One historian has pointed out that we have never had any such thing in history as a prayerless revival.
We need to pray for our country. God said, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14).
We look at the problems in our world and in our nation today, and we might point at different individuals. But let’s notice where God points when a nation breaks down spiritually and morally. God is saying, “It is my people. If my people would live as they ought to live, it would impact a nation. My people need to humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways.”
We must pray, but there also must be repentance from all known sin. We need to turn from our wicked ways. All the prayer in the world won’t make any difference if we have unconfessed sin in our lives.
The psalmist said, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (Ps. 66:18). Regard means to “hold on to” or “cling to.” We are told in Isaiah 59, “The Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (vv. 1–2).
To try to pray yet live in known sin is like hanging up the phone to heaven. It’s like trying to make a phone call when your phone is dead. My granddaughters have a Dora the Explorer phone, which has a little electronic chip. If you push the button, you get her voice and can have an imaginary conversation with Dora. But you don’t actually have a connection.
We can talk to God all day, but is there sin in our lives that is preventing a connection? There are different kinds of sin. There are sins of commission, which is doing what we shouldn’t do. Then there are sins of omission, which is not doing what we should do.
You might be committing certain sins that you know are wrong before God. Maybe you’re falling short of what God wants you to do. Maybe God has put it on your heart to pray more. If you say no to God, that can be a sin of omission, because the Bible says, “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it” (James 4:17). Turn from that sin. Turn from that wickedness. Until you do, praying isn’t going to help.
As someone has pointed out, “Revival is God’s finger pointed at you.” Do you need revival? Do you need to get back to where you were before? It has been said that self-satisfaction is the death of progress. We need to judge ourselves and ask, “Am I where I ought to be?” If not, we need to make a change.
Revival is personal. I think one of the best definitions of it comes from Charles Finney, who said that revival “is the renewal of the first love of Christians, resulting in the awakening and conversion of sinners to God.”
In the book of Revelation we find that Jesus commended the church of Ephesus for all the things it was doing right. This was an admirable church. It was a hardworking, discerning, faithful church. But despite their impressive track record, there was a problem with these believers, which Jesus pointed out: “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works” (Rev. 2:4–5).
“You have left your first love,” Jesus said. “You don’t love me as you did at first.”
When I lose something, I always retrace my steps. Where did I have it last? We can do the same with our first love. We need to go back to where we were before.
God promises that if we will pray and turn from our wicked ways and humble ourselves, he will heal us. That applies to a broken family. That applies to a church. And that applies to a nation.
God wants to send revival. But he would like us to participate. He’s saying, “I want you to turn from your wicked ways. I want you to humble yourself. I want you to pray. And I will hear from heaven.” That is a promise from God. When is the last time you prayed for our nation?
Much of our prayer has no power in it because there is no heart in it. If we put so little heart into our prayers, then we cannot expect God to put much heart into answering them.
So we have two options before us: Revival or a closed heaven. Spiritual awakening or judgment. Remember that when God judges, he always starts with the church. The Bible tells us that judgment begins at the house of God (see 1 Pet. 4:17). May it start with you. And may it start with me. The psalmist said, “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in you?” (Ps. 85:6).
Let’s pray for revival. Let’s pray for our nation, that God will send a spiritual awakening. If people are going to come to faith, then it must start with us. Revival is for us. So let’s humble ourselves. Let’s pray. Let’s seek God and turn from our wicked ways. Let’s ask God to send an awakening to our nation, to the church and to us as individuals.
Revive us, Lord.
This article appeared on Greg’s Blog.