Summary: If we want to experience revival in our land, we must cry out to God, praise His name, confess our sins, claim His promises, and commit to serving Him.
Before the opening day of duck season, two hunters bought a bird dog. They had heard that such a dog would make their hunting experience much more enjoyable and profitable. So when the big day came, they were up bright and early. They hunted all day, but as the sun began to set, they hadn’t fired a single shot. The hunters were exhausted and frustrated over the poor performance of their bird dog. Finally, one of them said, “Okay Joe, throw him up once more and if he don’t fly, I’m gonna shoot him!”
Duck season ended just two weeks ago, and I am amazed at how the duck hunters come alive at this time of year. It’s like they were revived! Their dull, routine life became infused with a passion for water fowl. They got up early. They stayed out late. They even skipped a meal or two in the pursuit of their passion, simply because the Kansas Department of Wildlife declared January 17-25, 2015, “duck season” in the low plains late zone.
Don’t you wish revival in the church and in our nation could happen so easily? Don’t you wish all a pastor had to do was declare, “God hunting season opens today”, and people would make the pursuit of God the controlling passion of their lives?
We are in desperate need of revival today just like God’s people needed it 400 years before Christ. At that time, the walls around their capital city were torn down, and the people were demoralized as they faced the impossible task of rebuilding their nation after their Babylonian captivity.
That’s when God moved the heart of one man to pray, and that prayer led to a revival, which brought physical and spiritual restoration to the entire nation. That man was Nehemiah, and we have his journal in our Old Testaments.
Wouldn’t you like to know how to pray for revival in our own land? Then turn with me, if you will, to that man’s journal, the book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah 1,
Nehemiah 1:1-2 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month of Chislev (i.e., late November, early December), in the twentieth year (i.e., the 20th year of King Artaxerxes’ reign or 445 years before Christ), as I was in Susa the citadel (the capitol of Persia, present-day Iran), that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. (ESV)
You see, many of the Jews had returned to Jerusalem from captivity almost a hundred years before this. And Nehemiah, who is still in Persia, wants to know how his friends and relatives are doing.
Nehemiah 1:3 And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.” (ESV)
Even though they had been there for a hundred years, the walls of the city and many of its buildings were still in rubble. This described not only their physical condition, but their spiritual condition, as well. God’s people were disgraced! So what does Nehemiah do about it?