4 Prerequisites for Spiritual Revival and Awakening

Revival, spiritual awakenings—great moves of God when God pricks the hearts and awakens their consciences, drawing people to new life through His Son Jesus Christ or rekindling embers in hearts that have grown dim. These cannot be manufactured by the gimmicks of men but are done by God alone. Although we cannot produce these, we can acknowledge our need, ask, lean into God, and confess our sins. In His great grace He might respond and do what only He can do.

  1. Acknowledge the need. A sad and tragic reality is that much of those who profess Christ are unaware of the dire need for revival and awakening. Many churches are so busy either trying to build their programs and numbers, or else just simply trying to survive. Sadly, the people of Ezekiel’s day can be descriptive of the church today: “And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none” (Eze. 22:30). There are many who deny the realities of the wickedness of sin and God’s judgment of it. As a result, there is a blindness to the desperate need for revival and awakening.
  2. Be committed to prayer. Throughout history no revival or awakening has occurred apart from prayer. “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:1-4). Are we willing to pray?
  3. Dependence on God. Churches today put so much stock in programs, trends, skill, and education but where has honest dependence on Christ gone? Our lack of prayer and crying out to Him betrays our unwarranted self-confidence. Jesus tells us plainly, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).
  4. Confess personal sins and sins of community/nation. There are numerous variables to a nation’s peril and calamity, and God’s people are not necessarily guiltless. Nehemiah’s prayer offers some  valuable insight as to how we should pray. “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses” (Neh. 1:5-7). The church must confess her own sins as well as society’s. “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins” (Ecc. 7:20).

There should be no doubt about the church needing revival and our nation needing a great spiritual awakening. Presently there’s not much difference between the world and much of the church. God only knows what He might do if the church got serious about her own sad condition, the dreadful condition of the world, the holiness of God, and the price Jesus paid for our redemption.

In genuine worship, the real questions should be, Does God like the song(s)? Is there anything which offends Him? Is Christ alone, honored and exalted? Our opinions are completely irrelevant in this matter, because true worship has nothing to do with us and whether we like it.

And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” ~ Revelation 5:13

Recapturing the Wonder (Part 2)

I admit, so many church services are simply boring. Mind you, I understand they are not meant to be entertaining, that is not what I mean. But often they are fairly informal, nice, and passionless. Many of the songs seem to be more about how much God loves us than how majestic and awesome (in the truest sense of the word) He is. Many of today’s sermons seem either like a stale lecture or a cheesy pep rally. One will tend to hear about how cool the worship was or the fun event that went on. But how often does one hear, “God was there, today! He got our attention! It was no social club today! No sir!”

Part of the reason, I believe, is we do not go with reverence or expectancy. Furthermore, often we make church about us rather than God. In fact, there are some churches who have taken out references to the blood of Jesus in their hymnals because it is “offensive,” but take out the blood and you cease to have Christianity altogether. But I digress.

The prophet Isaiah got a glimpse of God’s glory and it changed him.

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” ~ Isaiah 6:1-8

When Isaiah was in the presence of God, he was not only amazed but he was also convicted of his sin. Furthermore, he did not argue the point that his lips were not unclean. Be certain of this—any time a person is truly in the holy presence of God, he or she will not stand there trying to justify him or herself. Isaiah cried out, “Woe is me! I am lost!” The Hebrew word for lost is Damah, which means to cease, to be destroyed and left desolate. “This verb depicts a violent end.” [1]

The presence of God shook Isaiah to the core.

In the New Testament we read:

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. ~ Acts 2:42

It was during this time as the people devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship of believers, the Lord’s Supper, and to prayer that they witnessed astounding moves of God.

The problem today is not that God had ceased to move, bring revivals, etc.; rather, the problem is we have discarded reverence and lost our sense of wonder. When God’s Word declares something as sin, we want to fight with Him about it. We want to make everything about us and what we want, instead of coming to Him with genuine recognition that He is God (hence, we are not). 

One can only speculate as to what could happen if we were to recapture the wonder of the Lord and surrender to Him. 

[1] Spiros Zodhaites, The Complete Word Study Old Testament (Chattanooga: AMG, 1994), 2310.