The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ziklag is Burned!

David had fled from King Saul who was trying to kill him. He let fear drive him. And fear drove him to the Philistines; perennial enemies of God’s people. It’s never a good idea to cross the line and reside in enemy territory. He was out of place and not fitting in.  The Philistines were assembling to raid Israel and David was ready to join them. But that was not something God’s providence would allow. David’s reputation preceded him. He was known as a great adversary to the Philistines. They didn’t trust him. God is merciful. He saves us from ourselves (1 Samuel 29).

David was living in the wilderness. He was exiled from his homeland. He was given the city of Ziklag by Philistine king Achish. Ziklag means winding, or bending. It is associated with “a measure of oppression,” and being, “enveloped in grief.” [1] The consequence of letting our fears control and drive us is that we are led off the path of God. God’s path leads to life and fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). God’s path restores the soul and leads to righteousness (Psalm 23:3). God’s path leads to mercy and truth (Psalm 25:10). David allowed his fear to drive him off that path. He had no business being in Ziklag. But God is faithful. Even though David got off His path God had a plan to bring David home.

Bad company corrupts good morals (1 Cor. 15:33). David became infected with the dark ways of the Philistines. He drifted from God’s path of mercy and truth into atrocious and merciless behavior inappropriate for a future king of Israel (1 Sam.27). God has a way of drawing us back to Himself. In fact, no one can come to the Father unless He draws them (John 6:44). That is grace.

Straying into enemy territory puts you in a vulnerable position. It was the Amalekites who had raided Ziklag (1 Sam. 30:1). The Amalekites are an Old Testament symbol-type of the flesh; the sinful nature. They had ruthlessly attacked God’s people preying on the weak (Exodus 17). There is an important lesson to learn here. When we stray from the Lord we put ourselves at the mercy of our flesh. That is a perilous position to be in. Our flesh will raid our life and jeopardize all that is near and dear to us; like our family. If you have crossed the line into enemy territory by indulging in some sin, beware, you are putting that which is precious to you at risk. If you are frequenting places of sin like pornographic websites, allowing fears of passing years to drive you into sinful relationships, or doing those things God has clearly marked as unfitting for a child of God, look out! You are going to get burned!

David had been on a three day raiding party of his own. He and his men had left their loved ones, possessions and everything precious to them at their camp in Ziklag.  The third day in scripture is significant. It was on the third day that Abraham reached Moriah where he would offer his son Isaac to the Lord (Gen. 22:4). The prophet Hosea speaks of a revival, a resurrection that will take place on the third day (Hosea 6:2). This points us to the greatest event of any third day, the resurrection of Jesus (Mat. 16:21; Luke 24:46; Acts 10:40; 1 Cor. 15:4). Jesus was raised on the cross on Mount Moriah or Calvary, died there and rose again from the dead, on the third day. Significant events that determine life and death frequently happen on the third day. For David, something had to die in order for God’s life to be rekindled on the third day.

David was straying from the Lord. He was going in the wrong direction. God therefore allowed something to get his attention and draw him back. There are times when God allows an enemy to attack and steal in order to get our attention. God is able to cause all things to work together for His good (Rom. 828). God allowed the Amalekites to raid Ziklag while David was wandering on his own raid.

Ziklag is burned! That was the horrifying slap in the face reality David returned to. The raider had been raided. And as he saw the smoke rise he instantly must have been flooded with fears for his loved ones. True to his fears, David and his men found all that was dear and precious to them gone. Fear only leads to more fear. Mercifully, God had seen to it that none were killed. But family, women and children, wives, mothers, sons and daughters, babes, were all gone! They were at the mercy of their captors. Ziklag was left a burning heap symbolizing what happens when one strays from God (1 Sam. 30:1-3).

What affect did this have on David and his mighty men? It states, “Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep” (1 Sam. 30:4). Even the mighty can be reduced to tears by such loss. Ever weep until you had no more power to weep? Ever suffer tremendous loss? Ever lose it all? Ever feel hopeless and helpless? Ever been consumed and wasted with pain, sorrow, and despair?  Trials are not always the result of personal sin (e.g. Job). But here we see the destiny of those who wander off God’s path.

