Preparation is essential to success. How do we know that? Well, even God prepares. He prepared for the coming of His Son Jesus Christ. He sent John the Baptist, in the words of Mark 1:3, ‘to prepare the way of the Lord.’ John the Baptist was sent as a ‘messenger before your face who will prepare your way before you.’ If God knows the value of preparation, should not we take preparation seriously?
Many prophetic words have been given about a coming revival in America and beyond. Indeed, many people believe that having seen a political revolution that will have a significant impact on America, we should now be looking for a spiritual revolution to follow.
How do we prepare? First, let us revisit the question of ‘What is revival?’
WHAT IS REVIVAL?
Martyn Lloyd-Jones defines revival this way, ‘the essence of revival is that the Holy Spirit comes down upon a number of people together, upon a whole church, upon a number of churches, on districts or perhaps a whole country. It is, if you will, a visitation of the Holy Spirit.’
Revival begins with and is primarily for believers. Dale Schlafer points out, ‘In the case of revival in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, we find God constantly calling His followers to an intimate love relationship with Him.’ In the letters to the seven church in the book of Revelation, the cry of the Lord goes out, ‘I have this against you that you have left your first love.’ Revelation 2:4-5
The call is to return to our first love. Revival is ‘re’ meaning again and ‘vival’ meaning life. i.e. we need a renewal of the life of God in us again. Like someone who is in danger of losing life, such as a person drowning in a lake, that needs to be revived.
How do we do that? How do we prepare for revival?
THE PLACE OF PRAYER
The first and most important preparation is prayer, often accompanied by fasting. Prayer is the essence of the often quoted verse in 2 Chronicles 7:14, ‘If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.’
Only God can pour out a Holy Spirit revival. Only people can prepare for it with prayer.
Knowing that God’s promise is true and that He desires to pour out His Spirit on His people, why don’t we pray for revival like we should? Indeed, not only pray for revival but simply pray?
Recently, I read an article by Pastor John Matthews of Scarlet Thread Ministries, which caught my attention. John has ministered for many years with abundant fruit in the Ukraine and other countries. Let me quote some of what he wrote, “To be honest, lack of time for prayer is rarely our real obstacle. The Lord spoke to me one day when I was pressed for time and decided to skip a session of communion with Him. ‘John, what things DO you have time for?’ I pondered His question for a moment and realized I had a simple answer – but I didn’t want to admit it to Him. Finally, I replied, ‘I have time, Lord, for two kinds of things. The things I WANT TO DO, and the things I HAVE TO DO. That is how I spend my time.’ ‘Well, there you have it,’ the Lord seemed to say. ‘Now you know exactly why you don’t spend more time with Me. Either you don’t WANT TO, or you don’t HAVE TO. Either you find no pleasure in being with Me, or you think it is unnecessary. Time is not your problem. The problem is your heart.’ I was left speechless, trapped by the truth.”
That is the essence of it. Do we want revival? If we do, we will want to pray!
A WORD FOR 2017
In recent times, I have often sought the Lord for a word for the year ahead. This year, the word was simply PREPARE FOR REVIVAL and the scripture to go with it was Psalm 119:28, “Revive me according to Your Word.’ Now, this is a word for me but it may also be a word for others. It is a word that needs to be believed, taken hold off in prayer and acted upon.
Remember what I wrote at the beginning of this letter about the ‘will to prepare to win.’ Let me put it another way. Many people will tell you that we need a revival in America today. Many will say that they would love to see revival come to our nation and beyond. Many have a desire to see revival. However, it is not the desire for revival that makes a difference. It takes more than desire, for it takes the will to prepare for revival in prayer and fasting that will make the difference.
We have had a political revolution in America, the result, I and others believe, of the prayers of many believers. Let us now usher in a spiritual revolution; a Holy Spirit revival in our world.
Let us ask the Lord, ‘Will you not revive us that your people will rejoice in You?’ Psalm 85:6
Come, let us prepare for revival. Let us pray.
POSTSCRIPT – Two previous Langstaff Letters (What is Revival Part 1 and What is Revival Part 2) look at the question of ‘What is Revival?’ and included insights from Dr. Barry Chant’s excellent book ‘This is Revival.’
What Is Revival? – Pentecostal Pioneers. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://pentecostalpioneers.org/whatisrevivaljones.html
Being at Home with God Pastor John’s Blog. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.pastorjohnmatthews.org/2016/06/23/being-at-home-with-god/