We Need Spiritual Revival – Part 2
“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” (Acts 4:31 NIV)
We need to pray for revival of such power that we resemble more of the early church in the book of Acts. In that golden age there was liberty and freedom under God—you never quite knew what was going to happen. The Holy Spirit could manifest himself at any moment. Yet there was careful Bible teaching as well. This balance between the Word and the Spirit is a great challenge today, when the pendulum swings between fanaticism and dry orthodoxy are so strong.
Many current church leaders think the goal is to rigidly control every phase of God’s work. I humbly disagree. We are probably organized far too much. The early church had a beautiful spontaneity and freshness, without being chaotic or disorderly…
What often holds us back is what I call “cultural religion” — our blind devotion to the way we were raised in church and the atmosphere we experienced every Sunday. I thank God for every good thing learned in the past, every blessing received—but doesn’t the Lord have more for us? Are we making such an impact on the world for God that we can’t humble ourselves in prayer for a change in the status quo? Revival comes when people get dissatisfied with what is and yearn deeply for what could be.
One of the distinguishing traits of the early church was their practice of serious prayer. The apostles had never said, “Lord, teach us to preach” or “Lord, teach us to lead worship.” But they had asked, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). Something about Jesus’ ability to commune with his Father in heaven fascinated them.
When the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them, he birthed a new spirit of prayer and intercession. They began following a simple practice: The best thing to do whenever emergencies come is to gather to pray! It was a living reality to them that God responds when people call upon his name. Indeed, this faith and fervency was begotten by the Spirit of God.
This is one of the spiritual facts of life that hungry pastors are coming to grasp more and more. They have been stirred by God to want a real change in their churches, especially in the matter of corporate prayer. But their zeal to initiate prayer meetings (of one kind or another) often turns to gloom as they see their members uninterested and unmoved. Even those who attend the prayer services are often cold and mechanical, with little or no sense of that effectual, fervent praying mentioned in Scripture.
The root problem is the need for the Holy Spirit to come in power and birth a true spirit of prayer. In other words, we must first secure the Spirit’s presence and grace; then we can move out in powerful praying for all kinds of other needs. Let us remember the Lord’s promise: “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13).
-Pastor Cymbala (excerpted from Fresh Power)
Read Acts 4:23-31.