Monday, November 16, 2009
What Is Revival?
Maybe your pastor has told you that you should be praying for revival. This seems to be a mantra given for several decades. Many prayers are offered without any idea what they are praying for. Many are offered without any expectation of revival. Many are offered without the compliance revival requires. There is no revival.
Revival is not several days of meetings with a guest speaker. We have called these revivals but they often result in a frustration. People are expected to come to church several nights during the week to hear this speaker. The speaker has a few "sugar stick" sermons delivered with incredible timing. They are given ti elicit a public response. He will "share" the number of people who have walked the aisle to make a decision for Christ with every church at which he hopes to preach.
I believe that many of these men genuinely want to see people come to know Christ as Savior but I also know they can't help believing that the results directly impact their ability to get other churches to book them. I am no better than them. I'm just acknowledging that this has to be on their minds.
A genuine revival is a work of the Holy Spirit. People are drawn to a relationship with the Lord. It starts with a praying group. It erupts in some type of meeting. It may be a prayer meeting, a meeting when their is preaching or some other type of spiritual meeting. It cannot be contained.
The moment of revival begins when Christians confess and repent of their sins, are no longer ashamed of telling someone of Jesus who lives within them, obey the Holy Spirit and make a total commitment to the Lord. They no longer begrudge tithing, witnessing or going to church meetings which run longer than one hour. They are changed from the inside out. They live like Jesus is truly their reason for living.
Revival has always resulted in a great number of people coming to know the Lord. They do so because the Holy Spirit makes a sweeping movement into the community around these changed Christians. There are stories of people falling under conviction before they even entered the church. They cannot explain why this has happened other than the presence of the Lord came upon them and they were compelled to be saved.
Sometimes revivals have resulted in an emotional cleansing. People who were convicted of their sins wept as they confessed their sins. They have laughed when they were clean. They have a joy that is inexpressible when they have come fully to the Lord.
Most of the people who come through a genuine revival never lose their zeal for the Lord. They are steadfast in keeping their sins confessed, their lives humble, their Bibles read, their church served and their lives circumspect. They are diligent decades after the revival has passed.
Revivals affect lifestyles. Bars go out of business and crime virtually stops. People don't have to be told what they need to do to live godly lives. They will avoid that which appears to be evil. They don't become judgmental. They just don't participate. The businesses which appeal to the lower nature go out of business from lack of participation.
Revival seems like a dream. It isn't. It can be a reality but it will never be such until Christians decide to pray for it. We must do so realizing that we can not hold back anything from our Lord. This, unfortunately, seems to be a nightmare for many Christians rather than a dream.
Revival will change your church, community, city and country. Will you pray for revival?