David was greatly distressed. Trials never seem to come one at a time. They don’t come like the single shot of a musket. They come more like the rapid fire of a machine gun. David probably didn’t think things could get worse; but they could. His men and everyone else under his charge turned on him and spoke of stoning him (1 Sam. 30:5-6a). It is here, at the lowest of the low points of David, that we see what we need to do when we find our own Ziklag burned to the ground.

It says, “But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God” (1 Sam. 30:6b). David was the man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14; Acts13:22). David had to know that crossing over into the enemy’s camp was not acceptable to God. He was out of place and acting in ways a man of God should never act. It’s only a matter of time before we reap what we sow (Gal. 6:7-9). But David didn’t allow despair, guilt or regret to drive him away from the Lord. That would have served only to compound his pain and problem. No, David ran back to the Lord. That’s what it means to be “a man after God’s own heart.” It means that even when we stray and suffer miserably as a result, we still pursue God and rely on His faithfulness, mercy, and grace toward the sinner. No matter what, run to the LORD!

David “inquired of the Lord” (1 Sam. 30:8). The LORD directed him to pursue the raiders and assured him that he would “recover all.” David obeyed (1 Sam. 30:9-10). God led him along the way (1 Sam. 30:11-16). David pursued and attacked the Amalekites and defeated them thoroughly. God was merciful. David and his men were able to rescue and recover all that had been lost (1 Sam. 30:17-20). And that is what we must do when we find our Ziklag burned. We need to turn to the Lord. Inquire of Him. Obey and follow His leading. Take action against the enemy flesh. And hopefully, like David, we will be able to recover all.

Later David would cross the line again. This time, as king, he neglected his responsibility to lead his men into battle. The result was serious sin; adultery with Bathsheba; and premeditated murder of her husband (2 Sam. 11). His sin was exposed. He repented and confessed his sin and was forgiven (2 Sam. 12; Psalm 51). But this time a scar from his sinful indulgence had a permanent lasting impact on his loved ones. Some were lost forever (2 Sam. 12:19; 13:1-39).

Yes, God is merciful. But there were some things David was not able to recover; the things that had burned. That which is burned is permanently lost. That’s sobering. The burnt offering to the Lord was a sacrifice of permanence. It was a statement that what I give to the Lord I give permanently. If you have crossed into enemy territory and your Ziklag has yet to be burned or sin exposed, stop now! Stop in the power of the Lord and by His grace avoid a burning. He will faithfully show you how to escape (1 Cor. 10:13). If there’s going to be a burning let it be a burning fueled with the things of the flesh. Let it be a holy fire! Run to the LORD! Confess your sin and repent! Otherwise you may come home to find great loss. . . . or no home at all.


[1]Smith, Stelman ; Cornwall, Judson: The Exhaustive Dictionary of Bible Names. North Brunswick, NJ : Bridge-Logos, 1998, S. 252

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Below is a spiritual inventory or checkup list from the book of Haggai to help you follow God’s call to Consider Your Ways.  The purpose of it is to help you experience personal revival. Everyone needs reviving by God from time to time. Even the people baptized with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost needed to be refreshed and revived (Acts 4:31). Go over these questions periodically, prayerfully, humbly, sincerely surrendered with all your heart (Psalm 34:18; 51:17; 1 Peter 5:5-6). Ask the LORD to refresh and revive you, to do a new work in you (Philippians 2:12-13). So let’s get out our Bibles and turn to the Old Testament book of Haggai. Prayerfully read the scriptures indicated and then read the comments for the section. May God lead you by His Spirit and bless you as you seek to consider your ways.


Consider His Priorities (Haggai 1:2-6)

What is first in my life? What do I spend the most time doing or thinking about? When I look at my life and ask, “What does my life revolve around? What is at the center of my life and interests?” Is it working and related activities, home improvement projects, recreational activities, or is it ministry related activities such as witnessing,  attending church and fellowshipping?  Am I attending church services regularly? Am I involved in the ministry of the church I attend? Do I “date” a church or churches without committing to any of them, or am I committed to a local body? Am I loyal? Do I keep my commitments? When I have a choice to go to church or go to work to make some extra money, which do I opt for? (Not including mandatory work schedules.) When I have a choice to work on home improvements or participate in church activities, which do I opt for? When I have a choice between going to church or going to a recreational activity or watching a sporting event on TV, which do I opt for? What truly is the priority in my life? How do my actions answer that question?   


