For the past two years, our church has been praying together weekly, asking God to bring revival to our church, our city, and the churches of our convention. We have been desperate for God to pour out His Spirit in a fresh way, but we reached a place where we needed to step back and understand why we have been praying for revival.
In Isaiah 64, Isaiah recognizes the physical ruins in Jerusalem as reflecting the spiritual ruins of God’s people. The temple in Zion, the city of God, is the place where God’s manifest presence would dwell, but it now lies in ruin. It’s as if they do not even belong to God because His presence and power have been removed. The enemy has completely destroyed them. Can you imagine Isaiah’s agony as he remembers his encounter with God a few chapters earlier (Isaiah 6)? He saw God in His temple, full of power and holiness, but now it is a pile of rubble. The physical devastation revealed the spiritual destruction. We, too, must recognize the real spiritual ruins of our churches today.
We are the covenant people of God and the dwelling place of God. We are to gather weekly to encounter His presence and be transformed by His power. We are to be filled with the Holy Spirit and display the glory of Jesus. We are to share and show the gospel daily, pushing back the darkness. But is this what we are seeing in our churches today?
We have become a people who see gathering with God’s people as optional, and many attend with no intention of encountering God. Church members are present but the Holy Spirit is absent. We have innovation but no manifestation. We have programs but no power. This is not about guilt, shame, or poor sinful me—this is about the recognition of reality. But the goal here is not recognition for the sake of depression. It is recognition that leads to desperation. We need to be desperate for God!
Revival is about rescue. Isaiah’s response is not an indictment, but a prayer for intervention. This is the heart of revival prayer. It is coming to the end of ourselves and calling on the name of the Lord. We need a glimpse of Jesus and His glory that leads us to a moment of recognition that leads us to a desperation, allowing for a visitation and resulting in a transformation.
When we are filled with the Spirit, the church prays, the gospel is preached, worship is authentic, sinners are radically saved, disciples are made, people are healed, marriages are restored, communities are transformed, unity is enjoyed, and Jesus is the hero!
As we were challenged at our annual meeting in November, let us become a convention that pursues the presence of God by leading our churches in corporate prayer.