What is it we are asking for as we pray for revival? Ultimately, it is for the people of God to begin to experience the presence of Christ in a fresh new way. All other results flow from that. Changed lives in the Church as well as transformation in a culture come not from human effort, but the power of God made manifest in the lives of His people.
This isn’t about praying for a better life or that things would go smoothly for us. It is about God and His purposes being accomplished. The acknowledged leader of the First Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards, was fired by his congregation in the midst of the revival. On a much larger scale, as the Third Great Awakening was taking place in the United States, the nation was dividing into North and South and war then tore the nation into pieces.
Some look to another great awakening in this nation as the solution to all of our problems. That would be wonderful but unlikely. It is more likely to take place in the midst of great difficulties and even persecution. If it is widespread and lasting, it may well slow or delay the judgment of God against our sinful nation.
More importantly, another great awakening can empower the Church to finish the task of world evangelization. All past revivals have had tremendous evangelistic outreach, and I believe the one to come will as well. In addition, the repentance and humility that will be occurring in the Body of Christ will be a key element in preparing the Bride for the Bridegroom. Revival in the Church can bring a restoration of New Testament purity, passion, and holiness.
How do we pray for revival? Certainly Psalm 85:4-7 gives us a clear picture and we would do well to use this in our own prayers.
“Restore us again, God our Savior,
and put away your displeasure toward us.
Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger through all generations?
Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your unfailing love, Lord,
and grant us your salvation.”
One of my personal favorites in revival praying is found in Isaiah 63-64. It is a long passage of Scripture that speaks of Israel’s realization that they were missing the presence of God. They remember days in the past when that was not the case and cry out for God to come back to them. Taking this Old Testament passage and bringing it into New Testament realities is a powerful way of praying for revival. You will find yourself praying with Isaiah, “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!”
- Dr. David Butts, Chairman, National Prayer Committee
Excerpted from With One Cry: A Renewed Challenge to Pray for America by David Butts, PrayerShop Publishing 2016. Used with permission. http://www.prayershop.org/With-One-Cry-p/int-bud-bk-002.htm
For many Americans, the ability to gather, worship and pray are critical among the blessings offered by our free society. We recognize that this country was founded upon a bedrock of faith, and we understand the critical role that Divine Providence has played in our nation’s history – from the time our forebears first set foot on these shores to the present day. All of the achievements that define the American dream, from gleaming cities and busy byways to our equitable legal system and stable government, are a reflection of the faith-based ideals and spiritual convictions of the people. In the words of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Without God, there could be no American form of government nor any American way of life.”
From its earliest colonial days right on through to the 21st century, America has always been a nation steeped in faith - spiritual roots that must be embraced, celebrated and cherished. Her citizens, leaders and institutions have consistently acknowledged that freedom and democracy are blessings passed down directly from the hand of Providence. This reliance on Almighty God has sustained us in periods of turmoil and given us comfort during times of uncertainty. Collectively, we know that we have not been left to our own devices. We find peace and encouragement in the assurance that our destiny as a nation lies in the hands of the Creator of the universe, and that we can call upon His name, through His son Jesus Christ.
One of the most abiding indicators of America’s reliance on God over the years has been her commitment to prayer. As men and women of faith, we have long understood the importance of bringing our requests before Him. We do so not only to express our needs, but also to bow in both repentance and adoration. During his second Inaugural Address on March 4, 1893, President Grover Cleveland summarized our nation’s commitment to prayer by saying: “Above all, I know there is a Supreme Being who rules the affairs of men and whose goodness and mercy have always followed the American people, and I know He will not turn from us now if we humbly and reverently seek His powerful aid.”
In recognition of the fact that Almighty God continues to shed His grace on the United States, we urge Americans everywhere to come before Him corporately in earnest prayer. In so doing, may we thank Him for the blessings He has freely bestowed upon us; petition Him for direction and sustenance as we confront the challenges ahead; and acknowledge, in the sight of every nation on earth, our conviction that freedom and liberty are gifts of inestimable worth, handed down directly to us by our loving Creator. It is time to Wake Up America and to submit ourselves before the King of kings in repentance. May He hear our prayers, forgive our sin and heal our land.
May God bless you and may God bless America!
National Day of Prayer Task Force
Easter (Resurrection Sunday) is fast approaching and I'm comforted by the reminder that our Savior remains as present in our world today as He was when He walked the earth more than 2,000 years ago. This is a wonderful time of year to reflect on the unfailing reality of "God with us" and to rediscover our adoration for the Lord.
Psalm 89 says, "I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations."
In our home, one of our favorite traditions at Easter, after attending services, has been for each family member to reflect and share at least one blessing for which they are especially grateful. It is a time for appreciating each other and most importantly, for appreciating God; often, many of us are brought to tears! These moments always remind us that Jesus has given us everything through his life, death, and resurrection. We have all we need in Him.
Author Ruth Myers writes, "I find that my worship is richer when I offer the Lord praise and thanks for three things: who He is, what He does, and what He gives." At this very moment, what can you say about each of these? I urge you to review often the questions of who God is, what He does, and what He gives. I pray that your answers every day will be a little richer, a little stronger, and a little more powerful in the grip they hold on your heart's affections.
He is Risen Indeed!
Mrs. James C. Dobson (Shirley)
Chairman - National Day of Prayer Task Force
In Gethsemane, Jesus “returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?’ he asked Peter. ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak’” (Matthew 26:40-41).
