Revival: Our Culture’s Only Hope
I don’t have to tell you we live in desperate times. Just one glance at the headlines will do that. This country— this world— seems gripped by darkness, hostility, evil, and despair. And I confess, there are days when I wonder, “God, where are You in the middle of this mess? Have You forgotten about us down here?”
But then I remember the stories. You know, the accounts of past revivals that broke out during equally turbulent days. Times when, in the midst of upheaval and chaos, God suddenly moved in power, and everything changed. Almost overnight, He awakened whole communities to spiritual realities long since forgotten. He stirred in His church a passion for prayer, worship, and evangelism that had remained dormant for generations. And He transformed indifferent hearts into ones burning for Him.
In short, God brought revival.
And I’m convinced He wants to do it again. After all, desperate times call for a desperate response— and these are truly desperate times. So what should we do? First, our eyes must stop wasting time scanning news feeds about how bad things are and instead look to heaven from where our help comes (Ps. 121:2). And two, our focus must shift from the problems we can do nothing about to the One who holds tomorrow in His hands (Ps. 31:15). We must not dwell on what is, but what could be, when God shines His light into our darkness.
Do you want change in this nation? If so, true change doesn’t start at the ballot box but in the prayer closet. We don’t need another political action committee or conservative candidate, but a spiritual awakening. And a spiritual awakening comes only in response to fervent, unified prayer.
And that is something we can do.
Which is what this guide is all about. Below is a practical roadmap to seeking God for revival in your own life, church, and beyond. It is not a formula for revival, but a starting point. The rest, the results, depends on how earnestly we apply it.
Revival requires commitment, spiritual hunger, and fervent, persevering prayer. Casual prayers produce only casual results. And we have spent far too much time praying casual prayers. But hearts that are desperate for God can stir Him to action. So let that stir begin with you and me today.
So what do we mean by revival? Quite simply, a revival is an extraordinary work of God through His Spirit to ignite new spiritual life within His people. Think re-vival— or bringing God’s people back to a vibrant spiritual life from one of apathy and stagnancy.
Revivals manifest themselves in many ways, but all share some common fruits:
• Deep conviction and repentance of sin
• Renewed passion for prayer, worship, and God’s Word
• Powerful preaching leading multitudes to salvation
• Public testimony through conversions and restorations
• Increased burden for reaching the lost
Simply put, revival happens when God shows up in power. But history proves He most often shows up in response to His people fervently, and with expectation, praying for Him to revive them again (Ps. 85:6).
Nine Steps to Revival Prayer
This brings us to nine practical steps for pleading with God for revival today. Again, this is just the starting point for revival. You will have to put these into practice in your own life. Knowing is one thing, but God wants us to be “doers” of His Word (Jas. 1:23).
1. Humble yourself before God (2 Chron. 7:14). Revival starts with recognizing who God is and who we are before Him— He is the holy, powerful King, and we are His unworthy subjects. He is supreme, sovereign, and eternal, and we are but dust and ashes (Gen. 18:27). So when you come to God, come with a broken and contrite spirit, willing to turn from any sin hindering His work in you by grieving His Spirit (Eph. 4:30). Confess your pride, self-sufficiency, and religious pretense that prevents His Spirit from moving freely in your life.
2. Cry out for personal revival. Before asking God to move in our nation, plead with Him to revive your own cold, distracted heart. Ask the Holy Spirit to awaken your passion for Christ and empower you as an empty vessel ready to be filled for His glory. For revival to happen in your church, it must first occur in the individual believers’ hearts. So let that believer be you. And do it today.
3. Plead for your family members. Pray earnestly for any unsaved or wayward family members to come to Christ. Ask God to soften and open their hearts to respond to His call. And faithfully share the Gospel with them as the Spirit leads.
4. Intercede for your church. Ask God to ignite a fresh spiritual awakening within your congregation, for both leadership and members. Pray for a renewed hunger for God’s Word, a passion for worship, and unity among all. And continually plead for God’s presence to be manifest in your services. Pray that your church will become all God originally designed it to be.
5. Pray for neighboring churches. Expand your prayers beyond the comfort of your four walls. Ask God to awaken and revive other churches in your community to Himself. Pray down strongholds that prevent cooperation and partnership with other congregations, that together, as one body, we might glorify Christ in our community.
6. Unite with other believers to pray for revival. Focus on two key words: united and sustained. Scripture says one can chase a thousand but two can put ten thousand to flight (Deut. 32:30). Imagine a prayer movement of believers across your city or nation, humbling themselves and crying out in holy unity to God. Is there anything the darkness could do to keep that light from bursting forth? I think not. So pray revival would break forth among other believers in your community so as one, you can glorify the name of Christ together (John 17:21).
7. Set prayer schedules both individually and corporately. Revival requires persevering prayer, not seasonal prayer. Set a course for yourself and your church to regularly gather and pray toward this end. Make some time sacrifices in expectation of His coming in power and glory among you as He has done in the past. Establish prayer groups, schedules, places, and leadership to keep prayer for revival alive and ongoing. And become a leader in this. Be the first to volunteer your time and home and set an example for others to follow.
8. Maintain expectancy for God to move. Here’s where faith comes in. Take encouragement from God’s Word and past revivals that He truly responds to sincere, prevailing prayer. And then watch expectantly for Him to work according to His timing and will in response. You will not be disappointed.
9. Be ready to follow His lead. Finally, pray for openness and willingness to join God in what He wants to do when revival comes. As God pours out His Spirit, stay sensitive to how He may direct your life toward evangelism, service, and spiritual growth. You never know what He may choose to do with your life. So surrender it totally to Him.
Launching Pad to Revival
Remember, these steps provide a launching pad for revival prayer, not a formula. The guidelines matter little if the heart remains unchanged. Yet as we follow this path with authentic devotion, I believe God will honor our cries for revival.
Our nation faces uncertain days. But uncertainty drives us to our knees. Perhaps God will use the very darkness of this age to display the light and power of Christ at work through His revived people. But He waits for us to seek His face.
So let the seeking begin with us. And let it begin today.