2nd Chronicles 7:14 says “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.” We can all agree that the last three statements are the desires of our heart. No one will argue with that. The key is for us to get together on the first four conditions of those promises becoming our reality. Last week we talked about how humility is the first step towards revival. This week the goal is to examine the next step: prayer.
I’m no super pray-er (whatever that is). I don’t even believe I have the gift of prayer. What I do have, what we all have, is a command to pray and a desire to hear from God. One might think that is an impossible task…to hear from God. We do not believe it is. We, the Church, all of us who confess Christ as our Savior and Lord, know that it is not only a possibility for us to hear regularly from God but it is a daily reality. Can we lean together towards that later reality and see what happens?
I would suggest that prayer is a two way street. We do not just babble on and on hoping God hears. Our goal is not to say as much as we possibly can in prayer. Do not doubt, God loves to hear from you! He loves to hear your voice! But, as is good in any relationship, He loves to answer as well. Prayer is much more of a conversation than a Christmas wish list. Would you begin praying for revival here with that conversation in mind? Ask God what He wants to do here and how He wants you/us to be a part of it. You are asking for His heart! There is no question that it is His desire that all come to a saving knowledge of Him. Revival is embedded in the Biblical record as deeply as the idea of a God who saves. This is not a new idea. So, when we pray and ask for direction He will give it!
Active listening is a key part of prayer. We talked last week about humility. There is a reason it precedes prayer in this list. The prideful prayer will not be answered. God isn’t interested in what we think needs to be done or how we would solve our own problems. He already knows the answer. His interest is in our involvement. Will we choose to humbly present ourselves before the Lord with a determined effort to not leave until we hear from Him?
Jesus spends a lot of time talking about prayer. We see Him leave all types of ministry situations to get alone and pray. We hear Him as He asks God for miracles and revelation. We also hear Him teach about prayer. One of my favorite passages is found towards the end of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus says “When you pray, pray like this” and then He goes on to offer them what has become a model prayer for the Church for the last 2000 years. I know you can say the Lord’s Prayer backwards and forwards. Will you consider it today in light of our collective prayer for revival?
Jesus begins by calling God “our Father”, not just His Dad. Our prayers matter to our Father. We are not beginning anything less than a first-hand conversation with the One who loves us. Worship is the next thing out of His mouth. If Jesus finds it necessary to praise God for who He is, we ought to follow suit. Worship, not revival, is always the goal. One day we won’t have to ask for revival because we will be face to face with Him. The next part of the prayer is the heart of where we are and what we are asking. “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” Yes, Lord! That is the goal for today! Oh that that could be reality. Heaven on earth. That, friends, is revival. Until then we pray like this: we need bread, we need grace and we need deliverance.
Those three pieces drive our prayers and hopes today. “Feed us, Lord! Forgive us, Lord! Free us, Lord!” Can we stay there for just a moment? Do not most of our prayers revolve around those three desires? Do we doubt for even a moment that God would forget us or ignore us and not answer these prayers? If darkness has covered you for the moment and you cannot see how God can answer those kinds of prayers in your life, trust me when I say He always will. If you trust Him with your sustenance, your sin and your enemy God will always come to your rescue. Always. The new element here is for us to ask for these things collectively.
Will you begin praying together with other believers asking God to feed His people, to forgive His people and to rescue His people from our common enemy who seeks our destruction?
Humble prayer is the second step to revival coming. Are you ready? Let’s pray.