Summary: Prayer is essential if we are to see revival among God’s people.
Last time we considered the first requirement for revival among God’s people mentioned in 2 Chronicles 7:14. God’s people must “humble themselves” before God. Now today, we will turn our attention to the second requirement for revival - prayer. (READ TEXT)
Perhaps no subject is preached on more but practiced less than prayer.
“In the matter of New Testament, Spirit-inspired, hell-shaking, world-breaking prayer, never has so much been left by so many to so few.” - Leonard Ravenhill
But when revival comes, that changes.In his book, The Awakening That Must Come, Lewis Drummond shares the following:
Revival is always born in prevailing prayer. This is the one, basic, unalterable, central principle of awakenings. Prayer opens the door to the fullness of time. Illustrations of this central
significant fact are endless.
Dig deep enough in any revival, and you will always find a praying group. Let one example among thousands point up this prime principle. On the island of Lewis in 1949 prior to the Hebrides awakening, the tide had ebbed far. Few went to church. Little wonder, the churches were apathetic and spiritually inept. Secularism, materialism, and worldliness was the general life-style of the island. Then God laid the burden of prayer on two different small groups.
A few men began praying in a barn outside their village. They prayed two, three, four nights a week into the small hours of the morning. The burden of their agonizing sacrificial prayer was for an awakening. This little group, as one author expressed it, “entered into a covenant with God that they would give Him no rest until He had made Jerusalem a praise in the earth,” - Isaiah 62:7.
At the same time, two old, godly sisters began praying. They also prayed night after night. Impressed by the Holy Spirit, the praying sisters asked their pastor to contact Duncan Campbell in England to lead their church in a preaching mission. The pastor discerned that the request was of God and invited Campbell to Lewis.
The evangelist replied that he was completely booked for a year, but if any opening occurred he promised to come. In a matter of days virtually all of his engagements were cancelled. The whole affair clearly being directed by the Holy Spirit, Campbell traveled to the Hebrides and became God’s prophet in the awakening. The point of it all is that God always lifts up small praying groups when the fullness of time comes.
The application to our need is obvious. If revival comes today, there must be praying people who take their intercession for an awakening with deadly seriousness. But where are they? We seemingly will do anything, make any sacrifice, go anywhere, except pray, Oh, where are the prayer warriors of times past? Will God raise up such groups in our day?
Revival will only come in response to prayer. I believe God is searching today for those among His people who will be willing to enter into prayer for revival and spiritual awakening.
But what kind of praying results in God moving afresh in the lives of His people? Let’s think about what characterizes revival praying. Prayer that results in revival among God’s people will be:
1. Submissive prayer.
We must be willing to submit to God’s revealing to us our wickedness and waywardness, so that we might walk in His will and His way.
“Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” - Psalm 139:23-24 (Amplified)
If we are to experience revival, we must return to the Lord. That, of course, involves forsaking wickedness, waywardness, and willfulness and returning to holiness. To do this, we must ask God to turn His searchlight upon us, for we cannot trust ourselves to recognize that which we must confess and turn from. It is impossible for man to know his own heart - we must have God reveal its true nature to us.
“The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.” - Jeremiah 17:9-10 (The Message)
“[Man never achieves] a clear knowledge of himself unless he has first looked upon God’s face, and then descends from contemplating Him to scrutinize himself. For we always seem to ourselves righteous and upright and wise and holy – this pride is innate in all of us – unless by clear proofs we stand convinced of our own unrighteousness, foulness, folly, and impurity. Moreover, we are not thus convinced if we look merely to ourselves and not also to the Lord, who is the sole standard by which this judgment must be measured.” - John Calvin