Let us ask ourselves an open-ended question. What is revival? What readily comes to mind when we think about this word is that something is probably dead, inactive or stagnant that needs to be revived and made active again. Therefore, the word revival could means reawakening of spiritual consciousness. Some call it an eye opener to the lost spiritual truth and revelation of powerful move of faith among children of God. Yet still, some described it as quickening of believers’ spirit that spur us into action to readdress our Christian responsibilities that had been stagnant.
Perhaps we wonder why we need a revival in our time. The hidden truth that you may not hear from people is that Doctrines of the Bible is no longer in vogue. Holiness is becoming old fashioned in the church, and human strategy is the order of the day. Politics had entered the church. Gains is gaining ground more than the glory of God in the church. The politicians are taking the pulpit to campaign for their political parties. Prophecies of the prophets today is all about who will win the next election in the country and no longer about the next frontier of the vision of God for mankind. Fervency in prayer and Christian responsibilities is fizzling out among brethren. There is division among the Church and intense in-fighting is going on among the Church leaders. Passivity is in practice among many churches. Sermons and prayers are tailored to be short so that people will not be bored and leave the church. In some churches, various entertainments has taken the place of prayer and the in-depth study of the word of God. This is an attempt of the church to lure people to remain in fellowship.
Revival causes Christian realignment with his Creator just as the Prodigal Son thought it fit to return to his father. Revival always reveal the spontaneous coordination of human intellect and understanding of the spiritual realities of life. This realization of the truth that had been elusive to the person that had lingered deep in worldliness leads him to the emotional repentance of his spiritual shortcomings. Lastly, the personal strong-will of the person to correct his wrongdoings is set in motion to change his sinful status quo, transform him to heaven conscious individual and do all to redeem his long-standing short comings.
As we consider this topic, let it be settled in our mind that there is no human based wisdom and worldly strategies that can trigger a sustained spiritual revival among humanity. The steps of faith in revival as related to the things of the Spirit must be structured and implemented step by step according to the knowledge and revelation of the word of God. The spiritual examples found in the Scripture must be carefully followed and implemented. Spiritual revivals must be based upon spiritual foundations and principles revealed in the scripture before it can thrive and be sustained.
Nehemiah Rebuilt the Broken-down Wall
The core ministry of Nehemiah was to rebuild the broken-down wall of the city of Jerusalem. In tears and with fasting and prayer, he sought the face of God for breakthrough and Heaven smiled upon him. “They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.” When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:3-4 NLT) Nehemiah received the divine favor of God and the Babylonian king approved the humble request of Nehemiah to go back to his ancestral home to rebuild the city. (Nehemiah 2:2-6) Nehemiah went to Jerusalem and mobilized the like-minded people who willingly supported the mission of rebuilding the city wall. And the project began.
Nehemiah did not rebuild the broken-down of the city wall alone; he also rebuilt the broken-down and characters of the nobles that were oppressing and enslaving the poor people in the city. He sharply rebuked the nobles about their wickedness and admonished them to correct their ways and deal in love with the poor. (Nehemiah 5:1-6)
When the city wall project was completed, he gathered the people of the nation together and opened them to the word of God. The people wholeheartedly embraced the truth and with tears they repented of their sins and sum up their mind to do the blessed will of God. “And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel. And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground. … This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.” (Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 9)
Elijah Repaired the Altar
Before a Revival can take place in any church, the spiritual altar of God must be repaired. In 1 Kings 18:30-32 Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.” Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed.” After Elijah repaired the broken-down altar, and established a proper foundation of the altar, he offered his sacrifice on the altar, and fire came from heaven to consume the offering on the altar. The evidence of revival took place when the people came to Elijah, in the spirit of revival, they began to say, the Lord, He is God. “And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, “The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.” (1 King 18:39)
Hezekiah repaired the Altar
Hezekiah repaired the altar before revival took place under his leadership. “He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the LORD, and repaired them.” (2 Chronicle 29:3) The king reopened the temple of God that had been abandoned for some time, renovated it and restored the ministration of the Levites in the temple. This he did in demonstration of his godly leadership worthy of emulation among the subjects of his kingdom.
- Repairing the altar of our life simply means, personal genuine repentance of our sinful ways and completely do away with defilement, and total resolution to maintain a consistent holy and righteous relationship with God.
- Establishing proper foundation simply means—Doing the blessed and acceptable will of God. (Romans 12:2) “… be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Why do we need to repair the altar of our body?
Believers are the instruments of revival. We are the temple of God, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own.“ (1 Corinthians 6:19) The altar of God in us must be repaired. Before a personal revival can take, our bodies (which is the temple of God) must be presented as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1) Revival begins on the inside within the individual Christians before it is extended to the community around us. The revived believers are the vessel of revival. There must be a complete repairing of the personal characters of the individual brethren to become Christlike before our revived lives can influence the people around us.
Importance of Prayer for Revival
Prayer and fasting is very important for revival to be made manifest but prayer unto God without genuine repentance is like offering a sacrifice on a broken altar. We must make our way right before God in order to experience the rain of mercy and at the same time experience the fire of Holy Spirit. Our prayer must be fervent and consistent. “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) We must pray until heaven smiles upon us and answer our prayers. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14) We must tap into the grace of prayer because an answer had been promised. “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14) If we ask our Heavenly Father for revival in our time, He will not turn us down.
THERE IS A SPECIFIC PLACE FOR REVIVAL
Jesus Christ told the disciples in Luke 24:49 to remain in the city of Jerusalem until they receive power from above. “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” The disciples that gathered together in the name of God, in one accord in the Upper Room on the day of Pentecost, experienced revival of the Holy Spirit. “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:1-2) The instantaneous result of this great revival opened the gate of extraordinary harvest of salvation to about 3000 souls at the preaching of Peter on the day of Pentecost.
