I’m often asked what I believe about “revival” – particularly within the United States. As I have prayed for revival for well over 20 years there are four key words that generally come to mind:
1. Revival is “the abiding manifest presence of God” (Psalm 132) among a community or culture of people within a tangible, geographical location. I pray for, and believe God wants to do (Psalm 132) more than we do – in this age – within America (and many other places on the earth).
Revival in the ultimate sense is humanity responding appropriately to the One Who is returning to the our planet as Lord. Jesus isn’t coming to merely make our church experiences more stimulating or more popular. He’s returning to rule 195 nations on the earth. This is the One we encounter in revival – the One Who is filled with zeal to reign with perfect love.
Two great questions can help stir our hearts to authentically prepare for and engage His Presence: “What in me is this Man worth?” and “What do I want my heart to be filled with in the moment that I first meet our Bridegroom King?” Seeking answers to these questions will kindle a hunger for me run to God in purification and dedication, and not away from Him in shame or frustration.
2. Sincerely asking these two questions of ourselves will also engender a spirit of repentance in our hearts; a repentance that is fueled by the revelation of Him, what He’s worthy of, and a corresponding passion to submit any and everything in us – our sins, our unrighteous ways, our gifts, our resources, our dreams and our energy to His reign and the increase of His glory.
I believe the next (and last?) massive revival in our nation will entail a soul-rending, fervid, can’t-make-it-stop, everywhere-present, earthquake of repentance that dwarfs anything we have read about in previous revivals. Indeed, because of the nature of “what it is” I believe the next revival must be characterized by such an atmosphere of surrendered selflessness.
Having said this, I believe revival, “if” it is to happen in America before the Lord returns, will happen within a context that looks much more like the time of Jeremiah* than the time of Josiah. Repentance and “death to self” will be the stuff of revival; not liberated self-actualization within a re-glorified nation.
3. Psalm 132 revival will only come within a people who are plumb lined to foundational, corporate, contrite, Christ-focused, cross-bearing prayer. It will come no other way. This is one chief reason why (over the last 12 years) my wife and I have cultivated a lifestyle of 4 to 6 hours of prayer every day.
A. Prayer is where we see Jesus clearly and learn to love His singular exaltation in the same way the Father does.
B. Prayer is where we most clearly see what He is worth – and where we lay down our lives in abandoned submission to His increase.
C. These thousands of “deaths” will not happen “on the run”, or “automatically”. We consecrate ourselves to the King intentionally/daily in the focused Presence of His throne room.
D. Prayer is how the hearts of the lost are softened to the gospel and the chains of those shackled to darkness are unlocked.
4. At the end of Matthew 9 – leading into Matthew 10 Jesus speaks about revival from the context of His own presence and authority being manifest through His disiciples: “35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Ch. 10:1 And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.”
There is much we can say about the Bride of Christ operating in a mature lifestyle of conferred authority. In order to make ourselves ready for the revival that’s in His heart it is particularly important for us to understand that He confers this authority upon us within the place of prayer. True revival isn’t contained within a building or a venue. It’s imparted to a people who then carry it everywhere they go – into their homes, their workplaces, their city streets; into every aspect of their lives.
Prayer unto conferred authority is the engine of all revival. Let me say a little more about the power-connection between the two dynamics of prayer and conferred authority.
A. There is no conferred authority without prayer. We learn to confidently walk out His presence with His authority in the context of prayer-filled communion with the Lord.
B. Jesus commands us to pray for empowered “laborers” to be “thrust into” the fields for His harvest.
C. Laborers are commissioned and “sent” by the Lord. (It’s not something that we take upon ourselves – or indiscriminately thrust upon others…) Laborers are “sent” via their personal prayer-dialogue with the Lord.
D. One of the most significant aspects of being a laborer is giving one’s self to being “in labor” for the birth of God’s power and purposes within a group and/or community of people. Prayer is where the Lord “impregnates” us with His heart, His Word and His power for others.
E. If we don’t make the practical connection between much prayer and much harvest we will experience little of the Lord’s heart and power for it.
These four words describe the dynamics that must be in play in order for the people of God to experience Biblical revival.
JSB • March, 2022
* The time of Jeremiah was not unlike the time of the 1c Church. Within this mix of godless dominant culture, staunch religious fervor and hostile nationalism “the Way” of the Lord thrived.
12 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. 13 Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. 14 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. 16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed…
6 whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them. 7 Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. 8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.
4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. 5 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.