I’ve felt a special burden lately to pray for revival. Unless God revives hearts, all our other efforts will be in vain:
- I believe Christians should be politically active, but my hope does not rest in governmental reform.
- I believe Christians have a responsibility to help the needy, but social programs won’t solve our problems.
- I (obviously) believe it’s a good idea for Christians to marry and have children, but apart from God’s grace and mercy, even those relationships will fail.
Family values. Community service. Political reform. They all have their place, but none of those things can fully resolve the deep troubles plaguing our world today. For that, we need changed hearts, so heart-change is what I’m praying for, starting with my own.
What we really need is REVIVAL:
R = Rekindled love for God
Set my soul afire, Lord, & renew the love I had for you in the beginning. May the fondness I feel for everything else in life pale in comparison to my burning desire to know & love You more. (Revelation 2:4-5, 3:15-17; Matthew 10:37; Mark 12:30)
E = Enthusiasm for Worship
May my life be a sacrifice of praise to You, O God. May I enter Your gates with thanksgiving & come before Your presence with singing. Teach me to worship You in Spirit & in truth—not just at church on Sundays, but all week long. (Hebrews 13:15; Psalm 34:1-3, 100:1-4; John 4:24)
V = Vigilance in Prayer
Teach me to pray without ceasing, boldly approaching the throne of grace in the power of the Holy Spirit. Help me not to be anxious, but to cast my cares at the foot of the cross, trusting Christ to intercede on my behalf. (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Ephesians 6:18; 1 Peter 5:7; Romans 8:26, 34)
I = In-depth Bible Study
Create in me an insatiable hunger for Your Word, O God. Teach me to love it as I love life itself. Help me to hide its truths in my heart & meditate upon it day and night. Make me a doer of the Word rather than a forgetful hearer. (Matthew 5:6; Psalm 119:97-98; James 1:23)
V = Victory over Sin
Help me to lay aside every encumbrance & the sin that so easily entangles me. Keep me mindful of the fact that Jesus has purchased my freedom from sin—I’m no longer enslaved. Teach me to consider myself dead to sin but alive to You. (Hebrews 12:1; Romans 6:1-7)
A = Affection for Others
Jesus said people will know we are Christians by our love. Make that true in my life, O God! Teach me to value others above myself & to consider their needs as more important than my own. Make me a channel of blessing; love others through me. (John 13:34-35; Philippians 2:2-4)
L = Life of Faith
Don’t allow me to compartmentalize my faith, but let it influence & inform every aspect of my life. Teach me to walk by faith, not by sight. May everything I am & all that I do bring glory & honor to You, Lord, & point others to Jesus. (James 2:17-20; 2 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Corinthians 10:31)
Would you like to join me in this prayer? I’ve created a free printable to make it easy for you to do so:
The wonderful thing about praying for revival is that the heart God usually revives first belongs to the person praying. And that’s a good thing. It reminds me of an old hymn we used to sing in the little Baptist church where I grew up.
Send a revival, O Christ my Lord,
Let it go over the land and sea;
Send it according to Thy dear Word,
And let it begin in me!
Unfortunately, neither that song nor the sentiment is very popular any more. I couldn’t find it in any of the half-dozen modern hymnals I own, but I eventually tracked down the lyrics on the Internet and have been singing that old camp-meeting song around the house ever since. It goes something like this:
Lord, Send a Revival (click on the arrow to listen)
My husband tells me it sounds sort of old fashioned. He’s right. Such a tune is unlikely to make any Top 40’s charts these days, but the prayer it contains is powerful:
Send a revival in every heart,
Draw the world nearer O Lord to Thee.
Let Thy salvation true joy impart,
And let it begin in me!
I love the way the lyricist (B.B. McKinney) acknowledges his own need in the matter: Lord, my heart needs reviving, too! Help me to turn away from sin and let me draw nearer unto Your throne.
Such an admission of personal need is uncommon. It’s easier to think society’s faults lie with somebody else. As Leo Tolstoy once observed:
Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.
Yet it doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition: changing the world or changing myself. When we pray for God to send revival, we effectively do both.