“So, let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NLT)
As strange as it may sound, not everyone wants or will welcome revival. And there are some churches that are praying for revival but are not preparing for it. Even in Athens, there have been times when the Holy Spirit was powerfully moving in churches, but because this was interrupting services, they actually shut it down and are now very intentionally resisting it from happening again! Historically, revivals are messy, they are inconvenient, they are exhausting and they are costly! And they don’t not happen by accident or randomly!
When the Spirit starts to move, people usually are quite excited about the healings, the salvations and the beautiful sense of God’s presence in the house. But soon the excitement shifts to the pain and cost as God starts exposing sin and calling His people to repent. It is here that many revivals simply reverse and God leaves the house to allow people to play church as they did before. It is impossible to host God’s glory and to not deal with sinful habits and lifestyles of compromise. Sadly, many churches would prefer to have their nice and orderly services, in their own strength than to open up the doors for the Holy Spirit to do awesome, which includes turning the tables upside down, making a mess, and exposing the secret sins of the heart.
The Holy Spirit is drawn to hungry hearts, those that are willing to humble themselves before Him. This hunger draws them to invest in deep prayer, personally and corporately, even structuring prayer as a priority in the church. We’re not talking lip service, but real hours and effort invested in prayer! Historically, there is no revival that was not preceded by united fervent prayer. At some level, prayer is ALWAYS involved! Churches that are not endeavoring to build prayer into the fiber of their existence, are not preparing their people for revival. Likewise, unless people are willing to address sin, even if the Holy Spirit were to show up, He would not feel welcome because of unrepentant rebellious hearts. And much of this rests on church leadership as gatekeepers, to open or close this door! I suppose you can wait and hope that the grace of God will carry your church through this vital second phase of revival, but history speaks for itself. We can prepare for revival by developing vital prayer and teaching topics such as the cross, sin, hell, repentance and holiness. But some churches prefer to preach messages that make people happier, rather than holier, and keep prayer allocated to the intercessors or super spirituals. Mobilizing your church in prayer must be intentional!
For churches that make it through the repentance of phase two, the presence of God increases, as well as salvations, miracles and deliverances. It is simply not true that God pours out revival wherever He sovereignly wants. We, His church, have the privilege, responsibility and opportunity to partner with God, which will prepare and sustain the level of glory that He reveals. As Todd Smith puts it in his excellent book, Creating a Habitation for God’s Glory, “God will put all the glory on your church that it can and/or chooses to carry.”
Pray that God would increase in you a humility, holiness and a passion for Him that would attract the Holy Spirit and sustain revival. Ask Him to prepare you for the days upon us! Pray for your pastor and church to seriously consider how to prepare for the coming revival, whatever it takes. Those that prepare beforehand will be more likely to sustain God’s glorious presence instead of rejecting it when it gets costly, difficult and inconvenient. Pray that pastors and churches across our city would intentionally prepare their house for the coming Holy Spirit revival! Pray that God would release the Spirit of grace and supplication in our city (Zechariah 12:10). Thank the Lord that we are in a day that this outpouring is on the verge!