The Cry For Revival

Bible Book: Psalms  85 : 6
Subject: Revival; Prayer; Awakening
Introduction

Surely there is no one in God's kingdom work today who is unaware of our need for revival - individually and in the church at large. Our text to day is simply a prayer for revival - for God to send His Spirit upon His people so that they might accomplish His work in that day. This raises a question: Does prayer prayer really work? Does God hear and answer prayer?

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association prayer makes a difference. A Scientific study was done in which 400 patients were randomly chosen and divided into 2 groups. The experimental group of 200 patients had from three to seven born again people praying for them. The 200 patients in the "control" group were not prayed for. Neither group knew whether anyone was praying for them or not. The 200 patients in the "prayed for" group had much fewer complications and healed much more quickly than the "unprayed for" group. Needless to say the scientific community was shocked by their findings. Of course, further studies have done that seem to refute the previous studies on this subject. There is one thing for sure - Christian know that prayer works because God hears and answer prayer.

I read a story some years ago that I thought was fascinating on the subject of prayer. I don't remember all the details but the event seems to be a true story concerning the power of prayer. Jay Gould was owner of the Erie Railroad back during its heyday and was an extremely rich man, but he was also known to be a greedy, selfish, and materialistic man. Horace Greeley once wrote that the devil was white, for he had seen him and his name is Jay Gould. Needless to say, Gould was not the kind of man who had much sympathy for anyone. Once Gould was traveling out west on one of his trains and the train stopped just outside of a small town to take on water. Gould got off to stretch his legs when he saw a group of church people standing outside a church up on a little hill. He knew it wasn't Sunday, so he walked over to investigate. He spoke to a man who told him he was a deacon of the church. The church was unable to meet its payment on the little building and the lien holder was to take possession at sunset. The preacher and a few members were inside praying for a miracle. Gould asked how much the lien was. He was told it was about $1,500.00 (About $100,000.00 today's money). Gould reached in his pocket, pulled out a roll of bills, peeled off $1,500.00 and paid off the lien. The deacon asked, "To whom shall I send the new lien?" Gould did not answer, but merely walked back to the train and that was that. The preacher was told and the people sang the doxology on their knees. Yes - prayer works!  To move Jay Gould to give $1,500.00 to a group of church members in a little town had to be a movement of God!

In 1806 in a Haystack Prayer meeting held under a haystack in a rainstorm, prayer took place that led to the modern missionary movement. In 1830 some 30,000 were saved through the preaching of Charles Finney. Finney pointed to one man who prayed for him faithfully as the reason.

In 1872 D.L. Moody began a campaign in London, England that touched thousands of lives. Later he found out that a bed-ridden woman in that church had been praying for him for months before he arrived.

In 1904 a revival broke out in Wales due to the sincere prayer ministry of Evan Roberts. Yes! Prayer works.

In the 1930's a few Christian men met to pray and they prayed for God to raise up someone to help bring America to Christ. A revival resulted in on the land of a dairy farmer outside Charlotte, N.C. That dairy farmer's son, Billy Graham, was saved in that revival! It began in a prayer meeting!!!

We need such praying today. We must send up to God a cry for revival that is heartfelt and persistent. Look with me at some things necessary if we are going to pray for revival.

I. The Memory of Revival - Past

In verses 1 through 4 the writer of Psalm 85 points out that God has, in the past, been kind to His people. He is pointing to the fact that God has moved upon His people in the past and the writer is asking God to "do it again."

A. Historical Memory

God told his people often that they were to rehearse the blessings He had placed upon them in the past. We must look back at past history to remember and recall what God has done for us and for others through prayer. When we study the past history of revival, missions, church starts, church growth, and the salvation of great numbers of people, we will discover that someone was praying!

Can you remember a time when God was moving in your life, your family, your church and/or you nation? Most of us surely can. Some very young Christians may not recall such a time, but those times occured and the same God who sent such times of refreshing is the same God sitting upon the throne today. We must remind God of His goodness to us and His power to meet our greatest needs. Also, we must be reminded of those who sought God in the past and fell on their knees day after day until God's blessings were showered down upon them.

B. Personal Memory

Like the Prodigal son - he came home because he remembered. Each Christian can recall times when he or she called out to God and He heard and answered prayer. It is not enough to talk about the moving of the Spirit of God in biblical days, or in the history of others, we must have a history of our own. If we don't have such a history, we must pray for God to write one in our lives

NOW! This can also work in reverse. "Remember Lot's Wife." We can also remember how a departure from God led to misery and defeat. When a person touches a hot stove, he will not repeat it unless he forgets it. We must not forget the misery of being out of the will of God. Many Christians today have forgotten what it is like to enjoy the presence and power of God in a real and meaningful way. They have grown familiar with defeat. That just cannot be tolerated! We need to remember the misery of sin and the joy of revival! We must arise and go to our Father.

II. The Means of Revival - Person

Some people are expecting revival to come through a man - an evangelist or a preacher. Certainly God uses people to carry out His will, but no man or woman can deliver revival and awakening to a Christian, a church or a nation. Only God is capable of sending the refreshing rain of revival upon His people.

A. Ability of God

"Will you revive us again?" He can! How do we know? He has done it before. Look at the word "again." God has moved before to revive his people and empower them for peace, joy and service. He can surely do today that which He did yesterday. He is able! He is not weakened nor anemic, and does in any what fall short of what is needed to lift up our hearts and restore us to divine favor. Heaven knows of no recession or shortage of power.

How many times we read or hear about a great movement of God among His people. Perhaps you, like I, have been in such experiences. If you can go back in your mind, you will discover that it all began because someone or some group of Christians were praying. There were those who cried out with passion and persistence, and it was that urgency that brought unction! We cannot pray for revival so that we feel better; we must pray for revival so that we will be better.

