A few weeks ago I spoke of revival in my message. It is on the national stage, given recent events at Asbury University and now several other campuses, both Christian and secular. Recently, we got word from a former member that his current local church, McLean Bible in VA, is having a special visitation of the Lord in their midst. Praise God!
As I have broached this issue with some at our beloved church, while I have not received any verbal rebuttal, I see certain ponderings in the eyes. Some meet this topic with excitement and hope. But others reveal a bit of skepticism and concern. I get it. The issue of revival and revivalism is fraught with misappropriations in the past, and even personal stories of churches and theological camps that made use of such things to promote spectacle rather than a true work of the Lord. These things invite gawking, media frenzy, and now spates of social media reflections, both positive and deeply critical. Let’s be honest, this stuff comes off as strange, bygone, and perhaps cheesy to folks like us in a thoughtful, non-charismatic, and intellect-leaning church.
I want to reflect a bit on revival. I want to invite us to long for it. And I want us to expect it in a Biblical, God-centered, and God-trusting kind of way – without preconceptions (good or bad), without presumption, and full of hunger for God to do an amazing gospel work among us.
Now, a quick thought on prayer…
When did the Asbury University revival begin? A month ago? I would bet it began years ago. Maybe decades ago. As these things go, it may have started at the kitchen table of a grandmother who has never made a headline, published anything, or even held an office at her local church. Only the Lord knows. I wonder if said grandma simply, reverently, and expectantly prayed, with an open Bible and a cup of steaming tea, for revival to come upon that acreage in KY. Revivals begin in the prayer closet. Most revivals are answers to the prayers of people who have passed into glory before the revival actually broke out, I firmly believe.
So, revival begins with prayer. Simple prayer. Biblical prayers that echo with the re-creation story of Genesis 9, the revival under King Josiah and the finding and recommitment to the Word of God (2 Kings 23), and with the glory of the cross in their affections.
Can I ask you to pray? I asked that a few weeks ago. I asked for you to write the word ‘revival’ somewhere you will see it every day and pray a quick and simple prayer that God would visit us in a special way so that we are formed to enable his daily visitation upon us in a deeper way. If you did not do that, or were not there to hear my prompt, will you please do that starting now?
You do not need a certain picture in your head of what that might mean. Just pray for it. Well, what might come of it? That is the subject of the weeks ahead… but the bottom-line answer is – Jesus will be magnified in the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of the Father.
Thanks for this encouragement, Jay! I am praying for revival in my own heart. Knowing I can’t do what God has called me to do without His work in me and through me. I need breakthrough!
Trusting God is at work in your life as you shepherd God’s church in Chapel Hill. Sending prayers to you, Rebecca and family from Vienna, Austria!
In Christ, David Phillips