Summary: How can we have personal revival? We can find the answer by looking at the revival in the first century, when the first Christians experienced the filling of the Holy Spirit.
HOW TO EXPERIENCE PERSONAL REVIVAL
INTRO: ILLUS: OUR COUNTRY IN PRAYER. Many are unaware that the Declaration of Independence did not come into being until a day of fasting and prayer had been observed. Appointed by the Continental Congress, it was kept by all the colonies on May 17, 1776. At that time in our history, God and the Bible were given more reverence and recognition than they are today.
We need revival in our country and in our churches today. We also need personal revival. How can we have personal revival? We can find the answer by looking at the revival in the first century, when the first Christians experienced the filling of the Holy Spirit. REVIVAL CAME TO THEM:
I. WHEN THEY HAD PRAYED.
The scriptures tell us that Peter and John were preaching the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Note that they were not just preaching in the Temple. The were preaching in public. They were arrested, brought before the council, warned, and released. They then went back to the people that had been praying for them.
Their friends had been praying for them while they were before the council. The prayer meeting resulted in the power of God being manifested.
They had a different kind of prayer meeting than most churches usually have. To many people, a cottage prayer meeting is having coffee cake, reading some scripture, then saying a few words of prayer. THAT IS NOT PRAYING!
Neither are the pious prayers we hear in church praying. Look at the Publican’s prayer. It was rejected by Jesus.
II. HOW WE MUST PRAY.
ILLUS: DON’T DEFEAT YOURSELF! Connie Mack, the famous baseball manager, once said, “I’ve seen boys on my baseball team go into a slump and never come out of it, and I’ve seen others snap right out and come back better than ever. I guess more players lick themselves than are ever licked by an opposing team. The first thing any man has to know is how to handle himself.”
If we are not careful, we might defeat ourselves in our praying. The kind of praying we must do is the kind that gets the job done. It must start with:
The elements of confession are:
1. IDENTIFY — Admit the sin (v. 3).
2. NAME — Agree with God about the sin (v. 4).
3. CONFESS — Tell God you are sorry for the sin (v. 7).
4. JUDGE (the sin). — Stop doing it (v .10).
ILLUS: WORKING ON THE WRONG SIDE. A young boy asked his mother if he could help her wash the windows. She welcomed his offer and told him to begin with the one in the kitchen because it was the dirtiest. He went outside and worked diligently until he thought it was clean. Then with a dry cloth he rubbed until his arms were tired, but the pane of glass still had many smudges. Frustrated, he called his mother and asked her what was wrong. Looking at what he had done, she said with a smile, “Why, you have been spending all your time washing the glass out here. What’s wrong is that the dirt is on the inside!”
2. Prayer of Persistent Yielding — We must pray the prayer of Jacob. Jacob wrestled with the Angel of God (Genesis 32:24-32). In the O.T. the Angel of the Lord is God in physical form.
Why did it take God so long to bless Jacob? Because Jacob still had sin in his life that was unconfessed. The name Israel means: “Fights or Persists with God” — in prevailing prayer.
ILLUS: JONATHAN EDWARDS’ ZEAL. The Lord has promised to bless the efforts of those who serve Him with devotion and zeal. Jonathan Edwards was a shining example of these qualities. He was not a very good preacher, and he read his messages. However, many of his sermons had an overwhelming impact upon the people. His message Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God moved hundreds to repentance and salvation. It is said to have caused the “Great Awakening.” Few knew the spiritual preparation involved in that sermon. For 3 days he did not eat anything. For 3 nights he did not sleep one wink. Over and over again he was heard to pray “Lord, give me New England!” When he arose from his knees and went into the pulpit that Sunday, he looked as if he had been gazing straight into the face of God. Even before he began to speak, conviction fell upon the audience.
3. Prayer of Faith — Think about the prayer of Elijah when he put the prophets of Baal to the test (1 Kings 18:20-39). Elijah knew that God was going to answer his prayer. He prayed in faith (v. 37).