Summary: The third lesson in a multi-part series inspired by Rick Atchley’s series Revive Us Again.
PRAY AND SEEK HIS FACE
INTRODUCTION: In 1857 there was a 46 year old man named Jeremiah Lamphere who lived in New York City. Jeremiah loved the Lord tremendously, but he didn’t feel that he could do much for the Lord until he began to feel a burden for the lost and accepted an invitation from his church to be an inner city missionary. So in July of 1857 he started walking up and down the streets of New York passing out tracts and talking to people about Jesus, but he wasn’t having any success. Then God put it on his heart to try prayer. So he printed up a bunch of tracts, and he passed them out to anyone and everyone met. He invited anyone who wanted to to come to the 3rd floor of the Old North Dutch Reform Church on Fulton St. in New York City from 12 to 1 on Wednesday to pray. He passed out hundreds and hundreds of fliers and put up posters everywhere he could. Wednesday day came and at Noon nobody showed up. So Jeremiah got on his knees and started praying. For 30 minutes he prayed by himself when finally five other people walked in. The next week 20 people came. The next week between 30 and 40 people came. They then decided to meet every day from 12:00 to 1:00 to pray for the city. Before long a few ministers started coming and they said, "We need to start this at our churches". Within six months there were over 5000 prayer groups meeting everyday in N.Y. Soon the word spread all over the country. Prayer meetings were started in Philadelphia, Detroit, and Washington D.C. In fact President Franklin Pierce started going almost every day to a noonday prayer meeting. By 1859 some 15,000 cities in America were having downtown prayer meetings everyday at noon and thousands were brought to Christ. The great thing about this revival is that there is not a famous preacher associated with it. It was all started by one man wanting to pray. See only God can start a revival and God is quite clear about what He expects before He will return to His people. II Chronicles 7:14 READ TEXT You don’t have revival by seeking revival, but by seeking God. God says if you will pray and seek my face, I will hear and forgive and heal. If God is going to come and be with His people, He is not going to come until his people ask him. Yet some times I think people feel the object of prayer is to overcome God’s reluctance. It is like God is taking a nap, He really doesn’t want to be bothered, but if you pray just right He might do something for you anyway. Folks, prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, prayer is confessing our need, and our desire, to be conformed to His will. God is waiting to hear His people pray and ask for revival. And until some people get on their knees, humble themselves, seek God and ask Him to come, revival will not become a reality. But what is revival praying? The answer is found in one of the great revivals in the Bible. We will study later on this Fall the revival in the city of Nineveh; a pagan city that received a powerful revival at the preaching of Jonah. From one verse in that story we find the substance of real revival praying. Look at Jonah 3:8. READ TEXT This morning notice three characteristics of revival prayer.
I. REVIVAL PRAYER IS CHARACTERIZED BY BROKENNESS
A. That is what the king meant when he said, "I want the whole city to be covered in sack cloth." Look back in vs.5. When Jonah preached everyone started fasting. Remember what we said last time? Fasting is the Old Testament way you humble yourself. The way you show you are broken, the way you show you are desperate, and that is what God is looking for.
1. God has said, "If my people will humble themselves." God will visit when his people reach a point of desperation. When we surrender that pride, the idea that we can do pretty good on our own, and we get down on our knees and admit things are not as they should be, then God will come to His people. God says that the first thing I am looking for in their prayers.
2. Later on we will study the revival at Mt. Sinai. In Exodus 33 the Bible says that when the people heard that the Lord had left them they began to morn and nobody put on any ornaments. They were broken. We will also study in Nehemiah 9 about that great revival. Look at Nehemiah 9:1,2 with me. Now that is revival praying.