The Plea for Revival

Bible Book: Psalms  85 : 6
Subject: Revival; Restoration; Praise; Joy
Introduction

Does 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 two 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.

Prayer does make a difference! Jay Gould was owner of the Erie Railroad back during its heyday. He was said to be a greedy, selfish, materialistic man. Horace Greeley once wrote that the devil was white, for he had seen him and his name is Jay Gould. Once Gould was traveling out west on one of his trains. The train stopped just outside of town to take on water and Gould got off to stretch his legs. 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 and that 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 $125,000.00 in 2015). 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! 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.

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. Billy Graham was saved in that revival! It began in a prayer meeting!!!

In reality, Christians who pray know that God works through prayer. Regardless of all other points that might be made about the efficacy of prayer, the believer who prays has seen God's hand at work as a result of placing petitions before Him.

We need such praying today. One issue that is important in regard to prayer, is that of revival. We must send up to God a cry for revival in our churches. Anyone who knows anything about the state of the church, especially in America, knows that we need revival as much as any time in our history. Today I want to point out some things necessary for true revival praying to take place.

I. The Memory Of Revival – The Past

A. Historical Memory

Note that the Psalmist reminds the Lord of past revival blessings. God told his people often that they were to rehearse the blessings of the past. We must look back at past history and remind God of the wonderful outpouring of blessings upon His praying people in other generations. 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!

B. Personal Memory

I have talked with many older pastors lately and the theme is revival. Like me, they remember revival days when dozens were saved in revival services and backslidden Christians turned again to faithfulness and service for the Lord. Where did those days go? Oh, that we may see that again. Perhaps we have become so absorbed in our criticism of the world that we have taken our eyes off of Jesus. Just perhaps we are so busy with television that has 300 channels, Facebook, Twitter, texting, emails, videos, and all other forms of entertainment that we just don't have time for Jesus. If you have any memory of real revival, you know we are not experiencing that today. Sadly, many younger Christians have never even seen the mercy drops of awakening, much less the full showers of blessings that we need.

The Prodigal son came home because he remembered. Each Christian can recall times when he or she called out to God and He heard and answered their prayers. 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 the pain of that experience. 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 and pray for the latter!

II. The Means Of Revival – The Person

Note the word "thou" or "you" in our text. The Lord alone can provide revival. We can't produce it and that may be part of our problem. One preacher from another generation said, "If God withdrew His Holy Spirit from the church today, we could still continue to do 90% of all that we are currently doing." In other words, he was saying that we are working mostly in the flesh. That is a recipe for disaster. Human effort, no matter how earnest, can produce revival. We must call upon God to move in our midst if we expect to experience that which we so desperately need.

A. Ability Of God

"Will YOU not 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 do that today which He did yesterday. He is able!

Revival is not about our power, programs or plans; rather, revival is about God’s power. Surely the Lord desires to bless His people will the fullness of the Holy Spirit. He is waiting for us to get serious about this issue and for us to plead with Him for it. Why must we cry to Him? You see, when we sincerely pray for revival, we are acting in faith. God blesses faith and without it we cannot please God.

I see a lot of discouraged Christians in this day. God is not going to bless a crowd of down-in-the-mouth complainers. He is looking for a people who trust Him and know HE is the answer.

B. Availability Of God

"Rejoice in You." I want to say something here that is important. 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! 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.

He is available for any of his people, and He is available at all times. He gives songs in the night. He visits us with His very presence and that is our greatest need.

III. The Must Of Revival – The Prayer

A pilot was flying in a small plane. He called into the airport tower and said, "Pilot to tower. I am 100 miles from the airport, out of fuel and 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...".

For some people, prayer is like a fire extinguisher - only used when you are in trouble. We ought to be a people of prayer at all times. Jesus said that His House is to be called a House of Prayer. We must take prayer seriously at all times, but especially when we need a movement from heaven upon our churches!

It is okay to pray in times of trouble. Many people in the Bible did just that - and they got an answer. Peter prayed a prayer of just three words that was profound, "Jesus, save me!" At the time, Peter was sinking in the Sea of Galilee. He did not have time for a lofty, eloquent prayer. 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!" That is our problem, indeed!

A. 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. Understand this, we have no problem pointing out the sins of the world. In fact, a lot of our effort today is spent in lambasting the world for its sinful decisions and ungodly ways. That is exactly what the Pharisees did in the days of Jesus. The problem with the Pharisees and with many of us is that we don't see our on sins as repugnant to the Lord. We can become graveyards with beautiful tombstones on the outside but dead men's bones on the inside. Our task is to tell the world about Jesus, His love, and His available salvation; however, inside the church we need to deal with our own sins. After all, it was many Christian leaders whose names appeared recently on the Ashley Madison website!

Remember this, our sins are not a "mistakes" or "weaknesses" but rather they are SINS! We cannot have joy, peace, purity and power restored to the church of our Lord and to His people until we are willing to pray confessing prayers!

When we are sincere about revival, God will reveal some of the sins that are blocking His glory from His people. We cannot see all of those sins until His pure light penetrates our dim setting. Cry out to Him for revival and be willing for Him to do in you and through you all that He desires, and you will see things that you do not realize are displeasing to Him. We are excellent in this day at seeing all the sins of the world and we fuss and fume about it; however, God is concerned about sin in the church – the sin that is occurring among His own people.

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! Puny prayers will get puny results. We must cry out till He sends the blessing we need.

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 unfailing love. We are not confident in our praying; we are confident in His loving!!!

IV. The Motive Of Revival – The Praise

Notice that David desires revival that God’s people might rejoice IN the Lord. We will never know true joy till we are captured by His glory.

A. The Point of Praise

Praise is not meant to make us feel better; 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 forever! Praise is rejoicing in Him and in Him alone. When we experience real revival, the things that trouble us today fade and the wonder of His presence will bring us joy unspeakable and full of glory.

B. The Pleasure of Praise

James L Black poem:

O Lord, Let it come, Lord, we pray thee

Let the showers of blessings fall.

We are waiting and expecting

O, revive the hearts of all."

God will provide the joy to those who cry to Him for revival and are willing to repent of all known sin and really mean business with Him. It all begins when we bend our knees to Him.

God's work is filled with pleasure when we know we are in His presence and filled with His power. Without His blessing it is drudgery.

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 they land on a limb, they bend, sleep, rest and wake up refreshed! The bent knee is the secret!

Are you tired of trying to "hold on?" Why don't you bend your knees before the Lord and seek Him earnestly. You will find rest when the knee is bent - and you will rise refreshed, empowered, energized, cleansed, REVIVED!