Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
OK, so some of you have already branded me as a heretic. "How can this guy not care about revival?" Others are at least curious and will read on. Maybe one or two (my best friend and wife perhaps) can't wait to hear more.
Trust me, at least here at the start, when I say that I would love to see revival in my city (Austin), country and the world. I've read about the great revivals in our past (of which there have been few) and heard many messages and exhortations to pray for the next one. I certainly don't criticize others of you who long for a revival of some sort in your lifetime.
But let me tell you why I'm not currently spending a lot of time praying for one.
First, I'm not sure what I'm praying for if I do. Am I asking for large crowds to pack stadiums, for millions to suddenly march to their statehouses and kneel on the steps, for churches to suddenly be filled with worshipers? What would a revival in the classic sense look like? And if revival isn't going to occur like it has in the past then what do I ask God to do today? I would suggest most of us don't have a clue.
If some sort of spiritual awakening is going to happen then perhaps only God knows what it will look like and He wants us to simply till the soil well in our churches and communities so that fruit will easily grow.
Second, there are a lot of other things that need the passionate prayers of God's people right here, right now. In America we need our government leaders and politicians to get a grip on reality and start leading our country with wisdom, discretion and integrity. Marriages in our churches are tanking every day. Families are struggling and priorities are way out of line when it comes to the things of God and what really matters for eternity.
It seems to me that if we pray for God to work in lives and homes from the inside out that the revival we seek will more likely occur in some way than if we just pray for the revival itself.
Third, I don't see much Scriptural evidence or encouragement to pray for or seek revival. We are admonished to be holy, to go into the world and make disciples and to love God and people radically. I feel more compelled to pray for those things to be true in me and in other believers and see what God does as a result.
Finally, I think we are often praying for something that God can do much more subtly and slowly. I remember a man in my former church who was put into a coma to basically save his life. I don't remember all the details but I do know that he miraculously lived but had to be revived from his coma slowly. Revival isn't necessarily going to be quick or stupendous. We may never see the kind of revival, at least on the surface, that we've seen in the past.
However, God can still do something amazing in our churches, cities and country. Perhaps he'll do it one person or church at a time. Maybe we won't see it while it's happening but we'll look back five years from now and realize that Christians have been renewed and revitalized by the power of the Holy Spirit. I've written elsewhere that God is doing something special in my city of Austin, Texas. It's happening slowly but it's happening. Somehow I'd rather keep praying for that.