This week is set aside for the pursuit of God. We are setting aside Tuesday to pray and fast for revival. Thursday is the national day of prayer. Hopefully, this week will be filled with prayer and repentance. To be revived is to experience the renewing spirit of God in our lives. Revival is for God’s people. Revival is a work of God. We cannot manufacture it. It is not a formula. The revivals and awakenings of the past came from the hand of God.
Revival is always God’s initiative. In the Old Testament as well as through Christian history, God commanded holiness. When his people strayed from his expectation, God chastised and judged. God’s chastisement brought conviction. Then God’s people prayed. They prayed for a movement of God—revival and awakening. Praying for God to work parallels the preaching of God’s truth. The preaching of truth and the praying of God’s people are complementary. Revivals and awakenings need both.
An important text in the book of Jeremiah reveals this. Jeremiah is the “weeping prophet.” It is evident that Jeremiah struggled with negative thoughts and maybe even depression. This should not surprise us as God gave Jeremiah an assignment to preach truth to a people destined to reject it. His ministry was largely ineffective. In Jeremiah 14, God told Jeremiah that Judah would face the sword, famine, and pestilence because they had rejected God and his laws. God promised they would mourn and weep in their experience of judgment.
This conversation between Jeremiah and God let to a lament from Jeremiah about the false prophets predicting peace. Of course the people wanted to listen to the false prophets rather than the disturbing truths of God’s judgment. God spoke to Jeremiah,
“You shall say to them this word: ‘Let my eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease for the virgin daughter of my people is shattered with a great wound, with a grievous blow.”
It is apparent here that God is the one weeping for his people. The chapter ends on a depressing note. While God’s people had every opportunity to see their sin and repent, they did not. They were too enamored with their sins and too willing to listen to the false prophets.
May we heed God’s voice in our circumstances and embrace an attitude of repentance and prayer.
As we make time this week to pray for revival, let us remember several important truths.
- God desires our repentance more than we do. Jeremiah describes God as one who weeps. Jesus wept in Gethsemane’s garden before the crucifixion. God does not will the destruction of any, but desires their salvation. God wants his church to hear him. God wants his church to remove idols and distractions. God wants the repentance of his people. God wants the salvation of sinners. And if God uses pestilence and disease (as he has before) to bring his people to a place of repentance and prayer, then so be it.
- We need God more desperately than we think. Our part in seeking revival is prayer and repentance. A biblical view of prayer recognizes utter dependence on God. When we pray, we are acknowledging our inability and coming to God in humility. We need God. When we pray, God has already promised to answer. Our current pandemic is an opportunity to repent of sin and turn to God.
- Those around us need God’s truth more urgently than we can imagine. Need is interesting concept. As humans, we need certain things—air, water, food, shelter, love. Life depends on these needs being met. Much of what we say we need is really a want. But in the awakenings of the past, sinners became aware that forgiveness only come from God. Sinners need God’s truth. They need the truth about God’s holiness, their sinfulness, Christ’s sacrifice and the offer of forgiveness available if they will trust him.
As you make time to pray for revival this week (see the information posts here and here), keep these truths in mind. These previous posts also provide some prayer content for your times of prayer this week.
In concluding this post, let Andrew Murray offer some encouragement on the subject of God hearing us in prayer.
“My God will hear me. What a blessed prospect!” I see that all the failures of my past life have been due to the lack of this Fatih. My failure, especially in the work of intercession, has had its deepest root in this—I did not live in the full faith of the blessed assurance, “My God will hear me!” Praise God! I begin to see it—I believe it. All can be different. Or, rather, I see Him; I believe Him. “My God will hear me!” Yes, me, even me! Commonplace and insignificant though I be, filling but a very little place, so that I will hardly be missed when I go—even I have access to this Infinite God, with the confidence that He hears me. One with Christ, led by the Holy Spirit, I dare to say, “I will pray for others, for I am sure my God will listen to me: ‘My God will hear me!’” What a blessed prospect before me—every earthly and spiritual anxiety is exchanged for the peace of God, who cares for all and hears prayer. What a blessed prospect in my work—to know that even when the answer is long in coming, and there is a call for much patient, persevering prayer, the truth remains infallibly sure—“My God will hear me!”Andrew Murray, The Ministry of Intercession, 123-4.
When you pray this week, be confident that God will hear you. We pray in the name of Christ and under his provision. Because Christ died for your sins, you can pray and be certain that God will hear you. So pray confidently for revival and awakening knowing that God will hear.