Praying For Revival
written by Jimmy Newkirk, Associate Pastor (November 18, 2022)
I'm praying for revival. For me. For you. For God's Church.
Revival begins with a sovereign God. God takes the initiative in revival. God has promised to bless any faithful servant who follows Him in obedience, but an outpouring of His Spirit comes at His beckoning, not ours. Revival is God's invasion in the lives of one or more of His people to awaken them spiritually for Kingdom ministry. And that's what I'm praying - asking - for. I ask you to join me.
Revival can be personal or church wide. It can happen among a group of people such as teens, or even at a national or global level. But there are some common qualities of revival. Prayer is always of primary importance.
Prayer doesn't change God, but it will align our hearts with His. Prayer prepares us for the work and the power He has planned for us. E.M. Bounds explains, “What the church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Spirit can use - men of prayer, men mightily in prayer. The Holy Spirit does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men - men of prayer.” Without prayer, there is no power.
In addition to prayer, there are other qualities that are common to revival. These are:
- Faith - "without faith, it is impossible to please God", Heb. 11:6
- Focus - passionate single-minded obedience to God
- Vision - confidence in the omnipotent power, sovereign rule, and unfailing promises of God
- Industriousness - tireless effort committed to Christ and sound, Biblical teaching
Today, I want to focus on prayer.
As you know, prayer is found throughout the Scriptures, but there are two verses that I am leaning hard on. In Acts 2:41, we see the new Church explode with life. Over 3000 were saved by the powerful preaching of God's Word and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. But don't miss verse 42, "They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer".
Then, in Acts 4:31, "When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God boldly". I just love that verse.
Notice that the context of this statement was that of difficulty - persecution and spiritual warfare wrought by the enemy of Christ - to assault the Church and individual believers alike. This was not a time of peace. It was not a time of comfort. It was not a time of passivity. No, these were hard times and times of action. Prayer was not a retreat from the persecution; it was an offensive posture, standing in the presence and the power of the Lord who had already conquered this enemy. Prayer was the weapon these New Testament Christians used to put on the armor of God, to proclaim His truths, to deny themselves, and walk forward on mission for Jesus Christ.
But look what follows in the next two verses. "Now the entire group of those who believed were of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but instead they held everything in common. With great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on all of them."
Do you see that? Despite difficult circumstances and persecution, they were united: one heart and mind. They recognized that their possessions were a tool for the glory of God and growth of the Church. They didn't argue over preferences and as a result "great grace was on all of them". They focused their attention on Jesus: who He was and what He had done. As a result, they were able to provide testimony to Jesus "with great power".
That is my prayer for Coats Baptist. That is my prayer for you. That is my prayer for me.
In the coming weeks, we're going to be launching a new "4:31 Prayer Ministry" to include:
- Regularly scheduled times for corporate prayer.
- Opportunities for members to sign-up to receive regular prayer prompts for missions, ministries, and Church activities as well as prayer requests and praises.
- Renewed opportunities for you, the congregation, to submit prayer requests for spiritual, physical, material, or relational needs. You will be able to select with whom you want your prayer request shared or, if preferred, requests may be completely anonymous.
- Opportunities for you to speak with someone directly, to pray with you in your time of need.
In support of this ministry, we will be putting together a prayer ministry team. This team will assist in the identification, promotion, and implementation of prayer opportunities. This team will also support the training and equipping of members to improve their prayer life. If you have an interest in participating in such, please let me know.
As you pray, please keep Acts 4:31 in mind. Reflect on how the Lord often responds to prayer in powerful ways. Be encouraged by the scriptural evidence of God's mighty blessing when His people humble themselves and pray. Consider God's overwhelming presence in times such as recorded in 2 Chronicles 7:1-3, “When Solomon finished praying, fire descended from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests were not able to enter the Lord’s temple because the glory of the Lord filled the temple of the Lord. All the Israelites were watching when the fire descended and the glory of the Lord came on the temple. They bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground. They worshiped and praised the Lord: ‘For he is good, for his faithful love endures forever.’"
May God revive us today. May He make His glory known in us individually and as a Church. May we worship and praise the Lord for He alone is worthy of our honor.