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?
Nehemiah 1:4 As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. (ESV)
Nehemiah got desperate with God. He wept and mourned for days, going without food as he poured out his heart to God. Like a widow, mourning over the loss of her husband, he was so overcome with grief that he couldn’t eat. You see, fasting in Bible days was no spiritual discipline or religious ritual. It was a sign of desperation.
Nehemiah was desperate for God to act on behalf of his country, and that’s where we need to be in our prayers if we’re going to see revival in our land. We need to…
CRY OUT TO GOD with desperate, earnest prayer.
We need to plead with God from the depths of our own souls. We need to pray with a heart-felt intensity that goes beyond any physical appetite.
There was a 5-year-old little girl attending a formal wedding with her grandmother. She had been in Sunday School before, but had never attended any kind of adult worship service. So when the pastor said, “Let us pray,” and everybody bowed their heads, the little girl was confused. She saw all the heads bowed and eyes turned toward the floor and cried, “Grandmother, what are they all looking for?” (James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited, p.423)
Tell me: What are you looking for when you pray? Are you just going through the motions? Or are you earnestly, desperately seeking God?