Posted by: pastortomvabeach | November 5, 2012

Thought for the Week November 11, 2012

If you were unable to be here on Sunday, I want to strongly encourage you to go to our website (www.ccagvb.com) and listen to the message “The Gap”. We are in a season of prayer, seeking God for a real revival within His body, the church, for the whole nation. There is a great need for Christians to look around, see the condition of society, and then stand in the gap and intercede fervently before God “on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it.” (Ezekiel 22:30). We are the only ones who can stand between God and the sure judgment that our society deserves.

I found this article by Ray Ortlund, who, among other endeavors, is the pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He wrote about revival for a few weeks last year and this one is interesting in giving some guidance in how to pray. That’s the title: How to Pray for Revival.

“When Jonathan Edwards described the awakening in his church, he had to use words like ‘surprising,’ ‘extraordinary,’ and ‘astonishing.’ The Bible says of the early church that awe came upon every soul (Acts 2:43). We can’t program that into our worship: 10:45 am – Awe comes upon every soul. Since revival is of God, we should pray for it. But how? The Bible teaches us how to pray; Isaiah 63:15-64:12 is a biblical prayer for revival.

“Longing for the love of God: Where are your zeal and your might? The stirring of your inner parts and your compassion are held back from me. (Is. 63:15). Isaiah is saying, ‘Father, your mighty heart beats with so much passion for us. But you’re holding back. We need more of you!’ We can pray for the outpouring of God’s felt love upon us.

“Lamenting our own hardness: O Lord, why do you make us wander from your ways and harden our heart, so that we fear you not? (Is. 63:17). Isaiah is not blaming God for our sins, but he is saying God can hand us over to the power of our sins. We think we can play with sin, no big deal. But it isn’t that simple. When we are stuck, we can ask God to move toward us and free us again: Return for the sake of your servants. (Is. 63:17).

“Longing for the presence of God: Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down! (Is. 64:1). God hung the starry canopy above us like a big curtain in space (Isaiah 40:22). Isaiah is saying God can take that curtain in his mighty hands, so to speak, rip it apart and step down into our world with power from above. When you did awesome things that we did not look for, you came down. (Is. 64:3). Our God is full of surprises. Let’s never settle for any status quo.

“Lamenting our own sinfulness: In our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved? (Is. 64:5). It’s easy to think, ‘We’ll never change. Nothing will ever change.’ After all, it’s not as though we fell just yesterday. We have long histories running contrary to God. Let’s admit it to him. Let’s admit how helpless we are. Let’s hurl ourselves at Christ, the mighty friend of sinners.

“Longing for the touch of God: We are the clay, and you are our potter. (Is. 64:8). If we are the clay and God is the potter – if God is sovereign over us – why pray? Because we are the clay and he is the potter! We lie in his power. He can touch us again and reshape us in new ways. Nothing in us limits God.

“Final appeal: Will you restrain yourself at these things, O Lord? Will you keep silent, and afflict us so terribly? (Is. 64:12). Oh, that God would visit us with unrestrained power! Nothing in us can hold him back. Only God controls God. We therefore cry out to him, to vindicate the holy name of Jesus Christ in our time. Will you join me in praying for revival, as the Bible instructs us to?”

I especially like Pastor Ortlund’s reference to Jonathan Edwards and the surprising and astonishing nature of revival. I have read accounts of times when God has shown up in different places and almost always it was like that. People may have been praying, seeking the Lord, asking for revival, but His outpouring was nonetheless amazing and remarkable. As Ortlund says, we can’t control God. We don’t tell Him when and how to bring revival but we can humble ourselves and pray so that we are in a waiting and watchful state when He does show up.

I have been asking the Lord to show me how to pray, show me what revival would look like in me, how to expect His visitation. Ortlund has given me another way to bring this request before the Lord. He got me to thinking, how about you?


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