Pray For Revival
Habakkuk 3: 1,2: "A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, set to Shigionoth.
O Jehovah, I have heard the report of thee, and am afraid:
O Jehovah, revive thy work in the midst of the years;
In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy."
"A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth," was a prayer accompanied with music,
neither mournful, nor joyful, but expressive of profound and strong emotion.
The prophet was undoubtedly moved to the very depths of his being with conflicting emotions
of triumph and victory.
The third chapter contains Habakkuk's prayer.
The second verse of this chapter is an example of what the Christian's attitude should be
in times of troubles and crisis.
There are some frightening situations in our world which are similar to those that Habakkuk faced.
We are also asking why doesn't God intervene?
Why does God allow these things?
Why are the ungodly so successful?
Why doesn't God revive the Church.
Habakkuk says: " "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."
Habakkuk has stopped arguing with God, and he is no longer questioning the ways of God.
He is not even protesting what God has told him.
He is not appealing to God to reverse his coming judgment.
He is not asking God to spare Israel.
He has recognized that what God says He will do is perfectly right, and he knows that
God is absolutely just, and that the punishment which is going to come upon Israel
is well deserved.
Habakkuk has come to complete submission to the will of the God.
He doesn't try to defend Israel or himself, but frankly admits the sin, and he also recognizes
the righteousness, holiness and justice of God.
" To us," he says, " belongs confusion of face."
There is no self righteousness within him.
There is a complete admission of sin and utter submission to the judgment of God
upon the nation.
Habakkuk came to this position when he stopped thinking of his own nation,
or of the Chaldeans, and focused only on the holiness and justice of God.
Most of our troubles can be traced to our persistence at looking at the immediate problems,
instead of looking at them in the light of God's will.
Habakkuk saw the need for revival.
We need to understand that revival is the movement of the Holy Spirit among Christian people.
You can't revive someone who is dead.
I'm speaking about taking someone who has already placed their faith in Jesus,
but has grown complacent, cold, backslidden.
I'm talking about the fact that we are so busy with things other than the work of God.
Many Christians have no need for Jesus, for prayer, for God's Word as they do when life
becomes difficult and troubled.
Revival makes people God conscious.
Revival is an awakening in our relationship with God and causes us to put God first.
He should be first in our thoughts, first in our time, first in our activities, first in the way
we spend our money.
God should have priority of our lives.
Revival causes people to repent of their sins, clean up their lives, enjoy their religion,
and share it with others.
Do we see the need of revival for ourselves, our churches, our nation, and our world?
We don't know what is going to happen tomorrow.
If our attitude is still one of " Why does God this?", " What have we done to deserve this?",
we have not learned the lesson Habakkuk learned.
We have failed to recognize that that wars are the inevitable consequence
of the godlessness that is going on today.
With the destructive earthquakes, the devasting tornados, the illegal drugs that
plague our cities, and the killings that take place every day, and the recession
of failing banks and the declining economy, why is there no cry from the souls
of dedicated pastors and Christians for revival?
The words from 2 Timothy 3:2-3 should cause us to cry out for revival:
"People will be selfish, greedy, boastful, and conceited; they will be insulting,
disobedient to parents, ungrateful, and irreligious; they will be unkind, merciless,
slanderers, violent, and fierce; they will hate the good; they will be treacherous,
reckless and swollen with pride; they will love pleasure rather than God;
they will hold to the outward form of our religion, but reject its real power."
Crimes of violence blanket our nation.
Waves of lawlessness, wickedness, violence, and senseless bombings,
and killings are reaching horrible heights.
The abuse of sex is rampant.
Such abuse brings misery and wrecks families.
Sexual disease is an epidemic and a national disgrace.
America is saturated with drink and drugs.
Materialism is our national idolatry.
Materialism soothes and smites the national conscience.
Materialism claims that it is responsible for all the advances of civilization.
Materialism flatters pride, stimulates desire, deadens conscience, and deifies man
and will eventually demonize him.
Materialism mutilates the Bible, minimizes sin, and humanizes God.
God is ignored and His Word is neglected.
Attendance at church services is sporadic and sparse.
So,it is little wonder that the world does not care to identify with a joyless religion.
We have settled into a sameness that is satisfied with form and ritual.
We act bored with our spiritual journey.
Spiritual zest and enthusiasm are gone in the life of too many Christians.
When asked to do some Christian service, many beg to be excused.
We need a revival that will free us form earthly entanglements!
We need a revival that will free us from ungodly associates and from unholy loves.
We need a revival that will free us from unchristian habits.
We need a revival that will free us from unchristian conduct.
