Should I Pray For Revival, Or Be Revival, Or Both?
WHY I STILL PRAY FOR REVIVAL:
You know I have heard a number of people criticize “The Call” and Ihop prayer movements for their dedication to prayer and holding public prayer events that “focus too much on things that Jesus already finished.” And “crying out for Revival when Jesus already brought revival.”
I have also seen a lot of Christians who are “waiting around just praying for God to send Revival” but not really doing much to be an answer to their own prayers or share the love of God with those around them.
Here’s what I felt the Lord sharing with me today:
In the book of Acts the Apostles gathered together, waiting upon the Lord and seeking him for 120 days.
Then the Holy Spirit came in with a rushing wind and tongues of fire.
Immediately they began taking what they had outside and speaking in tongues, (looking like mad drunken fools to those who didn’t know what was happening), and then Peter preaches a powerful message and 3000 men (plus women and children) got born again that day.
It does not say that they then continually had “Outpouring services” though they may have. What it does say is that they began to teach, preach, fellowship and seek God together.
And numbers were added to them daily.
(I know I’m not quoting the Scriptures much because I’m summarizing a few chapters here from the book of Acts, so feel free to read Acts 1-8 if you’d like)
The overall response though seems as if they had one “big day” with 3000+ people being born again, and from there it was a progressive and daily growth of continually seeking God together, preaching the truth and reaching out to those around them.
Scholars estimate that it was quite a time later (months or more) when the apostles went into the temple in Acts 3 and the lame man was healed.
Then in Acts 3:4 it says “But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.”
So here we have a distance of months from the original 3000 added to their numbers from the first day of the Holy Spirit being poured out upon them, and here now they’ve reached 5000 men (plus women and children) some time later after this miracle at the temple.
What am I getting here?
Many have been referring to “Revival” or “Outpouring of the Holy Spirit” as a sovereign grace of God that is released where millions of people instantly get born again because God just shows up in a church service one day and the presence of God is so strong that people are overwhelmed by it. And this continues for months and years resulting in mass revival.
We have had a number of these throughout the past 2000 years. Toronto, Azusa Street, The Welsh Revival, and many more.
These are amazing sovereign outpourings of God that come as a result of the people of God praying for nations to be saved and God to pour out His Spirit.
I praise God for every one of them and hope for more to come.
However, this can also be a huge stumbling block for the very first example of revival that we have in the New Testament.
What I’m talking about is a more “Progressive” outpouring of the Spirit, versus an “instantaneous” outpouring of the Spirit.
The Book of Acts is not what I would necessarily consider to be instantaneous outpouring. It was a progressive outpouring of the Spirit and revival that took place by people responding to the original manifestation of God’s power and choosing to steward it through daily intimacy, preaching and evangelism.
Based on the fact that 10′s of thousands weren’t instantly coming to God in the first days, tells me that this was not like Azusa street or the Welsh revival.
Instead this was the Apostles obeying Jesus commands to:
Luke 24:46-48 “Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
The apostles knew that once they were “endued with power from on high” it was simply their job to be witnesses of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
They were not to wait for a continual sovereign move of God and stay inside a church building and expect everyone to come to them. They were told to wait (pray and seek God corporately) until power came. Then when the power was here, go and be witnesses and God would grow His kingdom through their witness.
The greatest movement ever started in history was started by the apostles daily seeking God corporately, fellowshipping and spreading the gospel from house to house and in the local places.
It took them MONTHS to grow from 3000 men, to around 5000+. This would not be what the modern Christian church might call “an outpouring” because there are plenty of average churches that have grown from 3000 to 5000 in months.
Do you get what I’m saying here?
Yet as they grew, the church multiplied and multiplied and pretty soon entire cities were being turned to God from regular “church going” disciples going out and being witnesses with power like Jesus said:
Acts 8:5-8 “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. 6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city.”
I think one of the biggest mistakes we have made in reference to revival is thinking that revival is an event and not a lifestyle, that outpouring means instantaneous and sovereign, instead of also being progressive and taking place when God’s people choose to obey what He already told them to do.
These are things that I have thought about many, many times the past few years, and I have seen many debate about these issues (and many criticize and say very poor things about what others are doing that they think “is wrong”).
I want you to know that I love and support the Call, Ihop, and any Christ centered prayer movements out there.
The prayers of the saints offered through these ministries are greatly and directly impacting the simultaneous outpouring of God’s Spirit and revival that is happening daily in the lives of those who are saying “Yes” to God and going out and doing His miraculous works and demonstrating God’s kingdom.
These two actions are not separate from each other, though at times it may have seemed that way.
If one part of the body prays more, and one part goes more, that is perfectly good and glorious in the sight of God.
In a perfect world everyone who is a Christian would do both.
Pray for more of God’s Spirit, Love and Glory to manifest in the earth.
And then be an answer to that prayer by going out and doing their part in releasing God’s manifest Kingdom to those around them.
It would be HUGE ERROR to criticize one or the other and say they are not doing their part.
It would also be HUGE ERROR to say that because certain groups don’t “Pray like we think they should” or “Have the revelation of God’s finished works” that we have, means that they are doing it all wrong.
We all make mistakes and we are all learning how to walk more like Christ. It is the willingness of God to work with even our biggest mistakes, simply because we are at least “trying” that makes God’s grace so wonderful. It is a mark of maturity in a believer when we can see that others are making mistakes, but still encourage, support and acknowledge their efforts and the greatness of who they are just like our Father does.
It does not take the Spirit of God to learn how to find faults in others and what they do.
It does however take the Spirit of God to see what He is doing in and through each individual person and group that makes up a more unified and effective corporate impact.
In conclusion (though I could say much more), I would love to see:
1. More Christians praying for God’s Spirit to move among the nations continually and daily (like the Bible commands us to: 1 Tim. 2:1-4, Eph. 6:18, 1 Thess. 5:17, Rom. 8:26-27, and many more)
2. More Christians being an answer to their own prayers and going out and being a witness of power to the saved and unsaved. Teaching and equipping the saints how to walk like Christ, and helping reach out to the lost and dieing world around us. (Matt. 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-20, Eph. 4:10-16 and many more).
3. Christians not criticizing if one has a stronger calling for one side of these 2 things, and instead supporting and encouraging each others work in the Lord.
If we can do these 3 things practically, and even daily, truly the whole world will experience and know revival like it never has before. And we won’t have to wait for God to only do His “Instantaneous revivals” because we will already be so caught up with being a witness of power and seeing revival spread daily that anything God does to add to it, will simply be added blessings and grace to spread His Love and Kingdom! (Though we also love and desire to see His instantaneous outpourings come forth as well)
Now Lord help us (me definitely included as I know I could be a better example of these things) to live this out and to be more unified in Love together. Help us to live the word, pray your Kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. And let us go and preach that “The Kingdom of God has come near you to all creation. In Jesus name. Amen.”
I leave you with these two versus that summarize this entire message:
1 Timothy 2:1-4 ”Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Matt. 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”
May God bless your richly!
PS to pick up a free book about the Radical nature of God’s Love, how to live and walk in His love daily, and how to share that love more with others go here >> www.onewithlove.org/book