Revival, interestingly enough, was a shared experience by saints in both Old and New Testaments. There was a difference, however, between the two eras in how the experience played itself out.
In the Old Testament, the reviving of Israel was usually characterized by a look back, as the nation sought to return to previous high‑water marks in Israel’s religious pilgrimage. Note how Elijah on Mt. Carmel challenged Israel to return to days of spiritual faithfulness before Baal worship had taken over (1 Kings 18). Or recall how Hezekiah refurbished the time-worn temple and reinstituted the ancient Passover tradition, shaping the revival that emerged under his watch.
In the New Testament, however, revival is characterized much more as a look forward. It is focused on fresh extensions of Christ’s reign among His people and into the world. Consider the prayer meeting of Acts 4: what they prayed, how God answered, and the aftermath in the succeeding stories of missionary advance—all forward-looking. In a Christ‑dominated revival, the Holy Spirit increases vision for what’s ahead. He deepens our yearnings for greater approximations of the coming Kingdom.
In New Testament-style revival, Christians are aroused to a reality of Christ’s presence and power already theirs, but currently overlooked. They are summoned not only to recapture their first love for Christ (Rev. 2), but also to discover a passion for Him that surpasses whatever they have known before (Eph. 3). Reawakening us to greater dimensions of His glory, New Testament revival is ultimately about recovering and enlarging hope in Christ.
—Adapted from the article: Fully Alive to the Glory of Christ: An Exceptional Season of God’s Extraordinary Work by David Bryant; published in Issue 2 of Prayer Connect Magazine.
Gracious God, awaken my soul to Your power and presence! Revive Your people Oh God! Wake up Your sleeping Church to the reality of Jesus in her midst so we might look so much like Him that our culture changes in significant ways! Give us the hope of glory that is already our inheritance…but which we have forgotten in our thirst for things that are of this world rather than of Your kingdom. Increase our vision and keep us looking ahead with expectation, all the while participating in the kingdom that is both now…and not yet!
Praise God that he is the Chief Shepherd, preparing for you the crown of glory that will not fade (1 Pet. 5:4). Thank him for leading you like a shepherd to well-watered gardens. Confess those times you stray like a lost sheep and forget God’s commands (Ps. 119:176). Commit your life to doing what is pleasing to God (Heb. 13:20-21). Ask him to help you recognize false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ferocious wolves (Mt. 7:15).
Many have family members who are like sheep without a shepherd (Mt. 9:36). Pray that God will use you as a shepherd in some way today.
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend
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