Over the past few months, we have seen God do some amazing things in churches all over our state. I have heard story after story from pastors who have experienced a fresh move of the Holy Spirit because they are leading their congregations to pray. Many of these churches are experiencing congregational repentance and reconciliation. Some are seeing record salvations and baptisms, while others are seeing marriages restored and miraculous healing. All these pastors have confessed that the only thing they have changed in their ministry is that they are intentionally leading their people to pray.
My singular desire as the president of this great convention is to lead our churches to pray. I am begging the Lord to send revival and spiritual awakening to our churches and communities. You see, revival is what happens to believers when God brings us to a place of brokenness. This leads us to repentance, resulting in a fresh outpouring of His Spirit in us.
Pastor Bill Elliff says, “To ‘revive’ literally means to ‘bring to life again.’ It is a word for the church, for you cannot ‘revive’ what has not once been ‘vived!’” Revival is the byproduct of the Holy Spirit bringing back spiritual vitality to the church. J.I. Packer said it like this: “Revival is the visitation of God which brings to life Christians who have been sleeping and restores a deep sense of God’s near presence and holiness.”
Revival in the church will lead to a spiritual awakening in our communities. Spiritual awakening is what happens to unbelievers when the Holy Spirit moves in power through His church. It’s when He moves with such a manifestation of His presence that unbelievers are supernaturally and powerfully awakened to the saving power of Jesus and their need for Him. When a spiritual awakening occurs, you see lost people in a geographical region come to saving faith in Jesus in exponential numbers, resulting in a rapid expansion of God’s kingdom. It should be the heart cry of every follower of Jesus to see God move in power like this. Without a revived church, we will not see a spiritual awakening in our culture. Andrew Murray, a great prayer warrior, said, “A revived church is the only hope of a dying world.”
We must become a praying convention. Many churches have replaced prayer with programs and many pastors are leading by the systems of man and not the Spirit of God. We need a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit that comes by prayer and prayer alone. We are told that when we call upon His name, He hears us and will answer us. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” If this is true (and we know that God’s Word is always true), then let’s seek Him, let’s pursue Him, and let’s call on His name with all our hearts!
I want to encourage you to share your prayer stories with other pastors and church leaders. Keep telling the stories of God’s movement to fan the flame of revival. As Elliff says, “Spread the fame of revival to spread the flame of revival.”