Imagine that God had a top ten prayers –list in Heaven. What do you think might be on it? Perhaps we would find the all-time favourites “Help!”, “Give!” or “Change!” in the top three. But not far down the list I believe there would be the prayer for revival.
Revival. What a word. It smells of spring, of motion, of anointing. Of God’s presence, of divine ease replacing strife. Of joy, fulfillment, breakthrough. Yet sometimes I sense that we forget what we are praying for when we pray for revival.
I have often heard prayers for “revival” where the meaning seems to be actually “more conversions”. However, in taking a closer look at some of the translations of the verb “revive” in the Bible, we find the following:
Give (new) life
Bring back to life
God cannot revive something that has never been alive. So revival must be meant for us, God’s children. This is confirmed in a verse from Psalm 85 where the psalmist prays the following:
Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? (Psalm 85:6)
If we dissect this verse we find out important information concerning revival.
It is God who revives
He revives us
The purpose is joy
Furthermore, if we take a step back we can see that the prayer above is in a specific context, one of confession and repentance. It is the prayer of broken people who have experienced the consequences of their sin and are crying out to God for mercy.
So, perhaps instead of praying for revival, we would do well to pray prayers of confession and repentance first. Once the obstacles of sin are dealt with, we can receive revival again.
For various reasons and because of various seasons in life, we may all find ourselves in need of revival. Spring is the season of new life. Jesus, Himself, was revived at Easter, through His resurrection from the dead. In the same way, may we also experience revival in our hearts.
The Message Bible translates Psalm 85:6 so well:
Why not help us make a fresh start—a resurrection life? Then your people will laugh and sing!
Why not pray this prayer this Easter?