"O Lord, revive thy work in us!"
Revival is the movement of the Holy Spirit among Christian people.
Revival will wake up and shake up Christians.
Revival will make us God conscious.
Revival will cause us to repent of our sins, clean up our lives, and enjoy our walking
and talking with Jesus.
Revival will cause Christians to have an urgency to tell others about Jesus.
Not many of our churches are leading lost people to Jesus even though we know that
Jesus has commissioned us to do so.
I don't know of many pastors who regularly visit people who need Jesus.
I don't know many church leaders who ever tell anyone about Jesus.
Everything that is going on with Christian people is taking place within the walls
of a church building.
Do you know any Christian who is praying for revival?
How many people who profess to be Christians have acknowledged their sins
and confessed them?
Our nation which was founded on God and has been so blessed by His grace,
has become more pagan.
Sins that were considered as sinful some years ago, such as abortion, gambling,
same sex marriages, and dangerous drugs have now become legalized or are being
considered to become legal ,
What is the church doing while all this is happening?
Every pastor and every Christian should be doing what Habakkuk did.
We should be praying for revival!
Many are doing what Habakkuk did initially.
They are saying, "Well, we are not perfect, and the church isn't all she ought to be,
but it is much better than than the .....!"
Therefore, they see no need for humility and revival.
As long as we focus on the bad people who are doing horrible things in the world,
we are not ready to humble ourselves before God and pray for revival.
Habakkuk's burden was a concern for God's cause, God's work, and God's purpose
in his own nation and in the world.
His one desire was that people should be right with God.
He had come to the position in which, in effect, he said, " Whatever I and my countrymen
may have to suffer is of no concern so long as Thy work is revived and kept pure."
His one great plea was that God would revive His work in the midst of the years
-- "O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known."
Habakkuk's prayer that God would revive His work was probably referring to the condition
of His people.
God works among His people.
Habakkuk is asking God to revive His name, His reputation, among His people.
He's asking God to do something for His own cause.
In Psalm 138:7-8 we read: "Revive, even though we walk in the midst of trouble."
Habakkuk is crying: "Lord, even though Thy people are into the very depths of hell
in their iniquity and their sin and in their blasphemy, even in the midst of their trouble:
Do something for Thy name."
The Hebrew word, " revive," has the primary meaning of " preserve", or " keep alive".
Habakkuk's great fear was that His people were going to be destroyed,
so he prayed, " Preserve it, O God, keep it alive, don't let it be overwhelmed".
Revive means not only to keep alive or to preserve, but it also means to purify and correct,
and to get rid of the evil.
In the history of every revival, we read of God purifying, getting rid of the sin, the dross,
and the things that were hindering His cause.
Like Habakkuk, we must confess to God: " We have sinned against Thee."
Such a self-humbling in the presence of God is desperately needed.
"O Lord, I've heard thy speech, and was afraid."
"Was afraid" does not mean that Habakkuk was afraid of the things that were
going to happen as revealed to him by God.
There was no fear of the suffering that was coming.
He is expressing awe in the presence of such a great God, worshipful adoration
and wonder at God and His ways.
God had told Habakkuk something about His plans, and the prophet, meditating upon that fact
that God is in His holy temple and the world is beneath His feet, stood in amazement
and reverent awe.
When he realized the almightiness and the holiness of God he said, " I was afraid".
This attitude described in the book of the Hebrews as an attitude of " reverence and godly fear."
This an attitude that is missing in the lives of many Christians.
In God's presence we become aware of His holy nature, and of our own sin.
So, we must humble ourselves before Him.
There are times when Christians lose the realization of Jesus.
When the connection between ourselves and Christ is strained we lose our conscious
enjoyment of His presence.
Then we are miserable and groan within ourselves when we lose the sense of His presence.
Does Jesus live in your house?
If He does, when was the last time that you spoke to Him?
A week? A month?
Some years ago I was present at a cottage prayer meeting with more than 40 attending.
When the time for prayer came, a young Christian married man who was in church
every service was there with his wife, and he was the first to pray.
He prayed like he was all alone with in God.
He began by asking God for forgiveness for many of his sins which he listed, and then he said,
"God, please forgive me for the way I live.
When I enter the church on Sunday, I put on my religious coat, and when I leave
at the end of the service, I take off my religious coat and leave it there until
Please God, forgive me, I love you and I don't want to live like that!"
How long has it been since you told Jesus that you love Him.?
While I was preaching in a revival in Alabama, many people came forward during the invitation,
and there was a lot of joy expressed for those who had come to trust Jesus as their Saviour.
The pastor was a long-time close friend, and I turned the service back to him.