B. Availability of God

"Rejoice in You."

A fruit tree brings forth fruit because of the nature inside of it. As long as the tree has the nutrients to feed its nature, the tree will yield its fruit in abundance. The Christian has the nature of God within, but are we feeding on heaven's nutrients? We can only get the "fertilizer" we need from one supply house - from heaven! God has the ability but the question are we supplying the availability for Him to move within us and produce the fruit of revival?

I want to say something here that is important. God is available, but are we available to Him? When we get to the point that we are resigned totally to Him and His will, He will supply that which only He can and only then will revival take place.

Be assured of this, the joy of revival is not in church growth. The joy of revival is not even in the salvation of the lost, though there is great and wonderful joy in the redemption of even one lost soul. The joy of revival is IN HIM! Did you notice in our text that the writer points out the desire to "rejoice" in God. When we have that joy, we will have growth. When we have joy IN HIM we will see the lost saved. He does not just bless us with His power - He blesses us with His PERSON! That is real revival.

III. The Must of Revival - Prayer

A pilot was flying in a small plane and he called in to the airport tower and said, "Pilot to tower. I am 100 miles from the airport. I am out of fuel. I am down to 400 feet above the ground. Advise." The voice came back over the airplane headphones, "Tower to pilot. Repeat after me, "Our Father which art in heaven." Only desperate praying for revival will bring results. All our plans and programs are nothing without the movement of God's Spirit among us.

Revival comes to people at times, but after a while the people begin to believe that it was some human element that brought it about. So, everyone begins to repeat what they heard as the cause for the great movement of God. When their efforts fail, they wonder what they did wrong and why the results were not more effective. Dear friend, no plan of man can move heaven. It is a broken heart and a desperate soul that moves God's heart. Psalm 34:18 states, "The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit." Look at Isaiah 57:15, "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." He will revive the heart of the contrite believer!

Sadly, for some people, prayer is like a fire extinguisher - only used when the house is on fire. We ought to be a people of prayer at all times. Jesus said that His House would be called a House of Prayer. Sure it is appropriate to pray in times of trouble and many people in the Bible did just that - and they got an answer from the Lord. Peter prayed a prayer of just three words that was profound, "Lord, save me!" At the time Peter was sinking in the Sea of Galilee. He did not have time for a lofty, eloquent prayer and his desperation led him to pray fervently and with focus. Jesus answered and pulled him out of the waves.

Let’s face it, we are in trouble in our world today. The late Vance Havner is credited with saying, "The problem with our world today is that the world situation is desperate, but God's people are not!" How true that statement is today. Most Christians and churches are looking for a program, a plan or a person to change their situation. What we need is for the Lord to show up and do the mighty things that only He can do - and He can and will do them immediately.

A. Confessing Prayer

What kind of praying must we offer if we expect a movement of power and presence from the Lord? First, we must offer confessing prayer.

God's people have lost something today. We must cry out for God to "restore" it. Only He can. And the only way He will, is for us to call our sin what He calls it. Our sin is not a "mistake" or "weakness." Our sin is SIN! We cannot have joy, peace, purity and power restored to the church of our Lord and to His people, unless and until we are willing to pray honest, confessing prayers to Him!

B. Continuing Prayer

We must pray till God answers. The Lord will test our sincerity with His silence. When we pray faithfully, He will answer! Again and again the Bible teaches us that we are to be persistent in prayer. Think about the people praying after Jesus ascended back to heaven. They prayed for ten days and the Spirit of God fell on them and three thousand people were saved in one day. Do you think that would have happened if they had only prayed nine days? We must pray through till we hear from God and see His mighty hand move upon us.

C. Confident Prayer

We must trust His love and pray with expectation. We are not asking Him to revive us because we deserve it; we are asking him to revive us because He has an unfailing love for His children and for His Church. We are not confident in our praying; we are confident in His love! We are not asking Him to revive us so that we can merely feel better; we are asking Him to revive us so that He may gain glory to Himself. He deserves the best from us and we can't give it to Him unless He enables us to do so!

IV. The Motive of Revival - Praise

A. The Point of Praise

Praise is meant to exalt and honor the God who created all things, stepped into that creation, died for sinners, rose from the dead and is LORD! We pray for revival that we may improve in the way we honor and serve Him. We can do NOTHING without Him. We are not just serving Him, we are depending on Him to do His work through us.

B. The Pleasure of Praise

James L Black poem:

"Let it come, O Lord, we pray thee

Let the showers of blessings fall.

We are waiting and expecting,

O, revive the hearts of all"

There is a joy unspeakable and full of glory in the presence of the Lord. God will provide that joy to those who cry to Him for revival. We must be willing to repent of all known sin and really mean business with Him. It all begins when we bend our knees to Him in honest and earnest prayer.

Conclusion

Have you ever noticed a bird sleeping perched on a limb? Doesn't its legs get tired? Actually, when the bird's legs are bent at the knee the claws contract and grip. So the bird lands on a limb, bends, sleeps, rests and wakens refreshed! The bent knee is the secret of the bird’s peace and rest.

Are you tired of trying to "hold on?" Why don't we all bow down before the Lord and seek Him earnestly. You will find rest when the knee is bent - and you will rise refreshed, empowered, energized, cleansed, and REVIVED! Let us call upon our wonderful Lord, who desires to send us revival. We have never needed revival more and He is as ready to send it today just as He did in generations past.

When revival comes, God's people will hunger for righteousness, worship and service in His name. When revival comes, the lost will be drawn to Jesus by the Father. When revival comes, people who have wandered away to the far country will return to the Father's House. When revival comes, serving God will not wear us out but will lift us up. When revival comes, His name will be exalted and His people filled with His Spirit. Oh, come Holy Spirit, revive us today!