16 Jul 2013
Regarding prayer for revival, Dr A. T. Pierson once said, “There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer.” Matthew Henry, the renowned commentator of the Bible wrote these words, “When God intends great mercy for His people, He first sets them to praying.” R. A. Torry the first superintendent of the Moody Bible Institute at the turn of the Twentieth Century said this about prayer: “We live in a day characterized by the multiplication of man’s machinery and the diminution of God’s power. The great cry of our day is to work, work, work! Organize, organize, organize! Give us some new society! Tell us some new methods! Devise some new machinery! But the great need of our day is prayer, more prayer and better prayer.”
Several years ago when a group known as the Overseas Missionary Society saw that after 25 years of work in India all they could report was 2,000 believers in 25 churches, they adopted a new strategy. In their homelands they recruited 1,000 people committed to pray for the work in India for just 15 minutes per day. Within a few years the church exploded to 73,000 members in 550 churches.
“Prayer will do more to bring a deep and lasting and sweeping revival, a revival that is real and lasting and altogether of the right sort, than all the organizations that were ever devised by man.” - R. A. Torry
From the quotes and reports above we see that united believing prayer is crucial preparation for real revival. However in our present day we often view prayer as the icing on the cake of Christianity. While it is more likely that prayer is the plate that the cake is resting on. Prayer is not optional it is critical for spiritual victory.
The attitude we hold toward prayer is exceedingly essential. Our natural tendency is to assume that we are in control and we can handle most things. Prayer from this perspective is for those few out of the ordinary things that are beyond our control. Conversely God’s perspective is that He is in control of all things and that we are His servant children who are to ask Him for everything we need to fulfill His calling and purpose for our life. Our asking God in prayer for our needs and for the desires of our hearts is at the core of our relationship with Him.
To the extent that we believe we can handle things, this is the extent that God’s power is ruled out of these aspects of our lives. To the extent that we humble ourselves and ask in faith with pure hearts [ 2 Chronicles 7:14 ] we will find God hearing and answering our prayers. But we must not think that this is a transactional arrangement. The arrangement between us and God is relational! He is our Father not our banker or our lawyer. Have you noticed that in relationships if an issue comes up that to an extent separates two individuals this separation also spreads to every other aspect of the relationship?
This is important to recognize in our communication with God. We should have an appropriate attitude concerning ourselves and concerning God in order to pray [communicate with God] productively. This is a way of saying we must continue to strive for humility, the knowing of our true position and God’s position, in the practice of prayer. While we recognize that revival is beyond our ability to organize or achieve on our own, our heart attitude in other areas our lives, particularly pride, can dull and diminish the impact of our prayers for revival. Both James and Peter in their letters instruct us to humble ourselves.
1 Peter 5:5-6 (ASV)
5 Likewise, ye younger, be subject unto the elder. Yea, all of you gird yourselves with humility, to serve one another: for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time;
James 4:10 (NASB95)
10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
Think for a minute what it would mean for you personally to humble yourself in the presence of the Lord. Oh may the Spirit of God give each of us the perspective, power and discipline to daily humble ourselves in His presence.
In our modern day church we say we believe in prayer, but if we could look carefully from the perspective of heaven perhaps we would come to the revised conclusion that we really believe more in what we can organize and do than in the powerful work of God in response to humble faith filled prayer? Could this be the result of our seeing ourselves as in charge as opposed to seeing ourselves as servant children dependent on our Father the King?
God has provided a remnant. God has started to set some of us to pray. I wonder what would happen if just those reading this devotional would commit to praying for revival from a cleansed and humble heart for 15 minutes a day or even 5 minutes each day without fail. Are you willing to sign up? Your Father is extending to you this amazing opportunity.