Pray And Prepare For Revival!
By Rich Carmicheal
In May I had the privilege of attending the 20th anniversary celebration of Harvest Prayer Ministries. The ministry was co-founded by Dave and Kim Butts, who since 1999 have also served as president and vice-president of the ministry of Herald of His Coming. The guest speaker at the anniversary dinner was Henry Blackaby, founder and president emeritus of Blackaby Ministries International. The topic for his message was prayer that touches the heart of God.
One of the truths that Brother Blackaby shared is that prayer that touches the heart of God is prayer that is in response to the activity of God. He drew attention to the well known passage from Second Chronicles 7:14 – "If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." He went on to note that this call to prayer is in response to God’s activity which is described in the preceding verse: "If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people…" (v. 13).
In this case, God’s activity is that He sends judgment upon the land because of the sin of His people. If, and when, this happens, God calls His people to fully respond to Him by humbling themselves, praying, seeking His face and repenting of sin so that forgiveness and healing can come.
This is certainly a relevant message for us today. Here in the U.S., and in many other countries as well, we are experiencing many indications of the judgment(s) of God. Not only is this happening on national levels, but on church, family and personal levels as well. You may very well be feeling more of the grief and burden of seeing the breakdown in your culture and in the lives of those around you, perhaps even in your own life.
Now such things could lead to despair. After all, it may seem like the Lord has withdrawn and does not care. Some people believe that we have no cause for hope, but only cause to expect conditions around us and within our lives to become worse and worse.
However, God’s judgments are not meant to bring despair, but to awaken us and lead us to turn away from sin and toward the Lord. As Richard Owen Roberts points out in his message in this issue (pages 5-6), we are in a time of remedial judgment, not final judgment. When final judgment comes, it is too late for repentance. But there is hope during seasons of remedial judgment because the purpose is not to destroy, but to bring repentance that leads to life. The Lord intervenes with remedial judgments to capture our attention, stop our downward cycle of sin and bring us back to Him. This can be true of nations, churches and individuals.
If you sense the increasing judgment of God in your nation or in the lives of those around you, instead of giving up all hope as lost, realize instead that your full response to the Lord (in keeping with Second Chronicles 7:14) can help divert greater judgment and bring the spiritual awakening that is desperately needed. How tragic in Ezekiel’s day, when the people of the land had turned from the Lord and His ways, that the Lord could find no intercessors: "‘And I searched for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Thus I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; their way I have brought upon their heads,’ declares the Lord God" (Ezek. 22:30-31).
Revival Is Coming!
As you and I pray for the Lord to awaken the church and the lost, we can pray with great faith and expectation. There is no doubt that the Lord wants the church to come to life and for many lost people to yet be saved before Christ returns. He does not want "any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9) and for "all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4). The Lord has sent revivals in the past that have impacted nations, and He has on His heart to do it again in our day, not because anyone deserves it (we deserve the opposite), but because of His great compassion and concern for the eternal well-being of all people. Our hope for revival is based on the character and heart of the Lord.
We also base our hope for revival on the power of the Lord. No matter how dire conditions are (and conditions in the world are certainly dire and growing more so), our God is able to bring spiritual awakening! Take to heart Jeremiah’s declaration, made in a seemingly hopeless situation: "Ah Lord God! Behold, Thou has made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for Thee" (Jer. 32:17). Our prayers for revival are to the One "who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us" (Eph. 3:20).
Our hope for revival is grounded in God’s Word as well. Consider the eleventh chapter of Romans as one example. In this chapter the Apostle Paul teaches that salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel jealous (v. 11), and that Israel’s salvation and fulfillment will be a great blessing to the Gentiles (v. 12). As Richard Owen Roberts has asked, "Do you know of a time in the past when the Jews were provoked to jealousy because of the glory of God in the Gentile church? Is it not apparent that a wonderful revival of today’s church could provoke that jealousy?"
Kyle Lance Martin, from the ministry Time To Revive, addressed this same issue in his message at the recent Heart-Cry for Revival Conference. Based on Romans 11, including Paul’s statement that "a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in" (v. 25), Brother Martin asserted that not only does God want to send revival, and not only can God send revival, but God will send revival! The Lord’s end-time revival among the Gentiles will help the Jewish people come to salvation as well!
We are at the threshold of the Lord’s return. Jesus said that the "gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come" (Matt. 24:14). He also predicted the fall of Jerusalem which happened in 70 A.D., and said that "Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24). He went on to say that "when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near" (Luke 21:28).
God’s end-time plan is unfolding before our eyes. Israel is back in the land, and control of Jerusalem shifted from the Gentiles to the Jews in 1967 (though there is obviously still great tension over the possession of the land and Jerusalem as God’s plan continues to unfold). A key component that remains is for something to happen among Gentile believers to help bring the Jewish people to jealousy and salvation. That, we believe, is a great awakening in the church (largely Gentile) and among the lost. As Paul writes, "For just as you [Gentiles] once were disobedient to God but now have been shown mercy because of their [Israel’s] disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient, in order that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all. Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!" (Rom. 11:30-33).
We may well be on the brink of the greatest revival the world has ever known. In light of this, Brother Martin stressed how vital it is that we "Get ready!" "Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps alight" (Luke 12:35). "...It is already the hour for [us] to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light" (Rom. 13:11-12).
This is the hour…
…to pray fervently for spiritual awakening in the church and among the lost, and to pray for the Jewish people to recognize and receive Jesus as the Messiah;
…to press forward in sharing the gospel with others, even to the ends of the earth;
…to allow Christ to fill and overflow from our lives so that others will be drawn to Him and want in their lives the One we have in our lives;
…to be filled with the life and power of the Holy Spirit and to be led by Him in our walk with God and in our outreach to others;
…to be filled with passion for the Lord and compassion for others;
…and to turn from our selfish agendas and live fully for the purposes and glory of God!
About the Herald Ministry . . .
In light of the hour, the Herald staff is seeking the Lord for this ministry to increase in outreach in order to help bring salvation and revival to many before Christ returns. We invite you to join us in praying from Psalm 92 that the Herald staff and ministry will be anointed with fresh oil (v. 10), will flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar (v. 12), will yield fruit and be full of sap and very green (v. 14) in order to faithfully declare the word of the Lord and bring glory to Him.