Praying for Revival
We often hear Christians urging other Christians to pray for revival or a spiritual awakening in our country, particularly in light of its moral decline. While God does command us in His Word to pray for our nation and its leaders (cf. 1 Tim. 2:1-2), all the references in the Bible to “revival” are in the context of God’s people both individually and corporately (cf. 2 Chron. 7:14; Ps. 80:18; 85:6; Hos. 6:1-3; Hab. 3:2). In other words, it is believers and churches that need to be revived more than unbelievers and nations. Besides, a church must experience revival before their community can experience revival.
Any biblical definition of revival must include how God by His Spirit through His Word regenerates or resuscitates those who are spiritually dead (cf. Eph. 2:1-4). But whenever the term “revival” is used in Scripture, it describes how God sovereignly, graciously, and mercifully rejuvenates, reanimates, revitalizes, rekindles, refreshes, or restores the spiritual life of a believer or a group of believers after a season of difficulty, disobedience, dispassion, or declension (cf. Ps. 71:20; 143:11; Acts 3:19; Rev. 2:4-5). It is a reawakening of those who have fallen into a spiritual stupor and a rekindling of their zeal and passion for Christ and the advancement of His kingdom.
Based on what we see in God’s Word, there are certain conditions or requirements for revival to occur. The primary prerequisite for revival is having a humble, broken, and contrite heart that manifests itself through repentance of sin and dependence in prayer (cf. 2 Chron. 7:14; Isa. 57:15). Every great revival in church history has been initiated and sustained by either one person or a group of people who desperately cried out to God to rend the heavens and come down and bless them with a greater awareness of His presence, a greater sense of their own unworthiness, and a greater yieldedness or eagerness to serve Him (cf. Isa. 6:1-8). So in order for us to experience God’s great mercy and grace in our own lives and in the life of our church, we must devote ourselves to prayer (cf. Acts 1:14, 2:42; 6:4; Rom. 12:12; Col. 4:2). But what should we pray for specifically? Here is a practical prayer list to guide you as you seek spiritual revival and renewal for yourself and others:
- Ask God to restore the joy of your salvation (Ps. 51:12)
- Ask God to cause you to fall in love with Jesus all over again (Rev. 2:4-5)
- Ask God to increase your hunger for Him and His Word (Ps. 119:40)
- Ask God to enable you to pray more frequently and fervently (Mt. 6:6)
- Ask God to heighten your sensitivity to sin (Isa. 6:5)
- Ask God to stimulate you to pursue holiness more aggressively (Heb. 12:14)
- Ask God to grant you the means to make restitution for wrongs done (Lk. 19:8)
- Ask God to move you to be reconciled to others (Mt. 5:23-24)
- Ask God to make you more willing to selflessly and sacrificially serve others (Mk. 10:45)
- Ask God to provide you closer/sweeter fellowship with fellow believers (1 Thes. 3:12)
- Ask God to burden your heart for the lost and embolden you to share the gospel with them (Mk. 16:15)
- Ask God to give you a greater passion for His glory and the honor of His name (Ex. 33:18)
An individual or church that experiences true revival will be marked by these twelve things. We should not presume upon God that just because we pray He will revive our life or the life of our church. But by boldly and earnestly seeking God’s face, we put ourselves in the best possible position to experience revival. May the reality that God wants to revive us far more than we will ever want to be revived spur us on to pray for revival.