Monday, March 23, 2009

Uncommon Prayer ~ "Revive What?"

>>>Note: Use this outline as a template for corporate praying - Read the brief commentary as a way to focus prayers on each topic . . .

"If the Church's agenda is not The Kingdom agenda, it's the wrong agenda, no matter how good it looks or how successful it appears. Christ said He would build His Church, but He told us to seek and advance His Kingdom. We focus on the Kingdom, and He'll take care of His Church." T. Allen Robburts

Revive What?

Sunday afternoon as we drove home from church services and lunch with friends, a totally unexpected question came to mind ---- "Bob, if you're going to write again about revival, just what is it that you think needs to be revived?" Normally we assume that the church needs to be revived, or we individually needs to be revived. However, that deals with the "who", but not with the "what". I've already written about who needs to be revived, and the circumstances indicating why such a deep move of God among His people needs to take place. Is it possible that we may be longing for the wrong things to be revived?

In order for there to be a true revival and reconstruction in life, there are certain "things" that need to be revived . . . and for all practical purposes, this is "reviving" for which we are responsible. These are not God's responsibility alone, but most of them instead require our initiative. Before we can be revived, before the Church can be revived, before nations can be awakened, other things need to be revived and brought back to life and prominence. For example, . . .


+ Revive the Ways of God
One of the factors that give rise to our wanderings away from the Lord in the first place is that of forgetting His ways. God Himself made it clear that, ". . . My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts." (Isa 55:8-9). Seldom does any Christian, much less any church, choose to walk in the ways of God. Whatever else may be the works of God, surely they include confident trust in Him, faith-driven prayer, and surrendered obedience.



+ Revive the Works of God: There is something about seeing the evidence that convinces people. Jesus told His disciples that you can tell the real from the false by the fruit . . . by the results. He told them, ". . . My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work" (Jn 4:34). I believe the works of God are released when there is the presence of undeniable, unconditional, abandoned obedience to Him. He told His disciples, "If you really love me, it will be evidenced by obedience. If God has chosen to work through us, then what more logical way for His works to be manifested than through obedience? Even when He sent out the twelve, and later the seventy, they came back astounded that His supernatural power had been displayed as they obeyed Him.



+ Revive the Word of God
There is a fundamental truth we must always remember ---- God always operates within the framework of His Word, never deviating from it, never defiling it, never denying it, and never distorting it. Just as it is impossible to experience revival apart from prevailing prayer on someone's part, so it is with the plumb line of God's Word. His Word is both a plumb line, our protection, and our promise. It is first, the discerning and separating instrument ---- "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Heb 4:12). It is also our primary weapon for battle against everything that stands against revival ---- " . . . And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph 6:17).



+ Revive the Wisdom of God
In order for revival to come, and in order for the things of this world to be properly set in their place, we must allow God's wisdom to permeate us, saturate us, and motivate us " . . . in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places" (Eph 3:10).



+ Revive the Will of the Believer
Sometimes we forget that there is a driving desire . . . a craving, if you please . . . within the heart of every follower of Christ. David expressed it by declaring, "As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul cries out to You, O God!" Far too many believers have become so wearied and exhausted, disillusioned and deceived, that they have lost hope. When you lose hope, you lose heart; your incentive is gone, despair invades, and complacency settles down to simply endure and "do business as usual". As we look at what's going on in our world today, and especially in our own country, the will to pray for, seek, and pursue a fresh wave of God's presence and glory often die out . . . the Will is weak . . . or bruised . . . or overwhelmed . . . or even gone. Such wounded warriors must have the will to go on revived.



+ Revive the Walk of Holiness
If a believer is to ever experience a true renovation and renewing, it will begin with a change of heart that causes a renewing of mind that results in a change of direction. "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect" (Rom 12:2). You cannot have a change of action without first having a change of attitude. If you want a lifestyle of holiness, your attitude must change regarding sin, separation to the Lord, and the righteousness that has been counted to us, just as it was counted to Abraham. Holiness of life flows from an awareness of our identity in righteousness. "Behold, I long for Thy precepts; Revive me through Thy righteousness" (Ps 119:40).



+ Revive the Weapons of Victorious Warfare
We know that we are in a spiritual battle, but sometimes we fail to see the connection between warfare and revival. As Ezra recounted the bondage of their past, he reminded the people ---- "But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage" (Ezra 9:8). And yet, how easy it is for us to forget that " . . . the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses" (II Cor 10:4) and that revival is almost always connected to warfare . . . either preceding, during, or following. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph 6:12).


Written by Bob Tolliver --Copyright March, 2009, Life Unlimited Ministries
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