To Jonah, the place of revival was Nineveh. God told Jonah to go to Nineveh. “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.” (Jonah 1:2) Jonah bought a voyage ticket to Tarshish in disobedience to the commandment of God. He ended up in the belly of a big fish. You know the story. Jonah came down from his high horse, and after his fervent prayer of repentance in the belly of the fish, God commanded the fish to vomit Jonah at the seashore. “And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them” (Jonah 3:1-4) That was all that God required Jonah to be made known to the people of Nineveh. The great city of Nineveh repented of their sins with fasting and praying and the mercy of God prevailed in the city. “Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city: “No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all.” When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened. (Jonah 3:7, 10) The mercy of God prevailed in Nineveh, the robber city and destruction averted.
The place of revival is in the togetherness of the people of God. That is why believers should always gather in one accord, in the name of God and in brotherly kindness fellowship. The primary purpose of their gathering should be fellowship in prayer and seeking God by breaking the bread of the word of God. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25
Right Spiritual Atmosphere
Revival does not thrive in divisive gathering but in the right spiritual atmosphere of unity. There must be a conducive spiritual environment that can permit revival to thrive. Beloved of the Lord, please consider this simple experiment. Gather some dry firewood together. Light it up with fire. Flame will be ignited on them, and it will burn very well for the purpose it was set it up for. Now separate the burning firewood, you will discover that the flame will immediately extinguish itself automatically and only smoke without flame will appear on each separated firewood.
That is why believers should always gather in unity in one accord in the name of God. That is why we must seek the face of God by breaking the bread of life together. We must learn the word of God together and faithfully pray consistently together until something glorious begin to happen among us. “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 3:46-47) Believers are commanded, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)
A Right Spiritual Attitude
Going by a simple experiment again. Wet firewood and dry firewood may not be good conductors of burn fire. In the same manner lukewarm Christian and upright Christian may not blend very well spiritually. Believers with a laisser-faire attitude will only produce the fruit of lukewarm believers. “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” (Revelations 3:15-16) Sunday-Sunday believers but monsters on the rest of the weekdays cannot be God’s specification as instruments of revival. Christian that sow the seed of discord among brethren will certainly be the clog in the wheel of revival in the Church. “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” (Proverbs 6:16-19) These negative characters are prevalent among the worldly people, and this is the reason why believers must clearly separate themselves from every form of worldliness of our days.
EXPECTED ROLES OF CHRISTIAN LEADERS FOR REVIVAL
Obedient to the Commandment of God
The patriarchs were commended by the Living God for obedience to the commandments of God. “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” (Genesis 6:22) “Thus did Moses: according to all that the LORD commanded him, so did he.” (Exodus 40:16) Joshua was commanded and charged, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” It was on record that he did according as the LORD commanded Moses His master. “And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.” (Deuteronomy 34:9) Our Heavenly Father always order the steps of the righteous, He always endow the appointed leaders with the vision of the appointed mission. The onus remains with the leader to do everything in obedience according to the vision that God had revealed unto him. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” (Psalm 37:23)
Desired Faithfulness of the Christian Workers
Christian Leaders must lead by example in righteousness and holiness. Their consecration must be impeccable. Their uprightness must be vivid and steadfast and worthy of emulation. Leaders must put God in the position of preeminence and exhibit a practical demonstration of practical faithfulness and exhibit the spirit of revival among the people in order to obtain an expected positive result.
And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan. (Joshua 3:8) The faithful Priests that bears the Ark of Covenant recognized their responsibilities and they lived up to it. These priests were noted for their sanctified and consecrated lives, because it is only holy priests that can bear the holy Ark of Covenant. “And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.” (Leviticus 20:26) Yieldedness was one of their rare attributes. They obediently hearkened to every instruction given them by their appointed leaders. “If you love me, keep my commands.” (John 14:15). They knew that the entire population of the people of God was dependent upon their sacrificial duties and spiritual steadfastness in order that the people of God could walk into their inheritance in Canaan. They stood still in holiness, in corporate faithfulness and obedience to the commandments of God and their leaders in the middle of River Jordan for many hours until about three millions Israelites crossed the river on a dry ground into their inheritance in Canaan. Whatever may be your responsibility as a Christian Worker, faithfulness and dedication will see you to the triumphant end in your ministry.
If we desire revival in our time, we have work to do. We must first look inward and deal with all our sinful inadequacies. Our repentance must be sincere and genuine. We must sincerely determine to repair the altar of our hearts and rededicate self in righteousness and holiness. We must go back to the drawing board of the plans and precepts of holiness and righteousness of God in our Christian responsibilities. We must follow the vision of God in an absolute dependence to Him in our various ministries. Fellowship of brethren in one accord, in the name of God is the standard and must be our watchword. Fervent prayer without ceasing is inevitable as commanded in the scripture and this cannot be sidelined. “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) The spiritual revival must begin with us because believers are the instruments of revival. If we are revived, people around us will experience the touch of heaven and their lives will be turned around favorably and spiritually for the glory of God. Our Heavenly Father needs men. He needs faithful and dedicated men. If we are revived, we shall truly become men and women of God that will bring revival to our generation.
Merciful Father, endow us the divine insight to understand the reason why we should do everything to repair the altar of our heart so that, You, the Heavenly King of Glory can enthrone therein in Jesus name, Amen. Father, empower us the grace to cry Abba Father unto You so that we may experience the touch of heaven that bring forth an unprecedented miracles and revival of salvation in our time in Jesus name, Amen. Heavenly Father, please endow us the humility to yield to the precept of your holiness and righteousness, and obedience to your words so that we may become instrument of revival for Your glory in our generation in Jesus name, Amen.