Friday, November 08, 2013

A Revival Prayer

Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains might quake at your presence—
as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
and that the nations might tremble at your presence!
When you did awesome things that we did not look for,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
From of old no one has heard
or perceived by the ear,
no eye has seen a God besides you,
who acts for those who wait for him. (Isaiah 64:1-4, ESV)

This passage, taken from Isaiah, so faithfully expresses the heart of those who truly want to see God glorified in these last days. The picture is so captivating. As if God cries, "Enough! I have heard the prayer of my beloved, I have seen the enemy's schemes, I can no longer tolerate the unbelief and indifference of those who once called me their Father. Enough is enough!" And he tears open the heavens, not like a sheet being torn from top to bottom, but like a door being busted down. The verse from Hebrews comes to mind, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!" (Hebrews 10:31).

As much as it would be wonderful and terrible to see such a sight in our day, this passage, for me, brings focus to another aspect of revival.  The person praying.

This dramatic picture was the heart cry of a humble voice for God who deeply lamented the spiritual deprivation of his nation. He wanted to see God move so badly that he could almost see it with his natural eyes.  How badly do we want to see God move?  Do we want it so badly that we will take risks?  What risks?  How about losing friends and family?  Leaving our well paying job? Giving up on our affluent American dreams?  Respect from our worldly friends? Jesus promised that if we left everything we would get so much more in return...including persecutions!   Do we want to see God move so badly that we will give up everything to gain...persecutions?   This is what waiting for God truly means.

Also note that this prayer doesn't promise that God will actually rend the heavens.  Rather it tells us that God will not forsake the one who waits for him. Isaiah knew that the only solution to Israel's current situation was for God to do something to fix it.  We can have all the revival services we want, we can buy all the "christianware" we can afford, we can join every political and social movement we have time for, we can scream and jump up and down until we are blue in the face and hoarse. But if God doesn't move we are wasting our time.

Can we make God move?  No, but I believe he will move if we do one thing constantly: wait for him.  If we are dedicated to shutting ourselves in our closets, where no one can see us and complement us for our godliness and diligence, and seek God's face, longing in our deepest being to see him rend the heavens, he will move.  Not because we made him do so, but because he longs to be so desperately wanted by his children that they will do anything for it.  Anything.

Yes, we need to be "doers of the Word and not just hearers only" (James 1:22).  However, it is a profound misunderstanding of this passage to equate doing the word with being busy.  It is a very American idea that busy=productive.  If all we are doing is "doing" then we are wasting our time (and God's).  Yes, visit those in prison, yes feed the hungry, yes take care of the widow and the orphan.  But if your day is spent doing, doing, doing and none of it involves the type of prayer mentioned above, then you are doing nothing.   Nothing, that is, that will bring God crashing through heaven's gates to storm the world of men.

Are you ready to see God move?  Are you ready to see this world turned upside down for his glory? Are yo ready to see people saved by the thousands or even tens of thousands?  Then get busy and start waiting for God!

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