Psalm 85:6; Habakkuk 3:2; Hosea 6:1-3
Every sincere seeker and worshipper of God has an expectation of revival. The psalmist’s passionate request-question, "Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?" reveals that the revival once enjoyed had been lost. He could recall that there were revivals in the days of Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Elisha and David for the people of God which did not last. Absence of revival, power, authority, miracle, signs and wonders informed his heart-cry for revival as of old.
Since He did it before, he believed that the unchanging God could do it again. The psalmist’s expectation and passion for revival represent the expressions of our desire for revival. Our passion is also like that of prophet Habakkuk. Having heard the declaration of divine judgment against sin, Habakkuk became afraid and pleaded for mercy and revival in lieu of impending devastating dryness, poverty and weakness. "O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy."
What is revival? It is Renewal in righteousness; Empowerment for exploits; Vision for victorious, virtuous vessels; Impartation of His image; Victory over vanity and vice; Agreement with Almighty God; and Love for the Lord. Revival is our expectation from the Lord; and as we agree together and pray, God will grant our hearts’ desire. Then the Lord will revive, build, re-unite us and His mighty power will be felt in the whole land and in every family.
1. Preparation and prayer for an abiding revival Joel 2:12-20
Preparation precedes revival. If God’s promised revival will be fulfilled, there is a preparation and prayer that the Lord is calling the individual Christian as well as the Christian assemblies/associations to make. "Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart... rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God..." He requires repentance from evils done to others. It is when we completely repent, turn away, forsake all sins and live righteously and consecrate to serve God that the promised revival will come. We also need to deny self, fast and seek His face in a united prayer to be able to enjoy an abiding revival.
The children of Israel never enjoyed a lasting revival; they were always in a cycle of being delivered and afterward conquered. The Egyptians, Midianites, Assyrians, Philistines, Babylonians, Medo-Persians and Romans all took their turn in ruling over them. This vicious cycle characterise the lives of some people who do not retain the blessing of God. The will of God is a permanent enjoyment of freedom from sin and living a consistently pure lifestyle. If the church will cry to God, He promises to "remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate..." When we give up our sins and pray, God will grant us and our country success and prosperity.
2.Promise and prophecy of an appointed revival
God has promised to bring revival. With the revival come salvation, peace, success and prosperity in all areas of personal and national lives. Our present spiritual, political and economic conditions are as critical as those of the dry bones that prophet Ezekiel saw and ministered to. Poor facilities and living standards are discouraging. There is no excitement and motivation to pursue life’s aspiration or render quality service. Discouraged, many are seeking greener pastures in other lands. But like Ezekiel, believers must not quit because of the dryness and draught in the land but overcome these challenges and rebuild dry lives, families and our country.
To effectively revive dry bones require addressing them with the revealed Word of God for specific conditions. Every situation requires a different approach if the believer must be fruitful. Christ used different approaches to convert Peter, Matthew, Zacchaeus and Saul. The secret of a fruitful ministry among dry bones and elsewhere is declaring the revealed Word for the specific audience. It is faithfulness to prophesy as commanded that makes the Lord to honour His Word by bringing a mighty revival. "So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone." God knows the ugly condition of dry bones and the message that will bring revival. A mighty revival will come when ministers of the gospel preach, not the message dictated by men but given by God.
3.Progress and penetration of an ascending revival
Acts 2:41,47; 4:4; 5:28; 6:7; 8:5-8; 9:31; 2:39
During the Pentecostal revival in the early church, there was progress and penetration of the gospel. "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." When true revival comes, thousands of souls, not few, will be converted to the Lord. When we accept all the precepts of the Lord and prophesy as He has commanded, He will add converts to the church daily as He did in the early church. The progress was real as there was a subsequent record of five thousand people who became converted. But there was penetration too. The Sanhedrin alleged that, "behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine..." Believers were everywhere. Every street, community, office, school, hospital, section and family had genuine believers.
God brings this kind of true revival through the ministers who are fully revived and dedicated to Him. When there was progress and penetration of an ascending revival, "the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith." Philip was able to bring joy to the Samaritans through salvation, miracles, signs and wonders that God wrought through him. The church also multiplied numerically. The promised revival we seek is such that will usher in activities of planting strong and vibrant churches that cannot be conquered by the devil.