Sunday, December 11, 2005

A REVIEW OF REVIVAL

Repentance and Personal Revival

“That place of ‘It is I, Lord, who must be bent, must be revived, must be utterly changed’ is the place of humility. We cannot humble ourselves as long as we think we can bring about revival by our strategies and prayers. Helpless creatures that we are, we can only bow our heads, lie on the floor, and weep over our helplessness to bring revival to our weary, dry land. Those who have been used in revival didn’t pray such a prayer because they thought they could manipulate God into using them so they could be known as God’s ‘Firebrand in the land.’ Rather they prayed such a prayer when they reached that last ounce of themselves. There was nothing else to give. Poured out. Spent. It was then that God answered with Himself - the essence of revival.” Jacquelyn Sheppard

Dear Intercessors,
As many of us pray for revival in our nation and cities, we must also realize that revival starts with us. It is very personal. After being diagnosed with cancer, God began to do a very personal and deep work in me. I have had more time to think about life and what really counts. I have more time to think about my personal life with God. During these weeks, he has led me to pray a personal prayer like this: “Lord, let revival start in my life. Remove every hindrance in me that would prevent revival. I choose to walk in daily repentance. Bend me to your purposes and have your way with me completely. Change my heart, and make it like yours.” During this time I would kneel down and draw an imaginary circle around my life and ask for revival to start there. It has been special and it has been life changing. I am learning to repent on a much deeper level than ever before. I have found out that repentance is a very important part of our walk with God. Repentance and personal revival go together.

“When you pray for revival, you’re asking God for life-shaking experiences that will cost you plenty. Revival is agonizing: it so terrorizes you over your sin that you repent deeply. Revival is consuming: It leaves you no time for hobbies, for chores around the house, for work, for sleep. Revival wrecks your appointment calendar, interrupts TV times, demands your full attention.” Elmer Towns

Repentance - A Radical Change of Heart
“Repentance is one of the most positive of words… To repent means to stop going one direction, to turn around completely, and to go the opposite way. Repentance involves a dramatic and decisive change of course… Our problem is that we think of repentance as something negative.” Henry Blackaby

God is in the business of changing our hearts to come in alignment with His heart. His heart is all consuming, His heart feels for the needs of the lost, His heart is filled with compassion. God wants to soften us. The problem is that often we are too busy to let God do His full work in our hearts. We fail to evaluate our lives and our relationships. Repentance is a good because it brings us in line with God’s ways and how He feels about our life. What a better time to come before God and let Him show us areas where we need to repent and change direction than during this Christmas season and the coming New Year. Our relationships need to be right, our dedication needs to be strong, and holiness needs to be evident in our lives as we meet with unsaved relatives and friends. Now is the time to evaluate sin for what it really is and come in agreement with God. I want a changed life.

“Repentance involves a radical change of heart and mind in which we agree with God’s evaluation of our sin and then take specific action to align ourselves with His will. A desire to change is not repentance. Repentance is always an active response to God’s Word. The evidence of repentance is not words of resolve, but a changed life.” Henry Blackaby

The Bible and Repentance
The Bible speaks a lot about repentance. It is important to salvation, fruitfulness, forgiveness and living a holy life. Many Biblical characters preached about repentance.

· Repentance and John the Baptist - He always preached a message of repentance. Matthew 3:2, Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3.
· Repentance and the Kingdom of Heaven - We need to prepare the way for the Lord and make straight paths for Him. Matthew 3:2, 4:17.
· Repentance and producing fruit - Repentance leads to fruitfulness. Luke 3:8, Matthew 3:8.
· Repentance and the forgiveness of sins - When we repent, God forgives our sins. Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3.
· Repentance and rejoicing in heaven - When a sinner repents, heaven rejoices in the presence of angels. Luke 15:7, 10.
· Repentance and times of refreshing - Repentance wiped away sins and brought times of refreshing. Acts 3:19.
· Repentance and Jesus - Repentance was often included in Jesus’ preaching. Mark 1:14-15, Luke 24:47.

There are various other verses in the Bible on repentance, showing us that it was a very important theme. These verses include Zechariah 1:3, II Corinthians 7:10, James 4:8, Job 42:6, Romans 2:4, Revelations 2:5, Ezekiel 18:30-32, Isaiah 30:15 and others.

“It’s one thing to recognize when you have done something that has violated God’s laws; it’s another to be saddened by it to such a degree that you are determined to never do it again. That’s repentance. Repentance means to change your mind. To turn and walk the other way. Repentance means being so deeply sorry for what you have done that you will do whatever it takes to keep it from happening again. Confession means we recognize we have done wrong and admit our sin. Repentance means we are sorry about our sin to the point of grief, and we have turned and walked away from it.” Stormie Omartian

A Prayer for Personal Revival
“Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” (Psalm 85:6)

I encourage you find a quiet spot where you can pray, get down on your knees, and draw an imaginary circle around your life. Ask God to bring revival right within that circle. Ask Him to remove every hindrance that would keep you from revival. Make a commitment to walk in daily repentance. Give God time to reveal any sin in your life, any changes He wants to make in you to bring you more into alignment with His purposes for your life. Repent of any sins and lay your burdens at His feet. Listen quietly to what He wants to say to you. God wants to meet with you in a profound way. I have had numerous encounters with God as I have done this. I believe you will too. The following is a prayer for personal revival:

“Yes, Lord, we need revival. Desperately. We want revival. Desperately. We have offered reconciliation, restitution, repentance. Now, Lord, we offer ourselves. Bend us, those of us who long for revival in the land. Bend us until no thought of prestige, no thought of gain, no thought of prominence, or book contracts, or legacies beset us. Bend us until we see ourselves, helpless to bring about revival in spite of our best efforts. Bend us until we are unaware of ourselves, lost in You. Then, lord, we will have tasted the sweet water for which we long. We cry out for ourselves, Lord, not just for our nation, not just for our churches. We cry out for ourselves, ‘Lore, bend me!’” Jacquelyn Sheppard

May God prepare each one of us personally for revival by teaching us to live daily with a repentant heart. Let us see it in a positive way as God changes our hearts to be more like Him. Remember that the key phrase of the Welsh revival in l904 was, “Bend the Church and save the World.” As we are now in this Christmas season, what a better way to live a Christ-like life then to walk in personal repentance and holiness. This is what will speak to a world that has lost the true meaning of life by focusing on the externals - materialism, entertainment, shopping and activity - trying to fill the inner void and emptiness that exists without Christ. We have the answer and as the Lord bends each one of us, the sweetness of His message will flow through hearts that are humble, broken and filled with His love.

“When we are quick to humble ourselves and repent, then brokenness occurs and all resistance, independence and pride are replaced with submission, tenderness, obedience and love.” Alice Smith

“Revival cannot be organized, but we can set our sails to catch the wind from heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again.”

Together in the Harvest,
Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise
deb@intercessorsarise.org / www.intercessorsarise.org

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