Praying for Revival Not Revivalism
"Revival" is a word that has fallen out of use today for many reasons, some of them quite legitimate. When we hear that word, 'revival,' sometimes there are some rather strange things or unscriptural things we associate with the word due to the errors and excesses of some over the years.
Perhaps we think of a sweating huckster holding meetings under a tent, selling salvation and calling the gathering a 'revival meeting.' Or, perhaps we think of the excesses of some groups who say they are experiencing 'revival' because of very odd things we never see in Scripture: people rolling on the ground laughing, being 'zapped' by a 'minister,' falling down, strange manifestations more characterized by confusion and attention going to man as opposed to God.
God is not a God of disorder and all He does He does for His glory.
In a true revival, we see the lost are saved, the saved move from lukewarm or warm to white hot, and lives are transformed. There is a renewed joy and love for God and His Word, and for our neighbors.
An authentic revival is a sovereign act of God. It is not something we 'schedule.' I've always been intrigued when churches schedule a revival. "Okay, God, we'd like for you to bless this week and do something special this week. We have you down for such and such dates."
God doesn't work that way.
The churches in America need both reformation and revival. We need to be awakened. Our culture desperately needs Christ, and we are to be a light shining on a hill, blazing for Christ. We need revival, our nation needs an Awakening. Christ is our only hope.
There is a difference between praying for revival and actually worshiping revivalism. In praying for revival we humble ourselves before God and we seek Him. We hunger for His Word so we read it and preach and teach it and proclaim it. We hunger for Him so we pray and pursue Him, asking Him to revive us. That to say, the focus of all of this teaching, preaching and prayer is God Himself. He is the Treasure. He is the focus.
If it pleases Him to pour out His Spirit in revival, then He will. If not, He will not. One thing that will happen regardless, if we humble ourselves before Him and hunger for Him and pursue Him, He will do a wonderful work in us.
We are seeing this in our church now. God has been wonderfully at work the past year and He is doing great things! We are thankful. We must also walk in humility and keep our focus on Him, not an experience we hope to have.
This focus on experience is revivalism and many churches that talk of revival are actually talking about revivalism. They want certain experiences. The ultimate treasure is not actuallly God Himself, but perceived experiences from and with God.
It is so easy to be deceived by deceiving spirits when the pursuit is revivalism and not God. Revivalism is another god, not God.
It is almost the equivalent of the prophets of Ba'al we encounter in the story of Elijah andn the prophets of Ba'al. These false prophets who worshipped a false god (a demon, really), were cutting themselves and dancing and doing all they could to work themselves up into a frenzy.
There are some who would seek to do this in churches today and call this 'revival.' No, that would be emotionally pursusing revivalism, trying to work up emotions to produce an experience and then calling that revival. The two are not the same.
It's possible to worship at the altar of 'revivalism' and have strong emotional experiences and actually be deceived, and really not any more like Christ (though the person may 'feel spiritual').
But, if God decides to come in power and revive: lives are changed. God is glorified, not man. Humility comes from an authentic revival, not some form of spiritual pride.
As God continues to do a very good work in us, let us stay humbly in prayer and in the Word. Yes, let us continue to pray for revival, but let's not worship revival. That is not happening and I am thankful! When God starts moving among a people as He is our church, it is important that we stay focused on Him. He is our Hope! He is our Great Treasure!
May the God Above All Creation be glorified in us!
Grace and Peace