Revival is a product of intense prayer
Historical accounts of revivals in past centuries are very inspiring as history sets the foundation for the present as well as the future.
All through history, we find that God’s work and His acts are always coupled with prayer. God responds when His people call upon him in prayer, especially when they call on Him in sincerity and truth (2 Chro.7:14).
Dr. Edwin Orr accurately said: “History is silent about revivals that did not begin with prayer.” A ten-day prayer meeting preceded the arrival of Pentecost. Elijah’s prayer in 1 Kings 18:41-46 illustrates the place of prayer in revival. God had given His word that He would send rain in Israel.
To actualise God’s word, Elijah, the fiery prophet gathered the prophets of Baal at Mount Camel to determine, which God was superior, Jehovah or Baal.
He repaired the broken altars of God before them and called down fire from heaven upon the sacrifice on the altar. But the contest did not bring any rain until he prayed. Elijah’s prayer was an example of tenacity and perseverance. The rain eventually came in answer to the prophet’s prayer.
Samuel Whitefield said: “Revival praying begins with longing, and it ultimately finds its deepest expression in a specific kind of longing – a longing for God. The foundation of revival praying is found in Psalm 42.
The Psalmist of Psalm 42 is longing for God. He weeps night and day because he is longing for the presence of God on earth among His people. His tears are his food because he cannot live on bread alone. Food is not enough to sustain His soul.
Agony and intercession for the work of God is part of revival praying. Groaning for the lost and perishing is the fruit of revival praying, but at the very centre of revival praying is not pain over the lost, but pain over God – a deep thirst of the soul for God.”
The late Kenneth Hagin Snr. had predicted that a great revival would come in the future. But he also added that it is the prayers of the Church that will usher in the revival.
“When you’ve preached as long as I have (almost seven decades!), you can start to see some things come in waves. And I can sense in my spirit – there is another wave coming. Get ready for it. It isn’t coming just because God said it’s coming. We are going to enter into the deeper realm of prayer we have been talking about and give birth to that which God wants to do.”
Writing in 1979, Richard Lovelace, in a book called, The Dynamics of Spiritual Life, lamented that prayer has been pushed to the margins in the Church. In his words, “Ask evangelicals what the most essential condition of revival is, and they are most likely to point to prayer. In much of the church’s life…in both Evangelical and non-Evangelical circles, the place of prayer has become limited and almost vestigial.”
Lovelace did not anticipate what distractions the Internet, social media and smartphones would have on our prayer time in the 21st century, and he did not know how self-centred our prayers would be in this generation.
In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God lays down simple conditions for revival. If the Church would wholeheartedly obey His command He would send revival to us in His time.
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