Summary: Revival only comes one way...through PRAYER! It’s time to go back to the basics of our spiritual heritage and make prayer our focus.
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Jim Cymbala, pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle, Brooklyn, New York, had the following to say about revival:
"Revival is where you see multitudes getting saved, not coming over from another church because there’s a better program...a church loving each other and coming together to pray and call out to the Lord...a return to the Book of Acts."
All of us are in agreement that the time for revival is now, but do we realize that the way to revival is prayer. English preacher Sidlow Baxter, when he was eighty-five years of age, said:
"I have pastored only three churches in my more than sixty years of ministry. We had revival in every one. And not one of them came as a result of my preaching. They came as a result of the membership entering into a covenant to pray until revival come. And it did come, every time."
Prayer is the fountain from which revival springs. The key to revival in every age is prayer. In 1904, Frank Beardsley wrote:
"It is possible to have revivals without preaching, without churches, and without ministers, but without prayer a genuine revival is impossible."
Dr A. T. Pierson once said, ’There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer." (Orr, 199)
Revival won’t come by preaching or teaching, great worship music or beautiful buildings. It is scripturally and experientially linked to prayer.
Isaiah 64:1 (NKJV) Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence-- 2 As fire burns brushwood, As fire causes water to boil--To make Your name known to Your adversaries, [That] the nations may tremble at Your presence!
2Chr 7:14 (NKJV) "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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
The term "pray" in the preceding verse comes from the same Hebrew root that describes the position of a woman in labor—the position Elijah assumed when he prayed for rain (1 Kings 18:42).
This is not dealing with the posture of the body, but that of the soul. It is a picture of deep intercession and travail until revival is birthed.
Every true revival can be traced back to prayer.
The question one must ask is "what kind of prayer"?
1. PASSIONATE PRAYER
Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV) "And you will seek Me and find [Me], when you search for Me with all your heart".
James 5:16 (NKJV) "...The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."
Revival praying involves heart engaged prayer.
It is prayer carried aloft by inflamed desires and impassioned hope.
Our whole being must be involved.
We must say what we feel and feel what we say.
It is anything but casual.
It is seen in the tears of Nehemiah (Neh. 1:4). When he heard of the breaking down of the wall of Jerusalem.
It is felt in the cry of Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52).
Bartimaeus was a desperate man. He was aware that Jesus was passing by and that the answer to his need was within reach.
Though his cry was met with a reprimand, "he cried out all the more."
How desperate are you?
Is the desire for revival a nice thought or is it the passionate cry of your heart?
How desperate are you for the presence of God in your life?
How hungry are you for intimacy with God? The Psalmist wrote:
Psalm 42:1 (NKJV)
1 As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night,
While they continually say to me,
"Where [is] your God?"
4 When I remember these [things],
I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go with the multitude;
I went with them to the house of God,
2. PERSISTENT PRAYER
1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;