Consider His Pleasure (Haggai 1:7-11)

What gives me pleasure? Things that promote or cater to self, or things that would bring pleasure to God? Do I take pleasure in lust and greed? Or do I take pleasure in the things of the Spirit, like seeing souls won to Christ and serving in ministry of some kind? Do I take the most pleasure in personal prosperity and building my own kingdom, or in being used by God in furthering His kingdom?


Consider His Presence (Haggai 1:12-2:5)

Do I have regular daily devotions in which I prayerfully come into the presence of the LORD and study His word? If I am a father, do I lead my family in daily devotions of prayer and Bible study? If I am a mother, do I support and encourage my husband in his leadership role in the family in a way that helps the family come into the presence of God? Do I recognize God is always with me? Do I pray without ceasing to the One who is with me without ceasing? Do I look for His presence and leading moment by moment?

Consider His Provision (Haggai 2:6-9)

Do I worry about my finances? Am I trusting God to provide for me? Do I give God a tithe (10%) of my total (gross) income? Am I willing and open to giving an offering to God and His work above and beyond my tithe? Do I seek God’s direction and permission to spend before I spend? Or do I spend and never give a thought to what God’s will would be in my spending activities? Is God LORD of my money and material resources?

Consider His Purity (Haggai 2:10-14)

Am I in accord with God’s word? Are my thoughts pure? Is my heart pure? Are my words pure? Are my actions pure? What motivates me in life? Do I attend church out of guilt trying to make up for some wrong or sin I did throughout the week or do I come to church prepared and eager to worship God, be edified in the study of His word, and partake in the fellowship of believers? Are most of my friends believers or unbelievers? Do I practice, “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ”? (Galatians 6:2). Are my relationships pure? Does Jesus approve of my relationships?

Consider His Promises (Haggai 2:15-19)

What gets me through the day, His promises, or only my intestinal fortitude to withstand the pressures of each day? Am I aware of God’s promises? Do I know what they are? What do I look forward to, live for? Am I focused entirely on earthly, worldly, and material goals? Or am I looking forward to the return and Rapture of Jesus Christ? Have I allowed myself to be beaten down by circumstances and situations beyond my control? Or do I find strength by standing on the promises of God by faith?

Consider His Power (Haggai 2:20-23)

On whose power do I depend? Do I depend on my own ability and resources to do whatever I seek to do throughout the day? Am I frustrated, exhausted, and ready to give up or do I pray to God and rely on His power through the Holy Spirit to accomplish whatever I do throughout the day? Am I holding on tight to things and circumstances, or have I let them go and trusted God with them? Am I trusting Him to empower me, deliver me and bring me on to victory? Is there a life-dominating or habitual sin in my life? Have I sought to be freed from it in the power of the Spirit? (John 14-16; Romans 6; 1 Corinthians 10:13). Whose yoke am I wearing, my own, the world’s, or God’s? Who carries my burden, me or Jesus? (Matthew 11:28-30).



Wednesday, August 15, 2012

When the Spirit Comes He gives Believers Power to Communicate

Acts 2:4 - “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The born again Spirit-filled Christian has a desire to share Jesus and the gospel. But that desire is often outweighed or countered by a fear of sharing. This fear may be due to pride and peer pressure. It may be due to a concern to say the right thing. It may be due to a fear of not representing the Lord adequately or appropriately. And there are those who fear they will not be able to answer someone’s question or show a solution to anther’s life problem.

We need the empowering and enabling of the Holy Spirit in order to effectively share the word of God. Jesus said the Spirit would give us an appropriate and effective response to opponents (Mat. 10:20). The enemies of the gospel realized the disciples had no formal education (Acts 4:13). Paul would later write that God purposely uses those the world sees as inadequate in order to reveal His presence (1 Cor. 1:18-31). His power is perfected in human weakness (2 Cor. 12:9-10). That is the way God works. When we are weak, we are therefore actually strong in Him! And that strength and boldness to speak of God comes from the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit comes He enables us to speak boldly and effectively for the Lord (Acts 4:31).

The baptism with the Holy Spirit here is described by the words, “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit . . .” Prepositions are used to describe the Holy Spirit “with” a person prior to conversion, “in” a person at conversion (John 14:16) and that He comes “upon” a person at the baptism with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). In Acts and elsewhere the word “filled” is used as a general term to describe an experience with the Holy Spirit. The context of a passage determines whether the use of the word “filled” refers to the initial born again conversion infilling by the Spirit or the subsequent coming upon of the Spirit to empower the believer for ministry.