In A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, William Law says:
Prayer is the nearest approach to God, and the highest enjoyment of Him, that we are capable of in this life… On the other hand, sleep is the poorest, dullest refreshment of the body… so far from being intended as an enjoyment, that we are forced to receive it either in a state of insensibility, or in the folly of dreams.
Sleep is essential, but prayer is even more important. Ask God to help you find the right balance in your life.
P.R.A.Y. FOR TODAY
Praise God for His grace in allowing you to talk with Him; repent of any drowsiness or dullness you’ve had in prayer times; ask for more of His spiritual energy; yield to Him by changing your prayer routine to help you stay alert.
We sometimes feel a bit ashamed to find that most of our prayers occur during severe hardships. Yet Martin Luther seemed to view the situation differently:
Except under troubles, trials, vexations, prayer cannot rightly be made. God says: “Call on me in the time of trouble”; without trouble it is only a bald prattling, and not from the heart; it is a common saying: “Need teaches to pray.”
That’s a strong statement! God certainly wants us to pray at all times, not just in moments of crisis (1 Thessalonians 5:17). But Luther makes his point—when times are good, our natural tendency is to drift away from God. Likewise, trials seem to bring out our most fervent prayers. Let’s thank God for allowing troubles that drive us closer to Him.
P.R.A.Y. for Today
Praise and thank God for the burdens in your life; repent of any failure to be grateful for them; ask for His help in the specific difficulties you currently face; yield to Him by not complaining.
In Experiencing God, Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King write:
Your personal prayer life may primarily be one-way communication—you talking to God. Prayer is more than that. Prayer includes listening as well. In fact, what God says in prayer is far more important than what you say…
Prayer is a relationship, not just a religious activity. Prayer is designed more to adjust you to God than to adjust God to you. God doesn’t need your prayers, but he wants you to pray. You need to pray because of what God wants to do in and through your life during your praying. God speaks to His people by the Holy Spirit through prayer… Genuine prayer does not lead to an encounter with God. It is an encounter with God.
Through prayer, God quickens our spirit by the power of His Holy Spirit. That’s an experience we don’t want to miss!
P.R.A.Y. for Today
Praise God fro His eternal perfection; repent of any attempts to adjust God to yourself; ask Him to adjust you to Him; yield to Him by making whatever changes are necessary.
At one point in his ministry, Jim Cymbala, author of Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, sensed that God had a message for him:
If you and your wife will lead my people to pray and call upon my name, you will never lack for something fresh to preach. I will supply all… that’s needed, both for the church and for your family, and you will never have a building large enough to contain the crowds I will send in response.
As the people’s prayers were answered, the Cymbalas saw a wider application to the truths they were learning:
Prayer is the source of the Christian life, a Christian’s lifeline… Pastors and churches have to get uncomfortable enough to say, “We are not New Testament Christians if we don’t have a prayer life.”
If you make that kind of commitment to prayer this very day, you too can connect to the source of Christian life and watch God supply all that’s needed for you and your family.
P.R.A.Y. for Today
Praise God for being a Shepherd to your church; repent of any failure to seek His power; ask God for a breakthrough in your church’s ministry; yield by praying for this with others.
In Fellowship, his devotional study of John’s epistles, John G. Mitchell examines the fellowship with God that is ours through Jesus:
The great yearning of the heart of God is that we should have fellowship with Him. The purpose of redemption is not just to free us from sin nor simply get us to heaven, but rather fit us for eternal, unbroken, wonderful, personal, intimate fellowship with the living God Himself… Some people are waiting for fellowship, with its joy and peace, until they get to heaven. My friend, God wants us to have it now… It is not that we are waiting to have fellowship with God, but God is waiting for us to have fellowship with Him!
You can have that kind of incredible, intimate fellowship with God right now by falling to your knees in prayer.
P.R.A.Y. for Today
Praise God for the warmth of His fellowship; repent of any ways in which you’ve turned your back on Him; ask that others will experience His fellowship today; yield to Him by talking to others about the value of fellowship with God.
In The Master Plan of Evangelism, Robert E. Coleman explains how Jesus showed through His prayer life how His disciples should live:
Surely it was no accident that Jesus often let His disciples see Him conversing with the Father. They could see the strength which it gave to His life, and though they could not understand fully what it was all about, they must have realized that this was part of His secret of life. Note that Jesus did not force the lesson upon them, but rather He just kept praying until at last the disciples got so hungry that they asked Him to teach them... (Luke 11:1).Read more
Psalm 34:3 O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together. NASB
One of the many things I love about prayer is that it has a special way of uniting the followers of Christ. Prayer draws us together even when our traditions, denominations, preferences, or personalities might not have much in common. Prayer is a common thread that the Spirit sews throughout the body of Christ to repair the torn and tattered places that cause separation among us. One of my most favorite type of prayer gatherings are “Concerts of Prayer.” Concerts of Prayer, (COP) can follow many patterns and paths, there is not one particular script to follow, but it facilitates a connected gathering to magnify the Lord together.
There are basically three connecting points that come together during a Concert of Prayer; we connect with God, we connect with the family of God, and we connect with God’s Kingdom. Every concert is different, but they are usually comprised of worship, praise, songs, Scripture, prayer, testimonies.Read more