In the history of the Church there have been times of supernatural visitations that have led to multitudes repenting from their sins and Christians rededicating their lives to God in radical obedience and deeper intimacy. When we look at the history of revival we notice one common denominator: there was some person or some group of people praying, agonizing to birth the revival. These are the Daniels, Simeons and Annas who had an understanding of the times and were willing to pay the price in fasting and prayer.
Conditions for Revival
Second Chronicles 7:13-14 clearly shows us the road to revival: “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land or send pestilence among my people, 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.”
When we look at the Church in many parts of the world it may seem like the heavens are closed. There is drought. In nature, when there is no rain, agricultural activity is very difficult. The soil is dry and almost impossible to till; there is dust and a lack of clarity. Seeds sown do not sprout for lack of moisture; those that sprout dry up and do not bear fruit. The ones that grow up bear very little fruit. The solution is rain—abundant rain.
What is the state of the Church today? In so many ways it reflects the picture above. We sow much but reap little. We labor, but our efforts bring meager results. God has given us a solution. God says that when we find ourselves in the above situation, if we do four things he will act.
- Humble ourselves
- Seek his face
- Turn from our wicked ways and sins
Then he will:
- Hear from heaven
- Forgive our sins
- Heal our land
For there to be a revival we must humble ourselves, pray and seek God’s face. We must repent, turn from our sins and ask God for forgiveness. God is merciful and faithful; he will forgive us our sins and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We need to seek him with all our hearts. Jeremiah 29:12-13 says, “Then you will call upon me and go and pray to me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.”
God wants to send his visitation, a mighty outpouring to his Church in this generation. A great harvest is coming; lands that have been closed shall open. Regimes that have been in opposition to the gospel shall fall. The knowledge of the Lord shall fill the earth as the water covers the seas.
Joel 2:28-32 says, “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on my menservants and on my maidservants I will pour out my Spirit in those days. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls.”
Revival in Answer to Prayer
God sends revival in answer to prayer. Think of men like John Wesley, John Knox, David Brainerd, Evan Roberts, Charles Finney and others. They were instruments in the hands of God to bring revival and transformation to millions of lives because they prayed and God answered their prayers by enduing them with power from above. God is looking for people who will give themselves to prayer.
Prayer is important for revival for five reasons:
- Through prayer we are endued with the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Prayer keeps us focused and humble.
- Prayer keeps us ablaze for God.
- Through prayer we have victory (personally, as a church and as a community).
- Prayer keeps our discernment sharp and clear.
Many revivals were cut short because the vessels God was using stopped praying. They started in the Spirit but ended in the flesh; they started by relying on God but ended relying on human ability, organizational talent and marketing genius. The flesh gives birth to flesh and the Spirit gives birth to Spirit.
Catalysts to Revival
What are some of the modern day catalysts to revival? The following are only some of the avenues God will be using to catalyze revival in our time:
- The Global Day of Prayer. In 2005, 220 million people prayed worldwide during the Global Day of Prayer. There were meetings even in places such as Jakarta, Indonesia, where 120,000 people met in one stadium.
- 24/7 Prayer Centers. These are prayer houses where worship and prayer ascend to God’s throne twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
- Night Vigils. God uses tools such as night vigils to bring revival in places like Nigeria. Today there is an all night prayer meeting called Holy Ghost Night that brings together about two million people to pray and worship.
- National and City-wide Prayer Gatherings.
- Pastors’ Prayer Meetings/Breakfast.
- Prayer Mountains. These are presently practiced in South Korea and Uganda.
- Prayer Walking and Prayer Journeys.
The above are initiatives that have led to harvests and renewed Christian commitment. The form is not the important part; the heart, the longing and the passion and pressing after God is most important. If we are serious about revival, if we are truly longing for all to know the Lord, we cannot neglect prayer. God has given us a wonderful tool. Let us not neglect it. He yearns to bless you and use you as a tool for revival.
How Can You Become a Vessel for Revival?
The following are nine suggestions to becoming a vessel for revival:
- Be baptized and continually filled with the Holy Spirit.
- Consecrate your life to God. Make yourself available and at God’s disposal.
- Devote your life to spending quality time in prayer. Grow in your intimacy with God through private and secret prayer.
- Pray for the lost and unreached. Pray with passion and desperation.
- Pray for opportunities and open doors to share the gospel and edify others.
- When you have the opportunities, share your faith boldly.
- Be watchful and vigilant. The devil will do everything in his power to discourage or neutralize you.
- Pray with others.
- Be faithful and never despise small beginnings.
Luke 11:9-13 says, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Let us also follow the words of Charles Finney:
“When Christians humble themselves and consecrate their all afresh to Christ, and ask for his power, they will often receive such baptism that they will be instrumental in converting more souls in one day than in all their lifetime before. While Christians remain humble enough to retain this power, the work of conversion will go on, till whole communities and regions of country are converted to Christ.”