Oftentimes we are guilty of missing the forest for the trees. We are taken aback, confused and consumed with the speaking of tongues we find here. But the more fundamental truth of importance is that when the Spirit comes upon us He brings supernatural communication. It is the Holy Spirit that breaks through the language barriers that so often hinder communication. The Spirit cuts through cultural, financial, racial and any other barrier that might be a hindrance to communicating the truth of the gospel and God’s word. When we speak in the power of the Holy Spirit the Spirit speaks through us.

The miracle of the Spirit here is a miracle of communication. It is attested to by the phrases, “everyone heard them speak in his own language. . . . we hear, each in our own language in which we were born” (Acts 2:6-8).  The Holy Spirit enabled the listeners to understand what was being said. This is God drawing unsaved people to Himself (e.g. John 6:44). This is grace in action. This is grace in outreach. This is God’s grace preveniently going before and enabling sinners to “hear” the gospel. People are saved by God’s grace (1 Cor. 15:10; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5). Without God’s grace people would not be able to understand the gospel. God gives every person a chance to respond to the gospel. A person can reject or receive that gospel opportunity.

What was it that was being said? It states, “we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” Very clearly they heard praises directed toward God. It was as though the Holy Spirit allowed the onlookers to overhear the disciples praising God. They were praising God for His faithfulness. They were praising God for the baptism with the Holy Spirit!  The Holy Spirit, through the gift of tongues given to those who were baptized with the Holy Spirit, enabled the unsaved to hear praises offered to God. But when it came time to preach or teach the word of God Peter spoke clearly to the crowd. Communication is a two-way street. Communication occurs when two parties connect. Communication takes place when both speaking and listening with responsiveness occurs.

At Pentecost when the Spirit came upon the believers the Spirit enhanced the communication between God and the people by gifting the believers with tongues as a means to praise God. The spiritual gift of tongues is a spiritual gift that has been much abused and much maligned. To most the gift of tongues seems mysterious at best. This is caused when tongues are viewed predominantly on the basis of experience apart from the biblical teaching about it. Tongues speaking is a spiritual gift given to people by the Spirit that is valid for today. In order for it to be the blessing it was intended to be it must be sought and used in accord with what the Lord has revealed about it in His word.

It’s interesting that of the 1,189 chapters in the Bible, just 7 chapters contain a mention of tongues (Isaiah 28:11; Mark 16:17; Acts 2:1-13; 10:46; 19:6; 1 Corinthians 12 and 14). Some view tongues as the sign of the baptism with the Holy Spirit. However, there is evidence that tongues is not the exclusive sign of the baptism with the Holy Spirit. For instance when the Holy Spirit came upon the Ephesian disciples they “spoke with tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:6). Two gifts are mentioned here. The topic of tongues has been a source of much controversy.  We should not overemphasize tongues. We should not ignore tongues. We should study it and come to a scriptural conclusion about tongues.

The spiritual gift of tongues is a prayer enhancement. It enables a person to prayerfully praise God. God does not use tongues to speak to people or “give a word.” Any word given through spiritual gifting would involve the gift of knowledge, wisdom,  prophecy, evangelism or teaching (cf. 1 Co. 12 and 14; Romans 12). Tongues is an intimate enablement to, by the Spirit, direct loving praises to God. Tongues enables us to speak love and praise to our Abba Father in heaven. It’s a wonderful gift that helps us express our love to God. “For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God” (1 Cor. 14:2a).

Speaking in tongues edifies the tongue speaker (1 Cor. 14:4). But it does not necessarily edify the person who is within earshot of the spoken tongue. This is because the tongue language spoken is not readily understandable. Paul says of tongues heard by others, “for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries” (1 Cor. 14:2b). The only way tongues can be edifying to others is if someone with the gift of interpretation of tongues interprets what is spoken in a tongue.

In a congregational setting Paul limits speaking in tongues to “two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret” (1 Cor. 14:27-28). This is an area where churches have most frequently crossed the line. There are churches where the entire congregation is invited to speak in tongues. Frequently there is no interpretation. The result is chaos. To this we cite scripture which states, “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. . . . Let all things be cone decently and in order (1 Cor. 14:33, 40). This is the scripturally God-ordained pattern of the use of tongues in the church.