He was filled with such emotion and grateful to God for all who had been saved
that he just fell to his knees, and others began to kneel also.
The first words that he prayed were, "O dear God, I love you so much!"
I had never heard anyone in a service pray like that or tell with such earnest emotion
that He loved God.
I haven't heard that since, but in that moment, I told God how much I loved Him.
I still tell Him daily of my love, and I pray that my love for Him will continue to grow.
When was the last time you told God that you love Him?
Each one of us should say in our heart: "I am going to totally dedicate myself to God -- right now!"
I believe that many dedicated Christians who here in this service will say that,
" I really do feel my need of revival, and I intend to pray that I would experience real revival,
and so will our church."
Don't say it, if you don't mean it!
Don't make promises to God that you don't intend to keep.
If you promise God, and then you break your promise you are increasing the number
of your sins.
Remember, it is God who first gave you life, and it is God who keeps you alive;
and it is God who must revive us.
So. let us begin by humbling ourselves before God.
We must come to realize that we cannot revive ourselves.
We need to cry out to God the prayer that Habakkuk prayed:
"O Lord, what I can not do, do thou! O Lord, revive thy work!"
We need revival, and God is ready to give revival.
So why have we not had it?
There's no revival because there's no holiness.
There is no revival because there is no prevailing prayer.
There is no revival because there is no fear of God.
There is no revival because there are no Spirit-filled lives!
Today, churches seem more concerned about losing their members, their prestige, etc.,
than they are about losing the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
We need revival when we have become proud and isolated from a world that needs us.
We need revival when we allow our organizational structures to drain our most creative energies.
There is no revival because we want the credit and the glory.
We say,"My church, my reputation, my books, my sermons, my achievements."
We need revival when we have more confidence in our promotion and planning
than we have in the power of the Holy Spirit.
People need to see God at work!
And they cannot, and will not, without the presence and power of the Holy Spirit of God.
We need to draw a circle around us and pray that God will start a revival within that circle.
And we should stay in that circle until God sends revival!
We should not want to do anything without the Holy Spirit.
"O, Holy Spirit, breathe on me -- break me -- fill me -- use me!"
O Breathe of Life
"O Breath of life, come sweeping through us,
Revive Thy church with life and power;
O Breath of life, come, cleanse, renew us,
And fit Thy church to meet this hour.
O Wind of God, come bend us, break us,
Till humbly we confess our need;
Then in Thy tenderness remake us,
Revive, restore, for this we plead.
O Breath of love, come breathe within us,
Renewing thought and will and heart;
Come, Love of Christ, afresh to win us,
Revive Thy church in every part.
O Heart of Christ, once broken for us,
'Tis there we find our strength and rest;
Our broken, contrite hearts now solace,
And let Thy waiting church be blest.
Revive us, Lord! Is zeal abating
While harvest fields are vast and white?
Revive, us Lord, the world is waiting,
Equip Thy church to spread the light."
-- Bessie Head, ca. 1914.
Are you ready for that?
I believe that God is calling every Christian to pray for revival.
2 Chronicles 7:14 says: " If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves
and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven
and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
We need a new attitude of witnessing which is every Christian's responsibility.
We must be ready to witness everyday and everywhere!
A new attitude of witnessing will result when we are truly and fully revived.
Our attitude will be compassionate and consistent.
People need to know we care!
When this happens, people on the outside will become curious to know the strange power
existing inside the redemptive fellowship.
We must be willing to risk!
We must be ready to sacrifice our time!
Eternal souls are in the balance!
When the Holy Spirit controls us, we will be constrained; we will be compelled
to lead our lost loved ones and close friends to Jesus.
Personal evangelism must be our priority of our day.
That is why Jesus commanded us to tell others. (Matthew 28:19-20)
We must witness!
When we cease to believe that people without Christ are lost,
and when we cease to individually urge them to come to Christ --- then we need revival!
The church that ceases to be evangelistic will soon cease to exist.
The important question is, "Can we have revival?"
If all the sleeping Christians will wake up;
And all the lukewarm will fire up;
And all the dishonest will 'fess up;
And all the disgruntled will sweeten up;
And all the discouraged will cheer up;
And all the depressed will look up;
And all the estranged will make up;
And all the gossipers will shut up;
And all the true soldiers will stand up;
And all the church will pray up;
THEN, WE WILL HAVE A REVIVAL!
We can have an old-fashion revival if we pay the old-fashion price for it.
THAT PRICE IS PRAYER!
GOD, START IT HERE IN ME!
Sermon adapted from many resources by Dr. Harold L. White