The Bare Soul
September 11, 2011
Why Does Revival Tarry?
James 5:16 (KJV) - Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Certain scriptures seem unequivocal at face value. When we read promises such as Matthew 11:28, we can believe that if we come to Jesus then we will find rest. In this respect, personal application to the scripture is available to everyone. Through a relationship with Jesus Christ, we have the opportunity of gleaning this promise as well as hundreds of others regarding the good things the Lord has in store for us. Often, these promises will manifest themselves very quickly in a believer's life as they live humbly and obediently before their Lord. In some cases, other promises may take longer to realize. However, what about God's assurances He has made for communities or nations? Personally, I have been involved in prayer for revival for my city and nation for many years. I know of many people that I would consider men and women of God who have likewise earnestly been seeking God concerning revival for several decades. The combined effort of just these aforementioned people would undoubtedly equal hundreds of years in collective time praying for a great moving of God . We read throughout the Bible references concerning how peoples and nations repented and God sent revival to their land. (Jonah and the restoration of Nineveh to a Godly nation is only one example [Jonah 3:9-10].) While God's entreaties through His prophets were often disregarded with subsequent judgment, the promise of restoration was always there IF a nation would but humble themselves to God. Probably the greatest promise regarding restoration and revival is the familiar text in the second book of Chronicles. It reads like this in the King James Version:
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. - II Chronicles 7:14
As previously stated, I have seen much of what I would describe as calling upon God, humbling of the flesh through prayer and fasting, with a concerted effort to seek the Lord's face. Yet, regardless of all this activity, the western Church has muddled along without the desired results. Oh, but there is that other bit of instruction in Chronicles that is often an unpleasant topic to broach -- turning from sin! Does this necessarily mean that the whole nation must turn from iniquity before God hears and responds, or can it mean those who are earnestly seeking revival in proxy for the nation? Let's look at the possibilities.
James, the brother of Jesus our Lord, writes with one consideration. Using Elijah as an example, he compares the prophet as a man with a nature "like ours." He describes how the man of God prayed fervently and how the Lord used this man to control the weather, bringing a king and a kingdom to their proverbial knees (James 5:17-18). Through this grand meteorological disruption, Elijah was able to use this nation crippling catalyst to orchestrate one of the greatest showdowns of the Bible between himself and the priests of Baal (I Kings 18:20-21). Because of this encounter, the rule of wicked King Ahab and Queen Jezebel was sorely weakened, allowing eventual reforms after the death of Ahab's son, Ahaziah (see II Kings 2). This national and spiritual revival would appear to be the direct result of Elijah's obedience to God. James' testimony about Elijah in his verses 17 and 18 actually serves as an example from the context of verse 16. James uses this verse as a segue from personal, bodily healing to the restoration of a nation. Interestingly, he implies that both types of healing are only possible through effective fervent prayers through righteous men. Is fervent praying lacking in our contemporary situation or is it righteous men, or both? Or, are we lacking God's impetus to raise up men and women such as Elijah to bring heaven once again to this earth? Is it because God cannot find a man such as Elijah? Or, rather that He has not YET raised one up (or many more) for this hour? The former would imply that the responsibility lies upon those select few to stand up in righteousness and to call down heaven in prayer. The latter suggests that the onus rests with God. I remonstrate that the truth is probably somewhere in the middle of these two postulations. We can assume that no one is more desirous of God's kingdom being manifest upon this earth through a revived Church then God Himself. However, we cannot presume we know why revival seems to not being addressed with earnest in the mind of God. The limited love that we possess for humanity and the desire to see them saved pales in comparison to God's heart for both his Church and the lost.
I would submit that the reality of our present situation is something that can't necessarily be reduced to a few scriptures regarding why God is not moving in a wholesale manner in the westernized Church. Many of us who are familiar with prayer for our nation know of 24 hour prayer rooms where night and day prayer for revival has been the agenda for many years. Are these folks who have given themselves to this noble life "unrighteous" or not "fervent" in their prayers? That is not mine or anyone's to judge. Possibly the Lord has some more refining to do before we truly see Him move in these last days. Without a doubt, He is preparing hearts for the day when He will move with more power than that of the first century Church. We might speculate that the time is not right, that He will move only as He sees fit. While this is definitely true, that God will only do His perfect will when He determines, it can also be equally true that He will move as men's and women's voices move His heart in prayer. This, of course, is the great conundrum whether God has moved these to prayer or whether hearts given to God have caused Him to move, or a combination of both. The answers to these questions will become clearer in time, or eternity. Regardless, we must continue to pray, seeking to order our lives righteously, doing all we know to align ourselves with the Father's will as we pray for His kingdom to come to this earth, even as it is in heaven. Do we need "Elijahs" in our present hour? Of this, there is little doubt. With this in mind, it will continue to be our place, as those seeking a revived church and nation, to seek the Lord to raise up many who might stand in the gap like the prophets of old. May the Lord Jesus Christ be glorified by men and women such as these whose hearts burn for a holy nation and a righteous land.
Heavenly Father, we know little regarding Your will for a revived nation other than You told us to humble ourselves, to seek Your face, to turn from our wicked ways, and then You would heal our land. We ask that You would purify us in this process of prayer, causing us to be righteous men and women, fervently praying Your will. Cause us to enter into the counsel of Your heart, accepting Your timing for these great events. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Your Barefoot Servant,
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