The other extreme that is just as unscriptural is forbidding the speaking of tongues or denying its validity for today. Paul says, “Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues” (1 Cor. 14:39). There is a setting for tongues to be spoken. Tongues should not be spoken in a disorderly way where the gifted teaching or preaching of the word of God is interrupted. But there should be an opportunity for tongues to be spoken; perhaps in afterglow services. Privately, like Paul, we can “speak with tongues more than you all” (1 Cor. 14:18). Paul’s qualifier is, “yet in church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, then ten thousand words in a tongue” (1 Cor. 14:19).

The important point in all of this is that the Holy Spirit enables us to communicate when He comes upon us. If we were going to point to one particular evidence of the Spirit’s power in our speaking it would have to be God’s truth spoken in love (Eph. 4:15). When the Spirit enters our lives God’s love is poured out into our hearts (Rom. 5:5). That love compels us to reach out to the lost. That love gives us a servant’s heart. That love moves us to be God’s ambassadors calling the unsaved to be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:14-21). That is what underlies the world changing, world impacting, and world reaching ministry in Acts. Love never fails (1 Cor. 13:8). That is powerful. That is what we need today. When the Spirit comes He will revive the church. And that revival will manifest itself in praise to God and God’s truth spoken in love to the lost. O come Holy Spirit we need You! Come in Your glorious power!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Prayer – The Preparatory Priority of the Spirit

“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication,  . . . .”

United prayer paves the way to Pentecost. There were “about a hundred and twenty” disciples gathered in the Upper Room. These included the eleven remaining apostles, “with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers” (Acts 1:12-13). This was the small group upon which the Holy Spirit came in power (Acts 1:15; 2:1ff.). Jesus had previously taught them that their love for Him must go beyond mere word to demonstration in obedience. If they obeyed, Jesus would pray the Father and He would send the Spirit to help them (John 14:15-16). Jesus later instructed His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they were empowered by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5, 8). Those who would be baptized with the Holy Spirit’s power loved Jesus enough to obey Him. They, “all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication,” (Acts 1:14). We need the power of the Spirit today.  We need to unite in prayer.  We need to obey the Lord.

Our best efforts apart from the Spirit, prayerlessly never attain the desired results. The absence of prayer exposes a work of “the flesh.” The flesh is mere human strength and resource (Gal. 5:16-26). It’s foolish, frustrating, futile and doomed to failure to think we can address ministry needs by throwing a few bills and checks in the offering plate, buying a few new gadgets, and organizing some programs. This is too often a mere fleshly response (e.g. Gal. 3:1-5). Our efforts, no matter how expensive and exhaustive, will fall flat without prayer and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Prayer needs to be our priority.

 When the Spirit came upon Jesus He was praying. Prayer opens the windows of heaven (Luke 3:21-22). Jesus prayed when He was transfigured. Prayer changes us from the inside out (Luke 9:29). Prayer is contagious. It was as Jesus prayed that His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1f.). If we want to unite in prayer we must take the initiative and pray. Try this the next time you are hanging out with your friends. Suggest you all spend some time in prayer. Who knows how the Lord might bless such prayer.

 Interestingly, how to pray was the only thing the disciples ever asked Jesus to teach them to do. They never asked Him to teach them to teach, preach, do miracles or even walk on water. They asked Him to teach them to pray. They equated prayer with who Jesus was and what He was able to do. What do people acquaint with you? Are you known for prayer?

 Jesus taught the disciples to persevere in prayer (Luke 18:1f.). He showed them to pray in times of difficulty. He prayed as He agonized over the cross in Gethsemane. He also taught them the spirit was willing but their flesh was weak. They needed to watch and pray that they wouldn’t succumb to temptation. This is a valuable lesson for us to learn (Luke 22:39-46).

 Jesus taught the disciples to pray for the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). And it is the Holy Spirit who will continue to teach us to pray (Rom. 8:26-27). We are weak and need the Spirit’s leading and empowering to pray. We are called to follow in Jesus’ steps (1 Peter 2:21). We must walk as He walked (1 John 2:6). Jesus prayed. So should we.  Pray and the heavens will open and the Spirit will come. Pray for the Spirit’s empowerment and then pray in the Spirit (e.g. Jude 20-21).

