ReVision

Build Up What is Broken: Psalm 102

Is it time for God to arise?

The Need for Revival (6)

But You, O LORD, shall endure forever,
And the remembrance of Your name to all generations.
You will arise and have mercy on Zion;
For the time to favor her,
Yes, the set time, has come.
For Your servants take pleasure in her stones,
And show favor to her dust.
So the nations shall fear the name of the L
ORD,
And all the kings of the earth Your glory.
For the L
ORD shall build up Zion;
He shall appear in His glory.
Psalm 102.12-16

Not the way it’s supposed to be

Neil Plantiga tells us in his book, Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be, that sin, and all its attendant miseries and blights, are an aberration. God made the world very good, and human beings upright, to gaze on and delight in Him (Gen. 1.31; Eccl. 7.29). But sin ruins everything, so that even those who know the Lord can be weighed down with the burden of wickedness in many ways. Psalm 102 is the prayer of a faithful believer, who was feeling beat down by the world of sin, and who saw the walls of God’s glorious city in desperate need of repair. He was experiencing the world as not what it should be, and he looked to God to set things right.

The psalmist felt the weight of sin in the form of spiritual burnout (v. 3). God had turned away His face from him (v. 2), and his inner life was withering away (v. 4). Consequently, his strength was failing (vv. 5, 23), he felt completely out of sorts and alone (vv. 6, 7), and his enemies were on his case all the time (v. 8), adding to his sense of separation from God.

This is not the way it’s supposed to be when one believes in the Lord and seeks His Kingdom and glory.

Not only in himself, but in the Lord’s city as well, everything seemed broken down and in need of repair. The servants of God loved His city, even though it was but stones and dust (v. 14); but they were helpless to do whatever was necessary to build the city of the Lord to its former glory.

This is a picture of spiritual desolation; it is also a picture of hope. Because the believer in his desolation knew where to turn. He knew God could renew his soul and repair the city. And he knew that, when He did, it would be a glorious outcome for generations to come. His prayer was thus that God would arise, and have mercy on His people, and show His favor to them once again (v. 13).

It was time for God to arise, not because His people were desolate and in need of revival, but because they recognized their need, confessed their desolation, and turned to the Lord in prayer.

When God arises
But what does it look like when God arises? What did the psalmist want God to do, and how would he know when God’s favor had returned to His people?

The psalmist believed that God would answer his prayers (v. 17). It is certain that God will not arise to revive and renew us, much less to awaken the world to His glory, until His people recognize their need, repent, and call on Him in prayer. Once they do begin to pray, it is an indication that God has begun His reviving work (Ps. 80.18), and thus they should be encouraged to continue praying, and to pray even more fervently.

God can rebuild His city. He can take all the seemingly insignificant dust, and all the broken stones, and renew them in His glory, so that the nations will see and fear the Name of the Lord (vv. 13-15). The Lord builds up His city by appearing to His people in His glory (v. 16), restoring their souls, renewing their vision of Christ, exalted in glory, and of His Kingdom coming on earth as it is in heaven.

God renews the worship of His people, refocusing them on Himself, and leading them in fervent, exultant praise (vv. 21, 22). He strengthens His people to serve Him once again (v. 22), so that they take up the work of being witnesses, making disciples, and building His Church according to His Word. As God’s people declare the Name of the Lord, the nations will see and fear, and turn to the Lord, and all this is duly recorded for coming generations, so that they also may arise and be established before the Lord (vv. 18, 28). A revival spanning generations is only prayers of confession and supplication away, if we will give ourselves to this great and glorious work.

Praying Psalm 102 for revival
Let Psalm 102 search your soul, and lead you to consider the situation in your church, and all the churches in your community. Where the Lord shows you dryness, weakness, failure of mission, complacency, or any other indications that your soul and church are not what they’re supposed to be, ask the Lord to cleanse and heal you, and to give you repentance, that you may seek Him with fresh power.

Confess to the Lord that He alone has the power to bring revival to you, renewal to His Church, and awakening to the world. Review and praise Him for His many great and glorious works (vv. 25-27), especially for the fact that Jesus is established on His throne (v. 12), and that He is both building His Church and advancing His Kingdom, even while we languish in desolation. Call upon the Lord to strengthen His people for true worship and daily service in declaring His Name by their lives and words.

And pray for the generation that succeeds yours, that the great work of revival and awakening that God begins in your day will be recorded and passed on to them, that the fear of God and the Name of God may continue in glory for many years to come.

When we begin groaning because of our captivity to worldly visions and ways (v. 20), crying out to the Lord to hear our prayers and see our desolate condition (vv. 1-11), and pleading with God to revive us and renew His churches (vv. 12-27); and as we persevere in such prayers day by day, we will grow in the confidence that God will arise and have mercy on us (v. 13), and that He will restore us to His favor, and build up His broken people and city once again.

God can revive us. But we must pray.

For Reflection
1. What is God waiting for to begin a work of revival in you and your church? How might that come to pass?

2. What will be the signs that God is beginning to revive you and your church?

3. How should we expect revival to impact our world? Our children?

Next Steps – Preparation: Add today’s Psalm to those you are already praying. Take one psalm per day, and use it throughout the day to seek the Lord for revival. Share with other believers how they can begin praying these psalms for revival.

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.

For a fuller discussion of why we need revival, and how to seek it, order a copy of our book,
Restore Us! by clicking here. If you would like a 28-day, morning and evening challenge to seek the Lord for revival, write to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and I’ll send you a free PDF of our reader, Give Him No Rest.

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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

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore