“Lazarus, come forth!” John 11.43
Our prayers for revival are spiritual in nature, that God would revive men and women’s hearts, renew His churches, and awaken the world to Jesus. Still, let us see what we can learn when Jesus physically revived Lazarus in John 11.
First, just as Christ called Lazarus from the grave, so God calls us from our spiritual death. Jesus called, and Lazarus came forth. There was no hesitation on Lazarus’ part, he did not ponder. Jesus was not waiting outside of the tomb, hoping for a response. We should focus our prayers on Christ who can and does bring the dead to life. He has the power to make our dead words live for revival, renewal, and awakening.
Another lesson is that God allowed suffering and death to continue. Jesus did not respond by immediately departing for Bethany. Thus, Lazarus died. Likewise, we should persevere in our prayers and not lose heart when God does not respond as quickly as we would like. Suffering and waiting on the Lord’s timing are normal parts of the life of faith.
Also, we are merely sharing in the compassion Christ has for the lost. Jesus wept over Lazarus’ death. Our prayers neither inform Him of those who are lost or suffering, nor do they win over a reluctant God. He already knows, but He takes joy in our weeping for the lost
Next, notice that the wailers, for all of their good intentions, missed seeing Jesus. We too can be caught up in our religiousness or in ourselves and miss Christ. But when we pray for revival, our focus is continually on Jesus, Who alone can make all things new.
Lastly, let us not be surprised if our efforts at praying for and seeking revival receive the same envy and condemnation that Christ received from the Pharisees, who, rather than embracing Lazarus and learning from him, (how often do you get to talk to someone who has come back from the dead?), contemplated killing him instead. Not everyone – not even every believer – will be pleased to know you have made a commitment to pray for revival, much less to join you in the effort. But we must pray on anyway.
Therefore, let us not lose heart, but lift up prayers to God, Who fills us with compassion, and Who can, and has, and will, raise people from the dead.
Ralph Lehman, Men’s Prayer Coordinator
T. M. Moore, Principal
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.