 Prayer is very practical to the needs of the church. Prayer makes the church run right. Prayer brings the presence of the Spirit. I like what R.A. Torrey stated about the importance of prayer for the church:

Praying will do more to make the Church what it ought to be than anything else we can do. Prayer will do more to root out heresy than all the heresy trials ever held. Prayer will do more to straighten out tangles, misunderstandings, and unhappy complications in the life of the Church than all the councils and conferences ever held. Prayer will do more to bring a deep, lasting, sweeping, real, God-sent revival, than all the organizations ever devised by man. . . . Humanly speaking, the Church today, owes its very existence to revivals. Time and time again, the Church has seemed to be on the verge of shipwreck; but just at the right time God has sent a great revival in the Church as a result of prayer. There have been revivals without much preaching; there have been revivals with absolutely no organization; but there has never been a revival without mighty praying.[1]

 We need a revival in the church. That revival is only going to come when we unite in prayer to seek the empowerment of the Spirit. If a congregation wants the Spirit to come in His reviving power they need to unite in prayer. And they need to particularly prioritize revival in their prayers. But first they need to unite in prayer.

That unity in prayer should go beyond the walls of the local church. We need to set aside the walls of sectarian denominational non-essential doctrinal differences and unite in prayer. I’m not speaking about overlooking any essential doctrine of the faith. And I’m not talking about a one world religion.  I’m talking about setting aside Christian non-essential beliefs or traditions that are often no more than petty differences that divide us.

We need to trust each other. There is a lot of mistrust in the body of Christ. Unfortunately it is frequently warranted. Those in the church need to stop robbing other shepherd’s sheepfolds. Are we really concerned for the Bride of Christ or just want a larger church or to win an argument? There needs to be some integrity and accountability. We need to stop “evangelizing” the church. We need to stop with our pet dogmas seeking to win converts to our side from the converted. There are enough sinners in this world to go around. They are lost and the Lord wants to use us to find them and bring them home to Him. He has elected us to reach them; “we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20).

We need to come together in love and respect for one another. Jesus said His disciples would be known by their love for one another (John 13:35). Where is the love? Whatever we do, including the adherence to sound right doctrine, if it is done lovelessly, is “nothing” (1 Cor. 13). Without love everything we do is ear-splitting, heart-poisoning, Spirit-quenching static. We need to unite in love and prayer.

Some churches are dead or out of breath. At such times the church needs reviving. Like with Israel, the Spirit can revive the church like bringing dead bones to life again (Ezek. 37). A revival is when the Holy Spirit breathes life into the church that is out of breath. The Book of Acts is a picture of revival. When the Spirit came in Acts, He breathed incredible life into the people of God. United prayer preceded that outpouring of the Spirit.

The need for revival is not limited to the church. Our world needs revival. Our world needs the overflow of the life of the Spirit from the church. I quote Torrey again:

The greatest need of the Church today is a general, widespread, deep, thorough, genuine revival. That is also the greatest need of business, the greatest need of human society, the greatest need of human government, the greatest need of international relations, and the greatest need of missions. In every department of life today – business, social relations, politics, international relations, education, the Church – we are facing the most menacing problems and the most important crises that have confronted the human race in centuries, in fact in human history. Since the incarnation of God in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, and the birth of the Church, which was the outcome of that incarnation, the only hope of the Church is a great revival or revolution throughout the civilized world. It is a real and larger coming of the life of God into the Church and through the Church into society as a whole. If not, it will be universal Communism: Communism in the Church, state, school, home, and everywhere with consequent chaos and midnight darkness on the Earth. It will be utter universal dissolution, desolation, and destruction.” [2]

Torrey wrote that in the early 1900s and God also stemmed the tide by sending revival. Today we have returned to a state not dissimilar to the one Torrey described in the above passage. We are in need of another revival from God. We need to unite in prayer for the Holy Spirit to come upon us in power. Prayer is the preparatory priority of the Spirit to come in power. Christian, unite in prayer!

[1] R.A. Torrey, Torrey on Prayer: The Power of Prayer & The Prayer of Power, (Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos, 2009) p. 63, 64.
[2] R.A. Torrey, Torrey on Prayer: The Power of Prayer & The Prayer of Power, (Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos, 2009) p. 216