Revival – closer than you imagine?

A return of the prophetic ministry?

There are few things more emotive in the life of the church at this time than the topic of revival.

Many have prayed long and hard with great passion, tears and hope for the first sparks of revival to finally ignite a great awakening across the nations, and perhaps more so now as the misguided news circulates that Christianity is nearly extinct in a certain country.

We must remind ourselves when approaching any media statement about anything, not just Christianity, that it is generally the opinion of one journalist endorsed by an editor. To be generous, on this occasion their opinion is misguided. Be reassured, Christianity is alive and well, but something indeed is happening. There are, to use a few metaphors loosely, certain tremors, strengthening prevailing winds and whispers of revival stirring a considerable resurgence of expectation of a fresh move of God.  I awoke in the night recently with the idea before me that God was about to draw a curtain of His manifest presence in revival across the whole of the UK, and beyond.

Our great confidence

Our great confidence is not in revival but in the return of the Lord, however, the thing we call, “revival” is a worthy pursuit. Whilst revival (meaning thousands coming to Christ under the sovereign work of the conviction of the Spirit, rather than the American, ‘having a predetermined season of meetings at a time and location decided by the local church or ministry’) is something that affects wide portions of society, it is nevertheless, a work of the Spirit.

God is not reticent to respond to our prayers with extravagant demonstrations of His manifest presence.

The necessity for the cry of our hearts for God to come and do something in the heart of our nations is a powerful stimulus for prayer, after all, “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint.”  Prov 29:18 is a great verse, but in context, it is not meaning what we suggest it is. In prayer and pursuit of God comes the understanding and conviction that God hears His Church as they cry out to Him. We do not grow weary because we know that God is willing to demonstrate His great glory to the principalities and powers, through the  Church, He is not reticent to respond with extravagant demonstrations of His manifest presence.

God is answering the prayer for revival

I am suggesting that God is answering the prayer for revival right now – perhaps not in the way that we thought – but certainly, those prayers have not been falling on deaf ears.

Our prayer for God to draw the heart of the nation to Christ must not be riddled with our own terms and conditions

God’s timing, planning, wisdom and strategy for accomplishing His purpose is breathtaking, “at just the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Rom 5:6) Consider your own road to Damascus. Why were you at the place you were when you heard the gospel? How comes you weren’t in another country, with different people and circumstances? God was at work. He’s always at work. His providential work is mind-numbingly complex and making an event like the day, time and place of your salvation may have involved hundred, if not thousands of events over many, many years. God’s omniscience and omnipotence are infinitely beyond comprehension, but we are welcomed to search them out and glory in Him.

God will answer out of wisdom

Our prayer for God to draw the heart of the nation to Christ must not be riddled with our own terms and conditions, and certainly, requests for God to reveal Himself in dreams is meaningful to us, but the Apostle Paul would object; the most powerful thing we have beyond all shadow of doubt, is the gospel. That may sound like a trite statement, but in China, Japan, Iran and numerous other countries, thousands are turning to Christ, every day, not because of revival, but because of the ministry of followers of Jesus engaged with their commitment to sharing the gospel with everyone who will listen.

So what of us? I would suggest that we be comforted that because the work of salvation is the work of the Spirit, that God is profoundly at work, deep, deep, deep in the heart of the nation. Maybe our prayer now should be for the Holy Spirit to show us where He is at work, and for Him to allow us to share the gospel with those whose heart He has opened. Forget profiling, wherever there is a human, God’s powerful Spirit of conviction can fall in a second.

I’m not suggesting you stop praying for revival, but I am suggesting that like Paul, you pray for a door of opportunity to open up to share the gospel, with signs and wonders following. God is at work, and the miracles are not far away.