. An older boy, a Christian, went with him, and before they had gone far, led him to Christ. Returning at once to school, this new convert testified to his teacher, "Oh, I am so happy. I have the Lord Jesus in my heart." These artless words had an astonishing effect; boy after boy rose and silently left the room. Going outside, the teacher found these boys all on their knees, ranged along the wall of the playground. Very soon their silent prayer became a bitter cry; it was heard by another class inside and pierced their hearts. They fell on their knees, and their cry for mercy was heard in turn by a girls’ class above. In a few moments, the whole school was on their knees! Neighbors and passers-by came flocking in, and all as they crossed the threshold came under the same convicting power. Every room was filled with men, women and children seeking God."

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