If Christian people could have only one prayer answered, what should they ask from the Lord? I believe we should pray for revival. When revival comes, everything else we need will follow.
Revival does not come by formulating some sort of equation that, if followed, will bring about revival. It is more than stating the facts; it is seeking the touch of God on the work of God. May the Lord move us closer to the burden we should have: a burden for God to send revival.
What Others Have Said About Revival
“A genuine revival without joy in the Lord is as impossible as spring without flowers, or day-dawn without light.”– C.H. Spurgeon
“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.” – G. Campbell Morgan
“A true revival means nothing less than a revolution, casting out the spirit of worldliness, making God’s love triumph in the heart.”– Andrew Murray
“It is not great talents or great learning or great preachers that God needs, but men great in holiness.” – E.M. Bounds
“A revived church is the only hope for a dying world.” – Andrew Murray
As we consider the subject of revival, let us look in the Word of God at the message of the prophet Habakkuk. The book of Habakkuk is brief, containing only three chapters, but in it we find many powerful verses that God uses to speak to our hearts.
The prophet Habakkuk said in Habakkuk 3:2, “I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.”
Note the words, “revive thy work.” Habakkuk was not praying for himself; he was praying for God’s glory and honor.
The prophet Habakkuk was living in the land of Judah on the eve of the captivity of his people. The mighty nation of Babylon was about to sweep down upon Judah and carry captive the people to the land of Babylon. This was God’s judgment upon Judah.
Habakkuk’s name means “one who embraces.” He embraced the Lord. He was a man who got hold of God. Oh, how we need people today who can get hold of God. Our God desires to send revival. The Lord wants to bless us. Let us do whatever is necessary for God to bless and send revival.
Revival is a new beginning of obedience to God.
Having a revival does not necessarily mean that the church will explode with growth or that the entire nation will be swept with a feeling to live more righteously. But when revival comes, we will know that God has worked, and the Lord will be glorified in it.
A Man With a Burden
We find a man with a burden. The Bible says in Habakkuk 1:1, “The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.” This was not a burden Habakkuk had; it was a burden he saw. It is not as if he were carrying a heavy weight around and was about to die under the load. The burden was a desire for God to intervene.
Habakkuk was a man with a burden to see God intervene. Our sufficiency is not of ourselves. Unless God intervenes, there is no hope.
A Vision of a Holy God
In Habakkuk 1:12 Habakkuk said, “Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.”
Habakkuk was rehearsing back to God what he knew to be true about the Lord. God says that He is holy and we are to be holy. We can have every kind of youth movement imaginable, bring in a rock band, talk about Jesus all we want to, work everyone up to a frenzy, and call it anything we want to call it; but, without the holiness of God, there will be no revival. Our only hope is revival!
In the presence of a holy God, we must come clean. This is the wake-up call we need–a vision of a holy God.
The longer we look to the Lord, the more we desire to look to Him and keep looking to Him.
A Willingness to Be Reproved
Habakkuk 2:1 says, “I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.” We should say, “Lord, I know I have sinned. Show me where I’ve sinned.”
None of us enjoy being reproved. The dearest friend I have is my wife. I am so eternally grateful to God for the relationship the Lord has given us. I have absolutely no doubt about her love. She can tell me things I need to do in my life to make me more of what I should be for God.
Faith in God
In Habakkuk 2:4 we find faith in God. Notice the context of this faith. “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” In one part of this verse, the Lord deals with everyone who is not doing what is right. In the other part of this verse, God deals with putting one’s faith in Him.
The Lord has designed the Christian life so that if nothing goes the way you expected, you can still put your faith in God.
God has not assigned us to straighten out everything in this world. God has assigned us to seek Him, to put our faith in Him. We must give our lives to something greater than attempting to make the world a better place from which to go to hell.
Prayer Specifically for Revival
Habakkuk prayed specifically for revival. It was not a general prayer, but prayer for revival. Praying for revival is praying for God to intercede, to intervene, to work and move for His people.
Evangelism has become, in some places, a substitute for revival. Some folks think they are having revival because they are seeing people saved. If you look at it that way, you may be content to see many people saved in a meeting or through some speaker and never experience real revival. If there is revival, there will be many more people saved as a result of it. Evangelism cannot be a substitute for revival.
Habakkuk prayed specifically for revival. Habakkuk 3:1-2 says, “A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth. O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work.”
A Plea for Mercy
“O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2).
Habakkuk did not come to God with a bargain saying, “Lord, let’s make a deal. If You will, I will.” God does not work that way.
God says in II Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
All of us have the same problem: pride. We are proud of the way we look. We are proud of the way we can speak. We are proud of the way we can get things done. We are proud of our humility. Pride is our problem.
God said to Habakkuk, “It’s already done. It’s finished. It’s in the works. Everything is in motion. The hooves of the Babylonian horsemen can be heard. They are coming. Your nation is judged. You’re going to captivity. For seventy years you are going to be there. It’s done.”
The prophet prayed, “God be merciful to us.”
Living in the “Yet”
Let us consider living in the “yet.” Everything was going to happen just as God said it would. The Bible says in Habakkuk 3:17-19,
Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.
We think it is enough that we say, “Lord, I’m going to pull through somehow. I’m going to hold on. Lord, I know You’re going to get me through this. Just squeeze me through.” That is not living in the “yet.” The prophet realized that all of this was going to happen, yet he would “rejoice in the LORD.”
Our God is a consuming fire. We would be consumed if it were not for the mercies of God. We must have faith in God, rather than worrying about everything in the world or being overcome by evil. Pray specifically for revival, plead for mercy, and then live in the “yet” knowing that the Lord Jesus is enough. “LORD, revive thy work!”