Waiting on Revival
Do you ever get weary of praying for revival because the harder you pray the worse things seem to get?
We look around us and see divisions in the church, hopelessness outside the church, and a generation that is becoming deeply cynical towards the gospel because they don’t see it making much of a difference in the lives of those who claim faith.
Will it ever change? What are we to do about this mess? It can change and I’m convinced that seeing the need should prompt our prayers for revival instead of complaining about what is. It takes no faith to complain about current problems but it takes great faith to pray expectantly, waiting on God to intervene. I read the stories of how God has moved in times past through seasons of revival and I beg Him to “do it again”. I want to be a part of a time of people returning to their first love and we desperately need that in our day. But what do we do while we wait?
Psalm 37 resonates with the sense of despair that can settle into our hearts when we look around and see so much that is wrong and it looks like evil is winning. There are several themes in Psalm 37 that speak to our season of waiting and help us to stay encouraged:
WAIT ON THE LORD
We generally all agree that revival is a work of God, but our actions betray our tendency to trust our own programs and ideas more than we do God’s Spirit. We have books, counselors, conferences, and more steps to freedom than we can count. None of these will ever replace the power of God’s Spirit at work in the hearts of His people. The greatest indicator that people have given up on God is the indifference towards prayer in our churches. Where you find people who believe in God’s power as the only hope, you will also find people who make prayer a priority.
WALK IN FAITH
It might seem like a contradiction to the previous point, but waiting on God is not passivity. When we ask God to convict people of their sin, we should start with begging Him to convict us of our own sin first. When we ask Him to bring an end to the divisions, we should look for ways to reach across the lines and make a new friend. When we ask Him to turn our churches away from worldliness, we should take a look at our own schedules and checkbooks.
I’m amazed how often I meet Christians who are praying for revival in the people around them, but won’t ask God to change them first and won’t invest in the work of ministry. They focus on maintaining what is, instead of advancing the Gospel. The “hunker down” mentality is just as much of a faithless response as is praylessness.
WATCH FOR THE WIN
The glorious good news is that death and sin will not have the final answer! Because of the cross and the resurrection, we are on the winning side! We understand that the complete fulfillment of the resurrection is in our future, but we get glimpses along the way if we’re watching for them.
When we see another heart transformed by Jesus Christ, or a lukewarm believer set on fire by God’s Spirit, we should celebrate the revival fires that continue to burn in individuals, churches, and communities. When we recognize it happening at a local level, it increases our faith to see it happen at a national and global level.
It always fascinates me when I hear stories of people who were praying for revival, but refused to participate in the revival when it came because they didn’t recognize it for what it was. If we are praying for the manifestation of our personal picture we will miss revival when it comes, but if we are praying for the manifestation of God’s power, transforming the hearts of people we will recognize it at every level.
If you find your faith growing weak, change your prayers from “change them” to “change me”. Meet with a believer who is different than you and pray together for revival. Ask God to open your eyes to the needs around you and then do something about what you see. Look for the current work of God’s Spirit right in front of you. You might be surprised by what happens. As God does the work of personal revival in your own heart, your faith that He will do a work of national revival will increase.
My prayer for today: “Lord, I believe that you alone hold the answers for the deep needs in my own heart, the church, and the world around me. Would you begin a work of transformation in me first and then make it contagious? I repent of my pride and ask You to open my eyes to the needs around me. Then give me the courage and energy to do something about what I see. Help me remember that it’s all for Your glory not ours. Amen”
Floyd Yutzy has served in Christian ministry for over 20 years, and is currently a bi-vocational church planter and teaching pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Kaloma, IA. Floyd also serves as a Regional Resource Leader for The 6:4 Fellowship.