Do you ever pray for revival? Revival is related to the word revive, or to bring something back to life. Biblically speaking, revival refers to times when God moves in such a way as to stir Christians out of their complacency and into action. The church has a tendency to get stuck in a rut, going through the motions each week of “doing church,” and revival can help re-instill a sense of emotion and passion back into the congregation.
Charles Finney is remembered for the many revivals his preaching helped usher in, and he once delivered a series of lectures on the topic of revival. The majority of his lectures focused on the key ingredient in any revival: prayer. We need to ask God to bring revival because it cannot be manufactured by people. But Finney pointed out that sometimes there is an ingredient that precedes prayer: wickedness.
Finney said there had been times when great wickedness drove the people of God to their knees because they felt hopeless to do anything else. The “outrageous wickedness,” as he called it, disrupted the lives of the saved and opened their eyes to the state of carnality in their city. The wickedness of the world can be a good thing if God uses it to get the church’s attention. Finney said:
“Let hell boil over if it will, and spew out as many devils as there are stones in the pavement, if it only drives Christians to God in prayer—it cannot hinder a revival…if Christians will only be humbled and pray, they shall soon see God's naked arm in a revival of religion.”
There is no shortage of wickedness in the world still a century and a half after the death of Charles Finney. Drugs are destroying lives and communities; violent crime is on the rise; injustices abound, and American cities have burned to the ground. On top of that, the pandemic, runaway inflation, and the heartbreaking images out of Afghanistan are on everyone’s mind. These things can get us down, or they can get us down to our knees.
It may just be that God uses these current events as the impetus for revival. Perhaps He is waiting even now for His people to humble themselves and pray. We know the unsaved world is worried about these things as well; maybe the coronavirus is causing people to stop and think about their own mortality. It may just be that the darkness of this world is making it ripe for revival. If you are not already praying for revival, will you join us in doing that now?
“Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?”