What is it we are asking for as we pray for revival? Ultimately, it is for the people of God to begin to experience the presence of Christ in a fresh new way. All other results flow from that. Changed lives in the Church as well as transformation in a culture come not from human effort, but the power of God made manifest in the lives of His people.
This isn’t about praying for a better life or that things would go smoothly for us. It is about God and His purposes being accomplished. The acknowledged leader of the First Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards, was fired by his congregation in the midst of the revival. On a much larger scale, as the Third Great Awakening was taking place in the United States, the nation was dividing into North and South and war then tore the nation into pieces.
Some look to another great awakening in this nation as the solution to all of our problems. That would be wonderful but unlikely. It is more likely to take place in the midst of great difficulties and even persecution. If it is widespread and lasting, it may well slow or delay the judgment of God against our sinful nation.
More importantly, another great awakening can empower the Church to finish the task of world evangelization. All past revivals have had tremendous evangelistic outreach, and I believe the one to come will as well. In addition, the repentance and humility that will be occurring in the Body of Christ will be a key element in preparing the Bride for the Bridegroom. Revival in the Church can bring a restoration of New Testament purity, passion, and holiness.
How do we pray for revival? Certainly Psalm 85:4-7 gives us a clear picture and we would do well to use this in our own prayers.
“Restore us again, God our Savior,
and put away your displeasure toward us.
Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger through all generations?
Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your unfailing love, Lord,
and grant us your salvation.”
One of my personal favorites in revival praying is found in Isaiah 63-64. It is a long passage of Scripture that speaks of Israel’s realization that they were missing the presence of God. They remember days in the past when that was not the case and cry out for God to come back to them. Taking this Old Testament passage and bringing it into New Testament realities is a powerful way of praying for revival. You will find yourself praying with Isaiah, “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!”
Excerpted from With One Cry: A Renewed Challenge to Pray for America by David Butts, PrayerShop Publishing 2016. Used with permission.