Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ripples of Revival

I have been meditating for days on a passage of scripture the Lord led me to in my Life Journal readings. It was a familiar passage I had camped on before - one I could pretty well quote from memory...

"...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 will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14

In verse 12 of this chapter the Lord dedicates a temple as a house of prayer and promises to hear and answer the sacrifices of prayer offered there. The verse above follows. What a picture of revival! I read an account of a powerful move of God reviving hearts at a Christian leadership conference years ago, and saw one portrayed in a movie once, but have never experienced corporate revival personally. It is something my heart is yearning for - first for myself, and then for those around me...

The body of Christ humbling themselves in prayer, seeking and worshiping the Lord with their whole hearts, turning from sin in genuine confession and repentance in order to awaken and cleanse their hearts in the presence of the Lord and His people in His house. For when this happens, God promises those with a clean, pure heart will hear from heaven, be forgiven of their sin, and lives will be healed.

Scripture is best interpreted by scripture. In 2 Chronicles 6:36-40, in the midst of Solomon's prayer, he describes the state of the people in need of revival:

“When they sin against You—for there is no one who does not sin—and You become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to a land far away or near; and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with You in the land of their captivity and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong and acted wickedly’; and if they turn back to You with all their heart and soul in the land of their captivity where they were taken, and pray toward the land You gave their ancestors, toward the city You have chosen and toward the temple I have built for Your Name; then from heaven, Your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their pleas, and uphold their cause. And forgive Your people, who have sinned against You.

Now, my God, may Your eyes be open and Your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place."

With reference to this verse, Deuteronomy 28:10 says, "Then all the peoples on earth will see that You are called by the name of the Lord, and they will fear You." Fear of the Lord means reverential trust and hatred of evil. I, for one, have given way to lack of faith at times and become too tolerant of some sin in my life. Mine is a heart that needs to be revived.

Psalm 103:2-3 says, "Praise the LORD, O my soul...who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases." Matthew Henry's commentary states, "Pardoning mercy makes way for healing mercy."

My key passage, verse 14 above, refers to revival at a national level that requires repentance, prayer and reformation. But I believe national revival will be the result of a ripple effect. Starting at the core would be a circle of prayer that changes hearts on a personal level first, then corporately in the church, impacting the community, and then the land. Sin blocks the communication lines between God and His people. "The forgiveness of our sins is that which makes way for all the other answers to our prayers" (Matthew Henry).

I have been pondering what my personal sin issues are. What things are keeping my heart bound and in need of revival. In her book called Brokenness, author Nancy Leigh DeMoss describes an account of just such an incredible move of God. An account of genuine revival. She closes the first chapter with words that bear so much weight and are a good reminder to me as I reflect on these things: "...the way up is down, death brings life, and brokenness is the pathway to wholeness."

Lord, I simply pray this passage from Your Word today: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10) I ask You to begin with me. In Jesus' name, amen.

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