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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Revival Praying - Part 2

Revival praying is praying with urgency. It is prayer that ushers into the presence of God as our shelter. It is prayer whose petitioner is humble and teachable before God. It is prayer that asks God to answer for His name’s sake. Have you ever experienced prayer like that? That is the way God desires we pray. In this second part of Revival Praying we will look further at what revival praying is. God help us to pray revival prayers!

The spirit’s urgency (143:7). Answer me speedily, O LORD; My spirit fails! Do not hide Your face from me, Lest I be like those who go down into the pit.” David approached God with urgency in his heart. He was in a desperate situation. If the commentators are correct he was either fleeing for his life from King Saul or dealing with the betrayal of his own son Absalom. Each instance was a life or death situation. David was at the end of himself. He ran to God and pleaded with Him to not hide His face. If He did, David said he would just die. God was his last hope.

Sometimes that’s where we need to be to really get serious with the Lord. Sometimes God allows us to experience trial and suffering or situations where all other resources are exhausted and He is the only One left to turn to. It’s sad that God is often our last resort when He ought to be the first! God often allows situations to reach critical mass in order to bring us to our knees before Him. Revival is birthed out of urgency.

The soul’s shelter (143:8-9). >“Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, For in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You. 9 Deliver me, O LORD, from my enemies; In You I take shelter.” No matter how bad things get, David knows he can find shelter and solace with the Lord. What a blessing it is to know the God of the universe. That is the essence of eternal life (John 17:3). What a blessing it is to go to God and have Him put His loving arms around us and to experience His lovingkindness.

Knowing the love of God and experiencing it first hand through the gospel (John 3:1-21) makes it easy to trust Him. Once we are born of His Spirit we continue on with Him. Once we experience His salvation, we progress on in sanctification by walking in the Spirit (Gal. 5). This sanctifying walk involves obedience. We can’t say we love God if we aren’t willing to obey Him (e.g. John 14:21). Obedience is essential if we are to see revival. If we regard iniquity in our heart the Lord hits the pause button (Psalm 66:18). But when we repent off our sin and seek to follow Him He will help us and protect us when we face the enemies of life in their various forms.

The Spirit’s goodness (143:10). >“Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness.” All of this is a work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin (John 16:8-11). He regenerates us to eternal life (John 3:1-21). He communicates and testifies of Jesus helping us to know Him (John 14-16). The Holy Spirit empowers us to serve the Lord (Acts 1:8; 2:1ff.). It is the Holy Spirit who is “good.”

The adjective “good” here means good in every way. It is a very broad word. The Holy Spirit is good in every way. He will lead us in an upright way, a balanced, straight, right way. The Holy Spirit is good and will direct us in the way we ought to go.

It is the Holy Spirit that works revival in answer to our prayers. And yet, such blessing is often left on the table due to passivity toward prayer. Leonard Ravenhill comments on this problem saying:

“One wonders why this is such an isolated experience in the Church today. True prayer is Spirit-born. True prayer is praying ‘in the Holy Ghost.’ Those filled with the Spirit are filled with prayer. There is something very questionable and unbiblical about those who claim a baptism of the Spirit and yet know nothing of extended periods in prayer. I am sure Jesus prayed before the Spirit descended upon Him at the Jordan, though there is no record of it. . . . We are in a tough spiritual battle these days. Yet the church that prays will be a prevailing church. Praying in secret means prevailing in public. . . . Revival can be brought to this generation by prayer, by faith, by cleansing, and by obedience to the will of God.”

The Holy Spirit is good and offers us so much. It would be foolish to ignore the work of the Spirit. It would be foolish to leave the spigot closed when through prayer we can experience the torrents of living water of the Spirit that comes in revival (John 7:37-39).

Revival for His sake (143:11-12). “Revive me, O LORD, for Your name’s sake! For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble. 12 In Your mercy cut off my enemies, And destroy all those who afflict my soul; For I am Your servant.” Here we come to the climax of the psalm, David’s prayerful cry for revival. “Revive me, O LORD” David cries. David uses the Almighty name of God, the “I Am” name. The English word “LORD” when it is in all capitols refers to the Name of God first given to Moses in the desert of Sinai. It is the same name Jesus used in reference to Himself and His deity (John 8:58). It is the Name for God that communicates His vast capabilities. He is all that He ever needs to be all the time. To Almighty God, to the LORD David cries out for revival.

Now notice something very important. David, despite all his needs and difficulties does not call for revival for himself. David calls for revival “for Your name’s sake!” This is a key for revival to come. God will not answer calls for revival that our motivated by self. Again Leonard Ravenhill comments on this saying:

“The tragedy is that this miserable self hinders revival, for it sabotages its own praying. . . . If we pray with one eye on success, there is no hope of revival for us, and if we are praying with an idea that we might be projected to the forefront, we bury every hope of revival. We must not pray for revival as a cure for the empty seats in the churches. We must not pray for a heaven-sent deluge merely to extend our particular body of believers. Prayer for revival must be pure. In pure prayer not one element of double interest can be allowed. Our first request concerning revival must be that God be glorified; afterwards, not before, will come our request for sinners to be saved and a believing that the heavens will be rent. God’s conditions have been met.”

If we want revival, we must pray for it to God with the right motives. Our first motive must be that God would be glorified that His righteousness and will be done. Only when this is our preeminent motive can we then seek the salvation of the lost and that God pour out His Spirit upon us. The heart is deceitful above all things and we are often self-deceived (Jer. 17:9-10). We need God’s help to purify our hearts from wrong selfish motives (e.g. Acts 15:8-9). We need to first seek His glory, the glory of His name. Then we can seek His help to destroy the enemies that afflict our souls. In all of this we remain His servant.

Revival praying begins with God and ends with God. We enter into it as God’s servant being led by the Spirit in our praying. And so, if revival is to come we need to seek Him, humbly, on His terms.

We need revival. That should be at the top of all our prayer lists. We live in a busy world with many distractions. But we have to take time to seek the Lord in prayer if we are to see our need for revival and experience it. That is the crux of this concluding poem.

Seeking Thee

Lord, I seek Thee for renewing
Of my faith and of my love.
Rush and care are my undoing –
Touch me, Savior, from above.

Pass me not, O holy Savior.
Leave me not to grope and fail.
Through Thy blood I seek Thy favor.
With Thy grace I can prevail.

Faith moves in to claim the promise.
Peace revives and floods my soul.
Make me now Thy chosen chalice,
Giving drink that makes men whole.

Seeking Thee, seeking Thee,
Touch and give me liberty.

We’re seeking You O LORD for revival. Please glorify Yourself in our midst, not for us, but for Your name’s sake. We surrender to Your service. We look to You. Revive us, O LORD, for Your names, sake!

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