Pray For Revival

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And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.” Mk 9:28–29.

I am reading Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ book “Revival.” It is a book that J.I. Packer said, “I do not think that our age has seen any more powerful or profound treatment of revival than this book.” With such an endorsement I felt the need to buy the book to see for myself.

Right away he begins, with what I believe, is the heart of every revival: prayer. Speaking from the verse above he emphasizes being able to discern the time that we live in and see that we need something more than our day-in-day-out practices within our faith communities. Praying and fasting is the way in which we can ascertain the condition of our culture and act accordingly.

But, Lloyd-Jones doesn’t go into how to “fix” our culture. Rather he goes on to “fixing” the church. With so many leaving the church during his time, we are seeing the same things happen in our country with church attendance has dramatically dropped in the last 20-30 years.

He says the disciples who asked Jesus why they could not cast out the demon were relying upon the power they had received earlier. When Jesus chose his 12 Apostles he sends them out and gave them “authority over the unclean spirits.” Now they are attempting to use the same power to cast out a demon from a boy. But they were unable to. Lloyd-Jones speaking as Jesus, “You have not sufficient power. I did what you could not because I have power because I am filled with the power that God gives me by the Holy Spirit.”

The disciples had confidence in their abilities and even rejoiced in them. They came to rely upon themselves and not upon the Spirit of God. This is why Jesus said, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.” This demon required a greater power. Humans alone cannot wield this power. Only through the Holy Spirit can they wield this power.

“We must cease to have so much confidence in ourselves, and in all our methods and organization, and in all our slickness. We have got to realize that we must be filled with God’s Spirit.” ~ Martin Lloyd-Jones

How we tap into this power is through prayer. There is no other way to obtain the power of God. Jesus instructs us to pray for the Spirit. To wait for the Spirit. To be Filled with the Spirit. The way to revival is through prayer. Prayer that “can enter the souls of men and break them and smash them and humble them and then make them new.” Without the Christian being renewed, we will not see revival, and our communities to know Jesus Christ.

Praying in Unity

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“After Peter and John had been set free they went to their fellowship and told them what the chief priests and the Jewish elders had said to them. All who heard their story were moved, and in one mind prayed together…When they had finished, the place where they were together was shaken. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to tell God’s message fearlessly.” Acts 4:23-24, 31 (paraphrase)

Peter and John were arrested by the Jewish religious leaders. God had done a miracle through them in healing a lame man. All the people who saw were amazed and were eager to know how this could happen. Peter and John went on to preach Jesus Christ, who not only has the power to heal but to save. They were arrested for preaching Jesus Christ. Finding no way to keep them or punish them due to the public miracle they let them go.

After hearing the story the people, having one mind, began to pray. They praised God for his works, they prayed the Scriptures, they prayed about their situation, and they prayed for boldness to preach the message of the gospel, and the power to heal with signs and wonders.

We read the books of Acts in one of two ways. Either we read the book of Acts as history seeing all that God had done in the past through the apostles and disciples. We see all that happened as being in the past and “not for today.” The book of Acts is only information about what happened and not a mirror to compare our lives, or our churches, to. As a consequence, many churches remain dead and powerless.

Another way we read the book of Acts is with a longing for God to work like he did before. We sit in our pews and wonder why God is not moving like he did in the book of Acts. Why people aren’t being saved. Why we see no miracles, signs and wonders. Why we remain in disunity, faithless, and powerless. Why are our churches empty. The consequence of being “pew sitters” is the same as reading the book of Acts as history: dead and powerless churches.

Our acts don’t match the acts of the disciples in the book of Acts.
Peyton Jones said, “If we want to witness kingdom expansion like the apostles did, it’s not enough to know what they knew. We need to do what they did.” [1]

From our passage today we see a glimpse of what the disciples of the early Church did: they prayed.

Not just any type of praying, but, praying together in unity. The Scripture says, “they lifted their voices together to God…” (ESV). They prayed with one heart, one focus, and one mission. They wanted the power of God in their church, not for protection, but for power and boldness to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the act, the first act, any church, or group of churches, should take in winning their community to God.

When the Church comes together in unity there is power in our prayer. Jesus promises his presence, especially when we are gathered together in his name. And when we pray as one, we shake the community, and we become bold to speak his message fearlessly.

[1] Peyton Jones, Reaching the Unreached Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art, (Zondrvan, 2017) pg. 23