Revive Me! (7)
I cry out with my whole heart;
Hear me, O LORD!
I will keep Your statutes.
I cry out to You;
Save me, and I will keep Your testimonies.
I rise before the dawning of the morning,
And cry for help;
I hope in Your word.
My eyes are awake through the night watches,
That I may meditate on Your word.
Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness;
O LORD, revive me according to Your justice. Psalm 119.145-149
Obstacles to revival
Even a cursory reading of the history of the Christian movement will reveal that great periods of revival have occurred in the past. At such times, believers have experienced a fresh upwelling of God’s Spirit in their souls, leading them to greater faith and joy, more exalted worship, and more consistent witness for the Lord. Multitudes of people have come to faith in Jesus during such times; churches have been renewed and grown larger and stronger; new churches have started; and powerful Christian endeavors in the areas of missions, education, mercy, social renewal, and publishing were launched, bringing great social and cultural changes to societies.
Revival, and the awakening of lost sinners that it brings, is a good work of God, which is why God encourages His people to seek it. But what can keep us from seeking the reviving power of God’s Spirit in our lives and times? Three things, primarily.
First, complacency: We just don’t see the need for revival. We’re happy in our faith, we like our church and our Christian friends, and we think all this talk about revival seems maybe a little fanatical and far-fetched. Best to leave well enough alone.
Second, unbelief: We don’t believe God can bring revival in our time. Sure, He’s done it in the past, but that was then; this is now. And in our now, God doesn’t do such things. Why bother pestering Him for something we’re quite certain He’s not going to do?
Finally, seeking revival our way rather than God’s: If we think we can program our way into a revival, we’re wrong. God shows us how revival comes, and no amount of trying to shoehorn Him into some schedule of events or raft of activities will accomplish what He promises in His Word. We must be willing to seek revival as He defines it, and on His terms, not ours.
If we want God to revive us, we must seek revival as He directs. And that means praying for revival, according to His Word.
Praying for revival
All the psalms that lead us to pray for revival are agreed on four basic elements to an approach for praying for revival.
First, we must pray earnestly, with our whole heart, sincerely, eagerly, even insistently, calling on God to do what only He can do in restoring His goodness to the world. Casual prayers for revival – praying when we think about it, dropping in a prayer for revival amidst other prayers, or praying in a perfunctory rather than a passionate manner – will not bring about the revival God promises. As we shall see, the psalmists whom God used to guide us in praying for revival counsel urgency, earnestness, resolution, and eager anticipation as we come before the Lord for revival.
Second, we must pray individually, like the writer of Psalm 119, that God would bring reviving grace to each one of us. We must pray each day, “O Lord, revive me!” Each of us needs revival, and we need it every day. We must seek the Lord daily for forgiveness, cleansing, strength to repent and walk in His way, and an ever-larger horizon of salvation, together with the faith to believe we can actually realize what God promises.
But we must also pray with other believers. The psalms that guide us to pray for revival were meant to be used in worship, in congregations gathered to seek the Lord for His promised blessings. We should bring praying for revival into our existing services of worship, our Bible study and fellowship groups, and our church prayer meetings. But we should also gather for special, focused times of seeking the Lord for revival with other believers. If we want revival, we must pray together as God’s people (2 Chron. 7.14).
Finally, we must persevere in praying for revival. In the past, groups of believers have initiated movements of prayer for revival that have lasted 100 years! Some in our generation have taken the torch from previous generations and been praying for many years, and they are not about to give up praying now. We need to stay at it, repeatedly and consistently coming before the Lord, asking Him to do what He has promised, and to do it now.
Psalms to pray for revival
God has provided many excellent prayers to guide us in seeking Him for revival. In this series, we’re going to look at some of the psalms which teach us why we need revival (Pss. 12, 53, 102, etc.), what to expect when revival comes (Pss. 72, 85, 96, etc.), and how to persevere in our work of seeking God for revival (Pss. 27, 80, 126, etc.). We will walk through these psalms in detail, learning both what they teach us about seeking the Lord for revival, as well as how to use them in personal and group settings.
But none of this will be of any use to you if you have not made up your mind to seek the Lord for revival. I urge you to do so, to prepare your heart and mind, and to establish it as a priority in all your prayers, and with all the groups you meet for prayer, that you will seek the Lord for revival. Together let us take up the bold challenge God calls us to in Isaiah 62.6, 7:
I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem;
They shall never hold their peace day or night.
You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent,
And give Him no rest till He establishes
And till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
1. What is preventing you from taking up the work of seeking the Lord for revival?
2. Why is it so important that we pray for revival? Why doesn’t God just bring it?
3. Why should we expect the psalms to help us in knowing how to pray for revival?
Next Steps – Transformation: Add today’s verses to the ones from Psalm 119 that you’ve already begun praying.
T. M. Moore
We are pleased to offer Worship Guides for use in your family or small group. Each guide includes a complete service of worship, and they are free to download and share by clicking here.
This is part 1 in the series, “Revived!” All installments in this series may be downloaded for further study by clicking here.
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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.
- T.M. Moore
- March 18, 2020
If we want it, we must seek it.
Revive Me! (7)