Christians around the world are praying for revival. What exactly is meant by “revival”? Some think in terms of great meetings or tremendous evangelistic outreach. Others think more in terms of Christians who are encouraged and brought to a new level of commitment in their faith. Certainly Christians should be praying for revival, but what is it we are praying for and about?
Though many have given good definitions of revival, I still like this simple little description: Revival happens when God shows up for church. In a real sense, the Lord is always present when His people gather in His Name. But all too often His presence goes unnoticed. This definition recognizes the fact that when the people of God become aware of the Presence of the Lord, everything changes. Our worship services, our family lives, our evangelistic efforts, and our individual devotional lives will all be different when God shows up for church.
The Bible teaches us the amazing fact that God has come to dwell in us through His Holy Spirit. The Old Testament name given to the Messiah was Emmanuel…God with us. Colossians 1:27 teaches us the mystery of God – “Christ in [us], the hope of glory.” Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23). The Lord also made it clear that when two or more are gathered together, He would be there in our midst.
Much as the temple or the tabernacle in the Old Testament was a place where the Presence of God was manifest on earth, so now the gathered Church becomes a place where His Presence is known. Our theology is clear on that fact. Unfortunately, our experience normally fails to match up to our theology. Most churches meet for worship, teaching and fellowship and leave again without truly being aware of God in their midst.
Praying for revival is praying for open eyes among the people of God. Lord, help us to see Jesus! Open the eyes of our hearts that we might know You and become aware of Your Presence here in our lives.
Emmanuel, I am awed that through the power of Your Holy Spirit, You dwell within me and make Your home with me! Yet, how often I forget! Help me to become more aware of Your Presence in even the most ordinary moments of life. Give me strength to turn away from the things that distract me from recognizing Your nearness. Wake up my sleeping heart so that my life will be a reflection of Yours!
–Adapted from the article When God Shows Up for Church by Dave Butts, author of Prayer and the End of Days: Praying God’s Purposes in Troubled Times.
Glorify God as the one who fills all of your desires and needs with his presence alone. Thank God for being sufficient for you even when every other source of joy or support is taken away. Confess your dependence on other people or situations to make you content and happy. Commit yourself to making Jesus your “pearl of great price,” and ask him to make you willing to give up all you have for the sake of his kingdom, if necessary (Mt. 13:44-46).
Ask God to bring to your mind the material needs of an unsaved acquaintance so that you will be able to help meet those needs and bring that person closer to the kingdom.
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